04 Jan Meet the Entrepreneur: Finán from Campsited
Let us introduce you to Finán O’Donoghue of Campsited.
Campsited is an easy way for people to find and book campsites of all shapes and sizes – camping, touring and glamping sites included. Akin to Booking.com for hotels or Airbnb for self stay rentals.
They launched firstly to campsites in Ireland and then broke in to the UK Market. The focus now is to continue expanding into the UK plus further afield and to drive bookings along with enquiries for the parks using the platform.
The top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Persistence, resourcefulness and a healthy slice of humility.
What piece of advice would you give to someone interested in setting up a business?
I would probably advise them to think about the following questions…
- Is their business solving a problem for someone?
- If so, does solving the problem deliver value to their customer?
- Is that value something people are willing to pay for?
- Do enough people have this problem that it can sustain the business?
If the answer to these questions is yes, great. Then I would advise them to think about the following…
- Is their business something they have an unwavering passion for and belief in?
- Are they prepared for the time and effort required to start and build the business?
These questions are important because there will be times when you see less of your friends and family, you have extended periods of having no income (at all), your social life takes a back seat, you have sleepless nights wondering where you are going to find the funds to pay the next round of invoices, and if truthful, you have moments when you feel that you are days away from the outright failure of the endeavour. Your persistence, resourcefulness, passion and belief will help you navigate these tricky moments, to overcome what may seem like insurmountable road blocks.
If the person feels they are prepared for all of these things, and are comfortable with the associated stresses and strains, then the world is their oyster!
If Finán had the chance to start his career over again, without question, he would try to start earlier. He started Campsited when he was 37, and his second son was only four weeks old. Trying to balance family life, a full time job, and Campsited in the evenings along with weekends for nearly 2 years, was very tough going for him in the beginning.
His typical day?
- Wake at 6.45am and then get up with the kids to get them organised for the day.
- Drop the eldest to school at 8.30am and get to the GEC for 8.45am going full steam ahead until 5.15pm
- Home for 5.30pm and then family time from 5.30pm to 8.30pm
- Kids to bed at 8.30pm so it’s back to Campsited at 8.35pm
- Close the laptop at midnight, if lucky, and bed by 5 past midnight
“I have three motivations. Wanting to provide for my family, design the best solution in the world for people looking for camping holidays and experiences, and getting more people, especially children, into the outdoors. The health benefits are huge.”
My definition of success? Having a good work life balance…I’m not quite there yet!
Finán’s greatest inspiration are the people closest to him. One of them recently sent him this quote exactly right when he needed it: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Says it all really.
So what’s life like in the GEC? What benefits are there to being part of our Community?
The GEC is a brilliant place. From the first moment I arrived I felt at home. And the people I meet here inspire me no end. There are so many amazing companies here, I genuinely feel honoured to be among them. The support structures here are fantastic too. If I have any problem I know there is most likely someone else here who has been through it. That is huge.
Finán would love to tell you more so feel free to get in touch directly