Paul Freeman is the CEO of PMH Digital Solutions; a mentoring business he founded to ‘promote the digital lifestyle’. It offers a range of digital products and courses to help people who are looking to discover how they can embrace digital opportunities in order to work for themselves, and get a healthier and happier work-life balance. This month we shone the spotlight on him to find how his personal journey inspires him to mentor others.
Paul originally studied electrical engineering, and began his career working in audio and lighting technologies. He spent a number of years operating the lighting in theatre productions, before building up a successful portfolio of prestigious production management positions, working on everything from large-scale corporate functions and sell-out pop concert arena tours, to touring the UK on numerous conferences.
Paul then transitioned into the sales and distribution of technology, including LED lighting products, where he was responsible for overseeing annual turnover levels of up to £5million. However, despite his success in these roles, it was his personal experience of working for corporate companies and organisations that inspired him to set up his own businesses on his own terms. Paul says:
“The journey getting to where I am today is a very personal one. I became the victim of workplace stress, it was negatively affecting every area of my life, and I had become the stereotype of the stressed salesman; spending hours sitting in traffic jams, going for days and days without properly seeing my family, bullying bosses, overworked and undervalued. I became quite ill with it all, until I thought ‘enough is enough’. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had to hit this low so that I would make a change. It turned out to be my motivation – sometimes you have to reach that point so that you take the leap into something new.”
Paul set up his own LED lighting company, PMH Digital, and he continues to do business in this area. He recently completed a big project for a local company that saw an energy reduction of 73% by switching to LED lighting – but it was that first taste of working for himself that motivated him to set up his mentoring company, PMH Digital Solutions. Paul says:
“For the first time, I was working for myself, in my own way, and it was incredibly liberating. I began to understand how digital advances have changed the way we work today - you don’t need an office and all the overheads that come with it; we’ve got technology everywhere. I enrolled on social media marketing courses and read everything about digital marketing that I could get my hands on, and then I launched PMH Digital Solutions. We provide a range of digital products and solutions ranging from eBooks, independent and interactive online learning, and one-to-one mentoring sessions - helping people to embrace digital opportunities, find freedom, create income and choose their own lifestyle.”
Paul has written three books: An Introduction to Financial Training, How to Create a Digital Lifestyle, and Diary of a Depressed Salesman, which documents his journey:
“In a way, I was my own case study, and it’s imperative to have a good grounding in what you’re talking about. For all the inspiration and excitement of ‘going it alone’, the reality is that it is really hard work. You face challenges and have lots of questions, but you don’t have a team to bounce ideas off. It can be lonely at times, which is why I’m so passionate about mentoring. It would have helped me immeasurably when I was starting out, and being able to pass on my experience and knowledge is extremely rewarding.”
It is this passion for mentoring that led Paul to become a member of the IOEE:
“Being able to be a part of an institution that ‘gives something back’ is a perfect fit with my business ethos. The connection with the IOEE also gives my business ‘official’ credibility – as there are so many ‘unofficial’ online get-rich-quick schemes out there that people are vulnerable to. There are no shortcuts or cheats to successful entrepreneurship, it’s hard work and it’s demanding – but it’s absolutely worth every second of it.”