3 years in - what have I learnt?

3 years in - what have I learnt?

 20 Apr 2018


Wow! It is 3 years since I said goodbye to the corporate Investment Banking world and hello to running a small Recruitment business! To be honest, I have been that busy, the only reason I remembered it was my 3 year Workaversary was because I got one of those LinkedIn notifications and a few people congratulated me on this milestone, so many thanks if that was you!

Red is a completely different beast now compared to when I arrived. I remember that slightly nauseous feeling I had when I handed my notice in at a well-known investment bank after 15 years in the industry in London and Glasgow, taking a huge risk to move into an area that was not exactly familiar.


Why on earth did I do it, you may ask?

I had always wanted to run my own business ever since my days in Capital Markets at Goldman Sachs, when I sat across the table from many successful CEO’s going through the personal and emotional (believe it or not!) experience of publicly floating their own companies on the Stock Exchange. Many of these people had started their business from very humble beginnings and going public was the ultimate goal that they had been working towards for many years. I had a dream to be sat on the other side of the table one day…

I also wanted a more flexible lifestyle that would mean that I could actually see my 3 children grow up.


Was it what I expected it to be?

Yes, and no. I’m not going to lie, the past 3 years has been amazing but tough – as any small business owner knows, you spend a lot of time in the early days worrying about EVERYTHING, especially cash flow and whether you can pay the bills, and I don’t think that anxiety ever goes away. Of course there are days when I miss the security blanket of the nice salary and benefits package and HR/IT support functions. And the buck stops with me for every decision that is made. The flip side of that is that I CAN make whatever decision I want, whenever I want and there is no Red Tape in my way!

To that end, I have always been committed to fighting the good fight; so I wanted to make sure that Red operated in the right way, creating an authentic, positive and fun environment to work in whilst, most importantly, treating everyone with respect – and that means clients, candidates and our own team. I am a strong believer that if you stay true to those values and you hang on in there then business will bloom.


What have I learnt? What advice would I give for anyone considering doing the same?

  1. Having the right team around you is ESSENTIAL. I think in larger corporates it doesn’t matter as much if some of your team are not pulling their weight or are not the right cultural fit. In a small business we are ALL under the microscope and the team need to get on, respect each other and believe in what you are building.
  1. You are never EVER actually on holiday when you are on holiday.
  1. You must maintain an optimistic outlook, even when things are looking pretty bad.
  1. Be nimble – the goalposts move constantly and you have to be able to be flexible enough to deal with that (and so does your team – see point 1).
  1. Never give up. Running a small business (like life, I suppose) is a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure you enjoy the journey.


Would I change anything?

No way! 3 years in I can truly say that Red is going from strength to strength – we are planning on growing our team to service the increase in demand for our services and we have some very exciting plans for 2018 and looking further ahead.

So, thanks to everyone that has been with me on this crazy roller coaster ride, we couldn’t do it without you!



Amazing commitment and success story, well done Matt and everyone involved.
Posted on Friday, April 20, 2018 23:02 by Linda Robertson
Fantastic story. Wish you both every well deserved success.
Posted on Friday, April 20, 2018 21:03 by Rob Fox

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