Josephine Irungu left an arguably profitable career as a human resources manager to venture into consultancy. She shares with Milliam Murigi her journey to where she is today It can be hard to leave a high-paying job for the uncertainty of entrepreneurship, but that\u2019s what Josephine Irungu did. After working for 14 years with prestigious companies, she left to form Prestine HR-Engine Ltd (PHRE), a human resources consulting firm. It all started in 2016 when Josephine started working as an associate for established consultancy firms. Owing to her substantial experience in different industries, many people in her network and referrals including former employers and employees would reach out for her counsel on matters related to employment and industrial relations. She would leave work as usual and spend late evenings working on assignments from the networks. However, it got to a point she was intentional about leaving employment and concentrating on consultancy. Late 2017, she resigned and founded PHRE, which was registered in 2018. No regrets What motivated her to start PHRE? She says human resource (HR) is an indispensable element of business. Every company needs someone to track payroll and benefits, to hire and fire employees, to manage workplace conflicts. However, for most small businesses, which make a huge percentage in the market, it is simply too expensive to maintain an in-house HR department. That\u2019s why outsourcing HR services is becoming popular. HR consultancy allows smaller ventures to benefit from professional services, and even more, lets clients pick and choose services they need to ensure a customised experience. \u201cBefore I established the firm I was involved in short employment contracts with few organisations that I served diligently. This is when I realised there is business potential in the sector. \u201cThough I encountered many challenges, I thought the best way forward was to serve companies as a consultant. \u201cPeople who believed in me pushed me to establishe a consultancy firm and I am not regretting,\u201d says the 35-year-old mother of two. Understanding clients However, her decision was not well received by her family. Actually, at some point, her father told her to go back to employment for financial security and keep her consultancy business as a side hustle. But the zeal in her couldn\u2019t be compromised. \u201cHe later believed in me and walked with me all through even when the journey became murky,\u201d she says. To start the business, she used her savings, and the first thing was to establish a domain and create marketing materials. It wasn\u2019t an easy start because of the cutthroat competition. However, she managed to sail across through referrals and networks. PHRE targets all the SMEs and startups. They believe that it is important to offer general consulting services since they have unmatched expertise with many years of experience in human resource, finance, and business management. \u201cWe exist to effectively and efficiently enable companies in Africa to meet business needs by easing their valuable all-around human resource.\u201d As a way of ensuring a productive relationship with clients, she endeavours to understand the clients\u2019 business, their needs, and the company culture. She then recommends solutions that align with business priorities and supports clients in implementation. \u201cWe believe in collective responsibility and leadership, professionalism and ethics and last but not the least adding value to our client needs. To us customer service is key. Room for expansion So far the Nairobi-based firm offers different services including the formulation and review of HR policies and procedures, job analysis and design, recruitment and talent headhunting, among others. She has three employees and many associates and is planning to expand to other African countries. Working as a consultant can be very attractive and rewarding, but also frustrating, with long hours and lack of steady income. Josephine thus advises those interested in consultancy to get a mentor they would look up to for advice and coaching as well as embrace the challenges. More importantly, they should be ready to make mistakes and embrace failures. \u201cBuy-in the client\u2019s vision and understand them. Walk with the client. Be involved in every step and phase of the project and always give feedback,\u201d she says. For clients looking to hire a HR Consultant, she says it is vital if you want to focus on the core element of your business. The consultant should be diverse in HR related matters. Josephine says there are new areas where HR management expertise can be implemented in Kenya. \u201cHR management is all encompassing and is applicable to each sphere of work where human involvement is required. Large numbers of rural men and women are involved in agriculture and tea plantation and plucking as labourers. \u201cHowever no serious efforts seem to have been made to develop this large human resource, through training and development, for higher productivity as well as to increase their earning capacity so as to improve their standard of living,\u201d she concludes.