Getting off the beaten path — how Unleashed was born

Our founder Anouk’s story of how Unleashed came into being, originally published on January 19th 2018

I’m going to start up by summing up the last year….

Put simply, it was a year of big changes. Changes that resulted in me taking a significantly unexpected path in life! I am now, however, owning my life and career, and the future’s so bright that I can’t wait to get there (so I need to remember to enjoy the ride).

2018 is already bringing more change. I have a number of opportunities, not just client side, but on the investor side that will mean that I will be in a position to grow my business by employing a number of people to work with me. This is exciting!

My company’s vision is clear — to create successful businesses, great places to work and fulfilled lives. My mission is to gear startups up for faster, better and scalable success though People + Culture. This has shaped my core principles (which also happen to be my company values) — Driven by Outcomes with Bias to Action, Creating Positive Impact, Constant Learning — and I’ve set OKRs.

Now I’m ready to rock!

But how did last year bring me here?

One major change caused me to get off the trodden path and ‘go bush’. I had to find my own way.

Dyslexia ‘diagnosis’ for my son

My beyond incredible son was ‘diagnosed’ as Dyslexic — I wish we had known this earlier. He is now 11 (diagnosed at 10) and had he understood the reasons why his brain worked differently to all of his mates he wouldn’t have cried himself to sleep most nights thinking that he was stupid. In fact his EQ is off the scale (positively) which is a skill that will take him far in life, as will embracing the greatness of a dyslexic brain [recommended book hereif you want more info on the potential of the dyslexic brain]. Joshua thinks he will be the next Richard Branson and good luck to him! I know that he will create a formidable path in life for himself.

Regardless, this information resulted in me deciding to spend more time at home. Without regret but in sadness nonetheless, I resigned from a role that I loved in a business that I cared deeply for.

Having already realised that I wanted to ‘make the world an amazing place to work’, I now figured that I had the chance to put it into effect, and decided to start my own consultancy business. I had a large network of wonderful people and I figured that if it didn’t work out, then on the bright side, I’d have more time at home than anticipated. This was a little scary as not working is not something that I had done before. Even in the days when I was a single mum and studying for my masters I was still working full-time. (This is not a humble brag. It is a brag brag! I am proud of the fact that I worked hard to get where I am).

Back to business talk….

Now, people are very different to website bugs. To fix a people problem, it takes far more time than to fix a bug. And more emotional investment. For me it was obvious, I needed to build a business focused on working with Seed and Series A startups to mitigate against potential problems, continue momentum of growth and drive high performance. With companies being founded on the grounds of fixing problems, I was creating a business to mitigate them — which meant I wasn’t sure how this would be embraced in the startup world. I nonetheless decided to give it the best shot I could.

Almost immediately, I was working 2–3 days per week, adding value, getting some great feedback from businesses, AND I was spending more time at home with my children. I was even able to attend their sports days and Christmas plays!! Joshua has done far better at school this year and is so much happier and less anxious generally. Not to mention that it is fun for me to dance and clap his spellings as a memory strategy!

2018 is already shaping up to be an incredible year as I grow my team, work with more and more startups AND enjoy my family. I feel very privileged to be here but to be honest, it is only as a result of embracing change. Without preaching, I’d advise everyone to place themselves outside their comfort zone and embrace the challenges that present themselves. If you have a bias to action, you just never know the incredible things that you can accomplish.

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If your values are aligned with what I noted at the top of this ramble, and if you want to be a part of ‘creating successful businesses, great places to work and fulfilled lives by gearing startups for success through People + Culture’, then please get in touch and let’s chat! Drop us a line at sayhello@unleashed.company. If you want to stay up to date with all things Unleashed, you can also head on over to our website and sign up for Unleashed Thinking, our fabulous monthly newsletter.

Hey, we’re Unleashed — our mission? To gear startups up for faster, better and more scaleable success through People + Culture