My confession is that I had initially written off the idea of writing/publishing this journal of myself and my 2016 start-up recruitment company Macstaff at the 6-month mark. Pt 1 covering launch had covered the leap of faith of resigning my corporate agency job which was adrenaline fuelled. Pt 2 covered the initial flush of success from first job, first placement, first client payment etc. which was celebratory. Pt 3 looked like it had the potential to cover the daily grind, regular ups and downs and some set-backs which didn’t sound particularly noteworthy; HOWEVER maybe that’s why it NEEDS writing so here goes!
So you may call it the end of the honeymoon period. The business is no longer brand shiny new, achievements are no longer ‘firsts’ and that work, all kinds of work, needs doing on a daily basis. The realisation sets in that getting things up and running takes things like creativity and courage, keeping it running forever is going to take self-motivation and stamina! Guess what, recruitment is still recruitment, with the same old ups and downs, if anything magnified by the fact it’s your own business and your own money. While you’re still a ’one-man-band’ you will have to be sales person, resourcer, account manager and administrator PLUS everything else from marketing, legal, accounts, HR functions etc. PLUS standing in as receptionist, cleaner, and everything else you care to mention. With working from home it’s easy to get sucked in to 12+ hour days which isn’t really work life balance. During the 3-6 month phase I had to process a couple of client rebates, due to a candidate who did not start and one that was woo’d back to a former employer. I had to chase payments from key clients that were late for no real reason. Candidates pulled out of job processes. Clients pulled jobs off the table. I prioritised the wrong jobs. It was feast or famine for work in progress. I made some rookie mistakes.
BUT that’s recruitment and that’s life.
I have my motivational quotes concepts and mantras to keep focused, I’m sure like pretty much every recruiter, (insert your own here :)) My top 3 may be:
· Whether you believe that you can or believe that you can’t, you’re probably right!
· Winners never quit, quitters never win
· Never give up (ever, ever, ever …)
Nothing of value or meaning is ever going to be easy! I always enlist the encouragement of friends and family to keep me ‘up’. It has also been cool to be part of a local ‘JELLY’ which is like an entrepreneurs networking group to bounce around ideas, share expertise and give encouragement. It’s also been a great perspective to sit in on webinars for training news and opinion for example Kevin Green & REC market updates / podcasts or Roy Ripper & recruitment live lounge.
So did I ever regret taking the plunge? Absolutely NOT! It’s like working for something you hate is called stress but working for something you love is called passion. Choosing what industries, what clients, what candidates, what jobs and what schedule to work on is still empowering. Establishing the daily-grind could also be viewed as getting in the daily groove. The Macstaff values of Expertise, Integrity & Commitment act as a behaviour filter and somewhat of a moral compass. My snowball is rolling & the virtuous circle still works! I have repeat clients now with multiple placements. My network & database is expanding. We have a wider PSL standing. Testimonials are coming in. I am benefitting from synergy between searches as we get a bigger and better name in construction, property and now engineering. I am getting efficiency gains from being better at the processes and systems I have selected as they become more familiar and templates/shortcuts are established. I am reaping a harvest from seeds I had sown months ago in terms of business development and candidate outreach. I have more and deeper relationships in the local business community fostered at round table, chamber of commerce & the school gate. Lastly and I guess most importantly I feel sharper than I have in a while which is making me more effective on a daily basis.
It’s great that placements are starting to pay for ‘things’ like a holiday and some house renovations as well as the bills. The other stated intention of the entrepreneur life was fitness & personal wellness, and accomplishments over the summer included completion of the chew valley 10K & Colliers Triathlon. Plus I’ve been able to back other interest areas such as completing the 22 push ups for 22 days for #suicidepreventionawareness.
So it’s been kind of like when I first started my recruitment career 20 years ago but better! I’m starting to miss being on a mission with like-minded team-mates though … but that would necessitate hiring … which requires an office … which requires boring stuff like employment contracts, commission schemes, and a workplace pension scheme …
Hmm, so ‘scale-up’ is always on my mind but will be a topic for a subsequent Diary of a Recruitment Entrepreneur blog!
Anyway all my very best wishes to fellow recruitment warriors out there, employees or entrepreneurs alike! Finish strong this year! 🙂
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.
· If you are interested in joining the Macstaff mission as a full-timer, part-timer or freelancer, I will always be happy to hear from you
All the best