Siobhan Fitzpatrick Limited is the Business name. However, Siobhan Fitzpatrick UnLimited is the Woman. In this interview Siobhan talks about her busy life managing her own collection of companies and about TheNetworkingSummit on 27th September in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport.
Give a brief description of your company.
Siobhan Fitzpatrick Limited is a collection of companies facilitating growth and success. The first being Catseye Coaching Solutions which helps people pivot out of their current career into one they have yet to identify. I’m also Director of the Women In Business Network Ireland which supports professional women across Ireland and Founder of TheNetworkingSummit.
How did you get the idea/ concept for your business?
It was through coaching I learnt what motivated me most and what value I bring to those around me. At the time I had been in Event Management for nearly 25 years and pivoted out of this to start my coaching practice. The rest followed organically.
Give a brief account of your education background.
I wasn’t much of an academic when growing up. School wasn’t one of my favourite times in life but the school of life gave me so many more opportunities to grow and develop which I took with gusto. I’ve continued to take self-development courses and have completed my coaching qualification and feel that every day I’m learning.
Did you always know/ever think you would become an entrepreneur when you were younger? Never. Although a number of my siblings had gone out on their own, it wasn’t’ something I strived for.
Is entrepreneurship a common trait in your family?
My father owned his own Jewellery business and most of my siblings are self-employed but I wouldn’t say that we are naturally entrepreneurial.
Did you have prior knowledge of the industry before setting up your company?
For the coaching practice, I can say no! Once I’d unearth that this was to be my new career did I go into research mode and find out as much as I could about it. As for WIBN and TheNetworkingSummit, well networking has been an activity I’ve done all through my career so I understood the value of it and the difference it could make to your personal and professional growth. There was much more knowledge around this subject and from a global perspective too.
What was your previous work experience (if any)? Do you think this gave you an advantage when setting up your business? I worked in Event Management for nearly 25years across various industries across the globe. This experience has definitely stood to me since I’ve founded TheNetworkingSummit as I know what makes a good event in terms of logistics and content but I’ve a lot to learn around the sponsorship and marketing piece. But what’s life if not a chance to learn every day.
How did you initially fund your business? (self-funded, government funding, etc)
It has been all self funded.
Looking back, would you have changed the method of funding you chose?
Yes, perhaps I would have gone for more grant support if I had of known then what I know now 😉
What characteristics do you feel benefited you most when starting your business?
While pride is not the greatest of qualities in a person, it certainly was a driver for me not to fail and kept me going when things really got tough. I’d also say my determination and work hard ethic were key.
To what do you attribute your company’s success/growth to?
Hard work and continued review of what works and doesn’t. Keeping it fresh.
What is your opinion on the importance of a professional network for an entrepreneur?
What a question to ask – LOL. As someone who runs a networking organisation and hosts TheNetworkingSummit, I think you can safely say that I believe that your network is vital to your growth, both from a professional and personal circumstance. We each have something of value to another. If we look to add value to others; whether through our experience, skillset or ultimately our connections then the same comes back to us. An entrepreneur you are going to need many things to help you grow. Your network can be an excellent resource for this. But a network has to be earned. That is, you must take very good care of your network – nurture it, feed it and most importantly add value to it before looking to take anything from it.
Would you ever consider starting another company or involving yourself in new start-ups again?
I think I’ll stick with the three I have for the moment but never say never 😉
If you had one piece of advice for a new entrepreneur, what would it be?
Build your network well before you consider becoming an entrepreneur as you will most certainly need their help and support when you start out on your journey.