Phorest FM Episode 121: Workforce Ready, Defining Your Career Path

When you’re out of school and ready to tackle the world of employment, it can be hard to make sense of the path ahead. Eventually, things do fall into place, but it requires patience and hard work.

Featuring Phorest guests James Mulcahy (Software Engineer) and Denise Gill (Online Trainer), this week’s episode is all about the post-graduation blur, navigating job interviews and defining your career path… everyone has to start somewhere!


James Mulcahy

James Mulcahy is a graduate software engineer working in mobile development on the Phorest Salon Branded Apps. James joined the Irish-based company after graduating from Trinity College Dublin with a First class honours degree in Computer Science. He has previous technical experience in the telecommunication and IT testing industry working for Ding and the non-profit company ECDL Foundation. While studying at Trinity College, James was a producer/co-host of multiple award-winning podcasts on the student-run radio station TrinityFM. He has also been featured on Phorest’s Nothing Ventured blog.

Denise Gill

Denise Gill is a online educational trainer within Phorest. With 10 years experience in the beauty/aesthetics industry where she began as a spa assistant and worked up to management and consultancy levels, she helps all salon staff ranging from owners to receptionist to utilise the entire Phorest software helping them to grow their business whilst fully understanding the clients needs and challenges as she has experienced them herself. This also helps to build a positive relationship with clients as she can relate to the situations that salon staff find themselves in.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 121. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show we’re joined by Phorest Developer James Mulcahy and Online Trainer Denise Gill for a discussion about what it’s to transition from being a student to figuring out the world of employment.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Morning, Killian. How are you doing?

Killian Vigna: I am hoping we can get through this one without me doing a single cough because something is going around Dublin at the moment. The weather has changed so much between sun, rain, hail, and snow nearly at this stage. Yeah. There’s just a lot of coughing fits going on…  Just in time for the summer barbecue as well!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. I’m just coming over too; I hope you don’t give it to me. That would be a stinger! Anyways, this topic, I am very excited to get into this. It all came from a blog.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, exactly. It comes from James Mulcahy, and it essentially explores the life of a student moving into employment. So James is only with us less than a year I’d say at this stage. Well, he’ll tell us a bit more about that, but he did this cool blog of his transition from college to employment, which is something that we’ve never really covered. And we’re aware that a lot of the information we provide here is for salon owners, but we kind of thought it would be nice to take a step maybe back in time and relive how we all found that transition going from student to employment because it is a bit of a scary experience. You’re studying for four years or however long your course is, and you learn so much about the career that you’re going to embark on, yet you don’t really learn anything about how to get that job.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, true. And also you can have so many different paths. You’re saying college, but some people don’t even end up going to college, and you end up working with people from entirely different backgrounds, and that’s the beauty of it. But yeah. I don’t know. It’s interesting, anyway.

Introducing Denise Gill & James Mulcahy [02:08]

Killian Vigna: Okay. Well, look, we’ve already brought up the blog and I think just probably two no better people to discuss their career paths than James and Denise. Denise actually comes from the industry as well. So welcome to the show guys!

Denise Gill: Hi, how are you?

James Mulcahy: Hey, thanks for having us.

Killian Vigna: Guys, being as it’s both your first time on the show why don’t you share a bit of an overview, kind of a little bit into your background and how you got to Phorest. James, you want to go first?

James Mulcahy: Yeah! Sure, no problem. So I am a graduate software developer. So I joined Phorest straight out of college. I’ve been working for Phorest now for about seven months, and I’m also a mobile developer. So that means that I do all my development just on the mobile app. My goal is to redo the whole branded app, and the branded app is an app that the salon owner owns and gives to their clients to download and then their clients use it for appointments and booking online and changing their appointments.

Denise Gill: Quite impressive, James! I started in the beauty industry. I am a fully qualified ITEC, SIMTEC, and CIDESCO therapist, and I was in the industry for 9 to 10 years. After that, I suffered an injury, but I had already transitioned that I wanted to change into something a little bit different. And it was in and around that time that I got working with Phorest. At the moment, I’m an Online Software Trainer. After the onboarding process, what I do is I train the salon owners and their staff on the different parts of the system to make sure that they’re able to grow their business from the inside out.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: This is exactly what I was saying at the beginning of the episode when I was saying different backgrounds and how interesting it was that we all ended up working together. Were you both passionate about what you’re currently doing starting from a young age?

