A Start up on a Shoestring: Genie


By Nicki Wilson, Genie Recruitment


There is never the best time to start a business, I think that is an illusion. Maybe people say ohh I need more funds, or I need more experience but to be honest all you really need is grit, humour, a lot of hustle, a 24/7 work ethic and …erm complete obsession!


When I started my business truth is I had not been paid in months by my employer, my car was almost taken off me by the bank but I had this unwavering optimism about what could be. I remember one day not being able to take it anymore giving my employer 100% to be given zero in return (quite literally). So, I got to work on my business plan. Two days it took me to create the 50 page ‘bible’ a roadmap of what I was going to do. All I needed next was a name. My friend was over one evening and I said I want to be the disrupter of the recruitment industry, I don’t want to call it anything related to my name, it needed to be one word, a bit informal and fun. My brand needed to represent who I was, who my business would be. The name Genius was thrown around and then we got it… Genie.


So, I had a name, I had a plan, I even had one member of staff and yet I had ….no money.


I wrote a list down of 20 clients, friends (..and a couple of ex boyfriends) I thought would back me and nervously started calling… I had a whole script of what I would say, how I would sell myself, listing the hundreds of companies I had worked with in the past, my successes, my experience, I was ready to sell it. Luckily the first 2 calls literally said yes how much do you need when do you need it. Ohh… surprisingly easy. I took a tiny (back then it seemed a lot to me) amount of funding for a little share of my non-existent business and got to work.


Still to this day everything we have done is organic, full of passion, full of purpose and I have continued working as if I was bootstrapping this business on a shoestring budget and it has worked.


I have spent my life doing a lot for others, because that is who I am and have found great friends in the industry who are likeminded which has been the foundation of everything. Even during the pandemic I always had this unwavering feeling that I was really on the edge of something great. Even when I did not pay myself for 10 months and I was in my apartment eating dry noodles so I could afford wages I still thought ahh it will come good… and it did. Since September 2020 we have experienced massive growth, huge numbers, the team grew by 100%, we opened a second office and we serve over 300 clients, many of which we were there from day 1 with.


The last 5 years has flashed before me and we have placed thousands of people in jobs, revenues are now in their millions, I have a wonderful happy team and I still LOVE my job with the same (if not more) passion that I had in the first place.


I had always wanted to start my own business and everyone who knew me from a young age knew that too. I didn’t know exactly in what, but I had resilience, loved researching, was great with people, was a natural coach and I loved helping solve problems. It has been a dream come true, I thrive off the hardships, the stress, the candidates ghosting, I even love the bizarre requests we get daily. I love it because it was my dream, and Genie really did grant all my wishes.