FJ's Friday Feature - Christmas Edition: Sara and John Gaughan


FJ's Friday Feature - Christmas Edition: Sara and John Gaughan

over 2 years ago
FJ's Friday Feature - Christmas Edition: Sara and John Gaughan

Christmas Special

This week’s FJ Friday Feature Blog is a special one! Not only is it Christmas! But it is also featuring our CEO John Gaughan and our COO Sara Gaughan. This FJ Friday Feature will give you a chance to get to know our CEO and COO better!

1. What is it like to co-own a business with your husband/wife?

SG: For me personally it was quite strange going from employee to co-owner (we had an MBO in 2016) but I quickly realised how advantageous this was since I could see things from both perspectives. Whilst it can be incredibly challenging at times, (particularly during a pandemic!) it’s vital to appreciate the unique relationship we have. The entrepreneurial lifestyle can be an intense one. Having someone to share it with helps make it more manageable but also more rewarding. Sharing your passion and goals with your partner can be powerful. That said, having time apart is also very important and I also enjoy the days when we are not together in the office. Housework can be surprisingly good for headspace!

JG: It’s a challenge, but a good one. It’s certainly difficult to switch off and not talk shop every waking hour however the upside is huge in that you can share the highs and the lows. I also find that decision making is stronger and more reliable. 


2. What initially got you into recruitment?

SG: I am not a recruiter and never will be! Working for FJ was a suggestion from John’s former business partner. I had been working in PR and Communications for some years and was looking for something different. At the time FJ had only one person in a non-sales function and needed some help with HR, legal issues, credit control, etc so I came in to help with that initially. I loved the people aspects so much that I chose to go back to university in 2014/15 to do a full-time Masters in HRM whilst still working for FJ two days a week.

JG: An advert my future father in law spotted in the Manchester Evening News. The ad described a number of qualities that the business was looking for at the time. Thankfully a few people that mattered thought I had the relevant qualities. 

3. What are your favourite things about FJ?

SG: I love that everyone gets on well and (pre-Covid) often socialises outside of work. I am also proud that we offer an environment where those new to recruitment or sales can learn and develop the skills they need to progress their careers, whether that be at FJ or elsewhere.

JG: The flat structure and collaborative nature of the people. We don’t have any egos. Also, the annual ‘club’ trips away. We are going to NYC in October and I can’t wait. 

4. Describe your perfect, non-work day.

SG: This would entail some form of exercise – Bootcamp or going for a run, then a long muddy walk in the countryside. After this, sitting by a roaring fire reading the weekend newspapers. Ensuring that you are physically healthy whilst maintaining a focus on your mental health guarantees that you will be ready to handle anything! 

JG: A leisurely breakfast with the papers and a lot of coffee. I readily consume the whole paper. A drive out and a walk in the countryside - Yorkshire Dales ideally. Try not to talk however more difficult than it sounds. A tasting menu at a new restaurant that I’ve not been to before followed by an hours chill/TV watching a gritty drama.

5. What have you learnt from Covid-19 as a business owner?

SG: That you can’t be everything to everybody. As business owners, we already take on some serious pressures and the pandemic only served to amplify this. If we are to support our team properly then it’s vital we also take some time out to look after our own mental health and well-being.

JG: I have learned that you have to consider the mid and long term and not overly short term. Furthermore, I’ve learned that in a pandemic attitude and positivity outweighs experience and track record. Finally, I’ve learned to celebrate the ‘mini’ wins and realised that managing one's costs effectively can be as lucrative as chasing revenue.


6.What are your short-term goals?

SG: I started running every evening in lockdown 2 and it’s been surprisingly enjoyable! I would like to continue to get fitter and healthier. I ditched the booze 4 years ago this Christmas so if I can do that I should be able to ditch the cakes and chocolate.

JG: Short term goals are to establish a fully functioning profitable business unit in Chicago and to ensure that our 10 new starters in 2020 go on to have a target hitting 2021.


Thank you for reading and we wish you a Happy Christmas from Finlay James!