I loved working as a qual researcher for an independent agency, but the working hours aren’t conducive to starting a family or owning dogs. Qual researchers often have to run focus groups until 10pm/11pm at night, two to three times a week. Along with working full time hours, it’s hard. Qual research is fun, challenging and fast paced. From one week to the next, the projects change, along with the clients. You get to work with incredibly smart people, and the thinking that goes on behind the scenes can leave you awestruck.
After being diagnosed with Endometriosis in my mid twenties, I had never considered that I would be a Mum, so I focused on my career. Sadly, after experiencing two early miscarriages, I began to wonder if I did have a shot at motherhood. The experience of the miscarriages had rocked me, both had happened whilst I was away with work, and were difficult to overcome.
In 2012, I decided to go for it. I wanted to be at home more often, to spend more time with my rescue dogs and perhaps start a family. So I created Podengo: an agency that connects people with brands, in order to provide their opinions first hand. It also meant that I got to continue working with many of my ex-colleagues, this time helping them to coordinate their research studies. (We also run research for start ups and small businesses, as I’m a firm believer in research helping businesses to make the best decisions).
Across the years, it’s been a fun, but bumpy ride, running a business. Anyone who does it will say the same. I’ve had some high highs, but there have also been challenges. Returning to work one day after giving birth to each of my sons was one of the lows. I also made the mistake of pushing my business too hard and fast, employing too many people. It was hugely stressful, and I would urge anyone starting out in business to err on the side of caution when it comes to employing people. Right now, I work with a small but strong, team of women. All of whom are committed to getting the job done, but also working flexibly.
Oh, and you may be intrigued by the name: Podengo. Well, my two rescue dogs, who are mixed breeds of unknown origin, looked a little like small Podengos. They are smart little hunting hounds that use sight and sound to find what they are looking for. They are determined characters too. The breed seemed like the perfect metaphor for our agency: using all the tools to find people for research, and being determined when doing so.