Having worked for large corporate companies for most of her career, Fiona Davidson wanted to find a way of working which would allow her to work more flexibly. Setting up Davidson HR Services, allowed her to pick and choose the projects she wanted to work on and to focus on the kind of work she knows she’ll enjoy.

‘I feel like I make a real difference to my customers and clients by offering them specific expertise to help them resolve a challenge or deliver a project. I largely work with HR directors and their teams and provide them with a fresh pair of eyes and the ability to look at an issue from a different angle.’

‘Setting up the business was simpler than I expected. I took some advice from some former colleagues who had also set up their own businesses and did some research to identify the best company to form my business through.’

Marketing and winning clients

‘I love the flexibility of owning my own business and the freedom to determine my own future. I’ve really enjoyed learning how to market my services and develop my company branding (which is still a work in progress!)’

Branding and marketing have been a steep learning curve for Fiona, particularly because of the competitive nature of her business. ‘The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that you have to make sure your name is out there. I win business from contacts in my network and via recruitment agencies. So, it’s important for me to keep in touch with them, and to keep a close eye on the market and ways I can expand my network.’

‘For me, marketing is an ongoing learning process. Most of my work initially came through via recruitment agencies. However, I’ve now developed my own website to broaden my profile and to provide potential clients with more information on my services and how I can help their business. I need to invest more time in developing the website and find new ways to market it.’

Brexit and advice to others

The potential implications of Brexit may have a significant effect on Fiona’s business, making it harder for her to win the contracts she needs to operate. ‘As a contractor, I think Brexit is having an affect on companies willing to take on additional temporary resource. It feels like the contractor market within my area of expertise is more challenging now. I think the uncertainty around Brexit has made some companies more cautious about committing to additional cost.’

Fiona’s top 3 ingredients for success running a business are; determination, authenticity and reputation. ‘The best piece of advice I could give somebody wanting to start their own business is to be clear what it is you want to do, what your offer is and how you intend to win business. Also be prepared for the ups and downs of being your own boss and don’t be afraid to seek advice and learn from others.’

‘I don’t think there’s one book or source of advice that’s above anything else. The important thing for me is to gather information and ideas from a variety of places and pick the ones that are most applicable or the ones that resonate the most. I dip into Ted Talks on a regular basis – I find them a great source of inspiration.’

If you’re thinking about setting up your own business and becoming your own boss like Fiona, it’s easier than you might think. We’ve helped more than 750,000 people turn their passion into their purpose. Find out more about making your business idea a reality here.