Starting a company, writing a book, building an app, learning to paddle board — all in 18 months. Oh my!
Starting my own human resources company was something I always knew I wanted to do and feel incredibly proud to accomplish. I can take my decades of experience in HR and share it with employers just getting their feet wet. I get to work with employers who are in the process of hiring their first employee, writing their first handbook, handling a tough employee issue, or simply wanting to learn more. My style is casual but straightforward, and I’ve been fortunate to find the perfect match in my clients.
But that wasn’t enough.
During the same timeframe, I wrote my first book, “HR Step 1,” coming out this summer. Now we’re talking about dreams coming true! Yes, starting a company was a dream, but publishing a book was number-one on the ol’ bucket list. “HR Step 1” is my way of helping employers not feel so alone as they begin to delve into the world of HR. This book is a tool to help guide HR practices, but it also tells stories of employers experiencing many of the same things you might be. Oh, and it’s all done with a sense of humor.
But wait, there’s more!
I also wrote all the content, hired an incredible team, and am launching a web application at the same time as the book, also called HR Step 1. The web application is a culmination of years of human resources information, all wrapped up in a tidy and cool system. Employers work through a series of questions designed to help teach the basics of human resources practices. In the end, the user gets a Risk Rate Report telling them how they did on the questions. For every question the user needs help with, we provide a “solution.” Solutions might be forms, processes, policy, links, etc. I developed this product to use with my clients and realized it could be a benefit to every small business.
To say that I’ve been busy would be a bit of an understatement. Assuming my days are quite stressful would be entirely accurate. But there’s no doubt that I’m having some of the best days of my life. To top off the perfection of it all, I even managed to learn to paddle board, a sport that has become the lifeblood to maintaining my peace and calm. Dealing with human resources issues, writing a book, building an app, and being a wife, mother, and grandmother are all incredibly rewarding. I go at Mach 10 with my hair on fire most of the time. Only when I’m on my board on the river can I completely disconnect, get quiet, and think about life … Okay, who am I kidding, I’m thinking about the next cool project.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than making a dream in your head come to life. There’s also nothing more humbling. I don’t feel like I need to spend one minute more on the exciting part because that’s pretty self-explanatory. But the humbling part, well, that’s another story.
Look, there’s no doubt the first thing it takes to make your dreams come true is ego. Check, I have one! Let’s be honest here: You have to think you’re pretty great to start the process of putting yourself out there. Otherwise, why do it? So, ego isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a matter of degree. Some of us have more than others. Those with a bit more will put themselves out there in a way others might not.
Then there’s the humbling part. When you let the ego take over and push you to do things, the opportunities are endless. So are the hurts and risks. It’s in these tough times that the ego can take a significant punch in the gut. It was during one of these low points that I realized that not everyone likes you, the product might not sell, and the book might never reach the best-seller list. Oh, and the money could run out too. And the worst thing of all for any of us driven by our ego is that we might actually have to ask for help.
Here’s where my journey really begins. The moment I realized I couldn’t do it all alone. Yes, I had a team of experts around me. I had a kick-ass editor, a developer who just “got me,” marketing, branding — you name it, I had it. The team was stellar and were doing their best to deal with me. Yet, in many ways, I was still running the show. I was not letting the experts be the experts.
Now on the flip side, for anyone starting out, always remember that no one knows you and your dream better than you. There are many people out there who will take your idea and turn it into their vision. Don’t let them. But don’t be so stuck in the view of your design that you miss an opportunity to make it better.
Everyone in this world can benefit from a little humility. The moment we realize that we don’t know it all is the moment we open ourselves up to greatness. That’s the moment I remember most about my journey of the last 18 months.
So, here I am today, a year and a half into this wild journey: a book about to launch, a web application ready to take to market, and continuing to grow my consulting business. Am I scared? Of course. Mostly, though, I’m in awe of everything I’ve learned about myself through this incredible process.
Whatever happens next is the perfect step. Naturally, I hope you buy and love the book and app. I hope you’ll write raving reviews and tell all your friends. If you don’t, that’s okay too. I still have paddle boarding!