James Mulcahy: Yeah, I guess it did. When I was about 15, I built my own computer…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What?!

James Mulcahy: Just because I really… I mean, it does sound more impressive than it is. The pieces kind of fit together like Lego blocks. But it’s a lot cheaper to build your own. And having done that, I knew that I wanted to do something with computers for kind of the rest of my life. And then I also had a deep interest in maths, even though you don’t need math for computer science or coding, but it helps because it’s about problem-solving. So put those two things together and, yeah, I knew that I wanted to do computer science in college and then go on and be a software developer.

Killian Vigna: You were destined!

James Mulcahy: Yeah. Chosen from a young age!

Killian Vigna: And what about you, Dee? Were you destined from a young age to be a beauty therapist?

Denise Gill: No, I actually didn’t know what I wanted to do. For my leaving cert, I ended up getting into bio-analytical science, and I decided to take a year out and decided did I want to go ahead with that? I was only 17 at the time, and it actually was by chance that a friend of mine was doing the course and she was saying it’s really fun. It’s really for somebody that is creative and likes to deal with people on a daily basis. So I decided to go in and do the course for one year, and I ended up loving it and doing a second year as well. And I was at that ever since then.

And it’s something that I really had a passion for, helping people, and you can be so creative, and it is that type of job that you’re in it for the passion. You’re not in it for the hours or the pay. It’s something that you strive to give good customer service. I loved it. Any day in the salon, I did love it, and it was just a shame that I did injure myself. But I do think that it was time for me to move on from being in the salon to venture into something else.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And look at us. All of us here in Phorest today, a couple of years later.

Denise Gill: Friends!

Killian Vigna: It is interesting though the different career paths. Like James Pretty much knew from, well, I’m going to say a young enough age. 15 is still young. We’re all still young here what you wanted to do. Dee, yours kind of came off the back of a recommendation from a friend. I know me and Zoe, the roles we’re in today are not what we anticipated that we were going to be doing even before college, let alone when we joined college. And actually even after college I’m still pretty kind of far away from where I expected to be, which goes to show how many times you change when you’re in school. There’s a lot of pressure to need to know what you want to do, what your career path is going to be, but it just changes so much. Zoe, you’ve had a mad switch.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes. So there’s a thing in Quebec that is called CEGEP, and it’s not college, but it’s a pre-college course I suppose. You have a two-year pre-college. So I got out of high school, and I did that, and I had no idea what I wanted to go into. So I took the hardest course and figured that if I had good grades, I could get into whatever I wanted in college after. And I ended up switching course midway through CEGEP and finished off in social studies.

After that, I realised that I still didn’t know what I wanted to do in college. So I took a step back, and a friend recommended… I was always into music, and I played instruments and stuff. So a friend recommended, “Why don’t you go and check out this school that I did?” And it was called Musitechnic, and it was a sound recording school. So I ended up doing that, and it’s a one-year trade school. So I ended up never going to college, and I did that one-year trade school, graduated, and got onto the market, I suppose, in the industry straight after it, about three months later.

I was like 20 or 21 at the time. And I worked in a recording studio for five years as a sound tech. And loads of things happened the last year of my employment there. And I decided to make the big move to Ireland, and that’s how I landed in Phorest. I didn’t know about the company initially or anything, and I was looking for a job. Because we were working with advertising companies and agencies in the sound recording studio and I knew that I was good at writing I just figured I could probably pull off a role in marketing, especially anything that had to do with writing content. And here I am working in Phorest on the marketing team, and it’s been a little over three years now. So yeah. It’s mad. Never imagined I would ever make that kind of switch, an entirely different industry.

Landing a first career job [08:52]

Killian Vigna: So guys, how did you start making that transition from college to your career? How did you land your first career job? James, was Phorest your first one or did you do something between college and Phorest?

