Lessons I Have Learnt: Gerard Francis

Lighthouse Keeper, Lighthouse Personnel

Gerard reflects on his younger self and the rollercoaster ride of business.

Published in UK Director Magazines Spring 24

About Gerard

I’m a 35-year-old father of three and husband to the wonderful Rosey. I am a football fan, player, and coach and a regular church-going Christian. Six years ago, I started Lighthouse Personnel Ltd; a culture-changing, professional services recruitment agency built on solid values and offering a transparent, quality focused service.

We asked Gerard to look back and reflect on his younger self.


How would you describe yourself at 18?

Highly ambitious, lively, loyal, and dedicated, but a bit of a loose cannon – though my heart was always in the right place.

If you could go back knowing what you know now, what three things would you tell yourself to do when you first became a director and business owner?

  1. My previous boss told me to constantly read and, although some books have had a huge impact on me, I could have read a lot more.
  2. I had never got much from networking and found it a bit pointless in previous roles – now I would tell myself to network more and build relationships as it works really well for us.
  3. Believe. Life as a business owner is a rollercoaster and if you don’t have an unwavering belief in your direction, then you will likely falter.

If you could relive one day, what would it be and why?

Personally, it would be a day just before my third child was born when Rosey and I went to stay in a cottage with the kids, to get away from it all and focus on us. I was also reading ‘Start With Why’, by Simon Sinek – a game changing book for me. Professionally, it would be the day I started the business. I would love to go back so I could remember how it felt when I first got going.

What are the biggest lessons you have learnt professionally?

The hardest lesson so far is around working with family. It crosses boundaries in all directions, making it harder to maintain a work/life balance. I also took far too long to get a great business coach. I had a really tough time managing the stresses of running my own business. I would bring work home every night and it took its toll. Having the right coach helps me to leave work at work and home at home. The final lesson I have learnt is to not let money dictate decisions – though that’s easier said than done when times get tough. We have always been a values-based business and are therefore rightly held accountable to our values.

What does the future have in store for your company?

We set up the business to change the culture of recruitment and that is still very much the aim. We are extremely ambitious and want to get back on the growth train after the challenges of the last three years! We would also like to focus on the team we have, making sure they are well supported, and well equipped to play a key part in our future growth.

What does the future have in store for you personally?

I plan to maintain a great work/life balance and enjoy watching my kids grow, whilst spending more time with them and Rosey. I am also hoping to work through my recommended reading list and begin my CIPD Level 3 in the next year.

Lessons I Have Learnt: Gerard Francis 1
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