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The numbers are in, it’s official, over 8,000 recruitment businesses registered in the UK in 2022 – the second highest on record. The appetite for starting a recruitment business is huge and has been consistently growing in the last 5 years > see here


Why the near record breaking demand?

Running a business isn’t something to be feared

  • The barriers to entry are low 
  • Sales and martech is making it easier to automate your daily activity
  • Working from home does work (age old debate answered!)

Personal brand is more valuable than who you work for

  • Thousands of recruitment businesses train and nurture talent, but once you’re built your desk, you’re the value creator. Over 70% of the businesses operating in the UK recruitment industry are “micro” SMEs with less than 10 employees. More and more recruiters are recognising their unique value to dramatically increase their earnings and create a saleable asset for themselves.

Borderless opportunity

  • Not so long-ago, growth meant adding a new office in the UK. Now recruiters are launching and growing into new geos with ease. Whether it’s the tech-focused Netherlands, Life Sciences and Engineering in DACH or capitalising on the number one recruitment market in the world – the US – the recruitment world has never been so accessible.

Here at RecruitHub, we help talented recruitment professionals realise their goals and ambitions. At the end of 2022, we caught up with a group of founders who billed over $12m+ in the UK and US to get their top tips, find out what to avoid and understand why they decided to start building their dream.

Here are five key takeaways from their insight.

One: There’s never a “right-time”

Mark Twain’s age-old maxim that you’ll “never regret the things you did, but the things you didn’t do” is one that everyone can relate to.

“Be super-mindful of the old Japanese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today. I regret not doing this sooner.”

Stuart Mitchell, Founder – Hampton North (US – Cybersecurity)

“Don’t place emphasis on timing: If it’s a question of “is it the right time or not” the right answer is never going to come. You always find a reason to say no.”

Joseph Cooper, Co-Founder, Aspiron Search (US – Cybersecurity)

Two: Be niche

The recruitment industry has been trending towards niche specialists since 2010. Lower-barriers to entry and more accessible and innovative business funding methods have created more opportunity. Where once the big businesses held all the training and tech cards, the modern recruiter has a plethora of tech options at their fingertips and on-demand advisory from a range of sources, including; podcasts, subscription mentorships and communities.

“Focus on your niche and don’t deviate or allow yourself to be distracted. It can be tempting to expand beyond what you know and do best – but reality is you will spend more time and energy focusing on the wrong things. Better to go inch-wide, mile deep”

Joe Seabright, Co-Founder, GS Solutions (UK, IT)

“Ensure that you put a plan in place for your vertical and geography to ensure this isn’t an area you are stepping on (not worth the headache at the beginning).”

Francis Harwood, Founder, Limitless (US, IT)

Three: Be unique

Marketing a recruitment business in the 2020s is an incredibly exciting opportunity. An array of tools and channels have made content creation and distribution faster than before. Today’s recruiter is tuned into branding, differentiation and the value of being unique to build brand and generate revenue.

“Be creative with your marketing: we host numerous events and run a Spotify top-ten podcast which is exclusively for the market we work in, with 20,000 followers in 128 countries.”

Kyle Winterbottom, Founder, Orbition (UK, Europe, USA, Data & Analytics)

“Map your market, build your database, maximise your LinkedIn connections, be proactive with your BD, forecast and work your conversion metrics, run structured and strategic marketing campaigns – focusing on your differentiation and your value adds.”

Romone Alexander-Simpson, Co-Founder, James Simpson, (UK, Germany, Cybersecurity)

Four: Know your “why”

Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, famously stated “there’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences”. The focus on “choice’ sharpens the reasoning for the why.

“The biggest motivator is my family – I want to build something for them and make them see that the sky’s the limit.”

Paris Abbas, Co-Founder, James Simpson, (UK, Germany, Cybersecurity)

“We want to build a completely entrepreneurial, autonomous environment where you can be very niche and very focused. We want to offer genuine flexibility and investment into wellbeing. There’s a “no questions asked” policy on personal appointments and engagements.”

Alex Hutchings, Co- Founder, Dataworks, (US, Data)

Five: Explore your options

It’s no secret that recruiters aren’t afraid to strike up conversations and acquire information. If you’re exploring the idea of starting your own business, speak to us for a no-pressure chat. We’ll be answer any questions you have. Similarly, to get the lived experience from our founders, please reach out and connect on LinkedIn.

“Get feedback: speak to founders of businesses that fit in your personal or shared vision – whether this is a lifestyle business or you want to grow and scale for maximum value at exit. Tapping into views is very helpful to shape your thoughts.”

Haseena Mooncey, Co-Founder, CHR Life Sciences, (UK, Life Sciences)

Even when I was doing really well and enjoying roles in previous businesses there was always something in the back of my mind that was saying “one day i’ll do this myself” – you’ve to go to explore that feeling.”

Kyle Winterbottom, Founder, Orbition (UK, Europe, USA, Data & Analytics)



Download our Founder Insight Guide: Edition One to access all of the insight and advice from 13 founders who billed $12m+ in 2022.

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