Do you have what it takes to start your own Recruitment Business?

So first we established that you want to take the plunge into the life of a self-employed recruiter. Well you think you do – you’ve established the things that you don’t like about being an employee and that being on your own could combat those issues. You’ve given serious thought to the financial implications – how can you survive personally, how you can fund business overheads and now comes the third and probably most critical element – do you have what it takes?

There are so many factors that will play a part here; the one that probably gets the most consideration is whether or not you can bring business in the door (fairly crucial I’ll admit!) AND fill the jobs. A lot of people coming out of Recruitment Agencies can underestimate the infrastructure they have come from in terms of the end to end process. You need to make sure you 100% back your abilities to generate the business and close the jobs. So whilst this is very crucial and no one is going to be able to make it on their own if they don’t have the ability to bring in the business I think it is the element that gets so much thought that it dwarfs some other aspects worthy of consideration.

  1. Self Discipline.

    Do you get up in the morning and get into the office at 8:30 and work until 5 because someone is making you? Do you fluff around when there are gaps in your day and keep an eye on the boss so that you know when to look extra productive?


    An analogy I use quite regularly is of a teenager leaving school and going into university. They leave 13 years of structure and someone asking for homework to be turned in and checking on their work and enter a University where they are just a number, no one cares if they do the work or turn up to class and with a bar on campus a beer at lunch can very quickly turn into an afternoon of missed lectures – and no one is handing out detentions! But then the end of semester 1 roles around and the grades are looking concerning at best.

    I have seen it on many an occasion where the rush of freedom and in a sense liberation that comes from no longer having to answer to a boss, can be very overwhelming. For someone who isn’t self motivated and self disciplined this could actually be something that really damages their business dreams and / or makes the timeframe of profitability a lot further away than expected.

    Now please don’t take offence, I am not instantly comparing you to a teenager, but whilst we advocate freedom, flexibility and autonomy, it’s really important that you enter into your self-employment journey ready to work bloody hard! The perks will come, but you need to be able to do the hard yards without someone shaking a stick first.

  1. Can you work on your own?

    And I mean really on your own! This isn’t a case of being capable of carrying out your role independently whilst being in a company of 200 employees; this is day in and day out solitude. This is another aspect that probably isn’t given a great deal of thought, at the end of the day until you’ve tried it perhaps you don’t know how isolating it can be. Firstly you need to be a person who can clearly make decisions, who can look at the big picture as well as the details. It is definitely going to help if you have someone you can talk to, to bounce ideas off when you need to – a business mentor is a good idea. If you choose to take it all on by yourself the reward in terms of satisfaction when you succeed is going to be indescribable, just make sure you are prepared and strong enough to make it through the hardest days on the road to success totally on your own, that is the true test.

  2. Are you prepared to make sacrifices?

    This comes in so many forms – financial and lifestyle are probably the two most significant. Unless you are fortunate enough to have very deep pockets or someone who can back you, the word budget is going to become your new best friend. Every dollar counts and you will need to be disciplined to make it work, but remember this – when you do reach a point of profit and you have scrimped and saved to get there the rewarding feeling goes well beyond what you may be able to buy with it! Lifestyle – this isn’t just about not taking a really nice holiday this year, this is about the fact that for a period of time your life most likely needs to go on hold – think big picture here. This will partly be to do with money, or more likely lack of, and partly because starting a business takes a huge amount of time and energy and it will consume you whilst it starts to tick over. Eat, Sleep, Breath your business and it will pay off. This leads to the next point…

  3. Do you have a support network?

    Or at the very least the people around you to be supportive of what you are undertaking. If you have a partner and /or a family remember that you are not the only one taking this on and a sure fire way to ensure you won’t succeed is if that person isn’t 100% behind you ALL the way. It is very easy for people to want to be there on the good days, but that support needs to extend to the bad ones too. The people around you also need to fully understand how long it might take, and the changes you will need to make in your life to get there. The last thing you want to hear when you are putting your heart and soul into something is negativity about it because the expectations of the people around you weren’t set from the word go.

  4. Do you have a sense of adventure, and a sense of humor?

    This is going to be quite a ride and if you make it, when you look back on the journey many years down the track it will most likely be one of THE single most rewarding and exhilarating adventures you ever took. It is a huge risk, and it’s not for the faint hearted but it will be worth it if you achieve what you set out to. And the sense of humor… what can I say, there are going to be days where some might want to just throw the towel in but if you can keep a level head and sense of humor you’ll find a way to get through it.

  5. Finally, but probably MOST importantly, Do you have a positive outlook?

    You might think that is a pretty silly and fluffy thing to put on the top of the list, but if you don’t have it, it won’t work – it’s as simple as that. Be positive and when you do get knocked down you will be able to pick yourself back up – no one else is going to. Also make sure there is positivity around you, that is the quickest way to suck the energy out of what you are trying to achieve. Don’t however confuse positivity with blind optimism – you need to be realistic and level headed as well!

Providing that support network to allow someone to navigate this sometimes treacherous journey is our bread and butter, and it is incredibly satisfying when success is reached! But, unfortunately it’s not for everyone so careful consideration and truly looking at yourself critically in the areas listed above is essential to find out if you have what it takes.

This is the 3rd post in a series about making the change from employment to self employment, you can read the first 2 here:

As a recruiter have you ever thought “Could I do this for myself?”
You think you’d like to be a self-employed recruiter…. now what?

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