My business has survived its first year! by Danielle Heward, DH Professional Solutions

I originally set up my company as a vehicle to operate as a contractor project manager in October 2019, which is what I did for the first five months of my company’s existence.

At the time there were already some significant tax legislation changes on the horizon for the private contractor market (the dreaded IR35 rules) but when Covid hit, the work I was doing on office IT infrastructure came to a halt as offices across the country closed down. It also compounded the uncertainty and instability in the market and I decided it was time to do something different.

So why am I doing what I’m doing?

I’ve always known I wanted to work for myself. From a personal point of view I enjoy autonomy, creativity and the freedom to pursue things that catch my interest at my own pace. I’m also not great at doing as I’m told by someone else – especially if I don’t understand or agree with what I’m being asked to do. (No comments please from those that I’ve worked for in the past! ?)

I also love learning. Whatever it is, if I’m not being challenged or absorbing new information then I get restless, I feel like I’m wasting an opportunity or wasting time.

So I have tonnes of experience of working with Leadership and Management Teams in some very large, complex operational organisations, giving me an understanding of the demands and intricacies of how to manage a business. But building my own business is a whole new kettle of fish! And I’m excited to continue meeting and working with people that I can learn and take inspiration from.Something else I’ve enjoyed over the years is to mentor and nurture the talents of others. I’ve had experience of line management and task management in the past and coaching others to achieve their goals and seeing them grow has always been such a rewarding return on my personal investment. This is something I’d love to build into my own business, building a team of people that want to work towards the same things as I do, allowing me to learn from them as well, as I guide the business towards its vision.

How’s it going?

At the same time as my contract ending in April, I was accepted onto the NatWest Business Accelerator course, which has given me such important learning and support, as well as access to a network of brilliant people and the motivation to throw everything I have into building my business.

With some money in my savings, a terrible marketplace for ‘real jobs’, the foundations provided by the NatWest course and a lot of spare time during lockdown – I have been able to really refine and focus on what I want my business to be, who I want to help and what services I can provide.

My vision is a world where purpose-driven businesses operate at their optimum, maximising their positive impact on society, the economy and the environment; more effectively fulfilling the purpose they serve.

And I aim to be the go-to business improvement partner for these companies, helping them achieve that optimum. The ripple effect of this has the potential to be huge – the more businesses I can help to be the best they can be, the better our world has a chance to be.

This is a big, ambitious goal – one which I’m determined to achieve. But I’m also determined to enjoy the journey I’m on to get there. I’ve loved it so far and I’m looking forward to the rest!