Self employment, one year on


Edinburgh health

From about the age of 14, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to work in politics. Friends and family used to listen to me bang on about how we all have a moral obligation to vote and that not being politically engaged was sheer madness. One of my favourite nights at uni was the night of the 1997 general election; I was a politics student and a group of us stayed up all night to watch the results with a massive bottle of vodka and ‘Things can only get better’ by D:REAM on repeat.  

Never in a million years would that second year politics student believe that by the age of 40 she would be working in the Spa industry, have 18 years sales experience under her belt and most importantly be Co-Founder of a whole new concept in the world of wellness. Funny how life turns out eh?

Fast forward from 1997 to 2018 and it’s one year since I quit my full time job as an Area Manager for Irish seaweed skincare brand VOYA (my 14 year old self would have lol’d in a big way at that – I was a complete tomboy). I’ve never been without a job of some sort since I was 16.  However as we moved forward with the business, it became apparent that in order to progress we needed more time to focus on everything that starting a business entails. For me, this meant I was going to have to resign my full time permanent job. My last day in full time employment was Friday 20 October 2017 – almost one year ago.

I woke up on Monday 23 October 2017 and felt sick. I felt sick every day for about 3 months after that.  I felt like I was grieving for a life I had given up in the pursuit of a life I had no real control over. People kept saying that I was brave, some looked at me like I was mental and I was convinced most people thought I’d give up and go back to full time employment.  Obviously I still have bills to pay and have taken on various part time jobs – everything from bar work to car rental sales to freelancing for skincare brand Comfort Zone.

We were really busy networking, going to business events and seminars, pushing forward with concepts and ideas but if truth be told, I felt like a bit of a fraud. I certainly didn’t feel like an ‘entrepreneur’.  I actually don’t like that word but that’s best saved for another blog. I would sit in business seminars and listen to other business owners talk about the funding they’d won, the ‘boot strapping’ their business had gone through and how they were looking to ‘scale up and export to China’…….

I must admit that although I felt sick on a daily basis, I also never for one minute thought and ever will think about giving up. In my head, it’s inevitable that we will turn the key on this project (another amazing phrase I’ve heard lots of times over the past 12 months).  I’ve learnt more about myself and about the wider world in this last year than in my whole life. The realisation that you CAN do anything you set your mind to. Why not? Why can’t it be me? The sky ISN’T the limit…….

There is an amazing eco system of entrepreneurship in Edinburgh (that word again). There’s a definite buzz and can do attitude in the air in Scotlands’ Capital city.  We learnt pretty early on that if you surround yourself with positive people, people who believe in you and your project then it becomes an absolutely achievable goal.  Forget Brexit, forget Trump and focus on the creative people and ideas that are in your locality. I feel like my eyes have finally been opened to the possibilities that are out there.

 Lynsey and I are truly blessed (omg I said it) to be surrounded by the most optimistic, creative, generous people and it’s infectious! We definitely wouldn’t be where we are without the help of so many fantastic people. I started to list them all and this blog turned into an oscars acceptance speech – suffice to say that we have the best team working with us.

The past 12 months have been scary, fun, awesome, intense and a million other adjectives that I won’t bore you with!   Do I still feel sick every day? Not every day anymore! Do I wish I’d done this sooner – no. I wasn’t ready. Every job I’ve done, every mistake I’ve made, every conversation I’ve had in my career prior to establishing PS was helping me along on my journey (another cliche).

 What motivates and drives me is how much we still have to learn and the meetings and conversations yet to happen. I’m not in this for any other reason than to create a place that genuinely changes peoples’ lives. We are about to embark on a partnership with Derby University which will enable their final year students to get some hands on experience creating ideas and concepts. That excites me so much.

To think that our wee idea might actually help someone else move forward with their career – what an honour!  I can’t wait to meet the future family that works within the walls of PS. For me, that’s what starting a business is all about – how it can enable the wider community to grow.

To anyone out there who is thinking about following their dream and starting their own business – just flipping do it! You’ll always work, you will always find a way. Anything really is possible – the universe has got your back.

Pamela Griffin