2016 was a crazy year, Brexit, Donald Trump and Leicester City winning the Premier League. 2016 was also the year, I started my own business. At 22, I went into partnership with Tom Markham to join TRM Recruitment as a Director leaving a secure, well paid job behind, which has resulted in my most successful year of my career to date. I wanted to share my key learns from the past 12 months for someone in a similar position to myself last year and possibly thinking about making a similar transition.
You don’t know all the answers.
And so, you shouldn’t. The title “Director” comes with its own weight that I had never experienced before, an expectation almost that you should know the answers to every problem that will arise in business. The reality of the situation is that you don’t. You will go through endless trials and errors, make mistakes – it’s all part of it. Analyse a situation and trust yourself to make the right call.
Get used to playing in goal, centre half on the wing and upfront.
In previous roles, I only had to worry about myself, my billings, my targets etcccc and only playing one role within a business, do deals! Working in a start-up you are not only responsible for that, but also the accounts, invoices, marketing, branding, website the list really goes on. It is incredibly easy to feel and become overwhelmed with these tasks/responsibilities. Prioritise and delegate, you can’t do everything.
Take breaks & make time for your hobby.
This has been a major learn over the past 12 months, taking time away from the desk when necessary, rewind back to February 2016, I can remember seeing 30 minutes of daylight over the course of three days when I nipped out to grab lunch each day. It is incredibly easy to get absorbed by the business, especially when it’s at such an early stage, that it’s hard to take a step back. Taking breaks throughout the day help to refresh the mind and refocus on the daily tasks. It is also important to make regular time to pursue your hobbies and having extended holidays throughout the year, to completely refresh yourself. Working while burnt out is no fun!
Working in a small business every investment matters. You make good ones, you make bad ones. It happens. Too many bad investments will not only strip cash flow, but will limit growth within the business. You will receive many sales calls on a weekly basis, promising all kinds of stuff, that it becomes hard to tell what’s good and what’s not. Invest logically. When making, decisions based on emotion it can lead to mistakes, take a step back, understand the core points and understand if your business really needs this. A lot of products/services sound interesting but not many back up the impressive sales pitch!
Being significantly younger than your peers in a role it is easy not to be taken seriously, although not the baby face I once was (5 years in sales has certainly helped the ageing process.) I’m still in a role that most people will take on 10+ years my senior. The best way to be taken seriously, is know your stuff, be confident in what you do, back who you are and what you’re trying to achieve and most importantly be yourself!
Leave each day with a smile on your face
Now I know this sounds very cheesy or the type of thing you would read in a motivational book, but it genuinely helps. You have bad days and last year, there was certainly a few, but it’s only one day – don’t take it home to your family/friends forget about it and repair the mistakes the next day. If you allow that bad day to affect you, it will quickly turn into a bad week/month which can be catastrophic for any small business. Brush yourself down, enjoy your evening and go again.
Embrace the challenge and enjoy it! Harder than it sounds when its 8pm halfway through the month and your pipeline has fell apart, it’s all part of the journey! Enjoy it!
After starting my job search I was recommended Tom via linkedin. Throughout the process Tom and Eddie both kept me up to date with as much information as possible and understood what I was seeking within a role. There bespoke approach is extremely refreshing and although we did not end up sourcing a role as I accepted another offer, I would not hesitate to recommend Tom and his team to anyone seeking a new role and want to speak to someone who will give them a clear and honest approach to the search.