• Cat Maher

The Origins of Cida Design Co.

I began Cida Design Co. as I wanted to create a business and a lifestyle that was aligned with my values and would allow me to explore different ways of living. I really love Ireland, but always wanted to travel, and see the world, and I wanted to create a business that would allow me to do that – while working remotely with my clients in Ireland. I knew that I wanted to step away from the regular 9 to 5 setting and create a business that would work with my life, rather than be siloed from it.

I made a decision in late 2018 that I would enroll in a ‘Start Your Own Business Course’ with my local enterprise office in Laois. I always wanted my own business, but had NO idea where to start, but beginning that journey at that point was one of the best decisions I have made.

At the time I had been doing the ‘Start Your Own Business Course’ I was working 4 days a week in a branding and communications company. I LOVED that job but I just knew that I needed something more from my career and that I didn’t like how disjointed aspects of my life were. Work was very disjointed from my home life and for some reason that didn’t sit well with me. I also felt in my position that while I was learning loads and had great people around me, I wasn’t getting to use all of my skills. I just wasn’t feeling like it was a ‘forever’ job for me. I continued in that job until August 2019.

In July 2019 I happened to come across an email about an opportunity to go study and work in Sevilla in Spain for 3 months, an Erasmus programme, that was all expenses covered with a little stipend on the side. This actually seemed like the most perfect opportunity for me as I had always wanted to travel, and hadn’t really done any during my 20’s. The course work that I would be studying literally appeared to be exactly what I needed. The course was ‘Creative Entrepreneurship from a European Perspective’ and it was made for me! To experience living in another country, working in another country and gaining an amazing insight into running a business, outside of Ireland. I had a couple of clients that were willing to work remotely at the time as well, online through email and video calling and I am blessed that I had clients that were willing to basically take this journey with me. And it was an excellent experience, I was so lucky to have had this basically fall on my lap, but I moreso believe that I indeed manifested it.

Once my time in Spain had concluded, I returned home to Ireland and I thought why not try this full time while travelling around the world. I really wanted to travel. I didn't do much travelling during my twenties, due to working on my career, a lack of finances, and probably a general bit of fear of facing the unknown. A friend introduced me to the platform WorkAway. WorkAway is platform that brings volunteers and hosts together in a program of exchange. The deal is that the volunteer works on average 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, in exchange for a room and meals and what an authentic way to get to know the country I was living in, learn some skills and meet new people. The working hours meant I had plenty of time to work with my clients and on my business during evenings and weekends too. I had never planned to work a 40 hour week on my business, at least not in the first few years and I saw this as a pretty good balance.

I have recently returned home after spending five months in Portugal, and experienced seven different exchanges, all of which were amazing and taught me so much, but throughout this experience I also learned that I didn't have a 'purpose' behind going there, or perhaps lost it a bit on the way.

I will now be at home for the next five weeks, after which I will return to Portugal, and want to return with a new sense of purpose. As mentioned in my previous blog posts (click here to view) I will be using these next five weeks to really go inward and uncover what I want to do next, as well as continue to work with my amazing clients!

Hopefully you will join me along the way :)

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