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  • Writer's pictureKatie Maycock

Overcoming Adversity

(Transcript below)

What can I say about Ryan Armitage from Tezlom? This was simply amazing.

Adversity really doesn't come close to what this man has had to overcome in his personal life

As well as growing a successful business, Ryan has one of the best outlooks on mental health that I have met.

Have a listen and make sure to subscribe to stay updated!


You can find the full LIVE here on my YouTube Channel (where you can also catch them LIVE).

Can't Miss Links From The Podcast:

- The Calling Bullsh*t On Your Diet (Plan)



Katie 0:04

And we are live so welcome everyone to the Get Your Sh*t Together Live Show and today I am joined with a phenomenal human being that I'm super excited to speak to who is somebody that's been working in the recruitment industry, the healthcare recruitment industry for nearly 10 years who has had a lot of hardship and a lot of heartbreak, but has also been able to scale his business and I'm very excited to speak to the ever wonderful Ryan Armitage from Tezlom. How are you my friend?

Ryan 0:35

I'm alright. Very well, thank you very much. A little bit nervous, but I'm alright. I'll be okay in a minute.

Katie 0:39

Oh you be fine, you'll be fine. You've done you've done these interviews before my friends so. So we met through the ever-amazing God Fairy of all God Fairies, Rhonda D'Ambrosio, (yeah) so she's been able to connect us.

Ryan 0:55

Yeah, she's probably falling out on me at the minute if she's listening to---she'll be fine with it.

Katie 0:59

She loves you. I was chatting with her. I was chatting with her yesterday. And she's fine with you. So no, but no, we met through Rhonda through mental health and recruitment. And that's how we've connected and in the last few months, we've definitely been speaking quite a lot. And we've developed what I would call a really nice friendship. So I'm super grateful that you are here on the Get Your Sh*t Together Live Show. So thank you so much. So, as I said, you as somebody that I am completely like you, I find you super inspirational, you have gone through more than what most people can fathom in the last 10 years than what people would go through in a lifetime. And I think that your story is incredibly important to tell, as well as the take home messages in regards to how you cope with your own mental health. Because I know your mental health has been a massive element to your to your story. And how you've been able to manage the good days and the bad days. And I think that for anyone that's even a business owner that's watching that's watching this. You know, Ryan's definitely somebody who's a great person to talk to you. So what I firstly wanted to chat to you about I know before we get into sort of Tezlom and everything and what you're doing right now, which is super exciting, because you're franchising, you're scaling. But let's go back to when you first joined recruitment and how you how Tezlom started. I know it wasn't called Tezlom 10 years ago, but tell me go back to the beginning. And how did you get into this? And how is it all unfolded?

Ryan 2:23

So, mum started the business in 2008. And we were called 24/7 Professional Health. So and that was your 2008 mum and dad started the business. They both been in recruitment for both been in franchising before, wanted to create something where they get back in, in the care industry, and also look at creating something that can be franchisable because they've been in franchising. Scale for a couple years and so they started the business and at the same time, parallel to them start in 20, for some professional health, I was selling cars, and my brother was selling cars. And I think it was about a year after that I, my surrogate Auntie Sue asked my dad for some money to invest in, she wanted to create an education recruitment agency. I got wind of this, and I joined her. So we set up an education recruitment agency, and she taught me everything about recruitment. So recruiting teachers, all that sort of stuff, teaching assistants, loads of part assistants, she taught me about that. And we actually franchise that business as well.

Katie 3:24

No way! That's awesome (Yeah, yes). Franchising's something that you've you've been doing for quite some time and fallen in love with. And that's how you've been able to franchise. (Yeah.) Which we'll get back to.

