It’s hard to believe it has been a whole year since I officially launched Zeal and became self-employed. I was nervous when the business launched as being your own boss is a big responsibility and a huge leap of faith! It wasn’t my intention to launch Zeal last year but a change in circumstances and a great opportunity prompted me to launch Zeal in 2021. It took a while to get used to not being an employee but having worked very autonomously in previous roles, it didn’t take too long to get into the swing of balancing client visits with working from Zeal HQ.

Over the last year, Zeal has developed a great client base who require a variety of support. My relationships with clients is key and I always prioritise being open and honest about matters or issues that arise – often this will involve recommending things which save the client time (and so less chargeable work for Zeal) but I really believe in finding my clients the best and most cost effective solutions and they really do appreciate and value this. Another great thing is I have developed great routines and timetables for my clients including yearly plans, projects and office visits which means expectations are clear on both sides. Initially, I thought the demand would be for HR services but that other services would pick up over time but the range of work I have completed has been huge which keeps work challenging, varied and interesting. Most importantly, I can use my experience in HR management and Company Secretarial support to add value to my clients across a range of functions which is beneficial for the client. A few of projects Zeal has undertaken this year are;

  •  Employee Engagement Surveys
  • Company Secretarial and Board Support
  •  Introducing new HR Systems
  • Salary Review / Benchmarking
  • Financial Assistance Applications
  •  Immigration Support
  •  Recruitment
  •  Drafting Handbooks and Contracts
  •  Redundancies
  • Relocation projects
  • Employment Disputes
  • Minute Taking
  • HR Mentoring
  • Maternity Cover

One of the key values of Zeal is to give back and this has become more important over the year – I have really focussed on supporting charities with time and donations and also helping other small business owners get set up. If I am honest, it took me a while to buy into the whole values thing as I thought they needed to be set on day one and it felt like it may be a tick box exercise. However, what I have actually found is that they have developed over time and become engrained in all aspects of Zeal’s work in particular why and the way we do things.

Over the year Zeal has supported a number of charities and made both financial and time donations which I am extremely proud of achieving in the first year of business when there are so many other things going on. Zeal has supported the following charities in the last year;

  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust Isle of Man, by nominating them as our charity of the year and having them benefit from our profit pledge – more information will be on Zeal’s social media over the next few weeks!
  • Isle of Man Woodland Trust, who were able to plant 500 trees with our donation
  • Shelterbox who support families caught up in the Ukraine conflict.

Zeal has also sponsored awards for the Chartered Governance Institute Isle of Man Student Awards.

It’s been a brilliant year and fantastic to see Zeal doing well – sounds cheesy but a huge year of personally and professional growth. It has been a delight to be able to support charities and use my knowledge in HR and Co-Sec to support new businesses on the Island (in particularly PrepFresh and Daisy Chain Property Management).

Here are the key things I have learnt in the first year;

⭐️ It is hard work!

⭐️ Set things up properly from the start and get the right support in place

⭐️Remember why you started and what your goals were – continually revisit them as it is
easy to lose focus when the work is coming in

⭐️ Support and promote others

⭐️ Always Always put the needs of your clients first

I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Zeal!

Finally I’d like to say a huge thank you to clients, family and friends for all of their support over the year, if recent times have taught us anything, it’s that we need to support one another and be grateful for everything we have.