Welcome to my blog! This week I’m talking about pressure, ping pong, and more dementia products.

Monday

I took this morning off and came into work late. It was the 10th anniversary of my dad’s death on Saturday so my family and I spent the weekend in Devon, where he and Mum are buried together in a lovely spot overlooking an estuary. It was a really nice way to spend the weekend.

Back in the office, David and I started preparing for our next board meeting on Friday. Fortunately our social investors understand that what we’re trying to do is difficult – many people don’t even realise there are products that can help make life a little easier for people affected by dementia – so first we have to inform and raise awareness before we do anything else. But we still want them to be assured that their £1.5million investment is being spent well.

Tuesday

Spent most of the day preparing for the board meeting but with some good team relaxation at the end of the day. After work we did a bit of team bonding, at Bounce in Old Street – a ping pong bar where we ate pizza, drank beer and played ping pong. Fortunately for the rest of us, Alex (who used to play ping pong at county level) was a bit out of practice…

Wednesday

Started the day at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane, meeting Deborah Gale, a journalist from the Huffington Post who has a special interest in ageing. It was a great meeting. Watch out for Unforgettable in the Huffington Post.

Later, I met Adam Pike who runs SuperCarers to discuss how we can raise awareness of Unforgettable amongst carers. I then had a good chat with Lucy Harding from Dementia Adventure (a company which provides dementia-friendly holidays and training, and which I really love) to see how we might work together.

Before I left the office, I also recorded answer machine messages so that when customers ring up I can greet them myself!

Thursday

A really interesting day. I introduced a couple of suppliers to Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), with a view to creating a selection of products that help with the daily challenges of living with dementia. We’re aiming to select 10 products which ADI can effectively endorse, and this should help to increase the profile of each product while raising funds for such a respected charity.

Later, I popped into a local Age UK centre in Southwark to meet and chat to around 50 people with dementia and care centre staff. It was so inspiring to talk to such an amazing bunch of people – and extremely encouraging to hear them say that they love Unforgettable! I left with renewed vigour, ready to face tomorrow’s board meeting.

Friday

David and I always get nervous about board meetings but all the preparation was worthwhile and I’m pleased to say the meeting went well. Afterwards, I felt emotionally and physically exhausted… Thank goodness it was Friday!

Lesson I’ve learnt…

I know I’m lucky. I’ve founded a business I feel passionately about, have a brilliant team of ten people and social investors who really understand what we’re trying to do. And yet… I have to admit I sometimes envy my friends who complain about their jobs and being ‘told what to do’ because, quite honestly, founding a social business like Unforgettable is hard work. Very hard work. I feel enormous pressure to satisfy our investors who’ve put an awful lot of money into it, to make sure our staff are happy and of course to help the people who are at the heart of our business – 30,000 visitors per month and rising rapidly. I spend a lot of time talking about my mum and my own experience of dementia too which can be very emotionally draining.

So it’s no wonder I do sometimes find it hard to sleep at night. In fact I don’t mind saying that I’ve been prescribed beta blockers from my doctor to help me deal with anxiety. Fortunately I haven’t taken them very often and I certainly don’t want to sound as if I’m complaining or feeling sorry for myself, because I’m not. But I suppose the biggest lesson I’ve learnt since founding Unforgettable is that being a social entrepreneur can be just as gruelling, demanding and difficult – and yes, just as much fun too – as any other job.