I was 3 months pregnant… and started my own recruitment business

I’ve been called ‘crazy’ quite a few times over the last 14 years in recruitment – more by my husband than anyone else! But this must be the craziest and potentially stupidest thing I’d ever done.

With LivRecruit being a year old, I’m sharing my story on how it’s been trying to set up a new recruitment business in a crowded market while raising two children. When I say ‘raising’ – I mean going through pregnancy, the birth, and more! It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I’ve loved every second of it.

What did I set up my own recruitment business?

I’d worked at a few recruitment companies before, all within sales recruitment. I bloody love the guys over at Core Talent (my ex-employers) and have lots of respect for their business – but it was time for me to do something by myself. I wanted something that my family would be proud of – including my unborn baby girl.

I knew how to recruit, and I knew I had connections that would help me out. But, I couldn’t shake off the thought of going alone, and it was vital for me to give it a go. My husband Pete fully backed the business, and we started putting the wheels in motion!

How did I start it?

I reached out to a former boss of mine, Mark Neilan, who has set up a business of investing in recruitment start-ups. We worked together for years, and I needed some guidance on how you get the bloody thing going in the first place! Our meeting place of choice was always Bents Garden Centre, and we even signed our contracts there.

When I handed in my notice to the team at Core Talent, they were amazing and so supportive. They have been a superb help and are entirely different from other recruitment businesses who would bad mouth you as soon as you’ve left the room.

We chose the company name after our eldest daughter Olivia. It was important to me as we are a family business and have strong family values. The exciting bit came when I was choosing logos and images… If you do ever set up by yourself, this is the most stressful and exciting part! Luckily, we’d booked a holiday, so I was sipping non-alcoholic Pina Coladas from the beach as we were trying to get a website set up!

Starting a recruitment business when pregnant

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In November 2017 I was about three months pregnant, and LivRecruit was registered. It was bizarre because I was so excited but tired at the same time! I worked every hour I could from my spare room as we juggled looking after Olivia while developing new business. Luckily, I had some connections that would help me out, and I managed to make a few placements within the first few months of trading. I started with no CRM system, no email, no computer – just a mobile phone, pen, and paper.

All the way through the first six months of trading, we were thinking – “when you’re off on maternity leave – who’s going to run the business?!”… but I was so focused on making placements that I didn’t really give it much thought. Because I was working from a bedroom, it wouldn’t be right to have a random person in the house covering my work – so my husband Pete suggested he helps. Admittedly, he knew nothing about recruitment, and it’s been a steep learning curve – but because of his sales background, turns out he’s fantastic at it! He kept the business in safe hands and joined in February – 8 weeks before Hallie was born.

Two stories come to mind, which shows how crazy it has been:

Do you ever have a cold that you can’t shift? I had a bug for weeks and weeks but thought nothing of it. Eventually, I get it checked out where nurses were taking swabs and doing all the relevant checks. Suddenly, I was rushed into isolation because I’d got influenza! Not a cold, but a severe illness! They kept me in until midnight where I’d spent all day speaking with clients in solitary confinement!

Another time, I went to a client meeting when I was about eight months pregnant. It was cold, icy and freezing and I fell over – arse over tit! It felt like I went flying… but rather than going to the hospital to get myself checked out, I went to the meeting first (good job I did because we made two placements!), then went to the hospital. Everything was fine but falling over when you’re eight months pregnant isn’t fun, and god knows what my client thought when I walked in!

Hallie comes along!

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We were speaking to candidates and clients in the waiting room when Hallie was born! After waiting for over three days for Hallie to come along, it wasn’t the best birth, to say the least, and it took me a few weeks just to be able to stand up… let alone think about the business. The placenta was stuck and put it this way, I had three blood transfusions and was unconscious for 10 hours – while Pete was sleeping in the car or a chair. Pete thought I’d lost the plot because I don’t remember much of the following day after Hallie was born. There are much more details I can share with you privately if you want to drop me a message!

As the doctors had ordered bed rest, it was nice to turn on the laptop and do some work from home. Pete was amazing, and we kept the business going somehow! I don’t know how, but we made sure the kids were happy and settled while managing everything from applications to interviews and offers. There have been many nights where we’ve had no sleep before work. We still love it though!

Getting back into it

My family have been amazing and really helped with looking after the kids. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family as they’ve helped me out a lot – looking after both Olivia and Hallie, juggling nursery while travelling.

I take days off each week to spend time with Hallie while Pete goes into our new office in Warrington. When Hallie is with my family, I head into the office – but I’m on the go 24/7. There isn’t much downtime for us, but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

We’ve just had our best month in October 2018, beating our previous best by 41%. We’re looking to hire in our Warrington office, we’ve got a great mix of clients, and I still love speaking to candidates. I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring! 😊