Recruiting from anywhere – Living the dream!
Recently I came across some great podcast interviews by Kevin Green the CEO of the REC on Soundcloud. In it he discusses a variety of topics with leaders within the recruitment industry from Adecco, Michael Page and other well-known recruitment giants. I particularly liked the Adam Buck (CEO of Phaidon International) and Recruitment guru, Greg Savage, interviews. In it they discuss how they managed to get to the top of the recruitment industry by working hard, taking risks and scaling up their businesses at the right time. Adam’s podcast almost had me chomping at the bit to hire someone and open up an IT Recruitment vertical but then after a long hard look in the mirror I remembered that I really like the freedom and flexibility my current nomadic business provides.
Since leaving Australia in November 2013 my wife and I have worked on and off as Digital Nomads for the last couple of years across South East Asia, Europe, Central and North America. We made our first, of many, Rec2Rec placements in Antigua Guatemala and celebrated in style eating an amazing meal overlooking beautiful volcanos. As we approach one year successfully working full time for ourselves I thought I’d give you an insight into our agency recruitment journey so far.
Timing – No time is ever the perfect time
Having arrived in Canada we were full of hopes and dreams about a life in the Rockies, skiing, camping, hiking – it seemed to have it all! We threw ourselves back into our corporate lives; I went to set up an IT Recruitment team for David Aplin and Charlotte, originally due to join Chevron as an Internal Recruiter, then found her way into Rec2Rec internally for NES Global Talent. We loved life in Calgary, so much so that we had multiple meetings set up with visa agents for permanent residency, mortgage advisors and realtors for buying a house etc. That said by the end of that same week we sitting in all day breakfast diner in Calgary fretting as Charlotte had just been made redundant and it was the beginning of the implosion of the Oil and Gas market.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. Our lives had been turned upside down and so we talked things through and asked each other when was the last time we felt great about ourselves and what we were doing at that time? We quickly determined that it was actually when we were working for ourselves launching our resume writing business, travelling and working in exotic locations. It was like a penny had dropped and we both felt instantly inspired so one week later I quit my job and we jumped in with both feet to launching our second business –Pro Recruitment Solutions (PRS). Whilst the timing wasn’t perfect by any means it was the best decision we have made.
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill
Finding somewhere to Baseline
Baselining is a term which is known in digital nomad communities and it basically means moving somewhere really affordable whilst you launch your online business. Having launched Pro Resume Write (PRW) the previous year whilst travelling through Thailand we realised when establishing PRS we needed to go somewhere where we could live cheaply but comfortably, that had a good expat vibe with the infrastructure necessary to support us. We also knew from our lessons learned with the last business that travelling around too much is not only costly but disrupts workflow and productivity so we needed a location we could bunker down in. We flipped a coin between Chiang Mai and Antigua Guatemala (our two favourite travel destinations) and it landed on Antigua, the land of eternal spring (as the weather is pretty much 27 degrees year round).
It definitely wasn’t all plain sailing and living in the developing world can have its challenges (especially whenever a storm hits and your internet goes out!) but for the most part it was invigorating and stimulating. Our baseline destination of Antigua though was always a short term stop for us and we set ourselves a target – if we could make enough placements to match our six figure Calgary salaries we would move back to Europe. Through hard work and determination we managed to do this quicker than ever and within 4 months had earned our right back!
Investing in Tools & Technology
In my last article, I wrote in detail about some of the tools I use to recruit remotely. If it doesn’t break the bank and helps your business go for it. It is essential to be on top of your accounting/profit and loss so you know exactly what is available for support accessories. There will be at times some tools and technology that you need to question whether it is a worthwhile investment or not. We frequently ask ourselves:
- Will this help our bottom line in terms of placements or resume sales during the course of the following year?
- Is it a necessary? It is a must have or desirable?
- Is there an alternative? If so what are the key differentiators between products/services?
- Is it a market leader and do you need to have the market leading product?
- Can you upgrade and downgrade depending on how well your business is doing?
Currently myself and Charlotte are debating on the benefits of buying a new state of the art Canon camera/video for our blog and for making commercial videos. It is meant to be one of the best in our budget range but neither of us are previously into photography so do we need it as high spec as it is? We are also looking at investing in LinkedIn Recruiter, we have an extremely strong LinkedIn network (45,000 + connections between us) so do we need it? Will the further reach we can get make a difference though and take us to the next level? Both of these things we would never have considered in year 1 with our budget but now we have capital behind us our priorities and options change. Moral of the story is to start with the basic necessities, upgrade as required and earn your toys.
Developing a short, medium and long term strategy
We constantly battle the idea and debate frequently do we continue to have the success we have had with the freedom and flexibility we desire or do we elevate to the next level, seek investment and build out our business? After much contemplation right now for us continuing our achievements and success as a nomadic business works but that is certainly not to say in the future our outlook may change and hiring people may become the right decision for us. I would recommend for any small agency recruitment business to look at what they want to achieve now, in 2 years and in 5 years’ time and to not only think in business terms but in personal motivators as well. Remember the best laid plans change frequently but having an agreed strategy is essential.
As we get closer to our one year anniversary with Pro Recruitment Solutions now is an essential time for us to reflect and evolve. As with any business remaining still is to stagnate and it is imperative we develop ourselves as entrepreneurs, digital nomads and overall as a business. We have been busier than ever so excited to build on our huge success of year one and see what the next 12 months will bring to both our businesses.
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