Three Things I learnt from growing Freshersworld to 10 Million Users
We always kept our options open and this is something which helps us create products
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Recently we crossed the milestone of 10 Million users (1 Crore). Here's what I learnt in a journey spanning 10 years and being profitable.
Freshersworld.com was started as a blog in 2006. In the first month itself we crossed a very important milestone of clocking 100K visits. At that point of time there was not even a single entity concentrating its effort on a very important segment- the millennial or the grads right out of college. The age group of 21-24 years; people who can make or break the future of a country were not taken seriously. But, why should they? The education system was down the slump and still is. Industry ready is a term they only understand while attending interviews. Seriousness is an attitude they learn after facing defeat (multiple times).
This is the story of every person looking for their first job. Some are skilled, some have been lucky enough to have a good upbringing, some toll hard but don't succeed and some simply give up (blaming everything around them for their defeat).
Solve a problem for the masses
More than 50% of the population in India is under the age of 25 years. Hitting 100K in the first month was for me a strong indicator of the need of the market. The big wicks of the market like Naukri and Monster were not even trying to address the market. Why would they? The market is a segment which still has pocket money from parents as their source of revenue. Nothing big could be achieved from that right? Wrong!
Traction is a very funny word. It needn't necessarily mean revenue but it always means growth. How is that even possible? Here's what the dictionary states traction to be-
"The action of drawing or pulling a thing over a surface, especially a road or track"
OK. I get that. But what if the road is smoothened by revenue flow? It sweetens the deal right?
We have been profitable for quite some time now hitting couple of million in revenues the last financial year. Revenue sources - premium membership, employer revenue, ad sales and database packages. A segment living on pocket money helped us get there!
You can't expect every employer to pay for their hires and that too to an online job portal. The pay-per-hire mode for Entry-level is also not that great with percentage revenue almost 1/4th of what is driven through lateral hires. Driving revenue from candidate side is almost never a good option or so is what most people think. But there's a loophole in the thinking. We are not dealing with experienced candidates here. We are dealing with a crowd who is stupendously un-serious about making a career for themselves.
Graduates right out of colleges in India are the most lethargic people in the world. "Hello, I am right outside the company office. Where should I come?" (The candidate talking to the recruiter over the phone while lying on his bed eating chips and watching IPL) "Oh sorry was the interview today? I thought it was Friday of next week." "No, No I never applied to the job." "Sir Salary is very less. My friend got placed in TCS for lot more and that's why I am not joining." "My parents want me to go into an MNC. While your salary is good but you are not an MNC. Sorry."
These are some of the common excuses made by entry-level job seekers while on the job hunt. Get them to pay for a service and they become serious in an instance! Our premium membership charge was meant to make candidates serious about attending interviews and now it is one of our major revenue generators. So, we solved two problems with a single Jugaad!
Tried & Tested Vs. New & Disruptive
We always keep our options open and this is something which has helped us create products that stick and also get on track to create the next disruption. Database package is a service which we have been testing for the past 6 months and selling to some premium clients. Our stealth mode strategy has earlier worked wonders when we had launched Hot Job Posting back in Oct-2015. Database as a package has been a much abused market to get into. There are players who sell your information to anyone- from a credit card company to a hacker. We won't take names here, but, just think about a place where you posted your resume looking for a job and the calls you started getting after doing that. I bet 80% were calls that didn't solve your problem.
Understanding this and making amendments to the market play has been something that we have been focussing on. With a database of over 10 Million now, we are ready to take the service public. But, limiting it entirely to recruiters only.
For us getting to 10 Million users has been a very tough journey but translating this to revenue has been even tougher and that is what matters to any business. Aligning growth with customer acquisition + revenue from the acquired customers is something that has helped us in our journey.