Rev. Sass Adams (they/them) is a freelance social media advisor, an ordained Interfaith Minister, and the founder of Spiritunity. They came across the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) program at the start of their self-employment journey after being made redundant during the Covid pandemic.
As someone with several ‘barriers to self-employment’, Sass’ journey has been as much about personal empowerment as it has been to satisfy ambition.
Starting with only £40 in the bank to cover food for the month, Sass began freelancing in 2020 as a social media manager with help from the local jobcentre. During the pandemic, they found that a lot of small businesses and solo entrepreneurs in the local area were looking for cost cutting ways to achieve their marketing objectives. They were able to take on clients as both a social media mentor and manager.
“Once I was on benefits, there was no further down I could go money-wise. Not much more I could lose. It was actually the perfect time to go self-employed.”
The AWE program helped Sass to make a lot of initial connections with other small businesses, some of which has led to new clients and collaborative partners. They still meet with a small group from their ‘Business Builders’ cohort on a weekly basis to support each other and to hold each other accountable.
“it gave me the support that I was looking for rather than just doing it completely on my own.”
With this support in place, Sass managed to push through the initial fear and lack of confidence that came with such a big change. In a short amount of time, they were able to prove to themselves that they were capable through the ‘small’ successes. They have gone on to deliver training in social media and digital marketing, as well as guest speaking at several events across the UK.
“There’s imposter syndrome, I think to myself that I don’t have those skills. I’m never going to be in that kind of position. I don’t have the right personality. And then, all of sudden, I’m doing the thing I never thought I’d be able to do.”
After several years of study and training, Sass was ordained in 2022 as an Interfaith Minister by the OneSpirit seminary in London. Whilst the initial intention was to transition from social media to becoming a wedding and funeral celebrant, they are finding that ‘ministry’ can be applied in unexpected ways.
“I’d be on calls with my social media clients, what started as advice about posting selfies would lead to a discussion exploring personal issues about self-worth, body-confidence, and relationship with money.”
These conversations helped Sass to realise that personal growth and empowerment within business could be viewed as much as a spiritual pursuit as anything else. They are now currently working on building Spiritunity, a membership aimed at supporting spiritually minded business people in the early stages of their own self-employment.
“I see this as part of my ministry, empowering others in the same ways I’ve been supported in business.”
Sass has been inspired by their network grown from their time with the AWE, their own clients, their peers from the Onespirit seminary, as well as drawing on personal experience. They often hear people say “I don’t know what I’m doing,” or “I don’t know what I need to know,” when it comes to running a business. Whilst they don’t have all the answers, they probably know someone who does!
“The AWE taught me the power of networking through support and friendship. We’re all entitled to be ourselves and to be empowered. To be fully ourselves, and we all deserve to be supported in that.”
Case Study produced by Sass Adams for the AWE programme.