Eoin is a young entrepreneur in Dublin. He kickstarted his career with a creative solution for artists looking to get their comic books published with the launch of Lightning Strike Comics. He graduated from Trinity College, runs two companies and is a lecturer of Entrepreneurship for Pulse College Dublin’s Halston Street Game and Animation Campus.
What was the first business you started?
My first business project was Lightning Strike Comics. The goal of the company was to create a platform to showcase the talent and work of comic creators in Ireland with a standard on par with industry leading books.
Tell us about the journey that made your business a success?
Back in 2011 I conceived the idea of forming a comic book label called Lightning Strike Comics in order to apply for an Entrepreneurship grant. I first proposed the idea to artist Robert Carey who suggested an anthology magazine to launch the company which we followed through on with creating Lightning Strike Presents which went on to become a critical and economic success for us. Ciaran Marcantonio (already a contributor to the anthology) then came on board to serve as an Editor for the anthology series and the label also began taking on additional titles outside of the anthology as well as some stories from the anthology becoming stand alone titles themselves.
Our first book went to print in 2012 and in 2013 I was awarded the Trinity Entrepreneur of the Year Award for my business model for sustaining the label.
How did you manage the transition from being an employee to being your own boss?
Although I set up Lightning Strike back when I was 19, I have only been solely self-employed for a year as I was also an employee for other companies as I grew my own business. This helped to make the transition a little smoother when it came to me working for just myself.
I began working full time for myself once I had built up a prudent cash reserve to support myself, secured some long term contracts and clients and formulated a three year business plan. Once I had done this I then felt confident in leaving a wage earning position to work for myself.
Also when taking on board clients, as they are the ones paying for my services, I essentially treat them as I would an employer.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am inspired in my actions through several avenues.
The material I read and their authors, for example Grant Morrison’s book, Supergods, served as inspiration for both conceiving the idea of Lightning Strike and naming it.
I am also inspired through my collaborations with others and those I meet along the journey of building up my business.
Is there anything you are currently working on?
Currently I am working on a graphic novel of my own entitled The Legend of William Lamport with Cormac Hughes, Triona Farrell and Robin Jones, depicting the life of the Irish man who inspired the pulp character Zorro. The book is being produced under a grant from South Dublin County Council.
I have also recently established a new consultancy, McAuley Consultancy, to help advise those who are seeking to start their own business based on a creative outlet how to operate it based on a sustainable business model. This business is grown from my own personal experiences of starting Lightning Strike at such a young age and my time from lecturing on entrepreneurship in the video game industry with Pulse College Dublin.
What does your work flow look like?
My evenings are mostly consigned to work for Pulse College while my mornings and early afternoons are focused on Lightning Strike and building up McAuley Consultancy. I always keep a diary of what is on my to do list and try to take at least one day a week to just switch off completely and relax without answering a single e-mail. For those in business for themselves the idea of taking time off either seems an impossibility or is something they are vehemently against in fear of they may miss an opportunity, but I believe that this is something that is important to do in order to maintain a vital balance between work and one’s personal life as well as maintaining general good health.
Is there any insight or words of advice you would like to give to help others in their creative journey?
At first it may be really difficult to have anyone believe in your idea. The only person you can be sure will believe in your idea is yourself. It is therefore vitally important that you hold on to that self belief as it will take you through the rough patches that any new and even long running businesses face. But that said, always be willing to listen to advice offered to you by others, and even if you feel it may not be applicable to you, never immediately dismiss advice offered to you but first weigh up how it applies to you. If it in fact does, and construct a fair and critical narrative for how you will pursue your next course of action. This of course can all be done internally with just a few moments of self-reflection but it is still important to spare a few minutes to do so.
Are there any creative people that you are a fan of that deserve some exposure?