When Gene Mal was looking for a job back in the early 2000’s, almost every job posting, he applied for asked job applicants to apply on various third-party websites with a mandatory registration or a massive application form or both. That’s when he decided to create Static Jobs – a job search site for computer professionals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
StarCentral Magazine recently sat down with Gene to find out more about his journey to entrepreneurship and here’s what went down.
1. Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I’m the founder and CTO of Static Jobs, a job search site for computer professionals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. I have a BS degree in Computer Science, and I love to program.
I got this business idea in the early 2000s if I remember correctly. I was looking for a job, and almost every job posting asked job applicants to apply on various third-party websites with a mandatory registration or huge application form or both. It was a nightmare to follow all those links, only to realize I couldn’t easily submit my resume. And, of course, I wouldn’t apply for those jobs that required a lot of effort to submit a resume.
2. Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start? Did you ever imagine you would become this successful?
Although I first got this business idea in the early 2000s, it wasn’t until about 2011 when the first line of code was written. Our website seems simple, but there is actually a lot of code (and labour too!) under the hood. We went live in 2014, and all I can say is that we’re still at the beginning of our journey. We have a pretty ambitious goal. We want to reach the level of Google and LinkedIn in this niche, and we’re not quite there yet.
3. What is your main source of income?
4. What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
Contacting employers and recruiters on LinkedIn.
5. What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
6. How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
The latest trend has been to over-complicate everything, in all areas of our life. Things are now more complex than they should be… Anyway, all our competitors and many employers make applying for a job unnecessarily difficult. They direct job seekers to various third-party websites where job seekers have to register or answer a million questions such as their email address, password, name, home address, phone number, social network profiles, education, availability, work authorization, how they heard about the company, etc., etc., etc and even previous employment history! And job seekers have to do this on various websites for every job ad they’re interested in.
Of course, nobody’s going to apply if it’s difficult to apply and employers are going to lose money. We, on the other hand, make job hunting extremely easy. We ask only a few basic questions, and we certainly don’t require registration. We don’t direct job seekers to various websites on the Internet, and we do save that application information the first time a job seeker applies on our website – and grateful job seekers mean more resumes for employers. We really are like young Google in this niche.
7. What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision I had to make (not in the last few months, though) is to keep our website simple. These days, people are used to websites with lots of text, images, flashy graphics and banners, so a simple website seems unusual at first.
8. What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
The biggest mistake, if I can call it a mistake, is that we should’ve started this business 15 – 20 years ago. It was much easier back then to start a business, but I didn’t have the time and money to work on this project at the time. These days, you need more resources to build a successful company.
9. What have you learned in the process of becoming wealthy that others can learn from?
There are no guarantees, and everyone’s path to success is different. If you take two aspiring entrepreneurs with the same great business idea, it’s not a given that both will succeed. Not only does your business idea have to be sound, but you also have to execute it properly. And, of course, you need a little bit of luck.
10. What new business would you love to start?
I’m focused on Static Jobs, so I wouldn’t want to start another business now but if your question is really “do you have a business idea that you could share with our readers?” then my answer is “yes”, and it’s actually pretty good for those who love to write.
There is great demand for the press by startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs, so you might want to start a blog dedicated entirely to startups and interview startup founders who will be more than happy to give you material for your blog which will drive traffic to your website. You can monetize your blog through AdSense or similar networks and then grow it into something bigger.
11. If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
Our domain name staticjobs.com is not perfect. It’s easy to type, it’s easy to remember, and it makes perfect sense for computer programmers, but the problem is that many recruiters in IT are not computer programmers and, therefore, don’t understand our domain name. It’s too technical for them, but we’re not going to change it now.
12. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I’ve never been given any business advice. I just knew that to become really independent; I had to start my own business someday.
13. What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Because all niches are full, many aspiring entrepreneurs try to come up with a solution to a contrived problem. I often see websites that I can’t make heads or tails of, even though I’m a techie and can strain my brains when I have to. And then those website owners put a lot of effort into explaining how their websites work and why we would need them. They provide YouTube videos and diagrams to explain their business model, but you understand that most visitors won’t bother reading or watching. They’ll just leave if they don’t understand what your website is all about right away.
So, here’s my advice to all aspiring entrepreneurs. If you’re putting a lot of effort into explaining your business model, you’re probably doing something wrong. Beware of this trap that many aspiring entrepreneurs fall into.