When Jason and I established Natural HR and opened offices in 2016, I was more reserved about sharing ‘our story’ with people. Worried that established businesses would see us as too risky to trade with, I felt it was best to keep quiet.
However, not long into this period of growth, I realised that sharing your story and allowing people to understand where you’ve come from, what drives you, the challenges, the successes, and even some of your vulnerabilities are likely to make you a more successful business person. In the end, “people buy from people”. I heard this when I was much younger, but it is becoming more relevant to my working world.
In 2018, I spoke to Business Leader, not about a particular topic, but about me. ‘Maid in the Midlands’ – From Cleaning Toilets to HR Tech Entrepreneur was an excellent chance for me to share my story, which at that point, perhaps many didn’t know.
It also gave me a chance to talk publicly about my two young boys, my role as a working mother, setting up and running a business with my husband, and the way I hoped the family values Jason and I have not only translated to our children but also to Natural HR and our team.
Honesty is at the core of our values as a family, and in recent recruitment drives, I have also made a real effort to be as open and honest with prospective employees. I think it is essential to be this way when employing so that the individual can make the right decision about where they want to work. There’s nothing worse than a company that covers up the reality of working somewhere, only to have that new employee feel dissatisfied and ultimately leave the business.
I’ve continued to share my reflections on being a tech entrepreneur as people have told me how much of what I’m sharing resonates with them. This included a different opinion piece featured in Business Leader, titled: What can Losing Teach You About Winning in Business? This piece was straight after the West Midlands Tech Awards, where I had been shortlisted to the final 3 of the Woman in Tech category. I didn’t win and took it quite hard. Undecided whether or not to share the piece, I concluded that if I felt this way about it as an entrepreneur, then others would too.
I also managed to identify through that feeling of disappointment some real positives and also important reflections. Notably, the importance of resilience, the falsity of how social media often presents ‘business lives’, and the entrepreneurial streak can take you high but also leave you low.
I’m much more open now, and I also really appreciate reading other business people’s insights into doing business or balancing work and home life. However successful you are, the truth is we’re all still human.