The Doggy Doctor
Mark O'Loughlin: Sanctuary Synthetics
Mark O'Loughlin is not quite a serial entrepreneur nor an inventor, but somewhere between the two.
"None of it would've happened without Vicky's inspiration."
So I've been in business for 20 years. And for most of that I've been specializing in a particular field, in my case, it's artificial lawns. And to this day, I'm still educating the public to some extent, as well as having to sell it.
I had heard a story before about a swimming pool salesman in America who wrote a book on the ins and outs of getting a swimming pool. And he insisted that any prospect who came to him read the book first, thereby getting rid of a lot of tyre kickers. Cause you know, a swimming pool, it's going to be a minimum of 50, a hundred thousand dollars. And in his book, he explains, look, if you have inherited money or if there divorce, alimony, whatever, you should really invest in a pension first and blah, blah, blah. But if you still want to talk about a swimming pool give me a shout and that was his book. And it was education for his customers and it was a gatekeeper for him, so I really liked that idea. So I'm hoping that my book in the first instance will help educate potential clients, but also there is no literature on my particular niche.
And then finally it would, even though it's supposed to be more than that it will act as a giant business card, establishing one's expertise in the field. And even if it was a crap book, it might still do that job. But, you know, thanks to Vicky and her course and her subsequent help, I'm hoping that it's going to be more than that.
I had completed Vicky's how'd you get published in 90 days course, which was a huge practical help because as a busy business person, one would find it difficult to devote the time necessary. So the step by step practical guidance was invaluable and then having completed what turns out to be way too long at 132,000 words, which is just way too long, My own wife and one or two kind of friends or colleagues who looked at it tried to tell me, but really it was when Vicky who told me what was what and did her high level analysis and pointed out the glaringly obvious.
It was my faith in her authority that has really kind of shown the light and allowed me to edit it quite drastically and dramatically, but make it a much more cohesive story and product at the end of the day. But look you can be told something, but it depends on who it comes from, and having followed Vicky for years, I just would be a devotee and therefore I've taken what she recommends on board much more easily.
I mean, if this project has taken me years of procrastination and then months and weeks, and countless hours of scribbling and re-editing, typing up and in the greater scheme of things a few hundred, a few thousand is no big deal. So again, remember this book isn't being written for profit for itself. It's more of a cathartic business project that will lead to more business and opportunity for me. So really the price of her services, it was kind of immaterial. I know this is being recorded, so I would like to say to anybody else ever listening, God, it's well worth it because you need a third party to help you see the wood from the trees, to point out what should be obvious, but wasn't for me. To tell you where you're going wrong, suggest changes. And it doesn't matter what that time and money cost. For me it was worth it because I've had to compare it to doing different projects.
It took longer, it was harder. And the writing itself, I did it freehand then I typed it up thinking, cool. Well, the typing up of my free hand will be the editing process and it wasn't. And so then I banged away at it myself but without the outside help. I was just getting caught up in the weeds as Vicky would say herself and so she freed me from it and got me back into the main flow, and I think it's going to be a much better book for it
I mean, her style is her style and for starters, she has style and humor. So she's well able to put up with a cranky middle-aged man, like me and put me in my place when necessary, but she's so knowledgeable, credible, and gentle when she has to be.
As I already said, it's very easy for me to ignore my wife but listen to Vicky
The first thing that just springs to mind is time saved because it's probably not impossible to eventually chip away at it but she's probably saved me months. And so you were asking earlier back about the investment or the cost. Put that against your time. and it's a no-brainer. Besides that I wanted a bit of a confidence boost, because again, your own work, you're thinking: “Is this boring? Does anybody else in the world care?” So mine is a kind of a technical manual mushed together with autobiographical to make it into a bit of a story and then anecdotes of challenges along the way. It's a lonely business. When you're trying to put something together wondering, “oh my God, what will the reaction be?”
And so having somebody who I would have faith in to give me encouragement, there's criticism where it's due and then also a little bit of praise and pointing out the good parts was extremely helpful in motivating me to keep plugging away and continue. So that's two. Well that's probably enough, you know, time and confidence. I shudder to think how many books are 90% complete gathering dust sitting in drawers, probably lots, having gone through what I've gone through.
I'm almost at the end of the process now and without Vicky's help along the way, I'm not sure I'd have gotten this far. Maybe that's my third point. I mention in the book that I'm a Virgo star sign, so Virgos are well known to be skeptical. So I don't believe in any of that horoscope shite but maybe as a Virgo as well, I would be a perfectionist.
And if I'm doing a project of any description, a garden, a book, I do want it to be as good as humanly can do it. So am I a creative, gifted writer? I don't know, that's for others to judge, but I do want to put my best foot forward. I've designed several show gardens and there's other show gardens beside me and I go, Jesus, that's much easier, but it's crap.
No, you know what I prefer to spend weeks and a lot of money doing this as best I can do. So a crap gardening book about artificial grass would probably suffice for some of the reasons, but not for me to sleep well at night. It's better to have it done to the best of my ability. And again, without Vicky's help I wouldn't have gotten there.
Wholeheartedly. Absolutely. I'd scream it from the rooftops because I'm at the ready to hit the publishing button shortly., I've gone through as it is, now. So I haven't yet seen the benefits at the other end, whether that means more credibility, more business, more opportunities. I'm pretty confident those things will happen. And again, it's not about the numbers of books sold, it'll sit on Amazon and sales will trickle along, I'm sure, in due course. So it's not about the money for that either, but, none of it would've happened without Vicky's inspiration and this is just reading her daily emails, just being in her circle.
She gives you the timely kick in the arse / boost from time to time. I watch her podcasts as well, and what a great way of keeping you focused, especially when you know, some similar people in business are thinking about doing a book, we're very busy people, and this is just another thing to do, but you know what, it's been a great experience, challenging as hell, but anything worthwhile is going to be like that.
So that's why I think having somebody like Vicky on your side, you can't go wrong really
Mark O’Loughlin is a true entrepreneur, a fact recognised by the formidable ‘dragons’ on the RTÉ television show Dragons’ Den. On the show Mark sought and won investment for another business, Hidbin, his invention for hiding unsightly wheelie bins.
Mark has run his garden design and creation business for more years than he cares to remember and, over the last decade or so, has become the go-to man for synthetic grass in Ireland.
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