It seems like a lifetime ago when I started to think about starting my own business. I have been lucky to work in some incredible companies and the thought that I could create my own consultancy to work with the kind of leaders I admire, that really understand what ‘HR’ means, was something I only could have dreamt of. I also wanted to have full flexibility around my 2 daughters. I was not so set on being ‘my own boss’ but I was clear the type of HR work I wanted to do and over time it became evident that I would have to go alone to do this.
I was aware of the statistics, 9/10 start-ups fail, 60% of start-ups don’t make it past year 3. The main reasons are:
- No business plan – I was 100% clear on what I wanted to do, my customer, my offering and my value
- Cash Flow problems – managing cash in the early days was relatively easy: I worked from my kitchen table, had little overheads, paid all my bills on time and put reserves in place
- No understanding of business concepts – I studied business and worked in business for 20 years, so I was hopeful I knew enough to keep me on my toes!
- Don’t value data – Data has become more useful over time… but ignore at your peril
- Don’t understand the marketplace – What I didn’t know, I made it my mission to find out.
I spent the first few months speaking to business owners to find out what made a business successful (and what didn’t). I linked up with a coach friend of mine who helped me put some ‘low targets’ together. I spoke to many potential partners to see if their products would work with my business, I had what feels like millions of meetings, kissed lots of frogs and went down the wrong rabbit hole a few times. I met people I trusted, until I realised I could not. I met people I was wary of, who over time, I realised I could trust with my life and they had my back. I started my business on a few hundred pounds and did a ‘skill swap’ with a Company who needed HR support (they were a start-up) and I needed a website from them… in the early days, looking for opportunities like that was so critical to save on costs.
My business model I etched on a scrap book (which I still have) my hopes and dreams in bullet points, then it all started to come together.
On 1st May 2016 we had the official launch party of My HR Hub in a client’s restaurant in Nottingham. I had a handful of clients, but that did not matter as the room was full of my family, my daughters, my friends, my ex-work colleagues, future business partners, suppliers, and future clients. All encouraging me to do what I loved doing and they have never faltered in their support – I am so grateful to them all – those of you reading this know what an important part of my journey you have been and still are.
These past 5 years have been a mixture of incredible highs – acquiring clients, retaining existing clients, winning awards and in this last year, growing a fantastic team. However, no start up is without its challenges, the long hours, tiredness, sacrifices, disappointments and the last year’s client’s crises through the pandemic have created the real ‘bumps’ in the road. However, the business took off almost instantly and I am so grateful to the partners that have and continue to support me and the incredible companies and leaders that I have been privileged to support.
The SME market continues to surprise me, there is so much creativity, hard work and personal sacrifices that small businesses make, as someone going through this journey too, I could resonate, so my drive to help them even more, beyond their HR needs, remains a key part of what My HR Hub set out to do.
The journey so far has been so hard but so rewarding, so tiring but so energising, frustrating but so challenging – there are a few things I would change, but not many – I feel very lucky to have achieved beyond what I set out to do. 3 years later, I launched My HR Club on 1st May 2019, which is now 2 years old, and we are really proud of how this is progressing. A new addition to our business are our Retreats in Derbyshire, with much more exciting news to come on this soon!
There are so many people I would like to thank, but the biggest thanks go to my parents and my sisters and wider family and friends, who have been with me every step of the way, encouraging me when things don’t go to plan, yet celebrating every milestone with me too. My 2 daughters, Tilly and Maisie, who are actually the 2 of the three people in my logo. Tilly was with me when I graduated from Nottingham Trent University, she was 1 at the time… Tilly is now studying there herself and was the 1st permanent members of staff I employed last year. My clients who over years, many have become friends, who trusted me with their business and the many amazing employees I have met over the 5 years. Thanks goes also to our incredible first class partners, who deliver brilliant solutions for our clients and put customer service at the heart of what they do. Along the way, all our suppliers, universities and local community who have been key to us growing our business.
Finally, this year, the emergence of our talented team, Rachael (a previously work colleague) who joined us, Sam, who was an Intern from Nottingham Trent University, who is managing our Marketing brilliantly and Tilly also in Marketing. They are the dream team for me and put customers first, work hard but we have so much fun doing it! This weekend, our team will get together for the first time, we will celebrate My HR Hub’s 5 years, My HR Club’s 2 years and the plans we have yet to deliver.
I am so proud of how far we have come and look forward to the next 5 years. Thank you everyone who has been on our journey… we appreciate it immensely.