Ryan 3:33

Yeah, because, so mum and dad have been in franchising for years and years and years, different types of businesses like they done sportswear and things like that. So, but mum's also been in recruitment as well. And so yes, I got it. It's a family thing. And so you just pick up what they're doing. And then they taught me and that's how we did it. And unfortunately, 2012 so just three years into my dad got diagnosed with bowel cancer. So he got diagnosed a bowel cancer then. And it was quite difficult, obviously, for the family, because mum was taking dad for she'll probably kill me cause I don't know exact terminology, but radiography and went to Cambridge. And under that some operations there and had to have a stoma after a few of them, but so let's go back to 2012. And we need some support. And in 24/7 Professional Health at the time, my brother was selling cars so mum said why don't you come on board and family business you can start doing some business for us, create some business development, learn about recruitment. Go from there. And about six months after Tom joined in mama brought me and said the same thing to me. Why don't you come on board 24/7 because I'm happy to look after your dad and you can be in the family business and we can so and so my education can agency to my surrogate Auntie Sue, and I brought some children's services over to 24/7 because 24/7, predominantly did adult you know adult recruitment your adult services. So as a charity actually I still supply and I'm the chairman of now actually, but we supplied Learning Support assistants to that charity. And so that's how I brought it over and then me and Tom joined the business and we grew from there and developed the franchise network and learn learn our way through it. That's that's how it started.

Katie 5:18

That's how it started. But your parents essentially started back in 2008. And that would have been a really intense time because that was when the global financial crisis hit. I've got to say, Your mom is a bit of an inspiration of mine. I've never met your mum.

Ryan 5:32

My mum was 56 when she started that business.

Katie 5:35

Oh, what? 56?! You're never too--You're never too late to start a business. You can do it.

Ryan 5:43

Yeah, she's 56. And she still works full time in the business now. And massive partnerships. Just she runs a business women. So yeah, when people say, Oh, I'm getting old, I'm gonna retire, whatever.

Katie 5:55

Nah. Send them over to mum's why cuz she's just, she's just smashing it.

Ryan 5:59

She's the benchmark, you should get her on here.

Katie 6:03

What did I say, I said, I really want to interview your mum, I think she would absolutely be a phenomenal person to speak to especially because she's--

Ryan 6:09

The only thing about mum, you need about four hours.

Katie 6:13

I would love to chat with your mum for four hours, I would love to. But no, so here's the thing, though, if we look at your mum, when you call her the benchmark, and we're going to touch on that in a little bit as well, because I think that that's really important, too, for people to understand. But your mum set up this business in a global financial crisis, which is an intense time to set up any business for anyone. And then four years later, (yeah) and then. And then four years later, her husband gets diagnosed with bowel cancer, it's got a stoma, which, for anyone that doesn't know that that's actually very, very intense, it's actually quite life changing. So your mum is I can understand that your mum's already gone through that she's got her two boys into the business to help her do the business development in 2012. You guys come and start growing the business. Then what happens after 2012 that you've all joined together, you've got this really found that you've got this really nice family business, you've got your mum there who obviously is partially and but you and Thomas, sort of I'm guessing running the running the show a little bit.

Ryan 7:12

That's what we were wanting to show a little bit. We're both learning the ropes when mum was still heavily involved. But my dad's never been back in business since he had multiple operations. And I should know the dates and what exactly has happened, but I don't. And but he had, I'd say about 12 operations of all sorts of things gone wrong. And unfortunately developed over the years Parkinson's. And now he actually has Parkinson's dementia. He's in a nursing home. Well, he went to nursing home in December, and

Katie 7:43

The December that's just gone?

Ryan 7:44

Yeah, I haven't actually seen him since actually. I'm going to go on the 14th to see him for the first time since (oh wow) new years which will be nice, obviously. And so that's what happened, then we grew me and Tom got good got to grips with it. And we started growin the business and expanding the team and it went well from 2012 there Well, it's mum we're doing that parallel to that. And unfortunately, at the same time, sort of Tom developed a bit of a challenge mental health wise and and got an addiction challenges with cocaine, drink, things like that, and got a little bit out of control for him. But that doesn't define him because he was still brilliant at his job and things I think in the last towards 2018 he got really out of control. And lost a year upon part 2017-2018 things got quite out of control for him, unfortunately, ended up him committed suicide. And yeah, that's that's that was the story up to that point.