James Mulcahy: Yeah. No. So I knew in college that I needed to do some relevant work experience to get an idea of what I was studying and what was relevant or not. So when I finished the second year, because my course in four years, I was like, “Okay. This is the time; this is the summer to try and look for some internships.” And I threw my CV at about 100 companies, and almost all of them rejected me because I only had the year and a half of my college. It wasn’t much. But eventually, I did land a job at this company called Ding, which is a telecommunication company. And what they do is they send mobile top-ups in emerging markets. So the idea is that if the family is split up, let’s say the father works in India and the family lives in Saudi Arabia, their father can send money back to the family through top-up through the service that Ding provides.

So I joined there, and when I joined there completely opened my eyes to, one, what real work is like and, two, what was relevant, and what wasn’t. And I realised a lot of what I was studying was not actually relevant to what I would be doing when I finished college. So it was super beneficial for me because it just completely changed my focus and my approach to college. For example, some of the subjects I studied which would be about team organisation, people skills, how you actually go about developing a project, which people would kind of yawn at and be, “Oh, that’s pretty boring,” actually turned out to be the most relevant of all of the… more relevant than the coding. Understanding how you communicate with your team and how you divide up work — so working in as a complete game-changer for me. When I went back to college, I was way more focused and way more driven.

Killian Vigna: I can definitely feel that. Dee, did your course set you up for your path?

Denise Gill: At the time, you’re talking about when it was 2008, and the recession had just hit. So the hair and beauty industry was hit pretty hard, and I was lucky in the fact that I got a job, and it was only as a spa assistant in a five-star spa down near us. And they had to wait for my college results. If I passed, then I would move on to be a junior therapist, which I did, and I was very lucky. Some friends that did the same course couldn’t get work for four or five years.

Well, the industry itself has changed so much in the past ten years because back in 2008 there was no cosmetics. There was no aesthetics, things like that. But as my career went on every job that I got it was something more advanced, something more that I could learn. And in the last clinic that I worked in, they were extremely medical driven, all their treatments and their services. And I loved it. But what I spent most of my day doing was laser hair removal, and I was really into all the machines and wanting to know how to fix it. And I was always really inquisitive in computers.

And I had applied for Phorest a few months prior to my injury. And I always thought it was amazing, Phorest values and just the company that they were trying to bring two opposite businesses together. So for hair and beauty that was always seen as something alone and not very technologically driven, whereas Phorest was trying to change all of that. So now you have this software that is run by people who are in the industry, people that have worked in the industry. So there’s more of an insight and a connection to the salons, and that’s what I loved.

And then when I got the job here, I’ve been here now about a year and a half. And even now as the business, we seem to be more involved and more connected with our clients than ever since going into the US market, the Australian market, and it seems that we are industry leaders now coming towards our… industry leaders in what we do. So I do think that the line between technology and beauty has now blurred into one. I love it at the moment.

Killian Vigna: So you [inaudible 00:13:32] both before you even come here.

Denise Gill: Exactly!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: You got the best of both worlds, yeah.

Killian Vigna: Destined for Phorest!

What to look for when researching a potential employer [13:37]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So guys, we often talk about what to look for in a candidate, especially say if I look at the blog or even past interviews on Phorest FM, we talk to salon owners and we asked them what are you looking for in a candidate? How can a candidate present themselves in the best of their light? But to be honest, the question never really gets flipped to what should a candidate look for in a company. I suppose it’s just a discussion, right? No right or wrong answers. But what were you guys looking for in an employer? We all ended up in Phorest. So clearly, Phorest had somewhat of a proposition that was interesting to us. What were you guys looking for?

James Mulcahy: Yeah. So there’s something I was thinking about when I was applying for jobs because I was trying to figure out what company would be a good fit for me. And I think what it boils down to is, especially early in my career I realised, which I am at now, I realise that experience is the most important thing. So I want to be in a place where I can get access to a lot of different technologies, a lot of different experiences, and work with a lot of experienced people. It’s very knowledgeable people. And so I saw that maybe in a smaller company I would have more opportunities like that because they would probably give me more responsibilities.

