Co-Founder of Kollect, John Hegarty is married to the lovely Laura and has two children, Sean (2) and Rose (5). He has a background in Sustainable Energy and Engineering (of which he has a degree from W.I.T.) and has previously worked for Hegarty & Co Solicitors, Bank of Ireland and also dabbled in a bit of auctioneering.
John is here today to tell us why Start-ups are not the easiest things in the world (putting it mildly).
“I often tell people that you’d have to be a bit mad to get involved with a start-up,” he said. “If I had’ve known the work that was involved I think I probably would have run a mile.”
John says that as well as needing a multitude of skills and an abundance of patience, you also need a “sprinkling of naivety” to embark on the long start-up road.
“Start-ups are constant,” he said. “You’re always ‘on’, even when you’re supposed to be on holidays. You get absolutely no down time whatsoever and weekends and evenings don’t look like weekends and evenings and are pretty much non-stop with at least one of the team on high alert for any possible customer issues.”
One of the most nerve racking elements of start ups though, is the risk factor.
“When we started out, there was no salary…no nothing for a few years,” John said. “Now that I think of it, when I started this journey, I was married with a new born child so Laura wasn’t delighted when I came home and told her that instead of getting a job for life in the council or civil service, I was going to start up a new company. I was convinced it was going to work but there’s always that unknown factor and the family didn’t share my confidence.”
At first it was just the three of us me, John O C and Robbie but it wasn’t long before they went from being just three, to a team of 40+.
“That part of it has been brilliant,” John said. “I had never managed a team before so there was a huge amount of learning that came with that. At the end of the day I wouldn’t change a thing because with the variety of the job comes exhilaration, and huge rewards at the end of each week, especially when our customer’s reviews and comments remind us that we’re on the right track.”