After 10 years of being an agency guy, I have finally decided it is time to jump out on my own.  This is more from necessity and the feeling that I can not work for someone else for another 10-20 years.

I have primarily worked in the technology space, but because of the economy and my need to just make money to support a family and myself, I am looking at being more of a generalist, albeit, tech, accounting & finance, sales, administrative.

Any advice on selling myself as a generalist to build up a client base would be really apprecaited.

 

 

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Three words "market great candidates."

Start with the clients you have worked for in the IT sector.  Let them know you are expanding services to clients who know you.  Ask for referrals by the hiring manager in IT to the hiring manager in Accounting or business development.  You best selling point is that you know the company culture and have been successful placing people with them.  You already have relationships with HR and Internal recruiters so let them know you are expanding.  Much easier to expand within a company where you are a proven commodity than try to work in a sector you haven't worked in before with a company you have not worked with in the past.

BAD IDEA

FOCUS on becoming an expert in a certain segment of the market.

That way you can bring real value add even though your only a one man shop.

Yes you need more customers but it's alot easier getting and retaining customers if you have value add.

Beware of your non-compete if you are to follow Sandra's advice. That can cost you $25-$50k if you lose in court for trying to steal customers from your now previous company. Hope you don't have a non-compete, then all is fair in love and war.

@dennis, I assumed no non compete since it was not mentioned. However, depends on the language and the firm involved. If the firm he is leaving is a niche firm doing only IT they may or may not care if he works with a client in other areas or may have language that restricts from existing clients. You are correct that if there is a restriction to existing clients there sure might be a problem. I assumed no non compete because so many of them are written with the intent to prevent a recruiter from going out on their own. If that is the case here he has a problem to deal with either generalist ir niche. A discussion worthy of another thread.

@barry the problem with being an expert is that there are so many of them. The value add of being a generalist is being able to turnkey a small to medium size client and become the "go to" external recruiter. An ongoing debate since the dawn of recruiting.

My advice is to be properly capitalized or have access to working capital, first.  Choose a niche carefully and be retained from the starting block.  Being niched has real value to potential clients.  Being retained (or engaged) means the client has skin in the game and you will not work on BS searches out of desperation when your mortgage is due.  Before you launch have infrastructure ready to roll: office space if needed, phone system chosen, accounting package that allows careful tracking and a billing function, E&O insurance, and a website.  When starting a new firm you can't be distracted from functions that make you money.  You can be ready without taking time from your present employer.  Don't pierce a non-compete.  It is not about running from something but to something.

Wish you nothing but the best... I believe niche is better than a generalist, but the path to personal/professional independence is unique to each person,

As what is termed a "generalist", I see my value in being someone who can find clients the people they need - period. Some are perhaps a bit harder for me, as I may have a bit of a learning curve initially, but if you are good at all steps in the recruiting process it shouldn't be a huge problem. Now, I am also not above seeking and even working with others that may have some skills/tool/resources that I don't in order to suceed. Last year for example, some of my placements were the following:

(Consumer Products) -Sales Reps, National Trainer, Regional Sales Manager

(Manufacturing) -  Product Manager, Senior Project Engineer, Marketing Director, e-Commerce Director, General Manager Mexico, Regional Sales Maanger Latin America 

(Healthcare Services) - Project Director, Deputy Project Director

(Civil/Structural/Environmental) - Senior Structural Engineer, Prinicipal Hydrogeologist, Senior Project Controls Engineer

(Mining) - Mine Manager, Labor Relations Supervisor, Mine Foreman, Miners

 

Gregg, I came into this recruiting world about 3 years ago and I take job orders from any industry and for most any position. My main concern when I am talking to a potential client is whether or not we can form a good working relationship. Also, I do retained, contingency, and combinations of the two as far as fees go.

 

I really appreciate everyone's points and I do believe niche is the way to go. Figuring out what that niche will be and defining it isy current challenge. Once I have that figured out I feel very confident I will be ready to roll.

Best answer.

Brian K. Johnston said:

Wish you nothing but the best... I believe niche is better than a generalist, but the path to personal/professional independence is unique to each person,

hey Gregg,

Ive done exactly what you do.  Happy to discuss my experiences if you wish.  Feel free to shoot me your contact info in my inbox and connect.  

My history:  Been an IT Recruiter of 12 years, the last 4 years have been very niche specialized in a specific sector.  Been on my own since 2007.

 I guess you can make money either way.

But recreating the wheel every day is a lot of work.

It just took me 20 minutes to do a 200 person mailer into one of my soft spots. (IT Pre sales Techy)

If I was starting from scratch it would of taken days or weeks to get my message out to 200 of the right people.

 

What niche? After fumbling around in the industry for a couple years I had a coffee with a senior CIO.

He told me that the secret of his sucess was he could do the job of anyone working for him.

Since I had sold computers for 20 years and didn't know much about anything else it was easy to figure out my niche should be computer sales reps and the techy's who help them sell.

 

I also disagree with:

Before you launch have infrastructure ready to roll: office space if needed, phone system chosen, accounting package that allows careful tracking and a billing function, E&O insurance, and a website.

 

All you really need to start a one man recruiting company is a phone,computer, internet a pen and paper.

I waited untill my 2nd month before making my first major purchase - $50 worth of buisness cards

My monthly buisness expenses are approx $300.

BUT I do try and have acess to at least enough credit to handle 6 months of personal cashflow.

If your planning on doing contractors that's a different story.

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