Sometimes in life we think about making a change in our life but don’t do it for whatever reason.  We sometimes want to make a career change but don’t for fear of not having a steady income or the insecurity of not being able to make it work on our own. 

When someone tells you your life can change in a second believe it! I know because it happened to me.  I experienced a life changing event about thirteen years ago which resulted in me losing my job. The Company I was working for at the time had a catastrophic fire which resulted in £10 million pounds of damage and 150 people losing their livelihoods. It was a very stressful time and as the HR Manager I was thrown straight into Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery. On the day of the fire we were supposed to be holding interviews for a new Managing Director. Can you imagine that as a candidate you get the call that the interview is cancelled because the Company is on fire! There were many more bizarre things that happened that day and one worth mentioning was that I was interviewed by the regional news channels to speak on behalf of the Company. I was very ill equipped at the time but suddenly I was thrown into the spotlight as the Company spokesperson. I truly didn’t have any time to think and it was a baptism of fire, excuse the pun. Fortunately, no one was injured as the fire had broken out in the early hours of the morning.

It got me thinking if I can deal with a situation like that this then surely starting your own business can’t be that difficult.

As I said earlier, sometimes we want to make a change but don’t have the nerve, so I guess this time the decision was made for me.

I decided since I had the time, expertise, and desire to do something for myself that I would focus on building a Human Resources Consulting & Coaching business.

Trust me; this is much easier said than done.  Not that I thought it would be easy.  There are so many things to do.  You need a name, a website, branding, a business plan, marketing strategies, and may I say the list goes on and on.  One of the most important things you need to know and figure out is your niche market.

Even though in the beginning it is hard work; requires lots of your time, and especially your dedication and desire to succeed, it is all worth it when you have your finished product.  At times you may get frustrated and feel that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming at you but you have to stay focused.
I know nothing comes easy and when you have to do all the work from inception to the finished project in the end you really appreciate your accomplishments. I must say I have learned to become quite creative.

Success as a small business owner largely relies on the strength of your product or service. However, you must also possess the following qualities to thrive:

  • Creativity – You must be innovative, imaginative and have the initiative to push your business forward with new ideas. You’ll also need drive, determination and enthusiasm to make them reality.
  • Knowledge – Having a strong understanding of your market and customer is vital, while the willingness to listen and adapt to their ever-changing needs is also key.
  • Leadership – Owning and developing independent projects should come naturally to you, as should managing a team whether directly or indirectly.
  • Organisation – You must be focused and goal-orientated, able to set clear and realistic objectives. Working well under pressure and having strong time management skills are also important.
  • Communication – Be succinct and articulate so that everyone that you come into contact fully understands what needs to be done. There is still too much jargon banded about with regards to human resources. I learnt early on to step up my active listening skills and talk much less when meeting a new prospect.
  • Self-belief – You’ll need the confidence to take risks and responsibility for your decisions, as well as the appetite to network with individuals and other organisations.

When working on your own there is often a feeling of ‘desperation’ when the work does not come flying in. The temptation is to go for anything and everything. These things often lead to freelancers only being in the market for 2-3 years and then going back into the corporate world.

I firmly believe that you need to build a strong network of contacts and promote collaboration. I have come across many HR Consultants who do not want to collaborate and are fiercely competitive. That is fine, but my beliefs are that if we are to transform HR then we need to collaborate even more.

     “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

  • Aristotle

This phrase aptly defines the modern concept of synergy. For anyone who has played team sports, it echoes the T.E.A.M. acronym—together, everyone achieves more.

So if you are looking for a peer support group with coaching and mentoring to help you continue to enjoy the freedom running your own business then please contact me.

Mandy Withers

Talk HR Solutions

P.S. Look out for my next blog on what key questions to ask yourself when starting out.