In today’s interview me meet Lucy Chamberlain who co-founded C&C Search with her brother Ed.
Lucy tell us about C&C Search
C&C Search was founded with a rebellious spirit, a BIG ambition and a vision of a different future for support staff recruitment. We are the destination recruiter for London in our space, a disrupter in our market and we shine a light on the untapped talent pool that support staff offer to organisations. All this is delivered by a unique, progressive and fully present team while leading the way for socially-conscious businesses. Our multi award winning approach transforms organisations every day through the uniquely talented individuals we place.
What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Firstly, I wanted to show my daughter that women are truly and independently capable of achieving. I wanted to create a business which was not only profitable but where I felt truly aligned and connected with the ethics, principles, goals and working environment. And finally, a business which would create a wider value to society. We made the decision at the very beginning to donate a big percentage of our profits to Tomorrow’s People (a charity which helps people find meaningful employment) and we are so proud to support such a worthy cause.
How long did it take for you to put your idea into action? What prompted you to act?
I’d been through a challenging three years as a single mum to my daughter. As I approached my late 30s I realized that each day I felt totally out of alignment and I wanted to provide a much more positive role model for my daughter. I knew I didn’t want to spend the next ten years living this way. I planned and planned, and discussed my ideas with everyone I knew, both personally and professionally. I approached setting up my business in the same way as I approach everything, I spent a long time researching, looking at my competitors but more than that, planning what kind of business I wanted to create before I took the leap.
What has been your scariest moment as an entrepreneur?
Having to take risks! As a single parent with sole financial responsibility for my daughter, I knew that each time I took a risk I was gambling on her future too. But bravery and boldness is essential in business and, as someone obsessed with research, all the risks we took were calculated. By doing so we have grown our business organically year on year.
What has been your proudest moment?
Watching the business start to blossom, seeing our exceptional team in operation and watching our ethics and values in action daily with our candidates and clients. Seeing this recognized in the industry through winning several awards. Also, having a fantastic first year that was successful enough to hand over a large cheque to Tomorrow’s People at The House of Lords, as well as being Samantha Cameron’s guests at No 10 Downing Street.
Watching my daughters face when she realized that C&C Search have a YouTube channel…this made her year!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from founding your own company?
Finding a balance in work and in life. When we started the business, it was about building a business and lifestyle we were passionate about, where we respected the people we worked with and an environment which didn’t feel like ‘work’. But we missed something important, the ‘balance’ part. We worked 24/7 and built something exciting and fabulous… and everyone was utterly exhausted.
Because of this, we have shifted our approach completely. We now operate with flexi hours, have monthly yoga lessons, a company nutritionist, a counsellor available to all staff and take an entirely holistic approach to the working environment. A real focus on being ‘happy’ has done wonders for us all, as a team we are happier and more productive.
What does success mean to you?
Confidence in yourself and in your abilities. Having created C&C Search, I am even more passionate about women being more strongly represented in leadership in business. You can’t have success without confidence and I strongly believe that women hold in their hands unlimited power and potential. When they have confidence in themselves and what they are truly capable of, there is no limit to what they can do!
Which women inspire you?
So many women inspire me but in particular Jen Sincero (author of the fabulous “You are a Badass”), Sheryl Sandburg (the first woman to serve on the board of Facebook and of course author of Lean In) and influential entrepreneur and businesswoman Christina Wallace.
And which men?
Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, Elon Musk for his innovative spirit and Aaron O’Hearn, co-founder of Startup Institute.
What one thing do you wish someone had told you when you first started out?
Despite your best efforts, you will never know enough! You will always be forced to make a decision without fully understanding what is coming. As a founder, that is just something you must get comfortable with and embrace.
What’s the best piece of business advice someone has ever given you?
The best piece of advice I received was from Amanda Fone, which was to define your values as a business first and build everything else around them. Our core values are authenticity, purposeful, nurturing and progressive. Having these from the beginning has given us a path to follow and has created a business which truly reflects who we are.