Last year Christina Lock launched Catch Talent and now, one year later, she shares his insights, advice, and her hopes for the future.
What’s your hardest lesson learned in year one?
“The hardest lesson I learned in my first year of business is that you never truly turn ‘off’. Even during my time at a startup, I could still take some mental breaks or pass a few tasks off to my team. It’s a catch-22 (no pun intended) because I love what I do, and never want to turn off the innovation and energy, but sometimes you need to recharge your battery.”
What’s you top tip for making your first hire?
“Tap into your personal network. A lot of people will warn you not to hire friends, or close colleagues but I’ve found that foundation of trust, commitment, and buy-in is invaluable. At some point you’ll have to go outside that circle of personal connection, and that’s when you have to rely on your gut…as scary as that can be.”
How did you know it was time to quit your 9-5 to pursue this new venture?
“It’s funny because I never really had a ‘9-5’. For me, I always went all-in. In the early days of SPARC, I would work on Friday evenings over a bottle of wine and 15 spreadsheets open. I think that just proved to me that I could (and wanted to) do it on my own. In addition to that, I always had this nagging desire to blaze my own path. As soon as SPARC sold, I knew it was time to take what I had learned and take it out to our clients.”
How did you determine the best strategy for growth?
“We’re a startup so growth was only going to happen once we had completely reached our limit from a delivery perspective. We felt it about 6 months in, which is when we decided to hire two more Recruiters. I had to realize that pulling myself out of execution was the best thing for our long term growth. You have to know when to let go or delegate. Additionally, we are very strategic about *what* we do. Catch does not do HR consulting, we don’t do Payroll servicing, or day labor staffing. What we do (and do very well) is strategic hiring partnerships and employer branding. By being focused and intentional, we turn down business- but that is part of the larger vision.”
What did this year teach you about yourself?
“It’s not what I’ve taught myself, it’s what my team, partners, and clients teach me every day. I never want to settle and I never claim to know it all.
If I had to pinpoint it to one instance, I would say it’s that I can take on and handle a lot more than I expected. I’m a Mom, a Wife, a Daughter, Sister, Friend, Neighbor….but I also can be a Leader, Boss, Business Owner, and hopefully, an inspiration to my son and other women in business.”
How has the tech landscape in Charleston shaped this year for Catch?
“The tech landscape here in Charleston continues to grow significantly, which in turns had led to more hiring and ultimately growing our business.”
What’s your best tip for stepping away from business to rest your mind and body (did you even rest at all this first year)?
“This is going to sound crazy, but sometimes in the car I sit in silence. I turn off the radio, turn the ringer off on my phone, and just think. Even if it’s 5 minutes, it allows me to think through my day or the meeting I’m about to have and mentally get in a good space.
I also love to workout, which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like but a great run or workout always refreshes and energizes me.”
What makes you most proud about this first year?
“I’m so proud of my team. I work with the most talented and hardest working crew. We’ve all put in a ton of hours building our brand, developing new relationships, and really pushing the boundaries of creativity in our partnerships. If my clients are successful, it means we’re doing something right.”
How are you planning for year 2?
“We are focusing on our backyard (Charleston) first and foremost, but are also targeting other areas on the East Coast where we’ve had initial success. We laid a really strong foundation in year 1; year 2 is about growth.”
What would you do differently?
“The only thing I would do differently is hire our 5th and 6th Team Member earlier. However, it ended up being the perfect timing, so I guess nothing really different! Things usually work out for a reason, I’ve always believed in that.”
What was your biggest support system?
“My family, first and foremost; especially for supporting my leap of faith. And in a close second, my team. We are all so tight and truly all want to see each other successful every day.”
Who do you wish you reached out to?
“That’s a tough question. I really miss my former SPARC Team Members. It’s not that we don’t stay in touch, but they were like family and unfortunately we all get busy or move on to other opportunities or positions. It’s hard to keep up with everyone, but I will always have a special place in my heart for that time in my life and career.”
What would you say to yourself, knowing what you know today, on the day you first thought about starting this business? (Or to yourself 5 years ago)
“I’d probably say, “Believe in yourself, and know you will succeed.” Luckily, I had a great mentor who pushed me and encouraged me enough that I just went for it. The rest would naturally fall into place because failure was never an option. ”