In today’s Her Business Story we interview Dannielle Haig, the female founder behind DH Coaching & Consulting. Dannielle is also a partner in a high-end project management construction maintenance company called ACS Ltd. She is a true multi-passionate female entrepreneur!
Dannielle, tell us more about your business
DH Coaching & Consulting uses a variety of techniques and skills to enable both you and your organisation to achieve goals more effectively and efficiently.
We work with both the individual and the organisation as Business Psychologist, Business Coach and Counsellor. We apply a combination of qualitative, quantitative, analytic and human-centred approaches to our work, which at its core is to make working lives more productive and rewarding.
We work with organisations of all shapes and sizes across all areas of business from assessment and selection, management training, enhanced employee engagement, job design, organisational structure, resilience training to customer training programmes and beyond!
We give your organisation that cutting edge advantage; through our understanding of human behaviour in the workplace we maximize productivity and profitability.
What made you decide to become a female entrepreneur?
Having come from a family of business owners I saw the benefits of working for oneself, such as flexibility and independence, from a very early age. I also witnessed the excitement of the challenges faced as an entrepreneur and I love that; I would actually I say I need it.
As a Business Psychologist and human behaviour specialist I can practice what I preach as an entrepreneur, especially when it comes to work-life balance and being fully engaged, as I am truly obsessed with my work.
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action?
I have always wanted to work for myself however, I wasn’t always sure in what capacity.
I originally read Classics at uni and then worked in Media before realising I wanted to retain as a Psychologist. So I took the jump and spent 6 years training in Psychology, Counselling and Coaching. I had to have work all sorts of boring jobs to fund my training and gave up many weekends and evenings to fit everything in.
It’s funny, I never realised how committed I was to my dream until thinking about it now – like most business owners I have made a lot of sacrifices over the years to get here.
What prompted me to act? For me I made the jump at the right time, I felt just-enough ready. I always knew I was going to act, it was always a matter of timing and when I was mentally ready it happened.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
Waking up on the first month after formally launching and not having a salary land into my bank account. I think it’s fundamental to cut all your ties, as you need to feel that pain to keep you reaching.
Having to be responsible for staff is also pretty scary sometimes, mainly the legal and accounting aspect. Fortunately I have the most amazing team around me who handle all of that for me now.
What has been your proudest moment running DH Consulting & Coaching?
Oooh good question! I have quite a few of these and I’m a keen fan of celebrating defining moments; I’m definitely a keep-a-bottle-of-champers-in-the-fridge kind of girl!
I’m a strong believer in working in silence and allowing yourself the space to make strides without telling everyone (I’m always wary of instant gratification) so I was really proud when I told my parents and family that I had built my own website and I was actually going for it. They were so proud (and a bit surprised).
The first time a client approached me from a recommendation was also amazing – when you are your business, word of mouth recommendations are really special.
Oh and when a huge national corporation asked to meet with me to help restructure their organisation – that was a huge and very exciting project!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
There are a lot of hours in the day!
Life changes when everything is on your shoulders and you start to realise how much can actually be achieved in 24hours and it’s a lot! I have also learnt to use this time wisely; it’s so easy to over invest in particular projects or marketing ventures etc. and realise afterwards that your time could be spent better elsewhere. I think that’s a learning curve that everyone has to work out for themselves and in their own time, ironically.
I’m not afraid to enjoy time off anymore. When I first started DH I wanted to action 19,768 things all at one tine and right at that moment and everyone knows how that ends – nothing gets fully completed. So now, I know I work hard and achieve all I can and then I enjoy my time off. What’s the point of it all if you can’t get an afternoon mani-pedi or treat yourself to a long lunch at Cecconis!?
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is waking up every day and being excited about work and not dreading it. I’d had years of that feeling when I worked for someone else and I vowed never to get to that point again. I guess that’s a major reason why I work to improve other people’s work lives.
I won’t pretend I don’t enjoy financial security and freedom as well!
Has a mistake ever led you to success?
Well kind of however, I am one of those annoying people who see every experience as a lesson rather than a mistake. I have been really unhappy in jobs in the past and have experienced really poor management first hand and this consequently lead me to studying Business Psychology.
Which women inspire you?
My sister, Tara, is a massive inspiration to me; she is Legal Council and COO of a merchant bank at the tender age of 32! She is incredibly intelligent and ferociously hard working. I love that she dominates in a male environment and never makes excuses. She’s very much a mentor to me and is always available for sage advice.
My mother is also an incredible woman; she ran her own international Publishing Company for 30 years whilst raising 4 rather demanding children. She taught me to be tough and gave me the space to find my own path.
Most women inspire me in some way, we’re all on our individual journeys, knocking down walls and rebuilding them our way. I know a large group of female entrepreneurs and I love that there is so much support for one another. Watching them achieve against all odds inspires me.
And which men?
I think I am particularly successful in my work, because of my ability to read people and read body language, learn reactions etc. As a child I would spend time with my father and his friends (who were all very successful entrepreneurs) and I would naturally observe them and admired the way they think, their tenacity and boldness – they never quashed my dreams and allowed me to believe I could conquer the world. They inspired me to never stop believing in my abilities.
I also remember when Sir Paul Smith gave a talk at Goldsmiths University when I was a student and I was deeply inspired by his consistent and unwavering drive to run his own company. I think about him and his advice, about having to do things you don’t want in order to do what you dream of…mostly when I’m working on legal documents with my solicitor!
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
In order for me to be valuable as a Business Psychologist and a Business Coach, I have been learning about business on many levels; both academically and practically by engaging with professionals and gaining first hand advice and knowledge for many years. This has allowed me to be knowledgeable in my career as a Coach and Consultant as well as in building my own organisations. So, I can genuinely say that I felt very prepared when I started my organisation. Being flexible is key!
I have however noticed one thing has changed about me since starting out which I didn’t expect and that is the value I put on my time now. Life is too short and time is too precious to spend it with people who don’t engage you or inspire you. So now I find myself unapologetically doing the things that I love with the people I love.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
“No one knows what they’re doing – we’re all just faking it till we make it”
This changed everything for me – whenever I feel uncertain or worried about something, I think about this advice. It pushes me to “problem solve” rather than “problem find”. Believe and achieve!