Are you a team leader? Do you have the right people for your team? Is your team on the path to success? Being a leader can be overwhelming because you are going to manage different types of people but with the right attitude and mindset, you can handle your team easily and effectively. In this episode of the Aww Shift Podcast, our guest is Belinda Agnew. She is the founder of the FOCCUS Group. She is a passionate, self-made entrepreneur in the B2B space with an eye for opportunities and a passion for great results. Throughout her career, Belinda has helped to transform dozens of companies by seeking out and identifying opportunities for growth through the power of content, effective marketing, and branding strategy.
[12:34] Why should we listen to you?
I run an agency called FOCCUS group which has two arms so one is recruitment. We recruit within digital and tech. We worked with companies like Telstra, Amazon Australia. We run a media side where we create B2B branding for tech and software companies. And I’m in the mix of developing an application that will create pitch videos for candidates that are trying to get in front of employers. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
[14:13] How did you get into HR?
I didn’t really pick HR and I don’t really love it. I love the process more than anything and I love evolving industries. When I got into recruitment, it was super conventional. It was very outdated and people were always recruiting the same way doing the same thing. I came into it with a digital twist and I started creating content at scale.
[15:04] My first company was an education company and we recruit students internationally and domestically for our two years in universities in Australia. We were like a sales marketing agency, which recruitment is the same thing because we’re recruiting candidates for clients, which is companies across the globe
[15:42] I left that company and opened up FOCCUS and that’s how I got into recruitment because it was a very similar strategy. I started to do some research on what other businesses align with what I’m doing and recruitment was one of them.
[16:19] I don’t love the process of candidate interviews. So I have resources that do that and then we have 360 recruitment consultants that focus on client and candidate. I don’t love the whole journey of recruiting but I love evolving the space. I love working on the brand, not in the brand.
[17:02] What are the things that you think other people are missing that they can apply to their lives to have similar success?
It’s Grit. I always thought it was something that you could learn by growing in the space and being in business for so long. It’s definitely something that you can’t learn. It’s either you have it or you don’t.
[17:38] You can learn some parts of the game, having a business or growing a business, but to have that grit to keep pushing forward no matter what. Most people give up and they go back to working for somebody else. I’ve failed many times but I kept going. It’s essentially the grit that I have from being born to a broken family and that’s what made me have the grit and the resilience to keep pushing forward. I think resilience, grit, hunger, drive, passion, all in one little bottle but great overall,
[19:02] Doing what you love
We all have doubts in certain areas but I think there were definitely moments in my life where I was going to give up because I kept doing the things that I didn’t love or the things that I wasn’t good at. Knowing who I am as a person now, I’m still learning, but knowing what I’m good at and I kept doing what I was good at. That’s what kept me going
[20:00] What most people struggle with is they don’t truly know what they’re good at, they’re still figuring out what they’re good at, or they’re still trying to focus on everything. All these entrepreneurs doing recruitment, econ business, being a coach online, it’s just not aligned to who they are as a person and this is where most people fail.
[20:49] Team Management
Hiring people is the most difficult part of having a business and managing them is way more difficult.
[21:02] That’s one thing I haven’t mastered is managing a team. You’re dealing with people. People are not an object. I wish it was sometimes but it’s not. So you’re dealing with emotions and their life and they’re part of the family so whatever they’re going through, you’re going through.
[22:29] A lot of people said to me when I started my first business is “don’t make friends with your staff. Don’t mix business with pleasure” and I listened to the advice of my mentors. I never really mixed the two but when I started to mix them, that’s when things got better because it showed that I actually cared.
[23:05] As soon as I became that person that support that friend, not just the boss, or the person they’re working for, that’s when things really got better for me.
[23:47] What’s your leadership style?
I’m a fun, outgoing person in general. I have such high energy. It’s just the type of person I am so I guess I’m kind of like the uplifting inspirational, you can do it, keep going, you’re amazing, you’re a superstar type of person.
[24:29] I’m very passionate and aggressive to my team. I would just constantly push them because they’re amazing and they have so much potential, hence why they’re a part of the team. I want to get that out of them for sure.
[25:12] I hire people based on liking them as well. I’m not going to hire you because you’ve got the right skill set. If I like you, I like you and it’s hard to let people go that you like. But that’s okay. People need to realize that’s okay. There’s no rulebook to running a business or to become successful. Just do what works for you and learn as you go.
[25:58] Success by being Different
When I first went into recruitment, I had a lot of hate from a lot of people in the space. I still get a lot of hate from the agency side and recruitment but in a good way. Now I feel as though they’re really critical of what I’m doing. They’re also my biggest fans because a lot of them are starting to go into the same pathway as I did when I first started recruitment.
[27:36] Has your team grown from this pandemic?
When we pivoted to the media side, that’s when everything took off for us. We’re actually growing and the media services have only been running for a few months. Now, that’s actually growing faster than the recruitment side when we first started recruitment.
[28:23] I’m not a business coach. But I’m happy to put you in front of somebody that can teach you how to do these things because I’m still learning and I’m still young. I’m still going. I’m just going hard and failing a lot faster. And then I keep going.
[29:17] What aspect of the industry do you want to be part of?
HR tech is my biggest passion. Right now there are a few other things that I have my eye on that I want to get involved in. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge opportunist. I’m an opportunist if it’s aligned with what I’m doing. I think the movement of tech is evolving and I definitely want to be a part of that.
[30:41] What are you excited about outside business?
Impacting people’s lives and meeting crazy people along my journey. I truly love people. Personally, I would love to meet more people and grow within myself and obviously help people grow, make an impact in some way on that person’s life. If I’ve made one impact on one person’s life each week, I’m happy with that.
[31:36] I just want to impact people individually on a personal level for sure.
[31:59] You go to impact people. You have to have some purpose. I didn’t know that I wanted to do that until I started to impact people online and when people started to reach out to me and tell me how I’ve helped them based on a piece of content or word that I said. That’s when I knew I liked the feeling.
[33:18] What promise did God make to the world when He created you?
Everybody is going through something and everybody is feeling pain so be that person or be that light for that person in their life at their time. Whatever they’re going through, whatever pain they’re feeling, just being there for that person and shining a light on somebody. Believe in their potential and dreams because most people don’t have those people around them so be that person to keep pushing them.
[36:20-36:23] “Look at the world as a mirror. What you put out is what you get.”
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