Contrary to what some people might think I am not a very public person. I am very vocal with my opinion, talk and communicate with a lot of people but when it comes to my private affairs and my inner thoughts I generally keep these to myself. However recent events have made me decide to open up for once and tell a bit more.
See, I am not a rich man from a materialistic point of view. I do not own the house that I live in, the car I drive is 11 years old, I do not go on several fancy foreign holidays a year I rarely go out for meals or drinks and from every perspective lead a very modest life. Saying all that I have to admit that I have everything else that can make a man rich; I have a fantastic & gorgeous wife (@mrs_Bopp), 5 very smart children and I live in a beautiful & peaceful environment. I also love what I do, my work is my passion. I love it because I know that a lot of what I do is about stimulating people and making them fulfil their dreams. Now this might sounds all very airy-fairy but a lot of what I do is about helping people to start their own business. Quite a few of these people have recently lost their job (and income) and while they might have an idea for a viable business they quite often do not know how to take the first step or in what direction. Giving people like that free advice and helping them make that first step is immensely fulfilling work.
Does it pay the bills? No it doesn’t. At least not at the moment. I have been working on projects like the Greenhouse Incubator & Bizcamp Limerick since January this year. Because of all the time spent on this my main business has been partially neglected. I also do not get paid for any of the work I have been putting into these projects and so far the “money-stream” has been very much one way: into these projects. Eventually I hope to generate revenue/value through the Greenhouse but Bizcamp Limerick for one is not about generating revenue. Both projects are about helping people though. That’s what makes it worthwhile for me. I get a buzz from giving other people some of the help they need and by seeing them use their positive energy to build something. Doing what I do makes me sleep soundly at night knowing that I have contributed to something that is good and that will lead to better things.
Now I could have taken all the energy, long days, hard work and stress and worry by my wife and put it into something that would only benefit myself and my family. I could have put it into a job that gave me a nice fat paycheck every month, paid my expenses and gave me lots of benefits. But I haven’t because that’s not who I am. While I am an entrepreneur at heart I also feel that I have a responsibility to not just take but to also give. I guess I get this from my father, grandmother and grandfather, all people who I greatly admire and who have always selflessly given much more than they’ve taken. Anyway, I think that it is always (and especially under the current economic circumstances) important to have a long term view and to look past and beyond your own personal comfort zone. I really hope that by doing what I do I will create something that everyone will benefit from. It is perfectly possible to find a balance between commerce & social responsibility.
It is because of all the above that it really, really sickens me right down to the core when I get, falsely, accused of doing what I do only to line my pockets. Accussations like that not only attack my personal integrity, what I do and everything I stand for, they are also a blatant insult to my wife and family who sometime have to “suffer” because of my charitable nature. Lastly they belittle those initiatives that I am involved with as well as the other people associated with it.
I have only one thing to say to my detractors and critics: “F*ck you”. I will not change what I do and how I do it. You know why? Because I do it out of principle, integrity and because of everything I believe in. I do what I do because who I am. I can not change that. I don’t sell out, period.