And so I did interviews for a lot of companies, and I ultimately decided to join Phorest for that reason because when I came here, and I talked to the other developers during my interviews I realised that, “Oh, this is a company where I’ll be valued, and I’ll actually get really good experience working with very knowledgeable people.” And when you work for bigger companies… like I thought about working for let’s say something like Google or Facebook, but the problem is those companies, especially early on in your career, can be so big that you kind of get lost and your experience in the work you do just kind of gets forgotten about and you almost just become just another number in that company.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, absolutely.

Denise Gill: Yeah, when I was looking around for a different type of work, the main thing that brought me to Phorest was the fact that I had used it in multiple salons that I had worked. So I was familiar with it. And for making a change to going to work in an office from a salon can be quite scary. It was more of the fact that it was familiar for me, but as well as that reading through the values, going through all the different jobs.

Phorest had what their values were as a company, which a lot of other different companies didn’t have on job sites. Phorest was more focused on the client, which I think coming from the industry; that’s what everybody focuses on; is the client, and it just had more information that anybody can do anything in the company. Cross-promotion, we promote from within, and just the main reason for giving 100% and five-star customer service. That’s what I was looking for. Plus as well, the familiarity of it. I had a little bit of knowledge that I wasn’t going in somewhere where I didn’t know what I was doing at all.

Killian Vigna: Two really good points there. You both mentioned kind of that experience and the chance to move around. That’s some really positive feedback that we got from the #30Days2Grow challenge was that salon owners realised their staff members were good in other areas. They were able to display the retail, do marketing, social media. So even though they were taken on to be a hairstylist or to be a beautician, they found internal skills that could help grow the business in general. And that’s something you both mentioned craving here. You are both millennials as well, which kind of relates to a lot of people that we have been talking to is… you’re craving experience. You want where you can do more than just your job, more than just you’re taken on to do, and know that you can make an impact in the business.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It’s that whole purpose thing. And, Killian, you coming into Phorest, you thought it was very interesting because of the contact with small businesses actually.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I didn’t know what I was doing after college. I did digital media design, which was basically a jack of all trades. I did development, HTML, product design, UX, UI, video editing. Did everything like that. I could understand loads of different skills that we have internally here, but no way could I do most of them. So finish off college, still didn’t know what I wanted to do, ended up doing freelance social media. Did an internship with a startup software company, and I set up my own video production company and that’s when I got my first real job then. Like what… six months after college after building that portfolio.

But it was setting up the digital marketing sector for a B to B business. And I thought, “Oh, brilliant. This is my big break. I’m going to make a big impact here.” But I kind of really realised very soon after that I did not want to market the businesses in the sense of you’re marketing to big businesses. I’m talking banks, credit unions. It’s these big corporate entities. And that’s where I came across Phorest by chance. And the first thing from my first interview that appealed to me that made me want the job… I didn’t think I wanted to at first; until my first interview. And it was that it’s B2B, but really it’s talking to people. That’s what drove me to Phorest. That every day in here you’re not talking to a business. You’re talking to individuals.

It’s great to be able to call up a salon owner and chat to them, see how everything’s gone out of nowhere. You couldn’t do that in a typical B2B where you’re dealing with corporates. And it comes back to that you’re not just another cog in the wheel per se. So yeah, that was the big driving force for me. And I have to say I’ve never looked anywhere since. It was the real kind of selling point.

Tips for navigating job hunting and interviews [19:27]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, you mentioned a portfolio there and made me think about when I got out of that trade school. We had to build a portfolio as well, and we were strongly encouraged to find… Well, they helped us as well, find little gigs on the side throughout our school year. So I did a bit alive. I did studio recording stuff. At the end of the year, I had to present my portfolio to the director of the school and apply for a job simulation thing. I realised after… When I went to the interview for my actual job; it was completely different. How did you guys find the transition in that sense? I definitely was not prepared. I was lucky enough to find a place to grow, but realistically, so much harder than I thought it would be.

James Mulcahy: Oh, man, I completely relate to that. Yeah. I was the same. When I left college, I had a good degree, and I had good results as well. So I was like, “This is just going to be a slam dunk. I’m just going to walk in…” I was going to walk in and then it’s going to be like, “Please join us, please James.” No, I had the exact same problem. We never thought anything about the interview process. And especially for a developer, it’s quite intense. You have an initial phone screening, and then you have a tech interview where they make sure you’re not lying about all your technical skills, and then have another interview with HR. And then you have a follow-up interview where they might offer you a job. So it’s like four interviews per company, and then you might not even get a job.