Katie 8:46

Yeah. So I think you said something really interesting that that I really wanted to just really highlight which is so important for people to understand is that the drug addiction and alcohol addiction did does not define Tom that didn't define who he was. And he was still a hard worker and all of that. And that's something that I think a lot of people would love to hear. Because I think that a lot of people get defined with it, right?

Ryan 9:09

Yeah. He's a functioning addict or whatever you do, would you want to put into proper terminology? But yeah, you're just normal Tom most of the time, but things were getting out of control.

Katie 9:19

Yeah. So you obviously he got really out of control after five years of him joining the business. So he had got the drug addiction and alcohol addiction was that during the time there was that something like before the five years or did kind of come out of nowhere.

Ryan 9:35

Yeah, it was well, it just came out of nowhere really, I think it was Yeah. The last two years it was getting you know, a bit bit bad. You know much about addiction, like appearance the way you are looked and turn up for work late and family sort of problems started to creep in on that build up to 2018.

Katie 9:55

And how was how were you and your mom managing that and on your dad? How are you managing it as a family? Cause obviously you run a family business.

Ryan 10:02

Yeah, yeah. So I think, looking back from what I know, now, we probably weren't managing it very well. And well, I think we're doing the best we could with the ability that we had. You know, obviously, hindsight is always a beautiful thing isn't it? Which I can only speak on my behalf. And it's, I felt like I did everything I possibly could. To give you an example of some of the stuff, I'm talking about work, because he couldn't visit common work, it was causing more stress. And then it was, and, you know, constantly showing up for work late and things going missing at work, and people turning up at work, and all that sort of stuff, trying to deal with that, as well as the business and carry on the business go in, while it's dad was getting Parkinson's and dementia as well, that was kicking at the same time. And then also my wife was pregnant with our second child. So yeah, that she was heavily pregnant. She we had Logan in December of 2018. So So yeah, when Tom died, Charlene was, yeah, Charlene was just about to have a baby. So we have quite a few things running at the same time. I remember being quite stressed out when. So when we found out about Logan, we were on holiday. And I remember being quite upset finding that Charlene was pregnant, because I was so stressed. Which isn't a nice thing to it's--isn't a nice thing to do, is it? Because you know having a baby something you celebrate in it. But I remember being so stressed out about it at the time because of all the challenges I was facing with Tom.

Katie 11:37

Yeah, I mean, to be fair, you had a lot going on, you had your dad being really sick, you had Tom and then you had, like, obviously, your wife is pregnant. And I think what's really interesting that people need to understand about stress, there is a tipping point, there's a point where it's like, you can manage a certain amount of stress. And then it can visit one thing that can overtake it, even though it could look like a really good thing. And it might not make sense to people that are listening, but there is that element of going like how am I going to cope? How am I going to manage that and that stress can be can be overwhelming, and it can change how you behave. And it can change how you feel about things and those behaviors and things like that. So that absolutely makes absolute sense to me. So I can understand that. That would have been very, very stressful with everything that you're going on. And I mean, I don't know he's I don't know what goes into franchising and business. And I, you know, I think that alone is a journey and stress and that would be its own stressor, as well. But then on top of that going through everything with your family. So at this stage, how is your mum coping?

