Starting a recruiting business is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Before I moved into corporate recruiting, I was starting a recruiting agency that went strong for 7 years. I had a very, very limited budget and if there was one thing I was sure of, it was that I didn’t want to get into debt starting a business.

Even though I tried to stick to my shoestring budget, I made countless costly mistakes along the way simply because I didn’t know I had other options.

Since I can’t go back in time, I’ll share my mistakes to save you time (and money) before you start your recruiting business.

I’ve made more than the four mistakes below, but let’s start with these first.

1. Not having a website

The very first step to starting a recruiting business (any business for that matter) is be getting a website and an email address that’s not a gmail or hotmail account.

Starting a business with BluehostI’m always shocked at how many people skip this step because they’re intimidated by the process, or they think they have to hire a web developer.

It literally takes 5 minutes and you don’t have to be a techie to do it.

Because I didn’t do enough research, I was paying something like $25/month on hosting my website when I first started a recruiting business.

After a year, I discovered Bluehost and cut that to $3.95/month and when you’re on a budget, this is worth celebrating. As a bonus Bluehost also have great website templates you can use and manage yourself.

I also didn’t know a thing about SEO (big mistake!).  I’ve since learned a lot, here are some really simple ways of optimizing a recruiting website with with SEO strategies here.

If you’re on a budget, using Bluehost makes it so easy to build your own website on WordPress. Here is an excellent step-by-step guide to register your domain and create a website.

2. Using Excel instead of an applicant tracking system (ATS)

Quality candidates are the bread and butter of any successful recruiting business. Since most people starting a recruiting business on a budget are trying to find the cheapest solutions possible), they skimp on an ATS.

I made this very mistake when I was starting a recruiting agency thinking that only big companies could afford an ATS.

It was a mess!

There were just too many steps to storing candidate information — I’d save their resumes in one folder and I had a spreadsheet with all their contact information and companies I’d sent them out to along with and notes. I wasted way too much time on manual updates and would sometimes forget to update my spreadsheet.

Trust me, you need an ATS and the beauty of starting a recruiting business these days is that there a few really good free ATS on the market that are easy to use and save you hours of frustration.

3. Renting an office too soon (my biggest mistake)

If I could go back, I would have worked from home instead of wasting money on an office. Especially these days, as more and more candidates are switching to Skype /FaceTime interviews.

At the time, I thought maintaining an image was important and went with a full-service business center. It initially sounded great– they had a shared receptionist to answer my calls, access to boardrooms, printers, etc. The one I joined even offered a designated phone number, which I happily accepted.

Which leads me to my next big mistake…

4. Not owning your phone number

Here’s why it was a mistake to accept the phone number they gave me — when I wanted to move to another office, they owned my phone number!

I had to continue to pay them for the line even though I wasn’t using their services. I eventually had to change my number, which was a huge hassle… not to mention lost business.

When you’re starting a recruiting business on a budget, every single penny counts.

5. Getting a second cell phone

We all know people who carry around two (or three) cell phones everywhere they go. I was this person for years simply because I didn’t know I had other options.

When I first started a recruiting business, I called my cell phone company to ask if there was a way to get a second line on the same phone. The only way was to get a second SIM card, which seemed too complicated to me.

So I got a second cell phone.

Technology has since evolved and you now have the option of using a service called Open Phone to get more than one line on the same cell.

Open Phone is an app that gives you a second business phone number. Every time you get a call or text on that line, you can easily see that it’s your work line.

Since cost is a big factor when you’re starting a recruiting business on a budget, the phone plans are as low as $10 a month for unlimited text and talk.

6. Spending way too much time planning

If you’re like me, you want to plan every single thing before you finally take action. I spent months and months creating a recruiting business plan. I did a ton of research and filled an entire notebook with notes that were supposed to help me avoid mistakes.

Yes, it’s good to be prepared and do research before starting a business, but I also wasted a lot of time.

At one point, I even shelved the idea for a few months.

There is nothing like jumping in and just getting started. Sure, you’ll make a few mistakes, but you’ll also be able to correct those mistakes as your business thrives.

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