Business Mum of 3, Johanna Scullion, is originally from Donegal but now lives in the Loup, outside Magherafelt.
Her Business is : www.thehrdocshop.com
I asked Johanna what led her into self employment and she said, “As a HR professional I always knew I would go into self-employment eventually. After returning to my Management Consultancy role (with Deloitte) after my second maternity – full-time work “just didn’t fit for me” anymore. Although based in Belfast, I was a London employee and at the time it was post recession so as Consultants we were travelling more and more. Simply put I didn’t want to be on a plane and staying in a hotel away from home a few nights a week. So I started on own boutique HR consultancy to find that all elusive work life balance.”
I asked Johanna to tell me all about her business and what services it provides for others and she said, “Our | HR Doc Shop |HR Outsourcing and |HR Blog portfolios have been designed and developed to meet the needs of local Northern Ireland based businesses who require professional employment advice or who are seeking to outsource elements of their HR function to a reliable partner. In addition our |HR Consultancy services offer clients the opportunity to avail of our expertise to deliver more unique, one-off projects dictated by their business need.
At the HR Doc Shop ™ it is our mission to fill in the resource gap for small businesses who do not have in-house HR staff. We have three main ways in which we serve our clients:
- HR Outsourcing click here for more information
- HR Doc Shop click here to download ready to use HR document and templates.
- HR Training
- HR Blog click here to get access to free tips, information, blogs and videos about all things HR.
Although we are based in the Magherafelt area of Mid Ulster, I operate throughout Northern Ireland.”
I asked Johanna what her passion is behind her business and how it has evolved and grown in strength and she explained, “When I launched in 2012 my HR consultancy practice was called HR Department NI specialising in providing employment advice and Outsourced Human Resources Services to start-up companies, small and medium sized businesses based in Northern Ireland. I am passionate about providing smaller businesses with a portfolio of professional human capital management services, often associated only with large scale businesses. Through my consultancy practice I strive to be the best in Northern Ireland by delivering excellent customer service for all of our clients, working hard at our reputation for professionalism, reliability and integrity.
My premium consultancy services are in high demand and I decided to merge my original consultancy practice “HR Department NI” under the new brand for the HR Doc Shop™ in May 2017. www.thehrdoshop.com provides a unique offering both an online service designed for small business owners who want professionally drafter HR documents and templates available for instant download; as well as helping those business owners seeking to find an experienced and qualified HR Consultant to work with them in their business. In a simple format: I offer
- Premium HR consultancy
- HR training
- Online HR documents and templates
I also have a blog were I publish useful HR tips and information. 2018 sees the start of our youTube channel to help reach businesses owners and help them with their HR queries.”
I asked Johanna what has been her biggest struggle in her business and she said, “Keeping it small! When I started I had three kids under 4yrs old, so I had “client facing time for meetings and site visits” for 1.5 days in the business week (when the youngest two were in childcare and my eldest was in P1). I then did follow up or “delivery work” at night when they were in bed. My husband and I joked for years, “yeah Johanna works 9 to 1 at least 5 days a week….. except that is a 9pm start and a 1am finish”. That is the truth and that was how I built my business for the first two years. HR requires concentration and interpretation of the legislation, which is not easy with three kids demanding my attention – so for me it made sense to work at the laptop when they were in bed. I did what it took to create a business that truly works around my family and I wouldn’t change a thing!!
I am very fortunate that approx. 90% of my clients have come to me as a referral from another client and 10% find me on google. All of my clients are loyal and everyone has returned after the initial project for follow up work, which makes me very happy to know I am providing a good service. So my struggle has always been to keep my client numbers low – to ensure that I am not over committed so I can give every “live” client case that one-on-one premium service. Which means I often say no to work if I am already committed elsewhere. As my children have now all entered primary school, I am now able to work school hours which is much more sociable and much better for my sleeping pattern!!
I asked Johanna what advice would she give to someone who wants to develop a product or service in Northern Ireland?
“Just get started, don’t wait for it to be perfect because the truth is it never will be. Just put yourself out there, do the best you can when it comes to the service you provide and be honest. You can improve each time you meet a new customer.
Also for those in a service based based – know your own worth. I undercharged in my initial year but not anymore. Don’t haggle on your rates, you wouldn’t go into a shop and ask to negotiate on the price of a pint of milk so don’t let people force you to drop the price for your service. “
What event / experience is Johanna most proud of?
“Seeing my business grow. Last year was my sixth year of trading and I doubled my income on the previous financial year. All this whilst doing 9 out of the 10 school runs, never missing a school performance, sports day, coffee morning or being able to pick up a little one from school when they were feeling unwell. Being self employed is not the easiest of options, but for me it has been the most rewarding part of my career for the last 19 years. I am proud of what I have created and hope to keep doing it.”
In her spare time, Johanna likes to sit in her garden with a cup or tea, or at night with a small glass of wine.
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