If he were alive today, John Lennon would be celebrating his 70th birthday and by now, as he probably did nearly 30 years ago, all of his dreams, except unfortunately world peace surely would have been realized. Most of us have some kind of dream; whether we chose to go after that dream or not is a choice we make.
Initially, my dream was to be a professional boxer and then a pro football player though much to my dismay there is not a lot of demand for guys who are 5’8” and take at least 5 seconds to run 40 yards in the NFL. By the time I reached college I knew the only thing I ever wanted to do was to have and grow a company. After falling into recruiting I was initially terrible, failing to close a deal in my first 6 months. Then, after a 10 day break where I reflected on all the deals I wasn’t making I went on to be the most prolific recruiter at TSG in Phoenix over the next several years. During that time we were named the “Fastest Growing IT Staffing Company” in the country by a leading industry magazine. I knew I was a big part of that and loved the feeling of growing a company since the Phoenix office was only a year old when I joined. In fact, I remember hearing that when the General Manager was asked for a reference several years later he said that I was the best recruiter he ever saw.
Eventually I would leave TSG to go to New York because like so many other people I always had a fascination with the big Apple and grew up in nearby Jersey (yes, I’m from the Jersey Shore and no I don’t know Bruce or Snooki). During this transition the woman who placed me, Sarah Lovelace, said something that touched me in a way perhaps no other words ever have. She said: “Everyone knows that anybody that’s any good in this business (referring to recruiting) eventually goes out on their own.”
Once again I went on to become the most prolific recruiter in the NY branch during my tenure. About 4 years later in 2007 I was reading my commission spreadsheet that showed all of my placements, the revenue I brought in and comparing that number to my actual paycheck and it made me sick to my stomach; it could have been the reason why at 32 years old I had 2 ulcers.
So ExecuSource was born and we were going to focus on the kinds of jobs I enjoyed filling most, executive level positions. I didn’t have any clients and in hindsight it may have been a little crazy but what did I have to lose; I could always go back and be a recruiter if things didn’t pan out.
The first year was rough in every way; from an appendectomy, to major issues with Vista (the bain of my existence), a break-up and making next to no money. Since then things have changed quite a bit; we built a social network of recruiters to support our clients, we formed several strong relationships with Pharmaceutical, Financial Services and Interactive companies and moved to a contained search model. It hasn’t been easy and we haven’t grown as much or as fast as I would have liked but I’m getting the feeling that the only dreams that ever happen overnight are the ones that occur when we’re sleeping.
I remember one of the first meetings I had my future client asked me why I went out on my own and I didn’t know what to say – I didn’t want to come off like a braggart or a dreamer so I sidestepped the question. Today, I realize that the answer to the question is two fold: Firstly, “Everyone knows that anyone who’s any good in this business eventually goes out on their own,” and secondly “You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”