Monthly Archives: January 2014
Posted on January 2, 2014
Simon first contacted Wicklow CEB a couple of years ago with his first business plan. Since then he has worked tirelessly to perfect his Quotefish idea and finally launched the business in the Autumn of last year. Already gaining traction, we wish Simon all the best for 2014; who better to help us kick of the year’s Enterprise Hot Seat series!
What led you to starting your business?Arriving here from Australia in the midst of a recession in 2009, I struggled to find employment either full time, part time or freelancing in my area of expertise, advertising. This led me to look for a solution that could allow me to pick up freelance work whenever it was available. When none existed, I took the plunge and started to develop my own.
How did you raise the start-up funds you needed?Armed with a business plan, I knocked on a lot of doors, only to have them shut in my face due to being ‘too early’ or not having ‘a product’ yet. When starting a business, the first chasm you have to cross is getting it from an idea to a product with traction. This involves aligning yourself with the right people, who in my case was Bill Liao, a venture capitalist. I emailed Bill one day in frustration after being turned down by my third startup accelerator, and he invited me to enter his – SELR8R, an 8 week intensive sales programme run by SOS Ventures and Intercall Ireland in Cork. Part of the course included an amount for expenses, which I invested in freelance developers to build the beginning of my web application – Quotefish.
What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business?In order to succeed, you need to fail. Embrace and celebrate your failures, as they are your stepping stones to success.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read, business or non-business?Rework by Jason Fried. Essential reading for the modern business person.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most?Bill Liao – for his altruism and ideas.
What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date?Getting it done fast enough. Web application is a slow and methodological process and doesn’t happen fast enough for me.
What has been the proudest moment in your business so far?Quotefish winning it’s first award – the Wicklow Business Chamber’s ‘Most Innovative Business Award’ Runner Up, being a semi finast in the Realex Web Awards, and shortlisted for the Eircom Spiders Digital Startup Award, all within 8 weeks of launching.
What was the best piece of business advice you ever got?Again, Bill. ‘Listen’.
Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there?Unfortunately, not at the moment (I’m too busy). I never have enough time to get everything I want done.
What magazine do you never miss each month?Between work and my two toddlers, I just don’t have the time to read a magazine. If I did, it would be about motorbikes.
What is your favourite film?I can’t get enough of watching Blade Runner. Around this time it’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. [We interviewed Simon in December! - Ed]
What is your favourite ad?Being a relatively new family man, this ad about wearing your seatbelt resonates with me very deeply.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?Go for it. Who wants to work for and make money for someone else for the rest of their life?Do what you love, and solve problems with it. You will make mistakes, maybe even fail. It will only make you stronger and better at what you do.
What do you like to do when you’re not running your business?I love spending time with my family travelling around Ireland, eating.
Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance?If you know someone who knows, give me their number.
What’s your website?www.quotefish.com. We’re constantly iterating the user experience at the moment, so it’s exciting times.
Do you have a Facebook page?www.facebook.com/quotefish
Are you on Twitter?www.twitter.com/thequotefish – follow me and I’ll follow you back!
How has Wicklow CEB helped you and/or your business?Everyone at Wicklow CEB has been an outstanding support in helping realise my business.Through help from Catherine developing my business plan (for years), Niall offering sage advice, and Sheelagh having the belief in my business, together Wicklow CEB has been invaluable.
If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently?I probably would have waited a few more years before moving here…
Work. It’s a fact of life. We need it done regularly, reliably and without complication, while businesses need satisfied customers and lots of them. How do we support local business, and how can businesses find and engage locals that need their services?
Quotefish has spent 4 years perfecting the best way to connect people with local businesses, saving them time and money, and are committed to connecting local businesses with local customers globally.
Now, anyone can easily give work, get quotes and communicate with reliable local businesses in one place, meaning happier customers and better business, whatever their locality. Quotefish works, people love using it, and it gets results.