Names: Pamela Cormack and business partner Karen Grieve.

Ages: 48 and 44 respectively.

What is your business called?

Family Payroll Ltd.

Where is it based?

We both work from home in East Lothian, but our services cover the whole of Scotland.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?

We offer a personalised payroll service, supporting families and individuals who employ anyone in their home – be that a nanny, PA, cleaner or carer.

We process the monthly payroll and send all necessary submissions to HMRC. We can register our clients as an employer with HMRC and help set up their online PAYE account. We can do the same with a pension provider, submit a Declaration of Compliance with the Pensions Regulator and monitor an employee’s pension eligibility each month.

I am a single-mum to my nine-year-old son, and Karen is a mum to two grown up sons so we are fully aware how time is precious for many families with a busy lifestyle.

How many employees?

The business is run by the two of us.

When was it formed?

I established Family Payroll Ltd in 2020.

I am also the founder of Lothian Childcare Solutions, a childcare agency that recruits and provides childcare workers to families including babysitters, nannies, and mother’s helps.

After identifying the need for a dedicated payroll service for families who employ someone in their home, I decided to create a second business to offer the kind of services I could see were needed.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I have more than 20 years’ experience in the care sector. Before starting Lothian Childcare Solutions in 2018 I worked in nurseries, as a deputy project leader in a children and families project, and then as an inspector with the Care Commission (now Care Inspectorate) inspecting early years services across Scotland.

Karen was previously a payroll administrator. With over 15 years’ experience in HR Administration, Finance and Operations, she recently gained an accountancy qualification, and is committed to furthering her studies.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

Because we’re providing a service, we needed very little in the way of start-up funding as the business doesn’t have many overheads yet.

It is still early days for the business, and we have really enjoyed every moment. Launching in the middle of a global pandemic was a challenge but we know that we do not grow when things are easy, we grow when we are challenged.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

The flexibility of being my own boss is a big bonus. I am able to work around my son for school, walk the dog and set my own hours, albeit long hours sometimes. I really don’t mind putting in lots of late nights and extra hours for our business though. Probably my favourite thing is the set-up process for clients, discussing their needs and doing what we need to get them onboard.

What do you least enjoy?

Spreadsheets, which we have to have a lot of! Karen however, is a whiz with them thankfully. I am definitely taking an excel course this year.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We have a “magic number” of onboarded clients we want to reach, we know this number will allow us to have a sustainable and profitable business but still allow us to offer the personal touch with our clients.

Our aim is to reach this number before the end of our second year.

What single thing would most help?


In a Covid-19 world in which lots of face-to-face events are cancelled, we feel it would be valuable to be able to talk to other like-minded entrepreneurs for advice, to hear their stories and share ours. We have accessed virtual events, mainly women in business, but it’s not the same as connecting with someone in real life.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

There could be more support from Holyrood.

We don’t think The Women in Enterprise Framework and Action Plan originally released in 2014, and refreshed in 2017, has been effective enough. In 2017 businesses owned by women amounted to less than a quarter of all business in Scotland. It was reported in April 2021 that this figure had dropped to 20 per cent. The Government could be doing more. They noted themselves that “women have lower levels of overall capitalisation” and women have to rely more on personal savings and informal sources of finance. It would be great if they could give female entrepreneurs greater access to funding. Women have shown themselves to be effective contributors to enterprise and commerce in Scotland.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

People buy from people and taking the time to speak to and listen to clients is invaluable.

How do you relax?

We are both working mums with busy family lives, the word relax is not in our vocabularies!

We both have dogs, I have a six-year-old working Cocker, Barney, and Karen has a 14-year-old Westie called Skye.

Taking the dogs a walk in the beautiful East Lothian countryside gives us a chance to get out and enjoy some fresh air and step away from our laptops.