Tell us about your business!
I run an online food and health coaching business called Food for Living. Food for Living blends all the loves of my life into one place, food, cooking, health and learning self love, it’s a great combination. I generally work with individuals or groups who want to explore their relationship to food yet who want to create their own pathway to feeling good. It’s not about prescribed eating or diets, but putting yourself firmly in the centre of your own wellbeing, I also use a range of different techniques when working with an individual, from image making and art, journaling, recipe design and menu creation.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
I have always loved working with people and helping them to find peace with where they are at so that they can explore what they want to change. However, I have not been very good at fitting into a prescribed method or way of working. The major companies and organisations involved in health tend to have a certain ethos and way of thinking about health. I find it really hard to fit into somebody else’s model so running my own business, my way, is very important for me.
What were you doing before you started your business?
I spent 10 years working in the broad area of social and health care. Much of my work was in community participation and social planning, finding ways of creating and supporting societies to work for everyone. I worked in both local and central government, in community development departments. I have always been fascinated about the societies we live in and how these societies impact and support the individual members of a community.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I think creating and keeping www.foodforliving.ie up and running for the last 5 years. I have created a bank of information, from hundreds of recipes and blogs to programmes and meal plans that suit a range of people, depending on where they are and what they want.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
I think one of the hardest things to do when setting up a business is to remain focused on what is important. Even though flexibility and ability to listen to your customer is key, I spent so much time initially flitting from one idea to the next in order to create the type of business I wanted to work in. Over the years, I have focused my business on one or two core activities and everything stems from that. My head is a lot less wrecked!
Which advice would you give to women who would like to start their own business?
Running your own business is both a personally challenging and hugely rewarding job. I have never met anyone who had told me they find it easy or a walk in the park. It often makes you question your abilities and the value you bring to your clients. I’ve been tempted to walk away many times, yet I love sailing my own ship. So resilience is key. If you believe in what you are doing and believe it is correct for you, then keep at it.
If you could start your business all over again, what would you do differently?
I would sit myself down and tell myself not to be in such a hurry. At the start, I put so much pressure on myself to have all the answers, know everything and make all the right decisions. Like most things that are worth it in life, a business is a journey. It takes time and patience and a whole lot of love. So before you run after what you think you should be doing or what you think you want, sit down, make yourself a cup of herbal tea and ask yourself some questions. Breath, feel the response in your body and give that mind of you’re a break.
Where do you shop?
My shopping consists mostly of food shopping! I spend most of my time trying to find good quality ingredients and good prices. This often means that I will go to the fish shop for my fish and the butcher for my meat on the day I’m going to eat it. I eat mainly what is in season to reduce costs. I can go to 2 or 3 different places for my fruits and vegetables. I find that for the bigger shops, I tend to go to Supervalu as they clearly label is Irish and local, and what is not.
What do you wish you had more of in your life?
Time! I love to work, I love to cook and eat and I love to move my body every day. Often these three things are in competition with each other. Each day, one or two of these things win out over the others. It’s simply an act of balancing all three and ensuring that I get a balance of everything over the course of a week.
What do you wish you had less of?
Mental activity! I have a mind that is switched on all the time. Thinking about the past and doing things differently, thinking about the future and how things will turn out. Much of my daily practise involves learning how to take deep breaths and realising that there are no answers to many of my minds questions. Taking a step back from the mental chatter as key for me.
What’s your favourite ‘me time’ activity?
Creativity and art are my favourite activities. I love to create through textiles, painting, and drawing, anything that stimulates that right side of my brain! Hours go by when I’m engrossed in a project and I even stop thinking about food!
You have a night off (from the kids) and unlimited funds: what do you do?
I love going out for dinner. Just to whole experience of getting dressed up a bit, having someone else cook for me, enjoying tastes and flavours I haven’t experienced before and having a lovely glass of wine with loved ones – perfection.
What are your top 3 favourite places in Cork?
To eat or to play? I love Café Gusto for a really good coffee. I really enjoy Orso for seriously tasty food. I really enjoy Triskel for great talks and events
What’s your favourite bar and restaurant in Cork?
That’s a hard one. I spend less and less time in Cork these days as I live in Kinsale. Every time I go up to Cork I like to try somewhere new. Recently I tried Huguenots and Elbow Lane and both were great!
What’s your number one holiday destination and please tell us why?
Its very rare for me to go back to the same place twice, unless I have friends living there. I’m a traveller by heart so every year I aim to go to a few new places. The place I tend to go back to again and again is the States, simply because there is so much diversity. I spent January traveling around Sonoma, the wine region in California, Hawaii’s beaches and mountains and Colorado’s ski fields. That was a diverse holiday!
Which two women in business would you like to see on the blog?
Maureen Gaffney on Mindfullness
Charlotte and clothes designers
Thanks so much for coming on the blog!!!