The Wicklow Way is a website business offering all you need to know about Wicklow. It is not only making waves with Irish web-users but is also causing quite a stir over in America and the UK. The website http://thewicklowway.ie/ was first launched by Roz Kelly in 2005. Now the site offers a wealth of information on all the towns and villages, places to go, bus times, cinema listings, restaurants and the best places to go for walks in our Garden County.
What led you to starting your business?
The Wicklow Way began as a hobby website, documenting Roz’s Wicklow Walks and photos with her faithful hound, Skippy The Dog. The website naturally grew to include a business directory and event calendar and, by using her technical skills the site started to feature on Page 1 of Google for a huge variety of Wicklow related terms. At this stage it had become a viable business opportunity.
How did you raise the start-up funds you needed?
The Business has been self funded with start up costs at a minimum due to our own expertise; Roz with web technologies and online marketing; Michael with PR and Event Management Experience.
What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business?
Get your idea out there, don’t wait until everything is perfectly in place, get started, stay flexible and grow as you go, and use the variety of free and inexpensive medias available online and on mobile. Oh yes, and always add extra time for delays…
What’s the best book you’ve ever read, business or non-business?
Whilst an avid reader I have not really read business books preferring to read articles online, however I have always admired characters that ran their own business whether in lighthearted stories or real life. Many of my family are, or have been, entrepreneurs.
Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most?
I admire Richard Branson as he follows his instincts, is unafraid to take chances and try new things plus there is always an air of fun in everything he does.
What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date?
Educating local business to the advantages of online marketing and promotion of their business although thankfully that has become easier in the past year. Poor broadband doesnt’ help of course.
What has been the proudest moment in your business so far?
Delivering a presentation to the Failte Ireland members in Dublin last September was certainly a highlight, although we were still surprised at the lack of knowledge relating to QR codes and Apps, with people that high up in the tourism chain. Also receiving a stunning testimonial from the US Ambassador Daniel M. Rooney about the Explore Wicklow app was pretty special.
What was the best piece of business advice you ever got?
Don’t do anything until you get paid. Payments in advance are what keeps our cashflow healthy.
Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there?
Plan out every month in advance: what you hope to get done. Then, have all your contact informantion to hand, and then… Just Do It! Stop procrastinating! If you don’t know enough about one aspect of your business, pay someone who does and concentrate on your strengths.
What magazine do you never miss each month?
We don’t buy magazines at all, although we do subscribe to many technical ezines – such as emarketer.com
What is your favourite film?
Hmm, I have a soft spot for True Romance as I love the mix of grit, romance and drama:
What is your favourite ad?
Bizzarely I actually like the Cadbury’s Cream Eggs ads as they are so silly, but have made eating chocolate an entire season! Never a bad thing in my opinion!
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business?
Sign up to local CEB newsletters, and see if there are any good Enterprise Platform Programmes out there. Do research to see if your idea is already out there and if so, what will make yours unique or better. Don’t spend lots of money straight away as you can get going virtually free using online tools. The idea you started out with will most likely change by 80%. by the time you are up & running. Also, many people are nervous of networking – don’t be! Everyone is in the same boat and it gets easier every time. People want to help, especially in these difficult times.
What do you like to do when you’re not running your business?
I love to bake and grow my own veg. This year I hope to learn how to make my own dresses and homebrew infusions.
Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance?
I think we are getting there. We make sure we go for a walk – preferably on the beach – daily, to invigorate our ideas, and I will work up to 11pm 7 days a week. Flexibility is key. Focus on what you’re good at, and most of all… ‘Keep Calm and Carry On!’ However, it is important to take time to visit friends & family, or just do all the niggly things about the house. A tidy environment = good work flow, I find.
What’s your website?
We have a few websites that all work together to push our clients online. These include:
Do you have a Facebook page?
Our facebook page is www.facebook.com/whatsonwicklow
Are you on Twitter?
Our twitter profile is twitter.com/whatsonwicklow
How has Wicklow CEB helped you and/or your business?
By educating Wicklow SME’s in online techniques and holding relevant seminars, Wicklow CEB has made it easier for our potential clients to understand what we do, which is to promote local business online and on mobile at an affordable price.
If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently?
Of course there are many lessons you learn during this process however, they are all necessary as they make you wiser. So I guess not!
Roz runs her 6 websites, mobile app and local business supports from Wicklow County Campus in Rathnew. Always online, you can get in touch with her on Twitter, Facebook or mobile. Thanks to Roz, Michael & of course Skippy for taking a turn in July’s Enterprise Hot Seat!