Notes from my TEDx Liffey talk

And these were my notes from TEDx Liffey.

Accidental Business Man

A few years back people asked me to show them how to blog. They offered me money to train them. It went from there to online marketing training to whatever it is I do today. I never saw myself as a business person. Right now, in this time slice of my life, I happen to be someone with a gob that has a business

Jacked in the day job

So as I trained more people and companies, I eventually and after a bit of protest from myself, left the day job and started a business. Goodbye gourmet chef, 9-5 , 5 days a week job, hello just me, alone without support. So I told people I was in this business lark and worked flowed in. Pretty much still works like that. I don’t seek work.

Waking up not wanting to go to work

In the past few years of working for myself I’ve maybe woken up 3-4 times not wanting to “go into work”, mostly this was because I thought I hadn’t prepped enough for this. Compare that to my old job where I made up bullshit excuses so many times about stomach bugs, colds and whathave you because the place at times just got to me

I don’t have a business plan

Right now, invoices go out, money comes in. My accountant whips me when I’m late with accounts. At a previous talk a chap from Enterprise Ireland got quite upset with me when I said I didn’t have a business plan. My plan, not formalised is I won’t be doing this type of work in 3 years. I’ll probably shut down the company. I don’t want to be acquired, don’t want to buy anyone.

Accidently happy

So I might not have a business plan but I do have an idea about business and happiness. I do work because it makes me happy, not because it provides me money to buy myself happiness. I used to be someone that worked in a job that I disliked, waited for payday and bought myself shiny things. Now I pay myself less than the old job, get up usually when I like and can decide with very short notice to head for a break to Iceland or somewhere. I love my job, the last job I loved was working for 2.50 an hour in Pund City when I was 15 16 17, stacking shelves and the like.

Charge less for fun

So this is what I do when I do work. If it’s fun I’ll charge less. I’ll move money out of the motivation equation as much as I can so the before, during and after is fun. Not about a mechanism to pay a credit card bill. I’m not sure you can give 100% to work when you despise it and almost are in some kind of drug addict relationship with the drug.

Buffet to A la carte

So plenty of work comes in and it was as if I was at a buffet. Sample it all, there was so much that I was interested in trying that I was saying yes to an awful lot. Tummy ache for that. Happiness can make you ill too though. So I’m starting to go a la carte now. Wiser decisions, less work but more time to enjoy and appreciate it

Now the song is nearly over…

So my parting thought is that we can all earn a living but maybe we can do it and be happy and appreciate the journey to payday as much as payday instead

Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there’s a light I hold before me
You’re the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams

13 Responses to “Notes from my TEDx Liffey talk”

  1. Darragh says:

    Interesting stuff.

  2. Emma says:

    Very interesting! So what do you see yourself doing after you stop doing what you’re doing?!

  3. Definitely agree with this.

    If I’m spending the majority of my time doing something I enjoy, the money I’ve got at the weekend begins to matter much less.

    But it certainly helps that people seem willing to pay me for doing what I enjoy 🙂

  4. Thanks Darragh, Emma and Michael.
    @Emma No idea what I’ll do, I think I’ll figure that out as I go along and get closer to the time.

  5. David Cochrane says:

    Damien, your move from office-bound worker-monkey to self-employed king of your domain has been impressive and inspirational. Hope it continues to work for you!


  6. Michele says:


    Your experience isn’t that different to mine, though I never really did the entire 9 to 5 thing to begin with 🙂


  7. Des says:

    Aha this explains the foodporn pics long before foodporn became popular or profitable. I used wonder about what canteen had such quality.

    Like the Pogues ref…

  8. Awww, lovely comment, thank you David.

  9. @Michele and you still cause a fuss on a regular basis. Yay!

  10. John Smyth says:

    Great post, Damien, and a great philosophy.

    The pursuit of happiness reminds me of this yarn :-

    At the end of a long and probably very boring meal (at a formal dinner), (British Prime Minister) Macmillan turned to Madame de Gaulle and asked politely what she was looking forward to in her retirement. Quick as a flash the elderly lady replied: “A penis.” Macmillan had been trained all his life never to appear shocked, but even he was a bit taken aback. After drawling out a series of polite platitudes, – “Well, I can see your point of view, don’t have much time for that sort of thing nowadays” – it gradually dawned on him to his intense relief that what the old girl had actually said was “happiness.” – Paul Foot, in the essay A New Definition: The Quality of Life, British Medical Journal, VOLUME 321, DECEMBER 2000

  11. James says:

    ” I do work because it makes me happy, not because it provides me money to buy myself happiness ”

    That one line is making my 9am start in college tomorrow a hell of a lot easier, I can’t wait to have that experience of working, not out of necessity, but out of passion for what I do, enjoy it Damien 🙂

  12. Clare says:

    Great to read this post. I was disappointed that I couldn’t make the event, so thanks for posting your thoughts.

  13. Sasha says:

    You told EI that you didn’t have an innovative smart green export business plan, and they let you live?

    Thanks for the sharing the slide notes. I’m sorry I missed the evening.