"Moving in your 50s is a big step - you just have to go for it"

“Moving in your 50s is a big step – you just have to go for it”

The view of Antoni Gaudí’s world famous church Sagrada Familia is one Gary Mullan never gets tired of. “Our office terrace overlooks the famous church. It is the most incredible view. ”

Mullan moved to Barcelona with his digital recruitment company Prosperity.ie to expand into an already growing Spanish market, while retaining its Irish and French markets.

“I want to be the largest recruiter of digital media in Europe, that’s what I say to my staff. But at the moment we are really enjoying growing our business here and at home. ”

Mullan, originally from Donnybrook, first left Ireland in 1989 after completing her Leaving Cert at Blackrock College. “I moved to San Francisco, which was a hub for artists at the time, and I worked for a theater company called the Tour de Force.”

Mullan lived in downtown San Francisco, worked catering jobs during the day and was on stage at night. “It was still possible to live in San Francisco if you were an artist then. I was lucky enough to get a green card in the green card lottery, so it was a fantastic opportunity. ”

After two years, he decided to pursue a formal acting education at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena, just outside Los Angeles. “I trained as an actor for two years, got roles in theater and advertising, before I got a role in Nash Bridges with Don Johnson.”

Mullan worked as an actor in Los Angeles for eight years before moving home in 2000. “I worked on commercials and short films as the award-winning Debutante and in theater when I got home, before deciding on a career change.”

The turn of the millennium was also the beginning of the digital revolution and he decided to start his own company in that kingdom.

Prosperity is an e-commerce and digital recruitment agency that offers jobs in digital media. We place roles in digital advertising, marketing, sales, design and product roles. “

The company, which has customers across the digital media platform working with brands such as Google and Facebook, identified a market in Europe – namely France and Spain – and began offering talent acquisition services in these countries remotely.

Mullan says he started his Spanish branch of his company, prosperitydigital.es, employ local staff to meet local markets. “I also have a French url and use French staff to serve our growing market there. We work with large agencies in Paris, even though we are not based there.

“I have always liked the idea of ​​moving abroad again and when Covid-19 made it possible to work remotely and productively, I used the opportunity to establish a physical base in Barcelona.”

Since the company was already established there with extensive databases and networks of relevant candidates, he only needed to make a physical move.

But Mullan says there was a lot of bureaucracy. “I hired an English-speaking accountant to navigate the paperwork. It’s always scary, but once you start the process, you’ll just go through it bit by bit. Finding office space and somewhere to live was easier and cheaper than in Ireland.

“There is a huge start-up scene here in Barcelona and the market is full of skilled and talented people from all over the world. I still have customers and the Irish part of the business, which I manage successfully from here. Before Covid-19 it seemed less possible.”

Mullan says he employs local staff, but is also open to Irish people who come to join his crew of 15. “We have two full-time employees working in the French market from here and have a fantastic young team.”

The idea of ​​living and working in a European country has always been a dream and due to the growing digital connection, it is possible to do so, even if you do not have a mother tongue. “I learn Spanish and have a tutor several times a week. I also speak Spanish when I go out, but this is such a multicultural hub, you get people from all over the world living here. ”

With the Mediterranean on one side and mountains on the other, Barcelona is a perfect place to move around, he says. “There are so many options here. You can walk nearby or to the beach, which is only about 10 minutes from the office. Then you can travel to France, the Pyrenees or the Balearic Islands by ferry. Then you have the famous nightlife and the incredible cityscape. ”

Mullan says that it was a big step to move in the 50s. “Once you’ve got a life at home, you can make any excuse not to move. I often read articles about people packing their bags and moving abroad and I wanted to do the same. You just have to go for it. “

When he observes the market, Mullan says that younger people have more opportunities than his generation had. “Working remotely and working in the digital space is so much easier now. You can work in Ireland, but live in Spain or vice versa.

“Thanks to the digital world, we can increase our market share in Ireland and gain a foothold in Europe. The digital and changing world we live in makes everything possible.”

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