Quitting My Job To Set Up My Own Business - StrongLife

Quitting My Job To Set Up My Own Business

Stronglife business

Today, I want to tell my story about why I quit my job to set up my own business.

Last night, I done a very short talk as part of the Boyle Enterprise and Innovation event.

No matter what age you are, public speaking will always rattle the nerves.

But sure I survived it.

So today I want to cover it all here in a blog.

I Always Had A Business Head On Me.

Growing up, I was always one to have a bit of a business head on me.

At 10 years of age, I started my first business selling sweets out of a dodgy tree hut.

My end of year tax returns showed I was my own best customer.

But as I got older, I started to follow the “rules” imposed by society.

You know the ones, Get a good leaving cert, Go to college and get a degree, then settle into a career for the rest of your life.

By 30 you should have a house, a family and talk about the things you wish you could’ve done.

Well now I am 30 and there’s more chance of me getting a cat than a house and family!

The Good Ole Recession!

In 2008, I graduated from Sligo IT with an Honours Degree in Business and Human Resources.


Not exactly.

The arse had just fallen out of Ireland thanks to the recession.

We suffered mass job losses, huge surges in emigration and money slowly disappeared.

With such job losses and business closing down, there were no longer any opportunities for Human Resources.

So it was back to square one.

I took the first job I could get, because like most 21 year olds I was an absolute eejit with money.

Roll on 16 months and I was made redundant.

Luckily, I got another job shortly afterwards to keep some cash coming in and the bills paid.

But Something Didn’t Sit Well With Me.

Growing up, we all have hopes, dreams and ambitions.

However, as we get older we find ourselves sacrificing our hopes and dreams and just settling to exist.

So with every year going by, I grew more and more discontent with corporate workplaces.

I hated the fact I woke every Monday to wish my life away until it got to Friday.

So as I turned 25, I had really grown fed up of it all.

I can remember the day clearly when I decided it was enough.

I sat on the couch 20 minutes before I was to be at work and I said to myself “I honestly can’t do this anymore”.

So I done what any 25 year old Irish male would do…..

….I phoned my mother.

Thankfully, she said do what felt right and they’d support me whatever I choose to do.

So that day, I strolled into work, finished out the day and left my letter of resignation.

The level of satisfaction I got from walking out that door for the final time was unbelievable.

And I vowed that no matter what, I’d give 110% into doing something for myself.

Because at 25 years of age, if I screwed up badly, I still had 40 – 45 years of a working life ahead of me.

Which to me is plenty of time to recover from any mistakes I may make.

The Wheels Of StrongLife Kicked Into Motion.

I got to work at studying, researching and planning my first business venture.

All the relevant qualifications were got and I started looking at premises and of course, whether there was a market at all.

But no matter what, I was going to give it a good go.

So in January 2014 I hit the bank and credit union and secured 2 loans to kick things off.

On the 9th of May 2014, the doors opened.

By January 2015, I expanded the gym into a bigger unit which it has continued to thrive in.

The Challenges In Developing A Business.

For me, the biggest challenge I faced was Self Belief.

When running a business on your own, there’s no one to turn to, nowhere to hide.

Every day, week, month, you have to get up and believe that you’re doing the right thing.

Every bill that comes in the door is on your head.

It’s up to you to figure things out.

I read a great quote once, it was something like:

“Losers find problems, Winners find solutions”

And in the early stages of business it’s very relevant.

You can bury your head in the sand, you can blame Ireland, the government, taxes etc.

But at the end of the day, you’ve to choose between finding solutions or letting those problems crush you.

Thankfully, I’ve done both.

So as every year goes by, I become stronger as a business person.

I can look back at how I let those problems get to me and how I wanted to run away from them.

Now, I dive in head first and see what happens.

Which brings me to my final piece:

The Fear Of Failure.

As humans, we all fear failure at some point.

Whether it’s in life, business or relationships.

We can allow fear to paralyse us. We can allow it to prevent us from doing stuff we really love.

And it’s normally the fear of what other people will think.

When I started out, I did fear failure.

I feared others saying “oh there’s Colm, the fella that couldn’t run a gym”.

Instead, this is what I believe:

“We should never fear failure. Instead, we should only fear not trying. Because failure is only permanent if you don’t try again”

So at 30 years old, I’m not afraid of failure.

I’ll keep going at 100mph and if something breaks, I’ll get up, dust myself off and go at it again.

Because at the end of the day, we all only have 1 life so I want to see how much craic I can knock out of it.

And if by working and living life on my own terms grants me that, then there’ll be no feckin shtopping me!

So it’s been a great 3.5 years so far.

Now let’s see what else I can achieve in the future.

How’s that for a Saturday story?

Have a good weekend!


Colm Duignan

Colm Duignan

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Orlagh - October 7, 2017 Reply

Mighty speech, you are definitely full of enthusiasm and you work hard to achieve your success so you deserve full recognition. If Oscars were given for the Craic and laughter I have through the torture I would nominate you

David - October 7, 2017 Reply

Wonderful post, Colm.
Your story is a terrific example of what Goethe said: “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”

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