‘Passion, the ability to be creative and above all the people’

These were the words I jotted down just over 6 months ago when I was reflecting on previous employment, and what I considered to be important to me in my next role within recruitment. I’d never worked for a start-up before, and this intrigued me. I was also aware, or at least thought I was, of the challenges start-up businesses face. The stats around failure and success of start-ups within the first 18 months is unavoidable if you follow the news; was it therefore worth taking the personal risk, when I could have gone to an established agency with a solid track record, a known quantity if you will? I thought about it. I was ready to be a part of Digital 51.

So have the last 6 months lived up to my expectations?! Let me tell you.

Let’s start with passion. Yup, there has been tons of it; passionately wanting to succeed, passionately disagreeing, passionately striving for that first deal, passionately celebrating success, passionately supporting one another when there have been those inevitable bumps in the road. Whether facing a challenge or experiencing the enjoyable, everything the team has done and achieved today has undoubtedly been fuelled by passion.

Creativity. I now believe that you must be creative when you join a start-up. Or at least be open to the notion of creativity. This has been displayed in so many ways at Digital 51 in that last 6 months; whether it be with coming up with ways to creatively engage with clients and candidates or being creative with your comms on social media channels. I’ve learnt that you must stand out when you are a new business and therefore not be afraid to let your creative juices flow.

There are no limits to creativity at Digital 51. There is none of that inherited legacy that often stifles creativity in the workplace. Quite honestly, it’s been liberating.

The people. The key.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am surrounded by the right people. The right mix of enthusiasm, experience, humour, and honesty. In a start-up of 5 people, there is nowhere to hide, believe me. If you’re having a good day or a bad day the team will know about it. This transparency has been a positive experience so far. I continue to learn; I continue to be challenged and I continue to test myself and pull on the experience of the team at Digital 51.

So how would I therefore summarise the last 6 months? Firstly, I’ve loved being back in an agency; I’ll always be an agency recruiter at heart, and it’s reminded me of why I started agency-side in the first place.  It’s been hard work, there is no denying that. And let’s not sugar coat it, a start up isn’t for everyone. A lot of people enjoy and need structure, process, and inherited ways of working. But if you want to break the mould, do something different and really challenge yourself, a start-up is the best place to be.

Bring on the next 6 months!

This article was written by Lauren Parsons, Talent Partner at Digital 51. To speak to Lauren about her love for agency life and how she can help your next role, please contact her on