When I came out of the Botanic Gardens, I went to work in Holland for the summer and when I came back, I joined a Landscaping firm. This was in the early 1979/80 when the economy was not as buoyant as it is now. We were working on dusty sites, doing landscaping and lawns.
When the weather got bad, you were let go and got a pound an hour "wet time". I remember standing in out of very heavy rain one day in an industrial unit, reading the paper. I saw a job for a Sales Rep to sell horticultural machinery, chainsaws, lawnmowers, golf course equipment etc. I applied for and got the job as an indoors Sales Rep.
It was a great learning curve, I got training in sales, and I was selling equipment related to the industry I was in. That was one of the reasons I got the job as a result of my background in horticulture. That was great training, and I really enjoyed it. I was getting on very well with that job, but when the weather was good (around March/April) I really missed being out in the fresh air.
Within a short period of time it turned out that the company ran into bad financial difficulties, and they let about eight people go and as I was one of the last in, I was also let go. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it gave me the impetus to set up on my own.
I went out and started working for myself then. It was a big decision for me. I was lucky to get onto a Start your Own Business course, run by the Irish Productivity Centre and FAS. The course was excellent, it ran over sixteen weeks - eight weeks of lectures and practicals, and the second eight was about getting it off the ground.
It was great doing that, and I had a job I used to do on a Saturday. I managed to get another contract for a couple of days a week shortly afterwards, and I just built it up from there. That's really how my own Landscaping Business got off the ground.