Mindy Flanigan is the Founder of Inspiring HR, LLC in Richmond, VA. Inspiring HR is an employee management navigator for small businesses, targeting businesses with no more than 50 employees. Flanigan is also the creator of the HR-SURE® service model: Simple, Understandable, Relevant, and Empowering.
Given Mindy's busy schedule this summer, we had the privilege of talking with her virtually. During this interview, we talked about her early years, her life and career before Inspiring HR, and the advice she gives for people considering entrepreneurship.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from Syracuse, NY. Fayetteville, to be exact. Go Orange.
Q: What are you passionate about in your personal life?
A: My family (including my fur babies), my friends, my home and Syracuse sports.
Q: What college did you attend?
A: I went to The State University of New York at Geneseo.
Q: What did you study in school?
A: Technically HR. To be precise, Personnel and Labor Relations, which reveals how old I am getting.
Q: Tell me about your career before becoming an entrepreneur / business owner.
A: I’ve had a variety of jobs, from Payroll Specialist, to Account Manager (field HR Consultant), to Benefits Manager, to Executive Recruiter, and Director of HR.
Q: What is your company?
A: Inspiring HR, LLC. HR Done Differently! We provide foundational HR support and solutions for small businesses.
Q: Tell me about the transition from your career to entrepreneurship and why you decided to start your business.
A: For me, it was a mix between my desire for flexibility and work-life balance, and my small business owner care take instincts.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: I started my business in 2007, which will be 12 years this summer.
Q: What was the biggest surprise as a business owner from working as an employee?
A: I had no idea how much I love to lead! I have found so much joy in mentoring and coaching; rallying talented people around a common cause.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges in growing the business? What have you done differently as a result?
A: I am a “Type A”. I love to work and my husband calls me the energizer bunny. As a result, I have burned out and not produced my best work sometimes, or lead well, because I have struggled with home office “boundaries”. So, I hired a business coach. She helped me put a reasonable, organized, quarterly plan(s) together, which helped me become a better delegator.
Q: As a successful business owner, do you have work / life balance? How have you managed to improve the joy and fulfillment in your life.
A: For the most part, but it is not perfect every day. It takes a lot of practice and experience to judge what can wait, what you can let go of, and when it is OK to say no. Caregivers have a hard time saying no to people. And entrepreneurs like me fear the repercussions of a missed opportunity. In my personal life I have more joy because of those boundaries I mention above. In my professional life, I watch a lot of inspirational leaders on YouTube who motivate me to keep improving with the understanding that the “finish line” I’ve been trying to cross doesn’t exist. These have the added benefit of making me feel like I am growing as a person, not just a business owner or leader.
Q: What can we and others in the community do to help your business grow and be more successful?
A: For any entrepreneur that is about to hire and not sure what they are “doing”, we can help! And for those small business owners that “hope” they are guessing at HR correctly, or the untrained office admin handling it is figuring it out, we can help you fill in those gaps and holes. A person I admire in the RVA community very much once told me this: “In the end (for a small business to succeed) it is all about culture.” Our vision for HR Done Differently aligns well with that thought. We want to help small business owners pave the way to creating an employee management foundation that builds up to a great culture.
Q: What advice would you give other entrepreneurs / small business owners?
A: There is a big difference between wanting employees and needing employees. If you fall into the camp of needing employees, find a leader to partner with that wants employees. It makes all the difference in building that great culture.
“How I Got Started...” is a blog series that spotlights the entrepreneurial and life journeys of various small business owners and professionals. The content of this blog was curated by members of the CreativeMktGroup team.
Inspiring HR, LLC