Ryan 12:33

Ross will say about being the benchmark and you know, she does cope, you know, I'm sure that she's we've challenging conversations like and it's been some tough times. I'm not gonna lie to you. But yeah, cheat sheets cope, we are coping and we were doing all right. And but yeah, at the time, it was quite very difficult for all Germans got a leader puts a block on with Tom automata. Do

Katie 12:58

you wanna, you've told tell it Tell me what you want to talk about? Because this is this is your, you know, I want to talk about your journey and understanding how that that went. But if you want to talk about the lead up to Tom, that's, that's

Ryan 13:07

what I think. I think it's important because, you know, there's so many people who have addiction challenges mental health challenges in their life or in their family or friends. And I think people need to be able to talk about it a bit more freely and understand Yeah, happens to anyone. You can't it doesn't you don't just get it because the background or where you from a week or week or what you've done it's, it can happen to pretty much anyone. And and I think the more people talk about it, the more people are aware that something happens in your family, you don't know, it's,

you know,

you're aware of it. I think that's the thing, we we had such a bad time trying to deal with Tom and now much trouble the cost, you know, on under the family to see and go, you know, what they've been through, we need to react to this, let's try and deal with it, the better they can. That's what I'm trying to say. So, you know, that that builds Tom's insane of running a business I'm dealing with at the same time. And what I'm trying to say to people is that it does happen to anyone and be aware of it and you have to try out the best you can.

Katie 14:18

You're doing completely fine. I think what you're you know, from what I'm hearing what you're saying is, you know, you want to tell your story about Tom, you want to talk about the layup you want to talk about the warning signs and the things that you guys were trying to do because it can happen to anyone and this is not just suicide, mental health. It's you know, addiction as well. It's it stresses as well and it's understanding what what you know, if this can save one person's life like why why wouldn't you talk about that, that journey with Tom so I absolutely think it's important for you to tell that story if you feel comfortable telling it

Ryan 14:52

Yes, it's like the build up to it. And so you think money money issues that you didn't see before happening, the way they dress, so no For work lay, the people you associate with, you know, drug dealers threatening for money. You know, not being part of the family being distant, you know, all them sort of things are things we started noticing. And

Katie 15:16

was it gradual though? Was it something? Yeah, like you said it was really, really bad. But you said between 2007 2018 was everyone gradual?

Ryan 15:24

Yeah, I think so a gradual, gradual build up looking at it now. I mean, the later end of 2018, it was out of control, like,

Katie 15:31


Ryan 15:32

paying money, people pay money, and people turn up the office and things like that, for dat. And then we've got to a point where we had to take the car off, Tom took his fallen off in, took his bank card off himself, put them under house arrest, he moved back on dad's, and I was spending every day in work with nipping home and take him to the chocolate center or the gym or sitting there trying to keep him in some power. And it was it was going well, to be honest with you. And then one was taking down on holiday because she wanted to get him away one last time because basically he was getting to a point where he had to be in a wheelchair full time and the Parkinson was really kicking in. So she was a little bit worried about that and wanted to book a holiday. So she's some my dad's birthday is a 16th October, and she took him away on the 15th I think it was, I am an on that day, Tom sort of manipulated the situation. So we managed to get the car off more. Because if you think about an addict, the most manipulative people in the world and managed to get the car from moelwyn Tom took them to the airport and then substantially disappeared that that so I, you know, find friends on your phone on iPhone had him on? Yeah. So I had him on family, friends or new arrivals all the time, like when I was at work, and he was at home. And we talked pretty much all the time. And like I said, I was taken into the gym every day, I bought him clothes from a sauce and stuff like that. And then that particular day was it was an early morning flight. And then I hadn't heard from what I got what God I couldn't get ahold of him. And the fire we got is obviously disappeared for a day and I couldn't get hold him all there. And he's, I think it was about 10 o'clock on that on that day. That night, another couple drinks actually. And then

