Original article published at Go Solo
Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in human resource services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kellie Chandler, Director of Dunwoody HR Consulting, located in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I run an HR Consultancy focused specifically on small and medium-sized businesses that don't need a full-time HR resource but need some help, support, or advice on an ad-hoc basis or more long-term basis. I have a wide range of clients but have more of a focus on the charity and farming sectors.
Tell us about yourself
I have always worked in the area of HR. Even when I started my career as a Legal Secretary, it was for an employment lawyer. In my lunchtimes, I ran training programmes on various computer programmes. My background is predominately in professional services. I worked for 12 years at Ernst & Young based in London and was responsible for the Tax Service Line of 1800 people, then moved to be Head of HR at Nabarro Law firm before moving to Wiltshire in 2015. That is when I started my own business. I wanted to have more flexibility to see my children, but I also wanted to keep working in the area I love. I love the variety you can have in HR in terms of the companies you can work with, and I love coming away from a phone call or a meeting and knowing that I have helped.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being in my 8th year of business! 10 years ago, I would never have seen myself as someone who would be self-employed. I always liked having the security of a paycheque and couldn't imagine doing the sales piece, but it gets a bit easier over time, and I love the variety of my clients and the relationships I have built with them over the years. I have never met some of them in person, but I still get a real buzz out of talking to them and helping them with whatever issue is causing them to worry. Many of them are small companies with only a handful of employees, so they are up at night worrying about what to do if someone is off sick, etc. I can help take some of that stress away.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Getting the balance right - it is very easy to just think you will catch up on some work quickly, and then you land up being at your computer for hours. You also have to ensure that you do leave your house and go out and see people as otherwise, you can become quite insular. Some days you just have to push yourself out the door to the networking event or the coffee because you always feel better afterward.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Get a virtual assistant - I have only done this in the last year, and it has really helped to give me a bit more bandwidth for the things that I know I can do, but it is helpful that someone else does them, for example designing a survey on wellbeing initiatives.
- Help others - networking is great, but you need to be genuine and help others when you can, even if nothing comes back to you. You will be amazed at who you know when you really think about it.
- Be patient with yourself and give yourself time - when I came to Wiltshire, I didn't know anyone, and it felt like it took quite a while to establish myself, but I keep connecting with others, and when you are wondering if you will ever get the third or fourth client, don't be too hard on yourself. Keep believing in yourself.