So I was completely in the same boat as you in that way. They never prepared us for any of that. I ended up having to buy books on practicing for the coding interview because even that portion of the interview is completely different from anything that you work on when you join. So I ended up writing another article after this one about landing your first software developer job because there is so much that no one ever tells you about. How to market yourself as a person to a company, like you need understand the company and understand what the values are of the company are and how you can add value to a company. All these things were never taught to us in college. The only thing that was taught to us was how to write good code.

Denise Gill: Yeah, I agree. In college, you’re like, “Oh, you’re really good at this,” and you have your certificate. But when you’re going for a job in the hair beauty industry, it’s completely different depending on what salon you’re going to, what spa, what clinic. So from some of my experiences you would go in, you would talk to the owner, and then the owner would be like, “That’s great. So I want you to paint my nails. I need a facial and I want a full skin consultation, and I want you to wax my legs.” And I’m just like-

James Mulcahy: Oh my god!

Denise Gill: And you’re there, and you’re 18 at the time. You’re shaking. There’s wax everywhere. There’s polish everywhere. And then if they agree to bring you back, it is just judging working with all the other members of staff, and then they say to the owner, “She would fit in here. I think she’s not for here.” So you have your initial interview with the owner or the manager. You’re brought for a full day to work unpaid, and then at the end of that day they make a decision whether or not they would like to keep you on if they think that you would be good for your business, and you may get a phone call to say, “Yep, we’ll let you start,” or, “It didn’t work out. So thank you for applying.” So you could have just worked an entire day for free.

So it’s a lot different than a normal industry, and it’s quite overwhelming as well, especially for someone straight out of college that really wants a job. But as you go on, you do get a little bit more confident in it. But still, it’s never really what you expect going in at all.

Killian Vigna: I think the best real-world experience example I’ve got for an interview was definitely a reality check. I was still in college. Because I was doing a design course, they taught you about building portfolios and stuff like that. But when I was younger, I always had this obsession with joining the army, which is a bit of a little unknown fact about me, but I always wanted to be in the army. So there were the cadetships came up to be in Air Corps, which would have meant if you passed you would go on to train as a pilot. And I think the year I went for it, 800 people applied for five positions. And part of that was an interview round, and it was the toughest interview I have ever done in my life. And I think because of that I’ve always found every interview since quite easy.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Blessing in disguise.

Killian Vigna: Unbelievable! You’re stuck in this small room. It was really hot. They didn’t have any of the windows open. You’d have one small glass water beside you. And you’re sitting in the middle, and it was five people on the panel. Three of them were Officers, one was a military psychologist, and one was a plane psychologist. And I mean question after question after question. It was like being up against a firing round. And I choked. I choked so many times. I came out after nearly two hours, and my shirt was soaked. And I passed it. I don’t know how, but I passed it, failed under psychometric exam after.

But since then I just kind of realised; be absolutely humble, whereas before everyone was like you have to really big up yourself. You have to say basically how great you are at this and you can do this, this and that. After that interview, I realised just be humble because the minute you say one thing they dig and dig and dig into that until they catch it because they want to see how you perform under pressure. So I think with every interview ever since I’ve just been so humble and I suppose downplaying things.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I recall people in my year in sound recording school; people just felt entitled. Like, “I’ve paid $20000 to study this one year of school. So now I’m entitled to have a job after this.” And it’s like, “No, you have zero work experience. You need to learn.” And it takes time. So my question is, I guess, would you guys have any recommendations or tips for anyone listening to this episode who is not a salon owner who perhaps is a student looking to find their path into today’s workforce and not quite sure how to navigate it?

