Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in human resources but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Oliver Bowles, Partner of Shearwater Recruitment, located in London, UK.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm one of the partners for an international recruitment agency. Our customers are varied from Tier 1 Banking Corporations all the way to Trusts & Professional Services Firms. We have a proud client base ranging from Texas all the way to Tokyo!
Tell us about yourself
My background was originally selling a technology solution with a focus on events to large corporations, and then I got blindsided by COVID. My career was totally stunted (and perhaps I wasn't actually that good at sales!)
I moved back to my hometown and had a conversation with one of my best mates, having a minor meltdown about what I was going to do with my life. He suggested to me, 'let's start a business,' to which I laughed in his face and disregarded it completely. I went home and thought about it for ages and didn't sleep at all. The next morning I thought, 'I genuinely have nothing to lose.
Like most entrepreneurs/business owners who are starting out. They will most likely tell you, 'don't quit your day job until you can afford to go solo.' Naturally, I ignored this advice and quit a month later with £1700 to my name. I got a part-time pub job to solely pay for food & car petrol, and I pretty much kept it all a secret from family and friends! I didn't want people telling me it was too risky or that it couldn't be done, or that I was an idiot for quit quitting my job with no money.
Starting out, every day, I worked from 8 am till 1 am. 8 am till 5 pm I worked at Shearwater Recruitment, frantically calling businesses to work with us, and then from 5:30 pm to 1 am, I worked in a local pub that I used to work at when I was 18. If I'm honest, I hated it. The growing pains and constant rejection were awful and often used to riddle me with doubts about if it would work out or not.
Fast forward to where we are now, I'm motivated by helping people better their lives in their professional lives and even financially. I frequently daydream about where we will be in 5 years and then always refills my motivation cup! I'm proud to say we are hiring three people for our business which I genuinely can't believe I'm saying, and I can't wait to meet them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment would have to be opening my first big client with a global tier 1 bank and establishing a solid relationship by bonding over the new James Bond film (no pun intended). No Time to Die, if you were wondering. We really hit it off, and they are still our biggest and best client today; I knew after that one phone call everything was about to change for us.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
You have to learn everything as you go. If you don't know or understand something, you really have to learn it inside out as you can only really rely on yourself when starting out. Even when people give advice on something, you have to be absolutely certain that it's correct and do your own research to guarantee it. Otherwise, old problems come back to haunt you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Consistency and discipline will beat motivation every single time in the long run.
- Write notes on everything; you'd be amazed how much you forget!
- Don't be afraid to make that first call of the day - it's only another human on the other end of the line.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Very much like establishing a gym habit or diet - There is never a right time to start. So just start now, regardless of what everyone else thinks, and keep going until it's done!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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