Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Daniel Umphray, Managing Partner of Lead Positive, located in Mona Vale, NSW, Australia.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Lead Positive Consulting is a leadership transformation group that supports organizations, teams, and leaders across Australia. Our purpose of enabling leadership requires us to work with CEOs and their teams aligning them to their purpose & aspirations. Our role as transformational change agents is to challenge & support the senior leaders with the right focus & tools to align with what's required to achieve said aspirations. Our customers come from all areas of Australia and range from Professional & Financial Services to Telcos to Start-ups through Government Agencies. Our approach is not for everyone, but typically our engagements look at deep organizational development work in shaping & driving major change agendas.

Tell us about yourself

I'm Dan Umphray, a 43-year-old British guy who's been living in Australia for 13 years. I now live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney with my two daughters, Milly & Enna, who are my two favorite leaders, it has to be said. As a kid, I grew up in a strong working-class part of the UK (Nottinghamshire) where coal mining was the primary industry with a strong socialist community, with heavy on the workforce and rights. For some strange reason, I found kids would confide in me. But I soon found a knack for helping people; it came naturally to me. I set up my business in all honesty because I never felt satisfied as the internal change agent working on the inside of organizations. Someone once told me, "you either change because you know what to do or because you have no other choice," and I felt I was the latter. The agitation was so powerful that I decided to put my savings aside and planned to pay myself for six months to sustain a living for me and my two children. Fortunately, it took three months.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I don't think anyone will ever understand the dopamine hit I got from my first paid gig back in 2017, doing Executive coaching to a leader. Somebody selected me, and my approach just seemed so illogical to me at the time. It was a great buzz, and that stuck around for a long time after. I tried to be cool, but it was a tremendous high. Still is. Today, we get to work with organizations, creating case studies of change and leaving a lasting positive impact. It's an immense privilege and one I never take for granted.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The question never stops in my head of what's the world going to look like 12 months from now. In truth, I find it at times, and it can feel overwhelming. Managing one's emotions and staying focussed on our goals & aspirations, responding to adversity as and when it shows up. A brilliant mentor once challenged me, "avoid being a sheep and be a Sheppard." Very powerful motivation.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Momentum breeds momentum - If you're currently having the epiphany and the burning purpose coupled with the exact approach of what you need to do next, and quite frankly, who does, then consider the idea that trying something and learning is a step forward further than you were yesterday. Sounds cliched, but it's so true. It's all about energy & momentum in running a business; so many ups & downs, but even the downs are forward-moving.
  2. You're only as good as your last gig - Our purpose is simply about 'enabling leadership' in all that you do for others, be it at an organizational, team, or individual level. And my success is directly attributed to the quality I deliver in support of growth. So, there's no space for mediocrity. The risks of having off days are significant in a small business, so I have to be disciplined and focused. This gives me the fuel to ensure I maintain the standards & quality in all that I set about doing.
  3. Outsource time burners - I made many mistakes in the early days. I was CEO, administrator, IT dude, bookkeeper, designer, business developer, and so on, all whilst being a single Dad. It quickly became evident that a number of those roles weren't being done well. I didn't put a value on where I could be most impactful with my time, wasting countless hours on tasks that could be done for little cost. I learned that too late, wanting to protect my income but invariably causing myself more pain, impacting my income negatively.

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.

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