Woman In Business - Tash Hatherall
Updated on 03 September 2020

Tash Hatherall is one of those entrepreneurs who is passionate about helping businesses grow, develop and reach their potential, and helps them achieve that through her 20 years of marketing know how and experience.

Tash moved to the UAE just over a decade ago and after working for the first few years within a large government organisation, took the big step in 2012 to set up her own boutique marketing and communications agency.

Her experience and passion were visible over the past few months where, along with another marketing and communications agency, launched the SME Rise Collective, which was initially a competition offering one Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) business the chance to win a PR, marketing and social media support package during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Over the months since launch, over 100 SMEs were supported with this initiative.

In this series on women in business, Connector asked Tash a few questions about her entrepreneurial journey and her experiences of the business world in Dubai. 

Q. When did you get bitten by the business bug?


It’s funny as when I get asked that question, I always say that it was a total accident and that I had no intention of having my own business. I just decided to go freelance to have a better life balance, go to yoga, get my nails done and well the rest is quite accidental! 


However, having gone through a lot of reflection over the years, I realise that whilst it may not have been a conscious decision to have my own business, a brand I am proud of, clients I would have dreamed of, amazing offices and a brilliant team - the signs were always there. At school I ran a side hustle shop selling healthy snacks which did really well and I had a side business selling my own contemporary art before I left the UK too. I guess the entrepreneur in me was always trying to get out, I just wasn’t so aware of it. 


Q. Did you have mentors that encouraged you, and who were they?


I’ve never had any formal mentors as such, but I have amazing family and friends and people around me who always support and help me all they can. My mother in particular is amazing and such a role model to me. Throughout my life she’s always been juggling lots of things, come through adversity winning and achieving plenty and showed me how everything is possible. She also showed me how anything can be achieved with hard work and taught me many lessons in resilience -  She’s amazing.  I’ve also kept in touch with the majority of my former bosses who have all been a great ear to bend when I needed someone to talk to outside of a situation. 


What I would also say and what I love about the UAE is that everyone is so encouraging about following your dreams and starting out on your own here. When I asked friends and colleagues here whether I should go for it they had 10 reasons “to do” it. On the flip side, when I asked friends back home in the UK, they all had 10 reasons “not to do” it. The entrepreneurial spirit is so strong here in the UAE and if I’d not moved here I am not sure I would ever made the leap.   


Q. What challenges did you find in the business world, and how did you overcome them?


I always joke the things I thought would be a problem weren’t and the things I thought would be ok weren’t! Winning business was not one of them as I’ve always found there is plenty to go around.  


The biggest challenge I think to any business is cash flow and even if you plan well and on paper all is good, it can be a challenge to manage and you have to keep on top of it daily. A company is only as strong as what they have in their bank account. COVID definitely showed us this! 


HR and the people factor is always tough as you are dealing with humans and people’s lives.  I try and deal with all with empathy and understanding, but it can be hard at times to get the human factor right and finding the right people is so important in a small business to keep the culture too. 


Q. What challenges did you find face when balancing work and home life, and how did you overcome them?


I think for most, this is the hardest area to get right when running a business and being honest I can’t say I have this balanced 9 years on, but I have learnt a lot and I am definitely better than I was and now I always take Friday off as it’s the only day my husband and I have off together and we both try and stay off our laptops and phones. My husband works on Saturday, so I get away with working too and use that day to catch up before another busy week begins. 


Of course, balance is important for health and wellness as well as your relationships, but I also believe if you truly love what you do and get pleasure and happiness from it then this can be very good for your wellbeing too. I don’t like how the word “workaholic” has become so negative and people are often criticised for it. If you love it and want to work 18 hour days, as long as you are healthy and looking after yourself, then do it and don’t let people tell you otherwise. 


Q. What encourages and motivates you?


I love leading the way with new ideas and concepts. I’ve got no interest in copying anyone. I stay in my own lane, create new things and have fun with it and being the best I can be motivates me daily. 


I want to make a difference and I love working with small businesses and start ups and seeing them scale and grow. I’m so proud that some of my clients I started with 9 years ago as new brands are now global brands selling across the world.


Ultimately, we have one life and I really want to cram as much into as I can! 


Q. Does anyone inspire you at the moment?


Generally, I try and surround myself with as many people that inspire me as I can – it may sound a bit cheesy, but my team, friends and clients all do inspire me daily. I only work with clients who inspire me as I find this is the recipe to success. You have to love and believe in who you work with, especially when it comes to PR. At the moment my client Mimi Nicklin inspires me daily and I love spending time with her. She’s about to publish her first book and she is on a mission to show us all how the world will be a much better place if we all approach it with empathy and in that I believe whole heartedly. 


Internationally those who inspire me include Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jacinda Ardern – all strong women who exude empathy and softer leadership skills and so as you can see, there is a common thread that runs through all for me – being kind and nice does not mean weak, far from it in my opinion and this is how I will continue to lead my business and champion in others too. 


Q. What advice would you want to use for women who are contemplating entering the business world?


You really need to love what you to and have true passion for it – it’s going to be the highest highs and lowest lows of your life, so you have to be in it with every ounce of you. 


Be prepared to work hard – all these people who talk about the four-hour work-week, I don’t think any of them actually ever ran a business as it’s nonsense! Everyone who I know with a successful business works very hard. 


As cheesy as it sounds remember you need to enjoy and appreciate the journey as you go along and not just the end goal of whatever that is for you – selling out, etc. It could be a long journey and so you need to enjoy and gain as much from it as you can along the way. 


And remember, if it all goes wrong, and sometimes it does, dust yourself off and get back up. Resilience is one of the biggest strengths for any entrepreneur. It really is better to have tried than not at all.  


For more details on Tash and what she does, visit the TishTash Marketing and Publc relations website.  


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