I said shine, I'm gonna go and check

on the dad's house looking older Tom. So and mom and dad are obviously aware at that point in Italy, and I went to the house at about 10 o'clock at night and is in darkness or switched all the lights on let the cat and the dog out and the clothes i'd sent to Tom for the gym, or the wrappers on the side. But there's also classes from gin and tonic and evidence of care of it. avoir Aragon is obviously dissipating got relapse sauce. Now the word the word is, as I was leaving the other end of the street, Tom came in the castle, reverse back up the street. And it absolutely is that and we had a big massive argument. And we end up leaving on some good terms. But I need to get back because I actually probably drink and drive in Spanish because of 5g and tonics and money to get back to the hour. So we're back to the Alps. And then the next day, which was God's birthday, on the 17th. But one of them two days it was I remember it quite a big meeting that day at the office. And for some reason the times always stuck in my head 1023 and I just got up in the office and when I've got a call and just left I had this gut feeling you know, I don't know why I just got this gut feeling. So I went to mom and dad's house and mom dad's got quite a big front doors and open the front door and the ice cream nog in the lounge rely marine patches on it and why is the book at the bottom of the stairs? I why as you put that I think you might have spilt some on it and not put it over the ballast or something like that. And as I've got a bit close, it was actually Tom's legs and he put the clothes on the agenda not before. But then it was at the bottom of the stairs and all the other congealed, like you know big birthmarks and these lakes. It hung himself and the rope and snacks and it was the bottom of the stairs rig and ice and sat in his freezing cold and just at the bottom of the stairs. So yeah, it was pretty intense that and you'll give him a hug. So I'm sorry I couldn't fix that and sat with him for a little bit. So I doubt around the house to figure out what happened and father open a knife upstairs, sat back downstairs and just gave it no no Nana call, told them all up and said we're gonna send the paramedics eventually my wife and she was in work. She left the addresses. I think she rang the police at that point and then around an anatomy mom. So mom was in Italy. I rang her. So they were I she said some issues in the lobby of a hotel which actually wasn't now She didn't tell me. She knew how stressed and I said and I said Mom, Tom's killed himself. It only tells him she brought it down and then the police the paramedics turned up said the song, obviously, it's almost out because I knew half and then you said it was deceased then and then the police came and interviewed me. And then I had to arrange the coroner for Tom's body to be kept at South hospital while the so called get mom the next day mom got fights the next day. So that was pretty fucking heavy. And then yeah, drove over to the Manchester Airport the next day and you know, Manchester Airport, even when that was meant to mention when you come out the exit, and it's quite like a bit of a waiting area square if anyone been to Manchester Airport will know. And may a monk came out there and adapted a wheelchair and have led to just not spacing around. And then we drove up to the house, I think that day or the next day with the communism, same time. So yeah, that's that's what happened. That's

Katie 20:53

such such a hard story to tell, I can imagine that it'd be really difficult for you to tell that story. And yes, someone's just written there. And she is unwilling to ever hear myself. Yeah, I think. Yeah, but I think it's so important to tell that story because people need to hear that there is you know, what happened and leading up because they can change one person's story. I think that that's really important, especially when we're looking at drug addiction. And when we're looking at mental health in general. We have to hear those stories. And I think that you know, firstly, I have to say, thank you so much for telling that story. Um, I don't think I'm gonna get emotional. I'm not gonna lie. Do not think that because I've heard this story before. But you know, you've definitely um, it's definitely a really good thing to talk about. Because

Ryan 21:49

this, isn't it incense, and finally, dead bodies, incense, and I could probably go into the DL account to pull it all apart. He's not because it decayed and it will stick with you. But it's how you how you react to these things going forward. And

Katie 22:03

yeah, that's, that's, that's absolutely. But firstly, just thank you so much for sharing that. Like, I know that. I know, you've talked about this story before. We've talked about this before with on runners on runners podcast. But I think that, you know, I think it's still it's still such an important story to hear, because it's understanding, how do you move on from that? And how do you cope as a family after something so tragic has happened. And I think that, you know, you're just talking about your mom being the benchmark. And, like, honestly, like, when I think about your mom, I'm like, if when I made her, I'm just gonna give her the biggest hug because she's just such an awesome human. But to be able to go through that, and sort of come out of that, and be able to do what you guys are doing, that must have been a journey in itself as well, like, obviously, the journey getting to where Tom was, and then going forward within a business on a family business. That must have been pretty, pretty intense.

