Member Focus #2: Vivienne Bradley, HeadOffice
Hi, tell us a bit about you. My name is Vivienne Bradley. I am the owner of HeadOffice, a smart flexible office space on the main street in Blackrock which opened a few months ago.
Dublin born and reared, I did an Arts degree in UCD and then qualified as a solicitor and practised as a solicitor in McCann FitzGerald for several years and enjoyed working in super office surroundings.
Recently I decided to leave law and try something completely different! I initially worked with friends on an online business. We all worked from home and one lived near Rosslare. Coming from a large office I felt the isolation and distraction of working from home. We had our meetings wherever we could, including hotel lobbies which was not ideal. The business didn’t fly but I learned so much during the process and it got me thinking about the benefits of a flexible office workspace for people like us, with meeting rooms and wifi and privacy and support and so the concept of HeadOffice was born!
Having searched for a place that would be suitable for HeadOffice I was lucky to find it in my local neighbourhood, Blackrock. The place needed a lot of work but I could see its potential and how it could become a light-filled welcoming workspace.
Tell me about your business. HeadOffice is a professional, welcoming, adaptable workspace with great wifi and coffee! The strapline for HeadOffice is ‘An office that works for you’ and it does work for you, no matter what your business need is and what stage your business is at. It can be as simple as having your business postal address in HeadOffice, or you might add in the use of a HotDesk and a meeting room. That’s all you need to get started.
What services do you offer? We offer 1, 2 and 3-desk offices, meeting rooms, Boardroom and HotDesks for short or longer term. We have a postal service and have recently teamed up with a telephone service company so we can offer people a ‘Virtual Office’. We have staffed reception and lovely Arabica coffee!
What important lessons have you learned, since starting your business? I’ve learned three important lessons since starting:
Firstly – building up your business is all about building up trust. Networking is one of the best ways to build that trust. You develop relationships. You build confidence. You exchange information. You ask for help with problems. You help others with their problems. All of this is done with people who are going through the same things as you are – it helps you define what your business is and can be a great source of support.
Secondly – Be generous and let go the fear. I was very fearful at the beginning but I have realised that the more you are prepared to ‘do things’ and get out of your comfort zone the more you are rewarded. The more you give the more you get back. It keeps getting better!
Thirdly – Get help! You may think you must do it all yourself but asking for help is good for you and for others. I heard great advice before I set up and it goes something like this: –
- There are things that you are good at and like doing
- There are things you are good at but don’t like doing
- There are things you are not good at but like doing
- There are things you are not good at and don’t like doing.
So, get someone to do Number 4 quickly – that way you won’t be wasting precious time that you need to work on other aspects of your business.
Which businessperson (at home or abroad) do you admire most and why? Chuck Feeney. Not only was he driven by a belief that the best use of wealth is to help people, but when he founded Atlantic Philanthropies in 1982 he basically operated anonymously for its first 15 years because of his desire for flexibility and a low profile.
Third level education in Ireland benefited hugely from his funding and University of Limerick was a particular success – being transformed from a student body of 735 into a university serving 11,000 students. Now that’s a good use of money. He also believes in giving while living so he can enjoy seeing the fruits of his giving during his lifetime. An impressive man.
Why did you join the Blackrock Business Network (BBN)? I wanted to get to know the business community in which I have set up my own business. It has been great from the point of view of networking and also for that feeling of ‘belonging’ and for the support I get from it. I joined the committee and we are fully committed to, and working on, improving Blackrock as a great place to do business and a destination place to visit.
How to get in touch.