Why You Shouldn’t Start Your Own Recruitment Business

If you could look up the words most commonly associated with the word ‘recruiter’, entrepreneurial would fetch pretty high results.

Blustery cut n thrusters the lot of you.

Both recruiters and entrepreneurs have a knack for sniffing out opportunities like hungry hogs with a truffle habit. And I’d guess not many of the world’s top billers would be in their position if they couldn’t spot a trend.

And then turn that trend into business.

Into an opportunity.

With half an eye on the risk and another on the reward, find their way to owning a share of a completely new or emerging market.

But I’m going to guess even if you’d call yourself entrepreneurial, the only risk you’ve really taken so far is at someone else’s expense?

With a salary coming in?

With a team around you?

With resources and freedom for it to not cost everything, should you fail?

That’s fair enough. Starting a business is a massive risk. If it all goes wrong, it’s your neck on the line. And probably your mortgage. Plus…

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It’s far too much work

“Give me a phone and a bit of WiFi and I’ll do a deal by lunch time!”


After all, you just need a strong work ethic, with equal parts gumption and moxie and you’re guaranteed to succeed in this industry.

Potentially true.

Until you realise how much work’s involved to start a business.

You’ve got to get your new company registered.

Find a logo that’s inspiring and modern.

Think about offices?

Get your branding sorted, internal and external…

Build a website that doesn’t look like every other website in recruitment.

Pay for job boards.

Hire a self-starting, reliable employee to help you out?

You’ve got to organise recruitment software.

Terms of business.

Employment contracts.

A company bank account.

A company email account.

And payroll, you still haven’t thought about payroll? How much does an Accountant cost?

And you need to do all of this when you’re not focusing on activities to bring in revenue, like your life depends on it, which now, ironically, it kind of does.

Where do you find the time to get all this stuff done in between phone calls?

You won’t.

Because it doesn’t exist.

But you have to keep going anyway.

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What about your non-compete?

If you’ve had enough time before starting your new venture, to think about all of the above, all you have to do is get on the phone and watch the money come in, right?

Stop right there, buster.

If you’re working the same market, you’re a competitor.

And whether you were at your old business for ten minutes or ten years, you haven’t got the freedom of the city.

People pay more attention to the safety demo on planes than non-compete clauses, but you need to be aware of the permutations.

Will you have to be cloak and dagger for the first year?

Are you at risk of being sued? Or facing a winding up order? Is it worth the risk, moving in the same markets?

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You’ll take a hit financially

How long will it be until you start making money?

If you want a hint, it won’t be the first placement you make. And it probably won’t be the second.

So how long can you afford to wait?

What you’re gaining in independence you’re sacrificing in security. Notably, that which a regular income provides.

This drop’s often more shocking than you realise. Very genuinely, it’s like a tap being turned off.

But you’re in the wild west now pard’ner. You eat what you kill out here.

Rent, bills, hardware, headsets, and paying contractors when clients are dragging their heels on an invoice – it all comes out of your pocket.

And it might be controversial, but not having a boss isn’t always the walk in the park you think it’s going to be.

When you’re in charge of paying yourself, and motivating yourself to get the work done, you’ll find out whether you’re cut out to run a business.

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You can’t ever switch off

If you think you have a stressful existence now, this will be amplified by ten when you’re on your own.

If you’re awake, you’re working.

And you aren’t really allowed to sleep. Or at least dream of anything other than work.

Sure, we’re always first to point out how poor work/life balance will affect your happiness.

But the reality is, when you’re starting a business it’s all hands to the pump. And unless you’ve got help, the only hands available will be your own.

It’s all on you

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There are two types of recruitment entrepreneur:

Those who want to build an empire and those who want a lifestyle they’ve designed.

And until recently, the middle ground between entrepreneurism and agency life has been tough to access.

Hilton Lord Associates are a Hunted partner who’ve been setting up entrepreneurial recruiters since 2009.

They’ve given a leg up to one man bands and now bigger brands. And according to Dave Kershaw, MD there’s no better satisfaction than helping a successful recruiter move to the next level of their career.

“We take a lot of work away, but also the fear of having to do it on your own.”

“When new Directors would normally have to spend time working out the back office stuff, with us, they can focus on making money”

Settle on a name for your company and Hilton Lord handles registration, Accounts setup, a snazz website, hardware provisions like a laptop and recruitment software, job board access, credit checks and invoicing.

And for contract Recruiters, funding contractor payments at a much cheaper rate than they’d get on the open market.

“Another big part of what we do is invest cash to get businesses set up, so they can pay themselves a salary for the first few months”

Being a great recruiter and knowing how to set up a business are two completely different skillsets.

But if despite all the reasons not to, the thought of setting up on your own sounds more like a challenge to overcome than something to be feared – and keeping 75% of your billings sounds appealing – click here.

Then go and take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself:

Have I got what it takes to make it work?