SmarterPreneur Stories: Lucy O’Donoghue, Lucy O’Donoghue Consulting

Lucy O'Donoghue
There is a special cohort at the core of our society and economy; ambitious people who run their own business. Some of them have joined SmarterPreneur Circles so that they can build a stronger and more profitable business. These are their stories.

Introducing Lucy O’Donoghue, owner of Lucy O’Donoghue Consulting.

Lucy, what is your business all about and what is your role?

Lucy O’Donoghue Consulting offers a full range of professional Public Relations, Event Management, Business Development, Social Media and Project Management services to a wide variety of clients. These include SME’s as well as large companies, third level institutions, industry associations and public sector organisations.

I offer both project and retainer based support.

So whether you need strategic business advice, an event organised or a press release circulated to local and national media, I will formulate a strategy to suit your needs and deliver results in line with your objectives and budget.

My role is very hands on because I do everything in and for the business. When a client hires the business they hire Lucy, one hundred per cent.


Can you remember when you first got the idea for starting your own business?

It was the Summer of 2012. I was freelancing with a small number of clients and also working 3 days a week in the Media and Communication office in UCC. I was offered an extension of my UCC contract to work full-time for a further 6 months. Whilst I loved being back on campus and working on incredible events and news stories, I felt I wanted to branch out on my own and explore how I could use my vast experience and contacts to create a niche business.

So I decided 1st September would be D-Day. I set about deciding what to call my business and then registered the business name. And true to form I sat down at my desk on 1st September with a list of people to call to spread the news. Little did I realise that one telephone call that day would open up some wonderful opportunities and start me on this exciting journey.


If you had €10k to spend on promoting the business, how would you use it?

I have spent little or no resources on promoting the business. To date all of my business has come via word of mouth, referrals and repeat work from existing clients. So I would invest in further development of my website which went live last September. I would also invest in SEO expertise to track my rankings and examine google analytics to measure my online success and to identify the source of that success.

I would love to hire an Intern to research ideas which would help with my pr and event management contracts.


Who has influenced you in the development of your business?

Members of my SmarterPreneur Circle in 2013 have been a huge support and influence. All business owners like myself, they gave me wonderful advice and encouragement within and outside our circle. On one occasion I was challenged with a major project and asked for advice. They shared their experiences and within minutes I knew what I had to do. I had total clarity and renewed energy as I left the room. By the time we met again I had finished the project and was excited to share my progress with them.


If you could meet the person you were one year ago today, what would you tell them?

Be patient and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from a trusted network of friends and Smarter Eggs! Also ensure I do have my regular chats with my “Accountability” partner to ensure I stick to my goals and achieve them whilst always exploring new ways of approaching my work.


How long did it take for you to transition from “technician” to entrepreneur? (ok to say not yet!)

I think I’m still in the “technician” phase but I try to set aside definite time for entrepreneur work every few weeks.


What approaches/techniques help you get the most out of your working day?

I am the “Queen of Lists”! I am always jotting down jobs to do, ideas, reminders. Attention to detail is so important in what I do that I cannot afford to forget anything, no matter how small. I have a notebook in my handbag at all times to jot down notes and ideas! And I use the Memo option on my phone. I’m big into planning and staying ahead!
I recently bought a wonderful meditation CD which I listen to at home. It helps rest my busy mind which is constantly buzzing with ideas so I have to be patient and it keeps me still for a short period of time. After meditation I always feel re-energised and more focussed and with focus comes clarity. I also feel more energised after my daily walk of 40 minutes around the park. I believe in regular and small periods of downtime to keep my energy levels up and in this line of business I need lots of energy!

What has your experience in SmarterPreneur Circles taught you about yourself?

I am incredibly good at what I do and my gut instincts are fairly strong so little moments of doubt (which we all have) must be quickly banished and my SmarterPreneur Circle has been fantastic in believing in what I do and reassuring me that I am on the right track since setting up my business. This support has been invaluable!

Do not doubt myself. I am incredibly good at what I do and that my gut instinct is always right and has been right all the time since setting up my business.

Also positivity is so important to me. I don’t think I should surround myself with, or listen to, too much negativity. Not everything in life is doable but if I don’t attempt it then I’ll never find out.

Who would be in your Dream SmarterPreneur Circle (living or dead)?

I was very impressed with Deirdre O’Connor, formerly of Goldman Sachs, when I met her at CorkMEET 2013. We had exchanged so many wonderful emails for months leading up to the event as we discussed media opportunities for her. She was so kind and really interested in my new business and shared lots of her experiences with me. It was great to finally meet her in “real life” when she flew in from New York.

I’m a serious reader and for my book club I recently had the pleasure of reading “The Gamal”, an amazing book by a new Irish author, Ciaran Collins. I’d love to meet Ciaran and get the insight into this incredible story told through the eyes of a young boy and written in over 400 pages.

How have you adjusted your business arising from your SmarterPreneur Circle

I loved participating in my SmarterPreneur Circle last year which I started in the early days as a sole trader. The experience encouraged me to look closely at where I want my business to go and how I want to get there. More importantly to develop a picture of what business maturity looks like for me. I developed a picture of this which I have now hanging on the wall over my desk. A gentle reminder of when I can hope to retire!


What is your business going to look like in 2020?

Well I was recently nominated for the Hi Magazine Public Relations Specialist of the Year 2014 Award so by 2020 my plans are to be the best in the field with lots of interesting clients, some of whom started out with me in 2012 and more who have joined me along the way!


You can connect with Lucy on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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