Joanne Finnerty has the perfect strapline for her business, JF Recruitment, it’s punchy and snappy and would definitely make you stop and listen if you met her at a networking event; ‘I’m Joanne Finnerty, and I help companies make more money by recruiting the right staff for them.’ – And she does, and has done since she launched her business in June 2013. After working for 20 years in the recruitment industry, and at companies like Adecco and Kelly Recruitment, Joanne finally took the plunge (after much pestering from her husband), and started her own business.
‘I kept saying yes, yes, I’ll get around to it, but you just carry on and you think it’s going to be easier just to stay safe and not take the risk. But I really wasn’t happy and I wanted to do my own thing.’ – So after returning from a holiday, Joanne handed in her notice and that very evening wrote the business plan for JF Recruitment. She had clear ideas about what running her own business was going to be like, saying she wanted to work Monday to Thursday only, play golf on Friday and get a dog, joking; ‘I’ve always wanted a dog, one of the main reasons I started my own business was to get a dog!’. But it soon became clear the JF Recruitment wasn’t going to be a 4 day-a-week, work from home business.
‘Within the first year, I realised that I had so much business that I needed to recruit staff to help me. I’d attended the opening of every envelope across Liverpool and the Wirral; and networked like crazy. I was starting to have to turn away business, and that’s when I knew, I needed to take staff on, and if I have to take staff on, then I’m going to need premises!’
Something that has always stayed with Joanne throughout her working life has been the idea of having her offices in Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, as she lives in the Wirral and has always liked the area. Fate was on Joanne’s side, as one of her business networks let her know that there was an office available on the ground floor of a building in Hamilton Square. ‘I had a look, and it was beautiful!’Now, settled into her office in Hamilton Square, with enough space to grow, Joanne took on her first member of staff, Julie in October 2014, and her second member of staff, Natalie in February 2015. In the future Joanne is looking to grow her own consultants from scratch and take on an apprentice. But is still incredibly careful, and forward thinking; ‘I won’t be in debt, I don’t want to owe any money, so I will only take a member of staff on when I know there is enough money in the bank to cover 6 months of wages.’
Being in the office is a great step forward for Joanne, after working from home at the inception of the business, which she found to be one of the more difficult parts of setting up the company. ‘It can be quite lonely, working from home, even though I am in the ‘people’ business. I’m constantly speaking to clients and candidates, but to actually run the business on your own, and make all of those decisions, can be quite lonely.’ The things that helped her through this first year were, she says; ‘The Women’s Organisation, BNI (Business Network International), Wirral Chamber of Commerce and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.’
Joanne heard about The Women’s Organisation about four months after she started the business and came to see Senior Business Advisor, John Jones. She took advantage of the courses available such as Building a Social Media Strategy, Understanding Tax and National Insurance and Basic Bookkeeping, all great resources for women who are newly starting up their own businesses or want to brush up on those skills.
As well as getting support and advice from The Women’s Organisation, Joanne is a business owner who thrives on surrounding herself with other business owners, in particular; ‘people who are doing better than you are.’ Joanne says; ‘You have to meet with those people and surround yourself with them. Because you will learn so much, I’m like a sponge, I will sit with people and listen to what they’ve done, and the struggles they’ve gone through, and how they have got to where they are.’
By using these support networks, and running a tight ship, Joanne’s business is growing and growing and she has big plans for the future to expand into other areas of recruitment! Joanne also met James Caan from Dragon’s Den, who was interested in helping Joanne make this growth vision a reality.
Although, she is clear to point out, that, although her business is very important, she wants to be able to live her life, and show her team that it’s possible to do this too. ‘Recruitment can be seen as quite a ruthless industry to get into and stay in successfully, long hours, late nights and weekends. But it doesn’t have to be! I want to have the ethos that you can work 9-5, 5 days a week with an hour for lunch and still provide a great service to candidates and clients – and make money!’, Joanne is keen to show her team that if a job becomes more than a job, then you can start to resent it and end up not enjoying it, which is the last thing she wants for her team!
So as her business grows, her team grows, but her working hours will stay the same, has Joanne Finnerty got the ultimate work/life balance figured out? We think she might have!
To find out more about JF Recruitment, please use the contact details below. And if you are a woman starting up your own business, or growing your business, then get in contact with The Women’s Organisation by ringing us on 0151 706 8111 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanne Finnerty Recruitment Limited
49 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead CH41 5AR
T: 0151 601 5288
F: 0151 601 5299
F: 0151 601 5299