Clodagh Doyle - Placelift

2013-07-24-22_54_42-214x300Placelift founder Clodagh Doyle, is a professional house doctor. Placelift specialises in preparing, presenting and styling residential properties for sale or let. They focus on presenting residential property at its full market potential on a tight budget, so that it sells or is let in the fastest possible time for the most amount of money. Many thanks to Clodagh for taking a turn in this month’s Enterprise Hot Seat – especially since the last few months have been so busy! We really appreciate it.

What led you to starting your business?

A few years ago due to a change in our personal circumstances, we let our family home for a while after which we then placed it on the market for sale. During this time, while dealing with prospective tenants and buyers, I realised the importance of making the absolute most out of your property before trying to sell or let it. From this experience, and having a passion for all things about the house, I immediately saw a potential business model which I then set about researching and developing. How did you raise the start-up funds you needed?

During the good times my husband and I had saved a little for a rainy day, little did we know that there would be many rainy days (the recession). We sold our second car to help with funding but this was not sufficient to cover our start up budget. I was very fortunate in that following submitting my business plan and priming grant application to the Wicklow County Enterprise Board, I was over the moon to be awarded a grant lastFebruary. The grant gave me the opportunity to set the business up the way I had originally planned and to promote it the way I felt it needed to be promoted.

What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business?

At this stage I have learned a few, whatever time and money you think it might take to start – think again as it will most definitely take more! A big lesson I have learned: not to take things too much to heart, or personally, as it will only wear you down and waste your energy.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read, business or non-business?

During the months of researching my business idea, I did come to a stage where I asked myself, “OK this is it; am I going to go full steam ahead with this business or will I park it? During this time I was reading Sorted! by John McGuire and before I got to the end chapter I had made my mind up – full steam ahead. I am reading Karren Brady’s book Strong Woman at the moment and this is a very inspiring read so far.

Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most?

John McGuire and Karren Brady whom I mentioned above, but I would also have to mention Norah Casey – a great business woman with a down-to-earth, humbled warm personality. The person I would admire the most was my late Father (John), he was a self-employed Haulier. I don’t know anyone who worked as hard as he did (but still had time for his family and friends). He had great energy, drive and ambition and just got on with things even when times were difficult. He was always so organised and on top of everything even without the use of a computer or mobile phone.

What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date?

There have been a few challenges to date, one being my accounts. Having purchased an account package it was very difficult to tailor it to meet my business requirements. Eventually I got this sorted with the help of a professional. The high cost of advertising has been challenging even though at the early stages you are basically testing the various mediums – the costs do mount up.

What has been the proudest moment in your business so far?

There have been a few moments at this stage – I am glad to say. When I was awarded the Wicklow County Enterprise Board Priming Grant I was so proud that all my efforts on my business plan and application had paid off. While it was amazing to be awarded funding it was equally as good to know that professional business people had believed in my business idea. Seeing our van with our logo and signage for the first time was another proud moment and somehow made the business very much a reality.


What was the best piece of business advice you ever got?

Over the past year I have picked up fantastic advice so it would be hard for me to pick just one piece. Some of best pieces would have been: - Never get stressed over software! - Don’t try and do lots of things together – do one thing, do it really well and then move on to the next – got this advice from Graham O’Neill who was a lecturer at a really superb Communications, PR, Advertising & Digital Marketing night course I attended earlier this year at the Bray Institute of Further Education. - Don’t take things to heart and learn from your mistakes. - Dazzle every time you meet someone – make a great first impression! – Norah Casey

Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there?

I wish I could! Every business is different and I know with mine every day is different so the best tool I have found to cope with time management is an app called TRELLO. Using this app you have a number of boards planning what to do, doing and what you have done – I can even delegate work to my husband (he can access these boards). Having this app on our iPhones means we can keep on top of things as they happen. Did I mention that the TRELLO app is FREE!

What magazine do you never miss each month?

I love Tatler especially particularly the business section, I don’t miss House & Home and Ireland’s Home Interiors and Living for ideas and to keep up with trends – although of late I only seem to get to glance at the pictures – not enough time in the day.

What is your favourite film?

Really loved Shawshank Redemption

 What is your favourite ad?

I really like the Coors Light ad on TV – Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment

 What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?

Firstly research, research and more research then leave no stone unturned when it comes to your business plan. Take on board all the advice you can get from other business people, friends and family but at the end of day go with your gut feeling and follow your passion.

What do you like to do when you’re not running your business?

I love to go running in all weathers it’s a great way to distress. I also enjoy swimming and spending time with my family. I also love to regular visit most of our local attractions, including the Kilruddery & Powerscourt Estates

Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance?

You are definitely asking the wrong person or maybe it is just too soon for me to have found it! Anyone who can enlighten me – feel free!

What’s your website?

Do you have a Facebook page?

Are you on Twitter?

Hope to open my Twitter account very soon and get tweeting!

How has Wicklow CEB helped you?

Where do I begin? I did a fantastic Wicklow CEB Start Your Own Business course last year, followed by numerous other useful Wicklow CEB funded courses this year. I received great advice and support from Wicklow CEB, both Business Advisors and Mentors. Looking back now, I don’t know how we would have managed financially without the Wicklow CEB Priming Grant. Over the past few months I have taken part in the NEW (Network of Entrepreneurial Women- ed) networking meetings and Wicklow CEB have helped with promoting my business. Wicklow CEB Facebook posts are very informative and also knowing I can call on them for support and advice gives me great peace of mind.

If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently?

Maybe I would have gone a little easier on myself, I really pushed myself to the limits to get things up and running – but who knows maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t.

Placelift-Logo1-150x150Clodagh’s aim is to maximise the appeal of any property with the greatest number of potential buyers or tenants in mind, so that it creates a positive first impression and increases their desire to own or let. Placelift offer property owners a one-stop-shop solution to getting their property market ready, saving them time, money, stress and energy.GC-21-300x199