James Mulcahy: I think you need to do, at least in my case, I just needed to do a lot of interviews. I know I perform well when I know what I’m doing. So the only way to get better at interviews for me was to do a lot of interviews and really understand what my good qualities are and what are my bad qualities and rehearse questions as well. A question that I always got, which is an awful question to ask anyone, is, “Why should I give you this job?” Which is just like, “Okay. Here we go.” And you have to say why you think you’d be good for the company. But it’s really about… and I didn’t learn this until later. It’s really about linking yourself to the company because an interviewer… I think it’s going to be similar for when you said you were doing that just day training and all the other people were looking at you and seeing if you would blend with the company.

It’s the same thing in an interview. An interviewer is trying to see will this person work well with the team I already have because I’m trying to create a culture in this company, and this person needs to fit into this company culture. So if you can try to identify that culture or at least some aspects of it, that is going to be so beneficial. You can take that into the interview with you and show like, “Here, I’m qualified, but also I’m a good fit. I will help add value to this company.” So I think those are things I didn’t know. And now that I know I think it makes interviewing a bit easier for me because you just look up what is the company about, what are the values of that company, and how do I align myself with that company.

Denise Gill: Yeah, I would definitely agree with James to research the company before you actually go in. You will always get those questions like where do you see yourself in five years, and the best thing even with that question is, to be honest, and say, “I can’t see that far ahead. Things could change.” Instead of saying, “I want to be with this company in five years.” 

Other things are to make sure that you take your time, try and relax as much as possible and be genuine. Don’t try to be this fake person in the interview because if you get hired and you start, and you’re completely different then that’s where you could run into trouble. Just be yourself. And if the company thinks you’re a good fit, you’re a good fit. If you’re not a good fit for that company, you’ll be a good fit for a different company.

James Mulcahy: Yeah, definitely. And I think to piggyback off that if you do get rejected although it’s hard try not to take it personally and do try to ask for feedback because the most important thing is to learn from your interviews. Not every interview is going to go well, but you can learn from the interview so that future interviews go way better. Although some companies are bad about giving feedback, try asking for it because it’s so helpful for future endeavours.

Killian Vigna: Well, they always say that if you go for an interview for the same role that you’re in now and they ask you questions that you can’t answer then that’s kind of realisation going, “Oh, I need to work more on that area. I need to find out more about that to develop your current role.”

James Mulcahy: Yeah, definitely.

Denise Gill: I completely agree.

Killian Vigna: Well, thanks so much for joining us on the show. We hope that anyone who’s looking at going from college or an internship, apprenticeship… anyone who’s looking to take the first steps to move into their future career has taken some good notes from this and hopefully everything goes plain sailing for them in their first interview or their tenth interview because the first nine is just experience!

Denise Gill: Exactly, exactly!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And if anyone from the industry currently working in a specific role that you didn’t imagine you’d be in one day and you want to share your story do email us at We’re always looking for new stories to share on the podcast. So yeah, please do get in touch if you have anything that you’d be interested in sharing with us.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff guys, and James, I know you’re flying off now because you’ve got your team day out in an adventure room!

James Mulcahy: Yeah, very excited!

Denise Gill: You’re going to smash it James!

James Mulcahy: I’m going to have to play down my competitive nature.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, enjoy and have a great day guys. Thanks so much for joining us.

Denise Gill: Thank you!

James Mulcahy: Thanks for having us! Thanks.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [29:55]

Killian Vigna: So that was James and Dee talking about their experiences going from student to career. And what I found interesting was… well, a couple of things. First off, we’ve never really actually discussed our kind of backgrounds, and it’s the first time we’ve properly been nearly interviewing each other on the show, asking each other questions, which was a weird feeling. But even though all four of us came from all different backgrounds, we all still showed the exact same feelings on that experience moving from either internship, apprenticeship, through college, right up until your career, how you got that career, what prep you had before that, and how it went for you.

