I grew up in a noisy and full-on household. The eldest of 5 children, all struggling to be heard, literally and figuratively, I was always surrounded by people and rarely experienced a moment of peace and quiet or some ‘me-time’.
I lived with fellow students at Uni; I did flat shares on returning to London – it made sense. No surprise therefore, that when I found my first job, it was in a large organisation and I found myself working in big teams where fighting to be heard or noticed was the norm for me.
As I approach the 4th anniversary of running my own business, Bijou Recruitment, I find myself questioning therefore how (and why) I opted to go it alone: was it a foolish or brave decision to leave a safe and familiar team-based company and fly solo?
Despite being genuinely interested in people and enjoying the company of colleagues, I wasn’t put on this earth to manage people. I ‘managed’ my siblings for years (“she’s the eldest you know” my husband always says) and, when it came to business, I didn’t feel I was cut out to manage or mentor co-workers. I was happy to work as part of a cohesive team but had no desire to lead.
What I did know was that I wanted to work for myself, to make money for myself and not to line the pockets of others, to support myself in an environment of my choosing, and with hours to suit my lifestyle as it continually evolved.
I set up Bijou at home and initially, I did find it very isolating. No water cooler moments, no communal lunches, no after work drinks and most importantly, no-one with whom I could bounce ideas around – an important factor when you are first setting up.
But gradually, I found my new norm of ‘just me’ was enough. And more than that in fact, it was hugely satisfying. No-one to answer to, no-one setting random or ill-considered targets (I’m hard enough on myself as it is), no-one clock watching me, no-one competing for fees.
Of course, I make time for selected networking meetings and I co-collaborate with fellow recruiters where we happily discuss the highs and lows of the industry over lunch and give each other the proverbial pat on the back for a job well done. Most recently, I found a freelance resourcer to provide a level of support as the business continues to grow.
I’m very proud that without a co-pilot, I have taken Bijou to where it is today; according to the Urban Dictionary, I’m a ‘Solopreneur’. Who knew? I just consider myself lucky to have made the brave decision to fly solo and I highly recommend it.