Ryan 22:56

Yeah, it was because I will just so then the day after the surgery, the day after Tom died, and I went, I went to work the next day. And because I had to consult because I was like, qualified crime just followed our work because it didn't rain. So I actually Rang zome said, Look, you can have me be on carpark because I've got some Italian. I told Zoey in the car park and we say she fucking fell to pieces. And when we walked into work together, and I've just got everyone together and just said, Listen, I've got to tell you that Tom's dad and he took his own life, I found him and I just need a bit of time to psych out, you need to run the business follows. And just crack on which they did, which is great. So the whole team's buckled down, get one of the business, it was fine. I think I had about a week off or two weeks off, and my model is a bit longer. And that was that first bit. Now this is where my dates get a little bit. Mom's got a little bit jaded, but at the same time this was happening. I was looking at the business and I was going to grow when you look at all sorts of stuff all the time you in the business will look at social media. And 24 seven professional holics was such a generic name and I think what happened over time is people start to use the 24 nine because we've been going quite a long time but then we have

no good reputations we still often we've got you know we'll do really well and and but we will like a bit generic and a bit corporate.

And I never really liked it. And you know you're in the care industry looking after people. It doesn't have to be saw I you know, shirt and tie. And so we have seen the brand I've seen a friend of mine called Liam O'Brien he got them to call lies often. They Liam used to be an addict and him and Mark created this company called wise and they spread the word about addiction and going to schools and businesses and you should check them out because they're really good. Liam was doing some social media but wiser financial actually and saying Who the hell is talking about doing that? Because I Hold up, you ain't doing it yourself. And he said, he said a guy called say mom is a branding agency involves a wet seating. And I think I can't remember it was either just before Tom died or just after I think it was just before just after Tom died, I can't remember. It was around about the same time. And then I think it was before I went to see him and then Tom died. And then we went to see him again. Because it took a little bit longer for him to the, to the rebounding, and I can't remember. But anyway ran button. And so me and mom, were at the point where what we do, do we carry on? We could have sold the business, no problem is a fantastic business. The caps are amazing, you know, the business model is fantastic. We could have easily sold the business, but we decided not to go down that avenue. And I said, look, I think we should all go on Wednesday, Tim and he said, Look, why don't you look about rebranding, so you don't look as corporate, he can do all the things that you want to do on social media, you can use as a tool to recruit and you can, I've always wanted to show the agency stuff we've got working for us. They're amazing people. So I've always wanted to bring them to the forefront of the social media. So I was trying to find a way of doing that. So that's why I inquired about it. So I've done that now. And so that's how it all started. And he was like, look, I think you need a refund, because to do on the 24. Seven personal family don't fit right. So then we rebounded to test them. So transform stands for transparency, equality, zealous loyalty, organic motivation. But in a corporate world, that's what you need. But actually, my brother's called Tom metallics called last. I love that. Yeah.

Katie 26:40

I love that. I think that that's, that's, that's, that's awesome. Sorry. No, I love that the rebrand. And I have to say, I have noticed with all your branding, and after all the social media stuff. It's really unique. Because you do have everyone that kind of works for you in the in the photos. They're not just stock images, they're actually people that work for you guys. And that, like I think that's,

Ryan 27:02

that's why would you stock Now listen to some people in my office love to punch me straight, and then also putting them on pictures and videos. But I made them do it all the time and starting to get used to it now. So it's two years in, and we're doing it but I think it's important because it tells a story who's in it. And it was part of it. And there are generic parts in this business. And they need to be part of often we bought the agency workers as well, they've all got a story to tell. And yeah, we try that, again, they don't want to go on camera, but we try our hardest. Because a call we've not actually done any feel that well. But I've actually just booked a film there next week, or the week after. So we'll get back doing that. So yeah,

Katie 27:38