- Mar 15, 2022
- Reaction score
- Dublin, Ireland
I've always been kind a black sheep, going against the grain. My dad being a entrepreneur wanted his sons to take up the business. It wasn't for me, I had too much of an artist mind, long hair, played R&R and made images. Cut your hair and get real job was what he kept telling me, but not in an aggressive way. Out of 8 kids, I was "the one" that had a mind of its own.
But while I stayed home (until 18) he let me be. As I was still studying, I spent my summers airbrushing motorcycles. Reproduced album covers on rich kids bedroom walls and ceilings, things like that. He saw I could do something else than what he knew about. He respected that and paid for my art school and eventually was proud of saying, this is my son, the artist.
When I left home, I did menial jobs here and there. I played in different bands as a bassist, did some gigs but nothing that'd pay the rent and at the same time seriously started painting. After a while, I had to decide between music or painting to make a living. I figured that if I didn't make it in the music business, it could be because of things out of my control. In painting, I was my own mind, own boss. If I failed, it was mea culpa.
So I quit the band, married the drummer's girl (my avatar photo) and bought more brushes and paint jars. I did illustration for publicity companies until the computer started replacing brushes. That was a good paying period. Before long, my own work was starting to sell well, so I pretty much stopped doing illustration. That was in 1980. I made painting my living since then. Stopped 4 years ago, because the market just died. Gallery representing me were closing one after the other and I didn't feel like chasing that market anymore.
Got married while we were both still in school, 47 years ago. Wife became a renown biologist-ecologist working in conservation. Both self employed all that time.
I was always good at finding ways to get what I needed without getting money out of my pocket.
I started windsurfing early 80's and after buying my first board and rig, I felt it could cost me an arm and a leg to satisfy that new passion. So I started a windsurfing business with my brother and a friend. I would do boat shows, rep on the beach, import contacts, all the fun part, and left the direct sale thing to them. I was the one building up the trademark. Then I could have any gear I wanted as a team rider. When things went south with that, another windsurf shop grabbed me as their team rider.
Ha - snap! I bought one of the first six Windsurfers (yes, capital W - teak boom and all!) in Ireland back in 1978, and in the early 80s set up my first business - a windsurfing school and shop etc. My dad had been lost at sea in '76 and I thought it was poetic that I should make my living from the sea. Young and idealistic!
Turns out, of course, that the weather in Donegal does not really encourage people to learn such a sport. I decided that my next business would have to be something that: the more it rained, the more people would use it!
So, in 1992 I founded the first ISP in Ireland. That turned out to be a pretty good move. I didn't get rich, but created a very satisfying career in the tech/telecoms industry.
Not bad considering that, to this day (I'm 60 next week), my only official qualifications are that of a windsurfing instructor and a sailing instructor!