Ryan McCabe has revealed the highs and lows in his journey from studying mechanical engineering to working in sales and how the power of networking ultimately helped him set up and become Chief Executive of recruitment agency Odro.

Speaking the Go Radio Business Show, he told his hosts Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Willie Haughey: “My papa ran a bakery for 60-odd years. My dad decided when I was 15 to go work for himself. So I had good role models around me.

“My papa said to me when I was very young, if I was worth £10 pound a week to a business like Greg’s bakery, I was worth £20 pound a week to myself . . . and that was it. That stuck with me. So I've just always been of that mindset.”

Having qualified as a mechanical engineer, McCabe found himself with a placement in a company that sold 3D printers. 

“This was 15 years ago so no one knew what these printers actually were, but because I had an engineering background and a sales background, they thought, well, that’s a good stepping stone. Then this recruiter phoned me up and said: ‘I've a guy who wants to hire you.’

“I went and met them and got the job. But then I found out six months later that they got £8000 for making that phone call. And I said to myself: ‘Right, okay, hold on a minute. What’s this recruitment malarkey that everyone's going on about?’

“So I just started looking at that a bit more and I ended up meeting a guy who was in recruitment. He wanted to come out of the business and start for himself but couldn't afford to. 

“I said: ‘Well, if I cover the wages for three months, we'll give it a crack! We'll split the company and we'll do it together.’

“That worked relatively well for me when I was aged 21. We got to maybe 11 staff, I think 12 in the end. So what went wrong? My business partner and I fell out. He was quite happy making good money. I wanted to take over the world so we had different goals. And being that young, you make really quick decisions. You want to run at 100 miles an hour. So I made a very quick decision to just go: ‘Right, well, I need to get away from you.’ 

“I had an executive coach at the time, whom I’d me at a networking event, and I said to him that my goal is in a year's time I want to be out of this situation and doing my own thing..

“He said: ‘Well, what would it take to do it by the end of the month?’ And I was like: ‘Oh!’

“By the end of the month it was done. So that was incredibly good advice. It's about just asking yourself the right questions: Why am I waiting a year? Why am I just putting off tough conversations?

“So I did that and I tried to do my own recruitment thing and, while I was doing that, I came across someone who then became my business partner. He’d built a bit of software for lawyers for resolving disputes online. 

“This was 2015 and Skype was only just becoming acceptable. Nobody did video calls, but he managed to get this software built that would allow people to communicate.

“Say it's a couple who were divorced and didn't want to be in the same room as each other. He built a bit of software that allowed them to meet online, discuss things with a mediator involved. It allowed participants to discuss their problems and, importantly, solve their problems online, not in the same room. And then have the case management all done as well. That's still available. 

“So the power of networking for me is how I've built what we've got today, to be honest!”