How I started a blockchain job board and grew it to a $4,000/month online business [as an indie maker 👨‍💻]

I started writing this article with a goal to reflect and learn what I’ve done right while starting Crypto Jobs List (so I can repeat this success again)
…but it suddenly turned into an interesting Ask Me Anything on Twitter
So here I will: ❶ share my learning a from starting a blockchain job board,
❷ answer audience questions and ❸ share a new exciting announcement 😉 in the end.

I hope this story will also be useful to you, as you are making your own business and product decisions. I welcome you to join the discussion and comment what can be improved.

Are you ready? 😃

What is Crypto Jobs List?

What made Crypto Jobs List successful? 🚀

  1. It was great timing — few others had the same idea. In fact, several projects launched at the same time. Timing is pure luck. But, damn, it’s important!
  2. I did not care about the technology I used. Just built and launched a product with a throwaway codebase and used existing solutions (like Google Forms + Zapier) to implement parts of the product. Like before.

Why it makes money 💰

How I felt at the time?

* I know solo-preneurs who start their new “businesses” by spinning up Kubernetes… I also never hear about their project more than once. 😒

AMA: Questions from the audience 🙋‍

📢 How do you promote your job board?

  • Word of mouth. A lot of it. People seem to care, share it, talk about it — I don’t really understand why they do that, but I’m super grateful for that!
  • I’m pretty much on all possible channels, and I try to manually-automate that. Sounds like an oxymoron. This means that: first, manually do a ton of stuff. Then, code up automation (including Twitter/Facebook/Telegram/etc…). Using Zapier or IFTTT would have worked almost equally well, but I feel I have more control by actually coding. But that’s still a geeky side of me talking. I should code less.
  • I used to email companies. Should be doing more of that.
  • Media. Crypto Jobs List been fortunate to be covered by CNBC, New York Times, CoinDesk, Bitcoin.com, Hacker Noon and more 👇

Surprise 🎉 I did not do anything to get covered. Journalists just found the site and wrote about it.
Results — results vary. Surprise again! You’d think traffic goes through the roof each time? Nope. Mentions by reputable publications are great for SEO, but they don’t always result in immediate traffic 👇

And now… 🥁 drumroll… a screenshot from recent CNBC mention 👇

I’ll give you a hint — it was on May 16th…
No? Still don’t see it? Oh, never mind then… The point is — not all top mentions end up being a source of immediate referral traffic. They are still good for SEO, though.

— Question from Roman Zolotarev & Aditya Khanduri

💰Revenue numbers?

  • $2,711.29 USD in March 2018
  • $3,321.52 USD in April 2018
  • ~$4,000 USD for peak 4w period (mid March-April)

Getting close to that in May. Might be more, might be less.

^ these are approximation, NET after Stripe fees, etc…

I had an in-depth series of Tweets when Crypto Jobs List hit $3000 👇

— Question from Roman Zolotarev

⏱ How much time do you invest in it daily?

Around mid-December 2017 I was basically spending all my time on CJL. Periodically, up until March 2018, I had doubts, whether I’m starting to spend too much time on this, and whether I get burned again (thanks to sunk-in cost fallacy). My alternative was, and still is — JavaScript consulting and Solidity work (Ethereum smart contract programming language).

Spending full-time on a project can easily become inefficient. Because of Parkinson’s Law. “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Good to be mindful of that.

Constantly self-correct: are doing high-value-work or busy-work?

— Question from Roman Zolotarev 😅

👻 Deepest Darkest Secrets?

— Question from Hara Kim

🤖 What bots you used?

All social media automation engagement that I’m running now is self-coded. It’s granular, specific to my use-case + audience, I know exactly how it works and have 100% control.

— Question from Colin Boyd

How did you get the first job offer posted?

Eventually, to my surprise, companies started posting themselves! 🔥
That happened after about 2 weeks. I believe the first few companies that posted in 2017, were Decred, BigchainDB, Bancor, Expa (founded by Garrett Camp, who is Uber co-founder). From then on, I stopped adding jobs myself, and was relying on companies primarily.

Since then, some big names posted: Ethereum Foundation, Parity Technologies (they develop Parity client for Ethereum), TenX, Huobi Exchange, OKEx, CryptoKitties (AxiomZen), Wanchain (they were the first company to sponsor a featured listing!), Adel, Tierion, COSS.IO, Block.one (developers of EOS), Exchange Union, Cindicator, Nomisma, MakerDAO, AmaZix and many more.

Fun fact: on day 1 and for about 3–4 months you could only submit a job via Google Forms. Google forms would then trigger Zapier, and Zapier would call an HTTP hook of my backend. That’s how I saved time on building submission form. Because building a good form takes time — got to look pretty, handle exceptions and validate user input. It’s not rocket science, but takes a few days. And I did not want to invest that much time that early.

— Question from Adem Bilican & ThisKidCalledRJ

What content marketing are you doing? 📰

— Question from Tobias Hikari

Lawyer for sale contracts? 👮

And, as a matter of fact, it’s not easy to say NO to money. And I did that in the past. I had a client who was insisting on a contract for a few featured listings. I repeatedly declined and explained why, using exact same logic as I laid out above. After almost a week of back and forth the client sponsored without the contract. They are happy.

— Question from Addy Khan

How to attract recruiters to post jobs?

  1. One of the core values that I created Crypto Jobs List with is community, friendly, transparent and direct communication. (That’s also why I encourage companies to upload their boss’s pictures.) So far I’ve seen recruiters post job ads for unknown clients, they shy away from uploading their own picture. This goes against CJL values.
  2. It’s also not a good experience for applicants. People want to know what company they are applying for, and whether it’s worth their time. And whether they are talking to company directly or to a recruiter who’s representing a company.
  3. And lastly, recruiters, so far, were not willing to pay for featured listings.

However, I’m open minded. Happy to change my views. Please contact me and explain how we all can make it a win-win-win for all 3 sides.

— Question from Tobias Hikari

So what’s next? ⏩

I definitely intend to keep low expectations while launching new features, but having low engineering standards and a throwaway code becomes expensive once you scale. Now I’m moving things to React+MobX+Firebase, even though it’s taking more time.

I think about flywheel effect in such cases. It’s harder to get it going at first, but it should be easier to keep it “rotating” and every additional effort accelerates the wheel with decreasing effort. In other words — rewriting everything in React is time-consuming, but then, reusing components is super fast!

Before focusing 100% on scaling Crypto Jobs List, I’d like to test these lessons. I will launch another project, using the same principles:

Solve my own problem + Low expectations + Clear business model

Thank you 😘

Thanks to Roman Zolotarev, Hara Kim, Colin Boyd, Aditya Khanduri, ThisKidCalledRJ, Kieran Daniels and many others for asking questions on Twitter. Thanks to Roman Zolotarev, Blake Tan, Veronica Ng, and Andrey Azimov for proofreading and giving feedback on the article. Thanks to Dave Appleton for constantly tagging Crypto Jobs List on Twitter, whenever he sees amazing talent.

Originally published at cryptojobslist.com on May 24, 2018.

CryptoJobsList.com - #1 job board to find and post blockchain & cryptocurrency jobs.

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