By @SimonCocking

Brief background about you?

I graduated from WIT with an Honours Degree in Information Technology. I’ve been an IT Trainer for 5 years and was always organising events for the school I worked in. I was also the Co-Ordinator for the Special Olympics Collection Day in Waterford for 2 years and raised €15k for the charity over the two years. I love Event Organising. I have also always had a passion for Social Media. However, it amazes me how people just don’t get it. A lot still believe it’s just about the selfie and taking pictures of food but it can mean so much more. With the right people behind the keyboard Social Media can be an extremely effective marketing too.

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What inspired you to run it?

Being a trainer I saw how difficult it was for people to get to the various training courses they desperately needed in order to up-skill and improve their businesses. Budget and time were always big restraints and becoming self-employed, I began to see it from an SMEs point of view also. Some of the key tasks required to make a business successful are the ability to network and to up-skill, but this is so difficult when you’re trying to run your business at the same time. So, I wanted to provide a training event; a day of networking and of knowledge where businesses can avail of all the practical social media training they would require to get online and to help them grow. Of course, if I could do it for a charity, then that’s a plus.

What will be your definition of whether the event is a success? 

A successful event for me is if people feel the event was engaging and worth while. Of course I hope to be able to raise a lot for Movember also! If the attendees gain some extra knowledge and leave feeling confident they can promote themselves online then I’ll be happy.

Why it will be helpful for people to attend. What will they get out of it?

In one day the attendee will be able to attend a variety of different talks from International Social Media Trainers and inspirational and motivational Entrepreneurs. There will also be a choice of 5 Masterclasses run by experts in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Business Mentoring. 20 businesses will be exhibiting and will be there offering help and advice. We will also have The Start-Up Hour where we’ll have a selection of Irish Start-Ups pitching to the audience and explaining their new ideas. We are expecting over 200 attendees so networking will also be a very large part of it.

What will the format be?

2 Stages and a Boardroom upstairs for the Masterclasses. Stages will have speakers such as Orlaith Carmody from Ireland AM and Kyle Gawley from Get Invited. Masterclasses will be by experts such as Susan Dolan The Google Expert and Greg Fry, an International Social Media Trainer. Masterclasses will be 1.5 hours long and will only have 15-20 people. These are of course first come first serve. Each ticket holder can avail of one Masterclass in either Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google or they can choose to attend the discussion by the great Danielle Serpico, the Blackbelt Mastermind on Business Bravery.

Attendees can also expect a few surprises on the day. This event will not be like your run of the mill business conference. We’ll have brain boost shots in the morning, voting apps, and a networking lunch.

MoneyConf was a successful event, what inspiration will you take from that to apply to this event?

I had so much fun at MoneyConf. I loved the relaxed feel of it. I also loved that it was a little different.

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Your tips for people starting their own businesses?

Come to Brave Business Conference! Get out there networking. At times becoming Self Employed can be lonely and daunting. Generally there are no office chats or Christmas parties or work lunches. You can’t turn around in your desk and ask your colleague for advice. That is why events like this are vital for any SME. Making contacts and networking, even online is extremely important. Join an online networking group. There are loads! I run The Irish WIB (Women in Business) Network. We have branches all around the country that can offer great support. Even if it’s just a one2one over a coffee to discuss a new idea. There are also online networking meetings that can help you promote yourself. By placing the hashtag #WexfordHour in a tweet you’ll be added into the WexfordHour conversation every Tuesday night at 9pm. Check out the other hours also! There’s one in each county.

Starting your own business is also tough, how do you manage the work /life, online / offline balance?

I’m not going to lie here, it can be very challenging. Throw in a 15 year old boy, 2 very needy dogs, a cat, a cockeral and hen, a very patient partner and an old farmhouse in the middle of being renovated and you’ve got a recipe for disaster! How I manage it is with discipline. I have to set screen-free times in my house otherwise I’d never stop working. When you work online especially when it comes to Social Media the hours can just disappear. I used to be very bad, especially at the start. My partner would have to have a conversation with me by sending me a tweet! But now I think I’m better and a little more structured. Monday nights are for #CarlowHour and Tuesdays are for #WexfordHour. Unfortunately the Internet generally comes alive after 9pm and that’s when I have to be online. Luckily for me I’ve been able to hand #CarlowHour over to someone else but I still need to check in now and then. My days are more structured now. This allows me to have more evenings off which are screen free. Structure, planning and being organised as well as having great support from family and friends has helped keep me sane.

Why did you call it Brave?

I have three reasons behind the name Brave:

It takes bravery to become self employed. Not many are willing to take that leap.

Social Media and Online Marketing can be so daunting for some. It takes bravery to put yourself out there and self promote your business.

Our chosen charity is Movember. For those of you who don’t know, Movember bring awareness to male health issues such as prostate cancer. It goes without saying to life with cancer takes great bravery also.

Tickets?

There is currently a special offer running for the month of October. Tickets are normally €120 however they are only €99 during the month of October and be purchased online on www.bravebizconf.com. 100% of the profits are going to the Male Health Charity Movember so we hope to see lots of men showcasing their very stylish facial hair on the day.

We have a few slots open for sponsors and exhibitors as well as start up companies. If anyone would like more information they can contact a member of the Brave team on [email protected] or 087 7653779.

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