From redundancy to crime entrepreneur: A case study WITH EXCLUSIVE GIVEAWAY FROM AMWAY


By Lisa Charles
From the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2015

Joel Griggs (47), like many others saw the benefits of entrepreneurship after being made redundant and receiving a small redundancy package. It was Joel’s dream to follow his passion and make it into a successful business, but the reality he faced was much more difficult than he ever thought. Nonetheless, in true entrepreneurial spirit, he forged ahead and his new chosen path fills him with a lot of pride and joy.

Joel had grown up surrounded by, and fascinated with, all things crime related. After spending a career working in education he took a stroll along the Hastings waterfront and spotted abandoned caves, which turned out to have previously housed everything from hotel generators to a home for druid groups at the turn of the 19th century.

Realising the potential Joel decided to use his lifelong interest in crime to set up his very own True Crime Museum which, with the help of a £12,000 Start Up Loan, was able to open in August 2014. Containing a wide range of items from the acid vats that famous serial killer John George Haigh used to kill his victims, to former belongings of the now jailed American terrorist known as the ‘unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski. Alongside the exhibits there are monthly events from guest speakers and a cinema cave where famous murderers describe their deadly deeds.

Currently True Crime Museum has 3 full time employees and a host of part time workers who are utilised over the busy summer months. Its location on the waterfront is becoming its primary attraction as the once derelict Hastings Pier is being renovated after a fire which is sure to increase footfall in the area.

Joel Griggs, True Crime Museaum

Joel Griggs, True Crime Museaum

Joel sources his material from across the UK and around the world and remains the only museum dedicated to true crime in the region, indeed there is very little competition nationwide. He works with local police and victim support to highlight the devastating effects that crime can have and aims to use the museum as an educational venue.

Going forward Joel hopes to host experts and authors at the venue to talk about various crimes and also provide walking tours around Hastings. 

The risk

Was it worth the risk? Many people ask. Joel is not sure, the company is just outside of their first year of trading and being a seaside town trade is seasonal but they are adapting by hosting various events.

Fear of failure

Fear of failure was a major obstacle for Joel and it took people around him to say its ready, do it, there will be teething problems but it will be all worth it. Support from his family and girlfriend has been crucial and he didn’t realize what the work would really entail until he took the plunge.

Having the support and belief from people who don’t know Joel personally had a massive impact on him and he is now proud to say they are supporting 3 permanent jobs and have only been up and running for 14 months.

From initial idea to seeing his dream as a reality

It took 18 – 24 months from having the idea, researching ideas and planning, to actually trading.

Joel’s advice on becoming an entrepreneur at 45

Joel believes you have to listen to professional advice and do a lot of market research beforehand. Also make sure you look into who your competitors are.



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