Dublin based entrepreneur Lucy O’Reilly revealed to IIBN in a recent interview that she is a Squarespace web designer, helping SME owners harness the power of their website to increase sales and drive their marketing campaigns. Lucy also provides digital and print graphic design solutions. You can visit Lucy’s Website. You can  also book a Free Consultation Call. 

                               

We asked Lucy to give a brief account of her education background.

I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA Hons in French and Spanish in 1992. I returned to education in 2013 to do a Graduate Diploma in creative multimedia and followed that up with a BSc in Digital Technology and Design from Technological University Dublin in 2018.

Did you always know/ever think you would become an entrepreneur when you were younger?

Nope! I wanted to be foreign affairs correspondent for the BBC!

Is entrepreneurship a common trait in your family?

I’m afraid not! My father worked for Guinness for his entire life, the ultimate ‘company’ man. My mother was definitely a creative and for a while sold her hand-beaded evening bags in Brown Thomas, but her cottage industry was never fully developed.

Did you have prior knowledge of the industry before setting up your company?

I had been designing websites as a side-gig for a couple of years while my children were still small. Then I started getting so much work that I decided to turn it into a business. I took an online business course specifically aimed at Squarespace web developers and I learned more about running a business. After that I went on to do my degree in digital technology and design.

What was your previous work experience (if any)? Do you think this gave you an advantage when setting up your business?

I ran a small hotel reservation business for two years out of my bedroom in Paris in the early 90’s but I was quickly lured away from that into the exciting world of international event management. It was an experience that stood to me, nonetheless. My ten years in events was also helpful, especially as an account manager in a big Parisian event management agency. That gave me valuable experience in pitching, presenting, budgeting and managing clients. 

How did you initially fund your business? (self-funded, government funding, etc)

As a one-woman band with very low overheads, thankfully I didn’t really need any funding to get started. That said, I have availed of the LEO Trading Online Voucher to revamp my visual identity and get some custom photography for my website.

Looking back, would you have changed the method of funding you chose?

Looking back, I wouldn’t change the method of funding.

What characteristics do you feel benefited you most when starting your business?

  • Confidence – in my abilities to help my customers with their frustrations and pain points.
  • Determination – I think I hit a stage in my life where I felt it was time to accept that I had a shedload of knowledge and experience and there was no reason why I couldn’t monetize that.
  • Resilience – I was in many ways a ‘Returner’, looking to get back to work after a long spell at home with the kids. I was finding it difficult to get a typical day job despite having upskilled, returned to education etc. That was a difficult period. And yet, business owners were asking me to build websites, design posters, fliers and so on. So I thought why am I knocking on doors that are not opening to me when other people are knocking on my door?

To what do you attribute your company’s success/growth to?

  • I really look after my clients! I hold their hands, I listen, I go that proverbial extra mile.
  • I also have a very easy to follow, two-week web design process that is digestible and which clearly outlines my clients’ role and my role in the process.
  • I provide online, recorded training so my clients can manage their own websites.
  • I wear a marketing hat – this is key to designing a website for a business that wishes to increase sales, create content, generate leads etc
  • I don’t drown them in tech jargon. I have often been told that one of the advantages of working with me is I talk about websites and design in a language my clients can understand.

What is your opinion on the importance of a professional network for an entrepreneur?

I think it is essential and not just for looking for new business. A professional network also enables you to surround yourself with people who are experts in areas where you are lacking knowledge. It gives you easy access to such expertise! I also network with fellow web-designers, we share code, tips, experiences etc It’s so enriching and really boosts your confidence.

Would you ever consider starting another company or involving yourself in new start-ups again?

I don’t know if I would start another company, but I am definitely looking at how I can expand my own offering over time. I would be open to collaborating with other business owners who have complementary activities to my own.

If you had one piece of advice for a new entrepreneur, what would it be?

Start before you think you are ready!