In Diary of a Recruitment Entrepreneur Part 1 I had described the launch of Macstaff as a leap of faith and the fulfilment of a dream I had held over my 15+ year recruitment career to date. The motivation was to offer first class representation in Construction & Property recruitment on an individual basis, and to regain back some work life balance while I was at it! I had covered the finality of walking away from my recruitment agency career, dreading the resignation, and having a nagging fear of failure. However these doubts have been forced into submission by a conviction that I can do it and are eclipsed by a new and more vivid vision of success. As my mate Coach Viresh says, “I am not a betting man but if I were, I would bet on myself!” A word to those reading … never give up on YOUR dreams!
So here we are 3 months in to the running of Macstaff, a high impact recruitment consultancy in Construction and Property. www.macstaff.co.uk @MacstaffUK I did promise to diary the first year, so I am keen to bring you up to speed. There have certainly been some ups and downs, but hey what’s new about that in recruitment anyway!
If anything the biggest positive changes have been on the ‘life-side’ of work-life balance so I’ll start here. I am blending ‘recruitment entrepreneurship’ with ‘home operations management’ now and am loving the family time. I can do school runs, dog walks, attending my kids events and just be there at home time & family meal time. Fitness is creeping back in with running and biking, often with new friends I wouldn’t have had time or energy to get to know before. I am able to volunteer e.g. with Church and am finding my feet as an Audio-Visual tech on a Sunday. I have been fortunate to enjoy the understanding and support of family and friends through the transition. In fact especially from my Sister Vicky Macqueen who is also in Entrepreneur mode. She is the driving force behind the rapidly expanding and much loved Didi Rugby brand. http://didirugby.com/@didi_rugby1 We are thinking 2016 is our year!
Work wise; now I run my own time, my own dress code, and my own priorities which is all very liberating. I am thriving on the freedom and responsibility of full control over which clients, candidates and jobs to focus on. This requires a strategic mind-set. Thinking over and above ‘running my desk’ and the transactional business is challenging, (in a good way). I am an old dog loving learning new tricks especially in respect to social media. As well as being a LinkedIN super user, I now have a handle on my twitter handle @MacstaffUK , dabble with blogging and vlogging, and am nosing into use of Instagram for up-to-the-minute recruitment. The first Macstaff placement was a major milestone, meaning a happy client, happy candidate and happy recruitment consultant. Frankly, I was also relieved to get the first one out of the way. Recruitment stuff specifically, I decided to bite the financial bullet and qualify myself and Macstaff as a corporate member of the REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation), in order to demonstrate and market our commitment to REC code of professional practice. After doing a bit of research I have also been amazed by the raft of decent options available for pretty much everything you need to source in order to offer a full cycle recruitment service. E.g recruitment financing/factoring, database/CRM systems, back-office accounting/payroll systems, marketing agencies, CV libraries, job boards, etc etc. However as with any purchasing, remember buyer-beware and that the research takes time!
I don’t really want to dwell on the downside but for the record, and in the interests of impartial journalism, the downside of ‘entrepreneurial start up’ does exist; it primarily consists of things costing too much and things taking too long!
When you start a new recruitment company, you want to get on with the business of making money by filling jobs and placing candidates; however a seemingly endless supply of ‘service providers’ will seek you out and find you for purposes of taking money. This is for all kinds of things you likely didn’t know you needed, however energy, accounting and marketing companies have been the most prolific! That said, there are things you need to invest in and they invariably cost too much. Such as, web design, business insurance, phone bills, IT support, car maintenance and repair, CV search, job posts, LinkedIN premium and the list goes on. So if you’re thinking of taking the plunge make sure you have cash available to get you through the start-up phase. Design & print of marketing materials however seems to be ‘cheap as chips’, so I have got to be thankful for small mercies!
I partly feel like things to take me too long because like all good recruiters I have an impatient streak. We have so much we want to achieve and set ourselves aggressive deadlines to achieve them. Plus when you are doing pretty much everything for the first time, it’s going to feel like you are doing everything with your ‘other’ hand, and it certainly did for a while. Also in reality, running on a shoestring budget does not quite buy the same suite of tools and technologies and degree of process automation laid out for recruiters within the corporate agency environment.
Plus if you are going to be put off by “not being on the PSL”, obviously this route is not for you!
However, who doesn’t love an underdog story, myself included, and on the basis of the last 3 months Macstaff is punching above its weight and out-pacing and out-servicing some of the national agencies on some difficult searches.
Has it all been worth it? Absolutely!
So what of the future? I’m thinking:
Look out for Diary of a Recruitment Entrepreneur Part 3 in the summer and in the meantime thanks for listening and of course I encourage questions, comments and conversation around the issues raised.
You could also be an important part of the success of Macstaff; if you are looking for first class representation as a client or candidate, I will always be happy to hear from you. All the best,