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Get to Know Rick Searns, Serial Entrepreneur

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By day, we’re marketing geeks. Computer nerds. Quirky writers and artists. And damn proud of it!

But after hours, our team members shed their marketing capes – and pursue all kinds of cool Hobbies, Interests and Talents (we call them HITs for short).

Here’s what Rick Searns, Co-Founder of Haley Marketing, is into:

HIT: Serial Entrepreneur

Back Story

Years ago, I registered with a Cleveland employment agency and was placed in a position with Dun & Bradstreet. As part of my job, I interviewed numerous business owners and learned a lot about what makes organizations successful (as well as what makes them fail).

My wife, Jari, also registered with the same agency. She was hired internally to work as a recruiter – and was very, very successful at it.

My next job prior to starting my own business was in sales for a steel & aluminum distributor. I was 24 at the time, and I had an incredible boss who taught me so much about managing, motivating and growing a great staff. I also learned that running your own company provides the opportunity to earn money based on how well you operate it – while affording greater control over how you spend your time.

I was hooked – I knew I wanted to start my own company. What followed was a 40-year track of serial entrepreneurship which included founding five successful staffing firms, including an Inc. 500 company:

When Jari became pregnant, I suggested we return home to Buffalo and open our own employment agency. The process was far from easy (we had to overcome licensing issues and several other obstacles), but eventually we launched our first staffing service, Miss Agency, in 1968.

Through the ensuing years, we changed the company name. Brought in additional partners. Sold the temporary staffing portion of our business. Formed a new recruiting company.

Then the economic downturn of the 1980’s hit.

We responded by forming am extremely successful temporary and direct placement firm called Carrie Allen & Associates. Eventually, we helped our son, David, and daughter-in-law, Vicki, use the innovative marketing and operational practices we developed for our staffing firm to launch our latest venture, Haley Marketing Group.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

What do I love most about entrepreneurship?

I love the satisfaction that comes from creating and running a startup. I also very much enjoy working with intelligent, innovative and creative people who are as invested in making a startup a success as I am.

Through the decades, being an entrepreneur has provided the freedom, challenge, control and financial reward I’ve always wanted. Though Jari has retired, I am still active in both Haley Marketing and our family partnership, and I am exploring what will come next in my entrepreneurial life.


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