And what I kind of find funny was people talk about millennials and how they want to be involved. They want to know whatever company they’re going to work for they’re going to make an impact and not just part of a big, big team like a large enterprise, that they’re going to be in a small team, that they can learn as much as they can from. And all four of us agreed on that here today. And that’s something that we’ve discussed recently on the episode with the #30Days2Grow recap where Emma Simmons turned around and said thar her staff… She realised skillsets they had to help grow her business outside of their careers. They went on to do the marketing side, the social media side, which all helped grow her salon. And it just goes to show that this is a recurring theme.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s what makes the beauty of a workplace. It’s being with different people, different backgrounds and experiences that you can learn from and grow and develop your skillsets. And yeah, I mean, if I look at my background I wouldn’t do anything different today. Yeah, the switch was massive, and yeah, it was a huge learning curve, but I’ve been so well surrounded. It’s just there’s a learning opportunity in everything, and you just have to recognise it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. I was reading a thing a few days ago, and I’m not going to be able to call it at all because it was something that kind of stood out to me, but I don’t remember where I got it from. It could have been from Shane Parrish of Farnam Street, where you shouldn’t be so focused on just your career and what skills you need to make your career. You should always be taking bits and pieces from other careers around you, so the people you work with. Even though you’re working on different job roles, you should still learn a bit from each other because that really opens up your career down. It opens you up to newer, bigger, and better opportunities. You’re not funnelling yourself down one path.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And also not everyone is in competition with each other. Loads of people, if you take the time to ask they’ll be more than happy to share what they know with you and help you develop that skill if you want to develop it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. And a good example is I do content in the Education department, but I’ve worked with our head of product and stuff like that on getting systems in and learned new work methods like agile strategies, wire-framing. And it’s just those little things where I would have thought, “Oh, I don’t need to know that.” But by working with a developer, I’ve learned that and now that’s part of my everyday work.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, it’s crazy, isn’t it? So listen, before we wrap up the show, I believe you wanted to talk about Phorest Academy, which is your one-stop education shop.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, exactly! So we’ve been talking about this for a while now. It’s an online portal, and it means you can now do self-taught learning instead of just doing live online training with an instructor. You can learn at your own rate. So what can you expect from the Phorest Academy? You’ll have interactive online and on-demand training guides. It’s all bite-size content. So it’s stuff that you can dip in and out of. You’re not talking about sitting down and investing an hour’s worth of time into doing a course. You can jump in and do like a five-minute bite-size course.

But then there’s a series of courses that accumulate into one big course or what we call a learning path. There’s a library of regularly added and updated courses. So a lot of them there at the moment are Phorest courses, so product courses, how to use different parts of the product. We have interactive Phorest systems. So if you’re new to the salon… off of the back of this if you’re brand new, day one at the salon and you’ve never looked at Phorest you can do these online courses and used to the demo versions of Phorest so you don’t have to worry about breaking anything or messing up any appointments on the screen.

And then finally, which is the big one that I love talking about is to Phorest Academy certificate. So every time you complete a course, you get a certificate that you can frame up on your wall to say you’re Phorest certified.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We also have The Salon Management Course which you can sign up for. It’s a six-week program hosted by business strategist Valerie Delforge, and it’s designed to help develop your managerial and leadership skills. If you’re looking into doing that you can sign up with the link in the episode’s notes. And how it works is that each week you’ll receive by email an hour-long presentation that you can watch, obviously, in your own time, along with a workbook that will help you put those new ideas and plans into place. Although the course is powered by Phorest Salon Software, you don’t need salon software to take part. It is free. The entire course is hosted online. And so yeah, anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can sign up. Like I said, the link is going to be in this episode’s notes.

Finally, The Salon Mentorship Hub. So whatever you’re struggling with in the salon if you feel stuck and you want to have a chat about anything customer service related, social media, finance, whatever it is, we’ve teamed up with industry coaches and consultants. So if you head over to, you can book yourself in for a free 15 to 30-minute consultation on the topic of your choosing. There are loads of coaches working with us on the Salon Mentorship Hub. I encourage you to have a look at the website, like I said, or click the link in the episode’s notes.

Well, that’s all we got for this week guys. So as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode, have a story about your path you wish to share, or have any suggestions at all send us an email at or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show.

Otherwise, have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday for the monthly round-up.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

Life after college: Transition from student to software developer (by James Mulcahy on Nothing Ventured)

Landing your first software developer job (by James Mulcahy on Nothing Ventured)

Register for the 6-Week Salon Management Course hosted by Business Strategist Valerie Delforge

Book a free 15-30 minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub


This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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