Ever wondered how someone makes it as their own boss? What it takes to run your own business? We here at VIP are speaking to some of Ireland’s top businesswomen to find out the secrets to their success.
This week we’re chatting to Aoibhin Garrihy, founder of BEO Wellness, about everything from managing the work/life balance with two very young kids, to what inspires her daily.
So Aoibhin, have you always dreamed of owning your own business?
I think I have always dreamed of being my own boss. I have always dreamed of being in a position to do things my way and have the freedom to express myself creatively. My career trajectory has been a winding one. It has also been very diverse and still continues to be. But BEO, in particular, has brought me a lot of joy for several reasons. Seeing something you are incredibly passionate about bare fruit is very rewarding but more importantly, creating something that you think is making a small difference to people’s lives makes me very proud.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced?
Like any business, ensuring you move in the right direction is a constant challenge. Trying to stay ahead of your game, always improving, adding, reinventing certainly keeps me on my toes. However, while a challenge, keeping things new and fresh excites me and keeps me interested. I love the prospect of new projects. It’s the day to day, admin and financial stuff that I’m not the best at! I’m more of an ideas person…I’m the dreamer!
How do you balance work/home life as a business owner?
I think it’s a major juggle. It’s very difficult to get the balance right and very difficult to keep all balls in the air all of the time, particularly at the moment as the babies are so small. A lot of my work happens at night when the girls are down and asleep! This notion of mom rests when baby rests is certainly not an option when you work for yourself. You really don’t switch off from it and you don’t have maternity leave. I do feel lucky in the sense that I can pick my own hours. I can build a schedule and routine that works for me and my family and so am not answerable to a boss in that sense. It’s a real juggle though and ensuring I take a little time for myself in order to function is also crucial. That’s where the importance of self-care comes in and remembering that you cannot serve from an empty vessel.
Do you find that you often bring your work home?
Totally! A lot of my work is from home and so it’s difficult to separate it. As mentioned, a lot of it is done in those small windows of opportunity between feeds, sleeps etc and so while not ideal it’s a case of trying to integrate things as best I can for now. I know it’s probably not sustainable or best practice and possibly won’t always be the case but for now, it’s a juggling act that we just have to roll with in order to keep on the carousel!
What advice would you give a young woman who wants to be her own boss?
I would say don’t be afraid to knock on doors. Sometimes we need to swallow our pride and simply ask! Ask for help, ask for a chance, ask for advice. It might be an Irish thing, but really when you are young there is nothing to lose and so don’t be afraid to stick your head above the parapet and become a sponge! Soak it all up and keep your eyes and ears open! There is inspiration and lessons to be learned everywhere!
How important of a role do your team play in your business?
The success of any venture is down to the people who make it happen. You are only as strong as your weakest link and while initially with BEO I feared it couldn’t happen without a certain individual or element I soon realised that BEO itself was the star of the show; it was the ethos, the message it stood for and that message was a web of positivity from all aspects of the brand. So many elements make up BEO and each element is as important as the next. I see from business people that I admire (namely my husband John or my dad Eugene) that when you invest in and empower your team the sky is the limit in relation to what can be achieved together and the same is the case for BEO. We are blessed with the people we work with and who help us on our mission to share that message of self-care, love and compassion to the women of Ireland.
Is there anything you wish you knew when you first started out?
I wish I knew that I couldn’t do it all alone! It’s all about building and empowering the right people around you. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist and a very poor delegator. There were days and nights when I possibly ran myself into the ground in order to get something over the line and I think I have finally established a slightly easier, economical way!
What has been your biggest business mistake?
I think for a long time I was guilty of pigeonholing myself. I thought “I’m X, what would I know about Y”. We can put ourselves in boxes and it can be very career limiting. I think we should have a much more open mind when it comes to our careers and if something interests us, we should be open to giving it a go. It took me a long time to realise this and perhaps stumbled along the way with a couple of bad career moves!
What lessons did it teach you?
Once I threw caution to the wind and decided to take a few leaps of faith I discovered the potential and that is very liberating and exciting!
What has been your biggest achievement?
Outside of my two children – and they are without a doubt the hardest but most rewarding task I’ve ever been faced with – I am very proud of BEO and all the different facets to the business. We have launched our own BEO Sleep Well product range and bringing that to market was a massive undertaking for a small new business, inspiring new mothers on their post-partum journey at BEO Baby, welcoming over 20,000 women all over Ireland to our wellness days and leaving them feeling inspired and motivated to reignite their inner spark makes me feel very proud for sure.
What are your plans for the next five years?
We have so many plans for BEO in the events space, new products, online content and so much more. My hope is to continue to grow and deliver on a brand I am continually proud of.
For more information visit www.beowellness.ie