How We Overcame Burnout And Grew Our Business To $250K/Year [Update]

Published: June 29th, 2022
Matt Reaney
Big Cloud Recruit...
from Manchester
started November 2013
Discover what tools Matt recommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Matt recommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

My name’s Matt Reaney and I am the CEO of the global data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence recruitment firm Big Cloud. You might recognize me from my previous interview with Starter Story.

From disruptive start-ups to world-leading organizations, Big Cloud matches data science professionals to their dream jobs across the UK, Europe, the US, and APAC. We offer contingent and retained recruitment services for our clients and hire in any industry for full-time, part-time, contract, and temporary roles.

Since 2013 we’ve placed over 1000 candidates in tech roles across 4 continents and 15 countries.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

Being in a fast-paced industry, things change at Big Cloud regularly. We’ve upgraded our equipment, undergone an office redesign, and hired graduates to train them in tech recruitment. In their first 6 months, every trainee recruiter has placed candidates in tech roles, which we are super proud of!

In January of this year, we released the sixth edition of our Data Science Salary Reports for the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the UK. These reports contain insights for 2022 on salary and benefits, job satisfaction levels, data science tool popularity, and more.

This annual marketing campaign has proved to be continually successful with our existing followers who want a reliable source of market trends. It is also beneficial for brand exposure to potential clients, by positioning us as knowledge leaders in our market.

As a tech-orientated company, I make sure to invest in high-quality equipment and software that supports Big Cloud. Our most recent investment is the automated messaging software Herefish which helps alleviate team workload and increase productivity.

Since using this software to take on some of the more menial, admin-based tasks, we’ve saved over 600 hours as a business. It’s also proved a great tool for marketing, allowing us to automate collecting company feedback, and testimonials, send out salary surveys, and more.

Another marketing tool that I swear by is the email marketing tool Mailchimp. Email marketing might seem like an old-school tactic, but if used correctly, it still provides some of the highest ROI % across any business.

Our marketing manager has used Mailchimp for many years to nurture new and existing relationships with clients and candidates. They find a varied, multi-channel approach is the most effective way to increase brand awareness and engagement.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

As a small company in a high-demand industry, we are often faced with a large workload. I am highly aware of staff burnout and how this workload affects individuals and the team. To combat this, I have been focused on hiring new staff. So far we have made two new hires, who are supporting the team brilliantly.

As well as new hires, I operate a hybrid work policy, with flexible working schedules and a 3:00 pm Friday finish. I am also delivering regular external training programs, and excuses to socialize and relax outside of work together too!

If you are looking for growth in other ways, don’t be afraid to take risks. If you have considered the consequences of taking such risks, be prepared to face those in a worst-case scenario. And whatever happens, learn from them!

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

The biggest lesson I have learned in the last year is that success does not always require a huge team, and we are seeing more success now than we ever have.

After losing some members of staff to their ventures last year, I have gone back to basics. Right now I am focusing on investing in the progression of the existing team and less on growing rapidly. I am favoring quality over quantity.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

For the upcoming year, I will continue nurturing Big Cloud’s employees, helping them smash their targets and generate more revenue as a collective month on month. I also want to work with our Marketing Manager to increase our website traffic by 26%, ultimately resulting in a higher volume of candidates applying for jobs and clients reaching out to us.

My 5-year plan is to increase our annual revenue by 60%. I would also love to expand our market reach into new regions. My vision is to continue building a data science community when matched with the right innovative companies, which are changing the world we live in.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

The best book I have read in the last year is The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a fictional book that tells the inspired story of an old Cuban fisherman who lures a Marlin to his boat.

The struggles he faces to catch this big fish I think are akin to the endurance required of a business.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

My advice would always be to sit down and brainstorm ideas first. Think about any barriers that might be stopping you from reaching your full potential. Can you identify these barriers? And if so, what are the real solutions you can put in place to break those barriers down? Reach out to your employees, online network, peers, friends, and family and ask them their opinion.

Once you have brainstormed and sought internal/external advice, you need to put a plan in place. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be honest with yourself and set reasonable timeframes to implement any changes.

If it’s staff growth you want to achieve, consider your value proposition and what makes your business different from everyone else. Ask yourself, do you have any unique selling points that would appeal to future employees? Look at your competitors and observe what they are doing. How do they compare to you? Are there any key differences that might be giving them an edge?

If you are looking for growth in other ways, don’t be afraid to take risks. If you have considered the consequences of taking such risks, be prepared to face those in a worst-case scenario. And whatever happens, learn from them! Reflect on the decisions you made, what was successful, and what failed. Ask yourself, if you were to do it again, what would you have done differently?

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We’re always hiring at Big Cloud! Whether you’re looking for a job in data science, machine learning, or AI, we’ve got you covered. We also have open vacancies to join the Big Cloud team.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!