1st February 2010! 10 years, a whole decade! Owl City were number 1 with their single, Fireflies, my team Norwich City were in League 1 having just scraped a 2-1 at home to Hartlepool and my youngest team member at GCB was just 9 years old at the time!
It’s safe to say time fly's, and the last 10 years has been quite some journey.
So, it’s at times like these that it’s always good to sit back and reflect, having watched the business grow from my spare room to our current office and team of Managers, Consultants and support staff.
It’s fair to say that running a business is rewarding, but behind the scenes do people really understand what it takes to be successful and to survive 10 years in a competitive industry such as recruitment?
As I sit back and write this it reminds me of all the sacrifices and risks, I’ve taken to make the business what it is today. All the sleepless nights, months without a day’s holiday and the countless invites I turned down to family events.
So, what are the sacrifices and risks involved in setting up and being a sole owner of a business from personal experience. I certainly remember those early days well, going through the first few months without an income leading me to rely on supportive family and friends.
The biggest sacrifice at the time was a loss of a relationship. Years of a relationship that was gone due to putting my business first. I think I even remember the moment the ‘straw broke the camel’s back’, so to speak. It was on a pre-booked holiday prior to GCB’s inception where rather than spending time with my partner I was spent the whole of the holiday working, alone.
No-one told me starting a business would be a lonely journey, for the most part that is. When I started the business, it was before the days of working remotely from cafés or the hot-desk environments of the start-ups today. I was working solely, in a small dark bedroom with only the view of a car park for inspiration. It was a world away from my working days of past. I had found myself going from working in sociable large teams particularly in my Estate Agency days to sitting at home not seeing anyone for days on end.
I think it’s also fair to say that all that time relying on ‘me, myself and I’ for the success I craved, had an impact into the person I’ve now become. I would say the one thing no-one can ever tell you about owning/running a business is how much it changes you as a person. You literally live and breathe your business. And it can be extremely difficult to switch off and think about anything else.
People often perceive working for yourself as easier than working for someone else, trust me it’s not! The more successful you become, the more staff you need, thus the more responsibility you have and this in turn brings more strain and stress along the way.
I often reflect on my past bosses and could never understand or appreciate why they were so stressed. Often, finding myself and/or colleagues of past saying “Why are they so stressed, they're not doing my job, they are just managing. How hard could that be?”, however, I totally understand it now! Even if it did take me all this time to figure it out. So, for my old bosses who I may have frustrated, I apologise! And you can definitely say karma got to me.
That's enough of the negatives though, as the last 10 years brought me way more positives than negatives. Being responsible for something a big as this company is amazing and for it to grow year in year out is beyond incredible. And it’s not something I take lightly, as companies far bigger than mine in the last couple of years have fallen on hard times and some no longer exist. So, I can say I’m truly proud of what we have achieved as a business, as I could never have imagined how much it would flourish.
I mentioned earlier that with success comes the need for more staff which brings higher levels of stress and strain, but what I didn’t mention was the pride having staff brings a business owner. Adding staff to your business is a physical sign that your business is doing well, but that’s not what makes me proud about having staff. It’s always been for me about seeing them progress both personally and professionally. It’s seeing them rise through the ranks professionally, finding qualities about themselves they never knew they had. Or seeing them hit life milestones like getting their first car or home and expanding their families. All of which achievable through the success they have earned within my business.
Equally, seeing job seekers with whom I or my team have placed growing from entry level positions to decision makers years later. Going from asking us for help with their careers to helping them grow their businesses, is what makes starting this business all those years ago so rewarding. Making a difference to people’s lives is something that I can truly say makes all those early years and sacrifices worthwhile.
Seeing my business grow every year takes my mind further away from the dark uninspiring bedroom that I started in. But I was recently asked “Would I do it all again?” it took me back. So, I asked myself would I, if I had a time-machine, do it all again? The answer, absolutely yes, without any hesitation! Despite the sacrifices, I’ve loved every minute of the last decade. And to take a couple of minutes while writing this to briefly contemplate what the next 10 years might bring my team and business, it’s exciting beyond measure.
So, on that note I would like to thank everyone what has made the last 10 years possible and here’s to the next 10 years!!
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