Founder of the Soulfull Living Academy, Dawn Petherick

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

1. Tell us a bit about you i.e are you native to Dunoon or have you moved here from elsewhere? What did you do before you set up your current business?

I relocated to Innellan from the East Midlands just 18 months ago, so I am fairly new to the area. Before moving here and working on the Soulfull Living Academy full time, I worked in IT management in the higher education sector.

2. What sparked your business idea? i.e Did you take on a family business; did you head out on a new adventure; or did circumstances force you to adapt?

Pre-2011 I had started to benefit from, and learn about alternative therapies to help overcome some personal challenges. The more I learned, the more I wanted share my skills to help other people. I set up Appearing Day Coaching and Training in 2011 and ran this alongside my full time job.

The Soulfull Living Academy is the culmination of many years of testing and working out how to deliver therapeutic services to people effectively. I provide retreats, workshops and one-to-one therapies, alongside teaching people how to use healing practices to improve their own wellbeing. I also nurture a growing online community, providing them with courses and group sessions.

The Soulfull Living Academy is like a new container for the business I started to build over 9 years ago. It helps people to help themselves by providing emotional and spiritual support and guidance when they need it.

3. What was the best piece of business advice you have been given and who gave it to you?

I don’t remember who told me this, but the best advice I was given was simple: start where you are and with what you have got.

Businesses are always evolving, some grow at a slower rate and need lots of investment, but if you can’t do what you want straight away, you can start with what you have and work towards the longer term goals, testing out your ideas as you go with feedback from your clients/customers.

4. What challenges have you faced to make use of online resources or promote your business digitally?

As I had a background in IT, the technical aspects of setting up a business online and using digital platforms and website templates was not too much of a challenge for me. The biggest challenge was overcoming self-doubt, and figuring out how to present myself, and talk about what I do, with confidence and authority, in a way that worked online.

Increasingly, I am using video conferencing, mainly Zoom or live broadcasting via Facebook, to connect to people. I have had to figure out how to use these formats effectively, and host sessions well.  I have had to constantly adapt what I do, which is an ongoing challenge, but one that I quite like, and I have managed to make it work over time.

5. What is unique or interesting about running a business here in Dunoon? (if you have a story that highlights this, we’d love to hear it?

Living and working in this area means that, for me and my clients, I am able to have a closer connection to nature. For the purposes of retreats and workshops, where people are coming here, the access to sea - tree environments is a definite advantage.

6. Tell us the one thing about your business that you are most proud of?

I get the greatest fulfilment seeing people heal, change and feel happier as a result of working with me. It means that my clients and the people that are close to them benefit from the work I do. 

7. What changes do you think could help sustain and develop Dunoon as a place to do business?

I mainly work from home, but it would be really useful to have a list of local spaces to hire, and be able to book them for times when I want to deliver sessions and workshops in and around the Dunoon area. At the moment that is tricky, but it shouldn’t be. A town like Dunoon could be using technology to make it easier for more people to do business here, meet here and come here!

8. What support do you think is missing for small businesses in the Dunoon Area?

Within four days of arriving in the area I attended a free meet-up group called Dunoon and Cowal Co-works, which is set up to support freelancers and home based businesses. Everyone who has helped me to develop my business locally and renovate my home has come from that and I think a stronger locally-focused business network would really help more businesses. 

Facebook groups like Weebay and other local social media based groups, like Dunoon Friends and Holistic Dunoon, have also been useful so, again, more networks that bring people and skills together in Dunoon would be beneficial.

9. What are your key business goals over the next 12 months?

In the next 12 months I’d like to double the membership of my on-line group, develop some new online programs and run small retreats.


10. Promote your business. Tell people why we should come to you?

The Soulfull Living Academy strapline is "learning to live soulfully through times of change".  I offer a unique combination of therapies, support and experiences to empower you to look after yourself. I am determined to liberate people from feeling down, lost and unable to cope by helping them to manage their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. 

Visit the Soulfull Living Academy

As part of Microbytes, Dawn is hosting a workshop 'Nurturing your online community, Wed, 23rd September, 7pm. Click here to register>

#dunoon #soulfulllivingacademy #wellbeing #keepingitlocal

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