Posted by: Adam Ketterer in Untagged on 14 May 12
In 2011, Andrew Longfellow made the decision to leave the recruitment agency he had worked with for more than a decade and launch his own business. Three months later, and with the help of Sonovate , he is now running a flourishing start-up recruitment agency.
At the end of 2011 Andrew Longfellow was a business manager at a leading international recruitment agency. Having joined the company as a fresh faced trainee in 2001, he had risen quickly through the ranks, running four sales teams and the business's Leeds office for more than three years. His list of accolades was extensive: he led an award winning team, had developed multiple top billers, won awards for Team of the Year and Manager of the Year and had built a permanent team which billed more than £1 million per year.
With his great recruitment track record behind him, in November 2011 he decided that the moment had come to move on.
"The time was right," says Longfellow. "There was no single reason for my decision, but I knew that in the years to come I would want to look back on my career and have no regrets. I want to know that I have tried to be the best that I can be, to know that I have challenged myself and taken myself outside of my comfort zone with success. I needed to know that I could start up my own business, be my own boss and earn my own way without any boundaries."
Longfellow knew that his period at the agency had come to an end, but had not yet formulated a concrete plan about his next move. While he did have a few ideas in place, he had no clear plan or research to back up these ideas. He knew he could take on a senior position at another leading agency, but was also attracted by the concept of setting up alone.
In 2012 he heard about Sonovate, a brand new cloud-based platform, providing everything experienced recruiters need to set up a highly profitable recruitment business in a matter of minutes.
To Longfellow, the decision to subscribe and become one of Sonovate's Associate Businesses was simple: "The lack of risk was immediately appealing. I wouldn't need to gain financial backing nor would I have to have a sum of money in place to ease cash flow. Tied into this was the fact that there was no risk of debt with my clients as Sonovate promised to handle all of these aspects of business on my behalf. Through Sonovate I realised that I could have the autonomy of running my own business without any of the unattractive aspects such as financial accountability."
The reputations of Richard Prime and Damon Chapple, the founders of Sonovate, gave Longfellow further confidence in the platform. The duo had an excellent track record within the recruitment industry, reaching the pinnacle of their careers as consultants and launching their own agency in Dubai.
Once Longfellow had gone through a simple online setup process, which took less than ten minutes, Samuel Frank Associates was born.
The business represents a new direction for Longfellow, specialising in automation and control, a market he has no previous experience in. Yet the change in concentration hasn't hindered Longfellow's success. Within the first few weeks he had made his first three placements, and kept the majority of his commission, earning a greater percentage of his fee than in his previous role.
But money isn't the be-all and end-all for Longfellow: "My lifestyle since subscribing to Sonovate has been fantastic. I have been building a successful and consistent business while enjoying amazing flexibility and a better work life balance than I have experienced in years. I don't know if I could have achieved this so quickly without the backing of Sonovate."
Longfellow has also been taking advantage of the social aspect of Sonovate. While a common disadvantage for independent recruiters who don't work from serviced offices is the lack of social interaction during work hours, Sonovate is building an online community of Associate Businesses through Yammer. The social platform, where recruiters can meet up, interact and openly discuss all aspects of their business, has been a welcome feature for Longfellow.
"I've been using Yammer regularly and have been impressed with the network of Associate Businesses which is beginning to form. I've been speaking to some of the other Sonovate subscribers and found that everyone is very willing to share ideas and engage in constructive conversations. It has really helped extinguish the fear of working alone. We all have a lot of respect for each other and demonstrate this with supportive and helpful comments each day," explains Longfellow.
As for the future, it's still early days and only time will tell how Samuel Frank Associates will fare. Nonetheless Longfellow is confident that his business will be a success and believes he will one day grow his workforce and take on other consultants, thereby building a new team of his own.
"That's the future though," says Longfellow. "For now I plan to work hard, enjoy my new-found freedom, bill as much as possible and build the brand of Samuel Frank Associates."
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Sonovate is a unique recruitment model. By subscribing, experienced recruiters establish their own Associate Businesses supported by Sonovate's services. At the heart of Sonovate lies its Associate Businesses. Associate Businesses are limited companies, established by recruiters when they subscribe to the Sonovate platform.
The idea for Sonovate was born from founders Damon Chapple and Richard Prime's combined 30 years of experience in the recruitment industry. Through Sonovate the pair aim to channel their passion for the industry towards re-invigorating, revitalising and reinventing the career for recruiters and rewarding them both financially and professionally.
Sonovate has received investment from Paul Birch, founder of the forerunner to Facebook, Bebo. Paul has a proven track record, backing start-up businesses which grow to become market leaders in their industry.