“Talk to people. Have the conversations.” Just some of the wonderful advice we heard tumbling from the mouth of our recent guest on The Coffee at Eleven Show.

Sharon, mother of four, set up her own Credit Consultancy Business, FACE Credit Consultancy, hen she realized how many businesses are lacking in this area. She helps businesses set a ‘Credit Policy’ which in turn helps identify who it should extend credit to, and for how long. If monies are outstanding, Sharon’s company can assist in debt collection, her having been singularly (and exceptionally) successful in this area for decades working in Corporate.

“How did you collect €millions, Sharon?”

“I picked up the phone and had a chat; we got to know each other, and the money would follow.”

“And where did you learn this?”

“My five mammies.”

(paraphrased)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, and think with Sharon Farrell and me for a bit in your preferred way. You’ll be glad you did.

Yours Truly: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You are more than welcome to another episode of The Coffee at 11 Show. Delighted to have you here and delighted in particular to welcome our special guest here this morning. And that is Sharon Farrell. Sharon, please pop in and say, hi and cheers us with your coffee mug.

Sharon Farrell: Good morning. How are you, Colm?

Yours Truly: As I say to all of our guests on The Coffee at Eleven Show, we can Google your business, and we are looking forward to hearing about Face Credit Consultancy in a little while, but please introduce yourself to us, help us get to know little Sharon Farrell. Go right the way back.

Sharon Farrell: So I was born in Dublin, in Tallaght, and when I tell people that I was born in Tallaght and that it was great in Tallaght, they think, “Oh my God, that was terrible” but I have fantastic memories of green fields, freedom and a terrific sense of community.

So, that was my learning and my upbringing in Tallaght. It was fantastic, great neighbours, and I have a brilliant childhood.

What else can I tell you about my upbringing? My dad ran his own business, which was a landscaping business, so, from a very early age, we understood the importance of answering the phone correctly, first contact with customers, and that was inbred into us, and hard work. So, growing up, that’s how we were brought up. Hard work, and it was ingrained in us.

What was I like in school? Love school because… loved friends, loved people, always running events, fundraising for the school. I was Head Girl in sixth year, wasn’t very academic, but just had a way with people, and I think that was just my upbringing. I was always around people and that kind of resonates with me forever.

One story that I do want to tell you because it kind of relates to my business, but it’s a very, very interesting story I think.

When I was growing up, my mother had great friends, all the women in Tallaght, it was fantastic. It was in the eighties and nobody had any money but that had great, as I said, sense of community.

And there was this one guy that used to call around, he was a sales guy and his name was Michael. And what he provided for all of the women was, like, high-end fine china, bed linen, you know, nice stuff, but they paid by the week, so this was my first experience of credit.

All of the women knew Michael; he was a good looing salesman – I hope it was just sales of product he was doing; I dunno, it’s debatable *laughs* – but all the women knew him and loved him and they used his service, so whatever they wanted for the house, and it was really important to Mam – you know, fine china, if her sisters were calling over – they would buy this and pay by the week.

And when I think of credit checking. If a new lady moved in, or a new family moved in, you know, he’d ask, “What’s Mrs. Kelly like in number 10?” and they’d do an introductory there. So, credit’s always been around, and I remember being so interested in that when I was young to think, isn’t this terrific for him because he gets to sell all of his products and he’d a catalogue and everything and he’d demonstrate, you know, he’d have the product with him, the sample in the car, he got to sell his product and the people, and the ladies and the women of the area got to buy products that they would never have, if they had to pay for everything up front.

So that was my first experience of credit and I just thought, this is a fantastic model.

Yours Truly: Sharon, please would you tell us what are you taking with you from COVID? What are you not letting go of?

Sharon Farrell: What am I not letting go of? I think it’s maybe Zoom and not to be running around everywhere, unnecessary traveling. It’s better for the planet, but better for us as well as humans. I never believed that you could build a relationship through Zoom with somebody, but I’ve never met you face-to-face, Colm. So it’s proven that to me, that we absolutely need to slow down and not do all that traveling. And we can build these relationships through Zoom, we absolutely can. And that’s really, really important. And I think I’ll take that forward. It’s a time-saver, it gives you more time for yourself to do other things. So I think that’s probably… And if you’d asked me a year ago, I hated Zoom, but here we are. And I think that’s been a lesson for a lot of people.

Yours Truly: Lovely stuff. I’m with you, by the way, on that. I’m not going back to that other world. I’d go back kicking and screaming. It’ll be travel and meeting people face to face in the real world or the other world it will be a special event.

Sharon Farrell: Yes.

Yours Truly: And it’ll be special. And then the last question before we go to Princess Shelley is I think it’s probably fair to say that you’re blessed and I’m blessed. We’re blessed in general, all of us here in the cafe. I’ll put that out. There are some other people in difficult circumstances at the moment because of COVID, because of lockdown. What would you recommend to somebody that’s struggling?

Sharon Farrell: I think it’s really be kind to yourself. People are saying, get a morning routine, get up, get out. Do, do, do, do, do. And if you’re not in a space where you can do that, it’s okay to say, okay, I’m just going to relax for an hour here today and have that cup of tea and be kind to yourself. And whatever it is that really gives you peace, whether that’s read a book, listen to a podcast, music, knitting. I don’t know, whatever it is that you like, I think that’s really important. Stop looking at outside influences that are saying, “Well, I’m running 10 K a day and I’m doing online learning and I’m getting this done,” and the other. It’s whatever works for you is to really be kind to yourself. I think that’s what I would say to people.

Stay safe, stay in touch.

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