Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business consulting and services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kyle Whitney, Partner at Halo Consulting, LLC, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Halo Consulting is a certified minority-owned search firm that brings the process-oriented best practices learned from dozens of years of experience at retained executive search firms to high-growth, early-stage technology startups in a transparent, cost-effective manner. We work across GTM and Product functions, finding the leaders and critical individual contributors who scale the companies changing the world. The best leaders have a "Halo Effect" on their teams and companies, making everyone around them better.
Tell us about yourself
I attended Loyola University Chicago for an undergrad with no idea what I wanted to do with my career. I majored in Philosophy and Anthropology because I was particularly interested in social dynamics, structures of critical thinking, and generally understanding what drives individuals and society as a whole. When I decided I did not want to pursue graduate school in my junior year, I was hard-pressed to determine an industry where I could find intersections with my interests and be able to support myself financially. In the summer of 2017, before my senior year, I accepted an internship at a Retained Executive Search Firm, Jobplex, where I met Halo's Cofounders, Doug Brown and Patrick Bulmer, and Halo's would-be Director of Operations, Nick Ingram. I felt I had found a group of great people in an industry that intrigued me. I continued my internship throughout my Senior year until finally accepting a full-time position in 2018 after graduation. As the years passed, we all eventually went our separate ways with different firms, myself landing at the contingent firm, Michael Page, Inc., in the Manufacturing and Finance Recruitment team in August of 2020. By that time, Doug and Patrick had founded Halo Consulting and would hire Nick as the Director of Operations by October of that year. By February 2021, they were looking to add to the team, and I had always wanted to join a startup where I felt I could have an immediate impact on the success of the business. I had spent the previous three years learning the ins and outs of recruitment for executive and mid-level roles, but I wanted the ability to authentically create relationships outside of call scripts and job requirements and focus more on building community in professional environments.
When the opportunity to join the individuals that determined the foundations of my recruitment approach as employee number 4 at an organization looking to not only perform recruitment services but build an authentic community came along, it was too good to pass up. What attracted me to Halo is our people-first attitude and the empathetic approach we take when dealing with clients and candidates. Our number one policy is transparency with one another and our external relationships with clients and candidates. I am motivated every day to connect clients with the leaders that will bring them continued growth and success and likewise to connect high-performing individuals with the opportunities that will allow them to find success and fulfillment in their careers.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
As a business contributor, my biggest accomplishment has been helping my personal network as they embark on developing their own organizations and finding the careers that drive and motivate them. The first client I signed at Halo Consulting was actually a two-employee SaaS startup which was the business venture of a friend from high school. Having the industry and functional range to contribute to that individual's growing business and the team dedicated to spending the time to help that organization find and hire its mission-critical employees was truly fulfilling. It was the first time I was able to use my professional skillset to positively impact a friend's venture in a measurable way.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business contributor, time management is paramount. At Halo, we don't define executive search as our sole venture, and we are constantly involved in developing new trajectories to provide value to our clients, candidates, and the general professional community. In addition to our recruitment services, we host regular event series both virtually and in person to continue to foster a community centered on growth and improvement. Our value of client obsession always puts our search engagements at the top of our priority lists, and that may mean working long hours outside of a typical 9-5 to ensure we are continually identifying and developing new methods to impact our Halo Community positively.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Not being a business owner myself, I can only speak to how to do your best to positively impact those that are depending on you and how to assess joining a startup as a baseline contributor.
- Know your mission. No business venture will succeed unless you have an intrinsic purpose behind your day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, and year-to-year activities.
- Don't overcommit, and be accountable. Be honest about what you can accomplish in certain periods of time and meet the deadlines you commit to so your team members can have an accurate understanding of how to plan their objectives.
- Surround yourself with good people. A favorite quote of mine is, "good people are hard to find." Remember that the success of your organization is inherently dependent on the nature of those that comprise your team. Hiring the right people, partnering with the right clients, and associating with a community of admirable individuals are the challenging parts of getting started. Just remember that effort invested in good people on the front end has the potential for infinite returns as they progress through the organization, go on to expand spheres of influence, continue to set the standard of best practice, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.
- If you're considering joining a startup early in its development, I encourage you to weigh the quality of the individuals you're choosing to partner with high above corporate perks, fancy logos, and funding to date. When all things are held equal, your deciding factor should be the question, "Does this person have the potential to create a Halo Effect?"
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.