Helen Jamieson training future leaders at Jaluch HR & Training
Every entrepreneur faces challenges in their journey, but it is how they battle them that sets them apart. The solution they choose can become an inspiration for others to follow. One such entrepreneur is Helen Jamieson. We asked her a few questions about herself and Jaluch, her business, which has just had its 21st anniversary celebration.
Overview of the Company and what it sells
Helen shares that about fifty per cent of the company’s revenue comes from providing HR support and legal advice, servicing thousands of organisations across the years, of all sizes. The other fifty percent of revenue is derived from providing training services, including coaching, eLearning, and live training, with a focus typically on management and leadership development. Helen’s style is to support clients in a very practical way, with minimal theory and maximum focus on the realities of the day-to-day challenges for managers. Unlike many of our competitors, Helen added “We never sell on fear, preferring instead a genuine, honest relationship with our clients.”
Helen believes that across the first ten years in business, aside from raising three young children alongside running her business, her greatest challenges primarily related to her self-doubt, surrounded by many who said she wouldn’t be successful in business or shouldn’t be in business at all. Helen shared that breaking the mold, doing what others say you should not be doing is difficult and often lonely, but sheer determination and persistence have resulted in her still being in business today.
Identifying and establishing your market niche
Helen effectively lost her corporate job as a result of starting her family…’my wife stays at home so why don’t you’, was the parting shot of her employer. In searching for another job, she quickly realized that there were no part-time opportunities so, if she wanted to work part-time pursuing her HR career, it would have to be for herself. At that time though there weren’t really any small HR consultancies in the UK so right from the start she had to create her own space and identity.
Having been under-valued in the corporate world, Helen created a high value business, focused on quality and excellent customer service which she saw as the way to develop strong and respectful client relationships.
Clients that were difficult or disrespectful she quickly parted company with. Creating a strong brand though took energy, Helen says, and dreams of working part-time never really materialised.
Significant milestone or achievement
Helen considers every day as an achievement. In her words, “Every day is about survival and success and every day should be celebrated. I have now been in business more than 25 years (Jaluch is her second business as her first one was acquired) which is far longer than many businesses ever survive.”
Helen has won many awards across the years beginning with her first one, awarded in Florida in 2015 which became the turning point leading to Helen taking both herself and her business more seriously. Then, in June 2023 in Ghana, she was awarded the Moving Mountains award by United Success, an international group of women entrepreneurs. This award was in recognition of the humanitarian work she has done across her career, most recently supporting women in Afghanistan. Whilst doing a mini MBA at a renowned business school in New York, Helen was once reprimanded for suggesting that a business that focused as much on ‘giving back/paying it forward’ as on making a profit could be successful.
Helen has proven that professor wrong and would now love others to join her in redefining what ‘success’ believing she has repeatedly demonstrated the two things can work beautifully hand in hand in one enterprise.
Balancing personal and professional life
Helen shares that she does not have a perfect work-life balance, but she tries to spend regular time with her family. She also loves just being on her own in the quiet, with lots of nature around her at home. To help with the balance though, one lesson Helen learnt very early was the importance of delegating as much as you can and as often as you can. Helen now considers herself a master delegator! Having a different notion of work-life balance to many, she regularly finds enjoyment in travel, in her writing, in meeting new people when she delivers training etc. She loves the intellectual satisfaction of solving problems and innovating.
Helen often fails to understand why people need to separate work and home so much if they enjoy what they do. One thing Helen does do to ensure some down time is to spend minimal time on social media, also saying she can happily be without the phone for hours.
Strategies to upscale business
Scaling is tough, Helen shares, when you grow organically. It can also be tough if you are not motivated by wealth as many are. Helen has to date scaled her business in line with client demand, not as a result of huge growth ambitions. Helen instead views success as happiness, intellectual satisfaction, pride in a job well done and a company well run. She also comments that many businesses grow through acquisition and that requires a different approach to finance and getting in external investment, which she has never done.
On the few occasions she has sought external investment for projects or commercial property she has faced numerous hurdles that she believes relate to her gender however she is delighted that some of the challenges in this area are beginning to be addressed.
Future plans and aspirations for your business
Two years into a mini tech revolution in her business, bringing all that is good about tech into the world of Human resources and L&D, Helen recently launched a 24-month leadership program. An exciting project that brings together into one place all of her knowledge and experience of developing managers, gained across 25 years. The programme combines eLearning (digital self study), live sessions (great for networking, exploring ideas, sharing with others), gamification (great for embedding knowledge) and a ground breaking 6 monthly community challenge (that gets delegates working on some of the humanitarian projects she is interested in).
This is the most exciting project Helen has worked on, especially with the blend of live and digital, and you can read more here https://jaluch.pagetiger.com/bghjlm/leadership-brochure and a video about our community challenge https://vimeo.com/867861433?share=copy
Helen believes that personal development is the key to success in business. Those managers and leaders who put time and effort into self development, who are humble enough to know that however much you learn, there is so much more still to learn, stand out head and shoulders from the crowd.
Keys to success
Helen credits her success to skills she has been continuously learning across the past 25 years: her resilience, determination, independence, stress management and ability to tune out the disbelievers.
Helen also shared her advice for young entrepreneurs
#1 Do not overthink it.
#2 Be prepared to be flexible.
#3 Be courageous.
#4 Be kind to yourself but also know that you won’t always be able to be kind to those you employ, as someone has to make tough decisions and be the unpopular one.
#5 Surround yourself with people who believe in you.
#6 Never employ for one day longer than you have to, an emotional vampire – someone who sucks all the positive energy out!
#7 Enjoy the journey – it’s a rollercoaster so enjoy the exhilaration of the ride, whilst keeping your seatbelt fastened!