Eight years ago today, I got the paperwork to say that Focus HR had been formally registered as a business.
As I sit and reflect on the journey I can feel every rise, fall, jolt and rattle of the roller coaster ride it has been.
When you take the plunge and start a business, people see it as so ‘entrepreneurial’ and the frequent question asked of me was ‘you must be so excited to be doing this, right?’ with an expectant smile for the gushing flow of enthusiasm to follow. What a lot of people don’t know is that I started Focus HR not because I was inescapably driven to do my own thing or build an empire. Instead I started with mixed feelings, of grief at separating from a business that I loved working for and had poured my blood, sweat and tears into; incredible fear at the unknown; a massive dose of self-doubt; and yes, just enough excitement to see me through.
I surrounded myself with trusted advisors who had my best interests at heart and who I still value and seek guidance from to this day. I set myself a 6-month deadline of achieving enough work to live off … and then blew that out of the water. I never had plans to build a team or anything bigger than little-ol’-me. In fact, I was totally unaware that there would be so much demand for something that I was so passionate about … I certainly didn’t think there would be enough for me to sustain a team of people around me.
It was also beyond my wildest dreams that we would become a multi-award-winning firm at a local and a national level – no amount of ‘envisioning’ would have taken me there!
You can imagine how grateful and surprised I was as word spread and more and more businesses allowed me into their fold, entrusted me with their most valuable asset – their people – and shared my passion for great people practices and inspirational leadership.
And as I was given the privilege of working with my clients’ teams, I had the unexpected but amazing opportunity to build my team. Having people join me has been one of my most rewarding experiences and I’ve taken such joy from working with the brilliant minds and hearts that make up the Focus HR team today – something I had not expected to love so much having been ridiculously independent and headstrong individual since I was a baby (just ask my parents!!!).
Don’t get me wrong – it most certainly has not all been smooth sailing. I have had my beliefs challenged; had to make some of the toughest decisions of my life to uphold our company values; and I’m sure I’m not the only business owner out there to wonder if it is all worth it and question if I am really doing the right thing.
Business ownership can be a lonely place to be. But 2 years ago I was incredibly lucky in finding a business partner to share the journey with.
A word to the wise for anyone considering a co-owner or partner (and these pearls of wisdom came from one of my most trusted advisors, I can’t claim them as my own) – if you want a powerful partnership, don’t look for the person who has the same skills, attributes or thought processes as you – look for the person who brings something different to the table. A unique perspective, a different but complementary skill set, and above all, the ability and courage to challenge you when the situation requires and the care to support you when you need it most. I found that.
So now, 8 years in, as I sit and reflect, I appreciate everything that has come to be – my brilliant business partner; hitting double digits with a team of people I admire and would chose to spend time with any hour of the day on any day of the week; the opportunity to work with over 300 businesses who want to build better teams; and a growing confidence to think big and dream bigger.
Thank-you to everyone who has supported me on this journey. There are too many to name – you know who you are. I can’t wait to see what the next 8 years bring!! And yes, I am still pinching myself.