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A Conversation with Gavin McConnon About Lifestyle Habits & Finding Your Own Path

Gavin McConnon is married and lives in Dublin, Ireland with his husband and two children. Theodore who is 2 years old, and Lily who is 8 months old. Gavin is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and run multiple companies. Gavin started his first company, Eirnet in 1995, to provide standard dial-up Internet access to users […]

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Gavin McConnon is married and lives in Dublin, Ireland with his husband and two children. Theodore who is 2 years old, and Lily who is 8 months old. Gavin is a serial entrepreneur, having founded and run multiple companies. Gavin started his first company, Eirnet in 1995, to provide standard dial-up Internet access to users in Ireland (ISP). Gavin co-founded Star55 Networks in 2000, a telephone-based voice recognition software company, developing voice enabled apps for mobile phones. In 2001 Gavin founded Global Billing Solutions a leading mobile content monetization company developing billing relationships with mobile operators around the world.In 2006 Gavin co-founded Moviestar.ie, an online DVD rental company, which was later acquired by Screenclick (an Amazon company). In 2010 Gavin created boxPAY as a product of Global Billing Solutions, and later spun it out as a separate business. In 2016 Gavin brought F45 Training, an Australia fitness business to Ireland and currently operates at three locations in Dublin with seven additional studios in planning.

Gavin has won numerous awards for his previous business work including: the Eircom Golden Spider Award for Best Website launched in Ireland, the Irish Internet Association for Next Visionary, the Business and Finance Magazine 02 Young Leaders award, the Irish Internet Association Internet Start-Up of the Year award, the Digital Media Awards B2B Innovation award, and the Business Achiever Award for Innovation and Emerging Technology.

In his time outside of work, Gavin is also heavily involved with charities. Gavin is an avid cyclist and attends many charity cycles around Ireland each year, raising funds for good causes, including the Coast2Coast Charity Cycle for Alzheimer’s Ireland, The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle and others. In 2006 Gavin and his brother Iain McConnon became involved closely with the Likulezi Project where they funded and built a school and training center in Malawi Africa. Since 2006 Gavin and Iain continue to support this project with a donation of euro 1,000 every month for the past 13 years. The incredible project helps children orphaned by HIV and AIDS in one of the poorest countries in Africa.

In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behavior change has had the biggest positive impact on your life?

Deciding that I wanted to be fit. I started my fitness journey as a vanity project; I wanted that bigger masculine physic. I was living on Bondi Beach in Sydney, which I consider to be one of the fittest places in the world. Everyone looks healthy and fit.  I quickly learned that a good fitness routing is not just for your body, but positively affects your mental health, motivation and so much more. Keeping a fitness routine is not always easy – but when I workout early in the morning it sets me up for a great day. You walk out of the gym at 7am and feel like Superman ready to tackle the day. It was while living in Sydney that I cam across F45 Training. To say F45 Training changed my life would be an understatement, not only did I become the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been, I am now Europe’s largest F45 Franchisee with a network of studios in Ireland.

When you feel unfocused, what do you do?

If I’m having a stressful day, or struggling with solving some problems – I take Rufus, my 8-year-old Cavachon doggy for a walk. I find fresh air, and just wondering around my neighbourhood a complete stress-buster. I enjoy to cycle too, and if I have a few hours spare I can get on the bike and cycle out of Dublin and get into the mountains. Those long climbs up the hills give me lots of time to consider the issues in my various businesses and try to work out solutions. If you are unfocused or stressed because you are tired or not sleeping – then you need to address that. I find a lack of sleep directly correlates to an unfocused day.

What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?

As someone who dropped out of school to found my first business, my usual response is “don’t sweat the grades” – but that all depends on your career choice. Obviously medicine or law require a good student, but as an entrepreneur you prove your worth on the field. I find in business that who you know can be more beneficial to what you know. Try to participate and network early.

What is one lifestyle trend that excites you?

Fitness is the most exciting lifestyle trend. People are swapping bars and clubs for gyms and exercise. Boutique Fitness and my own chain of F45 Training gyms are the most exciting things happening in the fitness space at the moment. People are moving from impersonal ‘big box’ gyms, which produce little results for most, into personal welcoming boutique fitness studios, that could be a cycle studio, a HIIT place or with a PT.  At F45 Training we find our clients are coming 4 or 5 times a week (sometimes every day, 7 days!). They are getting a great experience, great results and have that small community vibe. They build fitness into their lifestyle and daily routines and they know this will benefit them as they get older both physically and mentally.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

I’m always so impressed by young entrepreneurs from my own city that succeed. I know first hand how difficult it can be to break through with a new business.  There are so many determined and talented young entrepreneurs coming through now. On a global level entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, who have been successful at many different businesses, while also trying to do the right thing by his employees and the environment. That’s the goal, be successful but be fair.

What’s one of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned?

Don’t bet the house – and diversify! I was extremely successful in my early twenties and invested nearly all my wealth in Irish real estate. When the 2008 crash happened, I lost an 8-figure fortune. I was over-leveraged and invested into a single asset class.  I was young enough to start up again – but that was a very painful and expensive lesson.

What do you think it is that makes you/someone successful?

Determination. You must want to be successful. You must want it real bad. Maybe it’s selling your company, or maybe it’s a lifestyle business. You will know what your goal is. Don’t be shy. You must aim for the stars to reach the moon. The world is full of “wantapreneurs” – who spend all their time dreaming about the fruits of success – without ever actually having a plan to get there.

How do you stay motivated?

I have two wonderful amazing children now. An 8-month-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. I want to be able to provide for them, I want to show them the world, and educate them to be good citizens.

What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

I hope my family will be my legacy. I’ll be a happy man if I get to see my kids grow up to become happy and fulfilled.

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