What was it like starting with an idea and turning it into a reality as a student?
I think starting a business in school in a great time. The advice, support and sales from friends and family was absolutely crucial to getting my business off the ground. Although you definitely have an extra work load, the connections you have through friends, and at that age, friends parents makes a huge difference.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to a student entrepreneur?
1) If you think it’s a good idea you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Take their opinion onboard but if you really believe in it you should make it happen - The next ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ won’t be building a social network. If your copying someone you aren’t learning from them.
2) Absolutely go for it. Since starting Vital Fixies I have had the absolute time of my life. Being young is one advantage because you get extra support but you also don’t have the commitments and for me it has allowed me to travel to the most amazing places and has given me a huge amount of freedom.
3) Download Audible and listen to some audiobooks. I never had any interest in sitting down and reading books but I have time while commuting or walking the dog, to listen to business podcasts or audiobooks and learn from experts.
How did you find like minded people to help you out?
I would attend as many startup and networking events as possible. I took part in ISEF in 2016 and I still tap into the contacts I made during the event. As I mentioned earlier, people do really try and help you out as a young entrepreneur and pitching your company at an event like ISEF will give you exposure to one or two hundred like minded people. Another big help has been friends parents. You probably don’t have the money to pay for legal advice or a marketing expert but a friends parent in that industry will generally give you some advice.
What's something people don't realise about being an entrepreneur?
It can be really hard to stay motivated especially when a lot of the work you do won’t actually be progressing the business further. As well as growing the business you still have to do all the mundane tasks like going to the bank and replying to emails.
That being said, starting my own business is absolutely the best thing I ever did. I set up my business in such a way that I can work remotely from anywhere in the world. I’m writing this article in Southern Vietnam during a 2 month backpacking trip where I have launch my second company, RePhone.ie.
What would you say to those who have an idea but don’t know what do next?
Try testing it out on a small scale, you don’t need to drop out of college or quit your job. Share the idea with as may people as you can and take all the feedback you can onboard. Don’t wait until your product is 100% perfect before you launch, you’ll waste too much time and it will never be perfect. - I would say the idea is about 10% of a successful business and execution is 90%.