Happy Birthday to Me
Revision Recruitment – One Year on……
On the 25th October 2016, Revision Recruitment Limited was incorporated at Companies House.
No fan fares, no sparklers, just one of the 1000’s of new businesses launched every year by entrepreneurs, dreamers, and those driven by a desire to try their hand at running a business of their own.
Within two weeks, I had a holding page for my website, and I was adding candidates and clients to the brand spanking new CRM system I had purchased, and creating my own search criteria so that I could find them all again later down the line….I hope.
My business cards turned up a few days later and I was on my way, with client visits booked and a handful of literature I had produced and designed (with my very talented wife’s assistance) under my arm, I ventured into the big bad recruitment world a free man, determined to be a success and to make something special happen.
I fell into recruitment 10 years ago this year, it wasn’t something I had ever considered up until the day a good friend said to me ‘you should try recruitment, you’d love it’…. how right they were, 10 years on and I have experienced the highest highs, and the lowest lows, usually within the same 30-minute period, so I knew the pitfalls I would encounter on the way.
How has it gone, I hear you asking??
Well, 375 days in (it’s the 7th November after all) I can honestly say the good days (372) outnumber the bad days (3) by a considerable amount, and those bad days have been linked to the usual kinks in the recruiter’s day – counter-offers, no shows and contract rejections. Other than that, every other day has been enjoyable, challenging, joyous, tiring and educational all rolled into one, pretty much how a good recruitment day should be.
I talk about the time in days because all my favourite idioms associated with positivity and adventure are measured in days….’taking each day as it comes’, ‘tomorrow is a new day’, ‘as clear as day’, ‘at the dawn of a new day’…. and I undertook this business venture with the maxim that I would take ‘one day at a time’ – in my opinion, the best way to go into any new role.
So, what have I learnt over the last year, what do I know now that I didn’t know 375 days ago? Let’s see: –
1) I’m good at what I do, I’m a good recruiter. I have my weaknesses and ‘odd’ character traits like everyone, but I genuinely feel like I have rediscovered a part of me that I lost whilst chasing titles and management roles with the businesses I had previously worked for.
I’m enjoying the day-to-day interaction with clients and candidates alike, learning about new markets and job roles along the way. I always knew I could recruit, but I never counted myself as a ‘good recruiter’, I feel differently now.
2) Not getting a payslip is scary. The first months are so exciting, you get wrapped up in the day to day running of the business and growing your dreams, but it’s the first few ‘pay days’ which really bring home the situation in terms of your earnings, and ultimately ‘the bills’ you must still pay.
Do not be scared by this feeling, you will get through it, when you make your first placement, or process your first timesheet, the elation you feel is second to none.
3) Running a small business needn’t be stressful. I’m sure it won’t always be this way, but right now I’m probably the most relaxed I have ever been. My working days are hard work, but its enjoyable and I am dictating the work I give myself to do, I’m not chasing KPI’s or lost leads, I am not sitting on vast PSL’s doing loads of work alongside agencies with 20-year databases and huge resources, I am just doing my own thing, at my own pace.
A former MD I used to work for (and a man I respect greatly) gave me some free advice before I launched RR…’Do not take on too much, you will not be successful, concentrate on doing one job well’….how very true that phrase has proven to be.
4) How you initially set up is KEY. Let’s face it, the administration side to a small recruitment business is where most of the time is consumed – payroll, branding CV’s, advertising, your CRM, coding and searching.
With limited time and resource to play with, you must run a lean operation to ensure you’re not spending your evenings doing page after page of searching, because you have spent all day adding companies and candidates to your database. Work smart, not hard.
5) Go with what you know. I’ve been offered the chance to work roles I’ve never looked at before, with clients who I have worked with previously, and it’s so so tempting to take on those roles knowing it’s a good chance to make a placement.
I’ve recruited in engineering and manufacturing for 10 years, and worked in FMCG in a previous role, so its where I feel comfortable and I do my best work, it would have been a mistake to take on those roles and let down the clients I had worked so hard to develop.
6) Your passion will drive you. Ultimately, with no manager or director breathing down your neck, no office to drive to or from, and no need to wear a suit all day, it’s very easy to not see your role as a ‘job’. But you must see it for what it is – something YOU are responsible for nurturing, growing and ultimately expanding over time (if that’s what you want to do).
Without the passion to succeed, or drive to want to make it work, you could sit there and just wait for it to happen, but trust me, it will never happen if that’s your plan.
It might seem like vanity or even narcissism, to list the above for all the world to see, but there will be people out there who are considering a career change or a new business venture who might see this and take a moment to consider their options further. Back yourself and have confidence in your own ability, there are enough people in the world who will sneer and laugh when you suggest you are doing something risky or ambitious, so go for it and prove them wrong.
I’ve enjoyed my first year, the business is going well, and I’ve achieved all the targets I set myself, but its only really whetted my appetite for Year 2.
Now, where is that birthday cake……