As a teenager, Sian Young was homeless and struggled with drug
abuse and self-harm. Despite the odds, she has managed to turn her
life around by starting her own award-winning business without any
funding or business experience.
Within two years of moving into a studio, Young and her venture
Soul-POLE, a dance and fitness studio, was named the 'Grampian
Business Awards emerging Entrepreneur of the year 2009' and the won
the 'Highly Commended Health Destination Club and Gyms Category'
Trend lifestyle Award, sponsored by David Lloyd, and Young is now
considering franchising opportunities for her business, but the
path has not been easy.
After living on the streets for several years, Young decided she
wanted a better life for herself. She saw there was a massive gap
in the female fitness industry and realised she could use her
training as a pole dancer to fill this void. In 2007, Young
launched Soul-POLE, from her flat in Aberdeen, Scotland. As a
single mother with very little money, she faced many challenges in
"I had no education and being a single mother made things very
challenging so I could have just given up and at a few times I felt
like it," says Young who stayed inspired by reading other
successful entrepreneurs' books and learning they faced similar
She fixed up her flat, installed a pole in her living room and
started accepting her first clients. Soul-Pole grew and about three
and a half years ago Soul-Pole moved into its own studio and Young
has hired four instructors.
Young thinks pole dancing can help woman build their
self-confidence and. "You can get so strong both mentally and
physically by doing pole for fitness, it works on a lot of levels
and the way Soul-POLE does it is very holistic. We deeply work with
our customers so that they transform their lives," she says.
Young is also a professional speaker and says this has helped
her build her business. She says, "A lot of people are scared of
pole dancing at first, speaking really brings in customers because
they see that I am not some stick-thin blonde chick and they learn
about my story."
Recently, Young published a book called "Teenage Kicks"
that chronicles her difficulties living on the street as a young
"I hope this book will give you a valuable insight into drug
street culture, self-harm and self-abuse, how a person can come to
a stage in their life where their worth is not realised, even by
themselves," says Young.
She tells other entrepreneurs trying to start their own
business, "Know what you want to do and realise it will take a lot
of little steps to get there, but each step is really valuable
because you learn the tools that will be very useful when you get
to your destination."