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Chapter 3 - My Early Years of Work and Still More School

Posted by Gerry Kelly on
So the road to building my own company and beginning to realize I needed to be my own boss, like many others, came to fruition while working for someone else. From these early experiences, I learned a bit of what I wanted to do, but more importantly, what I didn't want to do in my own business.

After leaving "Rathmines Tech" and now armed with my "Certificate in Business & Computer Studies," I got a commission-only sales job selling advertisement space for some under rated education magazine over the phone. We worked out of a small office on the second floor of some dingy building on Rathmines Road in Dublin and I was assigned to a small cubicle which felt like a prison cell.
The owner of the magazine would lock the main office door when we were onsite to protect us from all the unhappy customers. I only found this out when some guy came banging on the door looking for his money back and the boss wouldn't let him in. It was crazy. I looked out the spy hole and some big country lad was standing behind the door shouting in a thick country Irish accent "Ya Dirty Scamming Bitch gimme me money back .....". After about 20 minutes of shouting back and forth, he left the building and we went back to work.... Thank God for that. This was my first interaction with a very unsatisfied customer. (Note to self: Not what I want.)

The business model of her company was for us to cold call existing customers from the Yellow Pages and talk them back into buying more ad space in our publication. Then we'd repeat their own very same advertisement back to them, as if we had just made it up and attempt to resell it to them. This was pre internet days. I did my time & sold a few ad spaces, but not enough to keep me in drinking money and the boss was a pain in the arse and very dodgy, so I left.

Then my good friend Chris got me a job working with him in the kitchen of a pretty cool/fancy bar & restaurant in Dublin called 'Cafe en Seine'. It was a very successful, up & coming trendy bar in downtown Dublin. I recall speaking to one of the owners about how he got to own the place and he advised me of his favorite motto which was "Keep It Simple & Start Small." He told me he just did what he knew: "stick to the knitting...stick to what you know..."

This was the Summer of 1993. Dublin was entering the Celtic Tiger and kids had money. It's always about the timing! Cafe en Seine ended up being the trendiest bar in Dublin. At that time, it was the place to be and to be seen.

The staff were amazing and lots of fun. There were girls and guys from all over Ireland and lots of students and even some travelers from Australia & New Zealand. They were all in their early 20's, using the place as a stepping stone onto something else. At the time, none of us knew where the next steps where, but I loved it. It suited me perfect. I was washing dishes with my buddy, getting drunk and talking smack with guys & girls in the kitchen and bar. I got 4 pounds ($7) an hour, which was pretty amazing for a kitchen porter job back then. Plus, I got free food and drink of course.

At the same time, I enrolled as a mature student in an evening course in another college, the Dublin Institute of Technology: "DIT Aungier Street." I would graduate with a two year diploma in Legal Studies, another course to keep my mum happy.

Something I learned from these early experiences were, although you might have a successful business financially in the short term, you want to do it by making customers happy. Your legacy will live on and people will remember. Also, doing what you enjoy is always best and it usually involves other happy people, always start small but have a big vision.

Until next time........

Gerry, Christine, G Pup

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