Tell me more about yourself? What did you do before you founded The Creative Loft?
I started The Creative Loft not too long after I graduated from University. I focused on Information Systems – I have always bridged the gap between information and technology. I was working for a company in Spain and then I moved back to New York where I worked in IT.
I was looking to get more into web development and building things and getting more hands-on. I met a friend who lived here. He was working for a company that was doing something similar. He thought that the company was very poorly run. I was interested in starting a company and giving back to programming and building things.
I thought my friend’s idea was a really good idea. It was a real business model. Those things came together and we decided to create The Creative Loft.
When was The Creative Loft founded? I imagine around that time that there was a lot of opportunity for The Creative Loft, with the recession fully entrenched.
This was early 2009. Yes and no, it’s interesting, you would think that there are a lot of new job seekers but there were also a lot of people who weren’t considering career moves when the recession hit. You would think that there would be a ton of people looking to find a job. I didn’t notice a strong demand.
How do you differentiate yourself from recruiters and other job placement/seeking sites?
Within the job sites, we focus on creative industries. In this sense, they can serve customers better. They can cater the entire experience to those fields. Other job sites don’t focus on these fields.
On a second level, within the Job Boards that offer jobs to creative people there are a few that are good but there are very few that are good that have implemented good technology.
The creative industry is based on technology. We have invested a lot in building modern technology. The third part is that we do get jobs from all kinds of other job sites. We collect jobs from other places and post them to our site, similar to what Indeed does.
Posting jobs is also free to our site. The goal is to get as many jobs as possible.
Lastly, If you offer free job postings, you might run into spam problems. We review all of the jobs by hand. Someone has read every job that is on the site.
How many listings do you get a day? Is it on the order of dozens or hundreds?
We get dozens of new listings per day posted directly to the site. We get 500 to 600 per day from other sources.
How have you spread the word about your site with creative professionals? How has this mushroomed over time?
You hit the nail on the head, this is a bit of a weak point. There’s not much of a community yet. There should be and it’s something that we’re working on. People share postings on Facebook and Twitter. But within the site there is no community element, which is unfortunate because people would be happy to interact with others.
What’s the posting fee or is it free?
Posting jobs is free. We really want our customers to be job seekers. We want to focus on the experience of the job seeker.
We charge job seekers $12.95/month to search and to apply to jobs. People can browse and see what’s out there but then if you sign up you pay $12.95 per month and you get access to it like a real search engine. You get to apply to any jobs that you want.
It’s an unnatural thing to tell people who are looking for jobs to pay $12 per month….it’s a hard sell. It’s much easier to grow a business like that from the ground up when you have a very clear revenue source and you know exactly what the value proposition is.
What’s the best piece of advice for finding your passion and being successful in what you do?
It revolves around what you know what you want. You know what you want to be doing and it’s about listening to that. You also can’t be afraid to do something that may not be your passion for a limited amount of time in order to put yourself in a position to pursue financially where you can explore your passion. It’s important to say that if you’re working in something that you don’t make a long term plan, that you put yourself in a position to follow your passion.
What’s the biggest mistake you have made in your career and how did you learn from it?
Over-estimating things in a business plan. Putting figures down in the business plan and trusting this. Being overambitious in this sense.
What’s next for you and for The Creative Loft?
For The Creative Loft I hope to continue growing the users and continue to grow the business in general. I would like to spin off some new types of job seeker tools whether it’s a community tool that you mentioned in order to be able to keep helping people find jobs.