Rory McEvoy is founder of Twiznight, a unique, cost effective, interacting marketing tool in the form of a brand sponsored Twitter quiz which enables consumer engagement and huge Twitter audience reach. 90% of participating brands have trended on Twitter. We sat down with Rory to ask him a few questions about Twiznight and his entrepreneurial journey.
Could you tell us how you came up with the idea for Twiznight?
It quite literally started with a tweet, whereby I randomly asked a question about a 1990’s game show called the Crystal Maze. I soon found out due to the response that there was a real appetite for quizzes on twitter and within 3 weeks I had my first paying customer.
How did you go about starting your own business?
This was very difficult, as I was working full time as an accountant for United Drug, in a demanding role. First thing I did was register the domain name and trade mark to protect the brand as much as I could. I validated that there was a desire for such a product in the market. Once I was sure of this, I decided to leave my job and dedicate myself full time to this venture.
Did you always want to own your own business?
I always wanted to create something new, come up with a new product that didn’t exist before and for it to become something that people recognize.
What was the greatest struggle in owning your own business and how have you overcome this?
The financial stress has been my greatest struggle, after working for almost 20 years with a guaranteed salary coming in every month. I’ve sacrificed earnings, security, and ability to take holidays, all in the hope and belief that my business will take off and be very successful.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment to date has probably been winning a Digital Media Award less than 6 months after leaving my job where I had worked for almost 8 years. This market validation filled me with great confidence and pride in what I had achieved.
How do you find a work life balance?
This is difficult, as it’s very hard to switch off. For me, I no longer spend over 2 hours a day commuting to and from work. I get to bring my son to playschool and be around more for my family. My Smartphone means I’m always connected and can move things along quickly. I do my very best to keep my weekends for family time and try not to let work creep in but sometimes it has to.
What is the part of being an entrepreneur you most enjoy?
It has to be creating something brand new that didn’t exist before I developed it. I have seen my tiny idea come to life and expand into areas I never thought possible in such a short period of time.There is a huge sense of achievement when you’ve crossed another hurdle, be it getting financing, investment, a product launch or new clients on board etc. It is great being the boss of everything and developing new skills that I didn’t have before. I’ve been lucky enough to win a Digital Media Award, be a finalist in the Bank of Ireland Start-up of the Year and now a winner in the National Enterprise Awards.
So what are the future plans for Twiznight?
The future plans for Twiznight are to successfully launch the product into the UK and beyond. I plan to expand the quizzes into other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, resulting in a cross social media engagement platform.The ultimate goal is to have hundreds of leading brands embedding our quiz platform into their websites.
Can you tell us how the Local Enterprise Office has helped your business?
The LEO was incredibly supportive, in terms of advice and financial assistance and has funded my business to almost €40,000.This enabled me to completely redevelop my product into a white-labeled engagement product that any brand in the world can now use. The LEO has helped push my presence into the Europe market, through the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).
What are your tips for anyone starting their own business?
It’s all about survival. Do everything you have to do to stay afloat. Manage that and your business has a real chance. Mind yourself and try and not let the stress get to you. Have a supportive network around you. Reach out to the LEOS, Enterprise Ireland and the banks. Above everything else Sell Sell Sell.