How it all started: 3 Good friends, a great idea and an ambitious dream…
Ope Awoyemi, Lekan Olude and Deji Adewunmi have been friends from their university days. While Ope and Lekan studied Computer Engineering, Deji is a trained medical doctor, but all three have always shared a strong passion for internet entrepreneurship. In addition to the burden of school work and assignments, these folks worked diligently on their ‘internet dream’.
Their plan was to change the way people searched for and found jobs while offering employers a simple but effective channel to advertise vacancies and find the right talents to fill them. Nothing like this existed at that time and nobody had done it before. Would it work? They didn’t know. However, they went ahead to build Nigeria’s largest job search portal which now has over one million job seekers and 10,000 companies registered to date!
The Jobberman idea was influenced by the success of naukri.com, India’s leading job search engine and the first Indian internet business to be listed on the stock exchange. At its peak, naukri.com had a market value of $1 billion (source: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish). Like MKazi in Kenya, internet and mobile solutions that solve unemployment problems are growing in popularity on our continent.
From left to right: Ope Awoyemi, Deji Adewunmi and Lekan Olude. They all still jointly own and manage Jobberman.com today. (photo credit: bellanaija.com)
Since it started, Jobberman.com has helped more than 50,000 Nigerians find their dream jobs. The portal is used by both local and multinational companies to advertise job openings and find the right people. Seeing the huge potentials in this business model, Tiger Global, a New-York based fund with investments in Facebook and LinkedIn became an investor in Jobberman.com in 2011… a little less than three years after it started! The service now has a subsidiary in Ghana and plans to roll out across Africa in the near future.
Jobberman.com – What it does and how it works…
Job seekers who visit the portal can search through over 5,000 vacancies and opportunities advertised by employers. To help get faster results, jobs are categorized according to specialisations (doctors, accountants etc.), industry (healthcare, consulting etc) and location. Job seekers can also sort adverts according to job type (such as full-time, intern and contract).
Applying for a job on the portal is free – all applicants need to do is upload a copy of their curriculum vitae (resumé) and submit. In addition to this free service, Jobberman.com offers a paid service for writing professional resumes, drafting attention-grabbing cover/introduction letters and an expert appraisal of already prepared resumes. It also provides text-messaging and email alerts that inform job seekers (who are registered on the portal) of the latest vacancies and opportunities.
For employers too, posting a job advert is free. Employers have options to specify the job position they want to advertise, the flexibility of the job (full-time, intern or contract), years of experience, minimum qualifications (university degree, diploma or basic school education). As soon as adverts are posted on the portal, employers start to receive job applications that match their specifications almost immediately! Employers can review these applications by looking at the profiles and resumes until they find the candidate(s) who best meets their expectations. All jobs advertised on Jobberman.com have a 60-day life span which helps to ensure that vacancies and opportunities on the site remain fresh and relevant!
Before Jobberman.com, employers had to rely on recruitment agencies, word-of-mouth recommendations and advertisements in newspapers to find people they want to hire. The problem with these methods is that they are ineffective, cost more (in terms of time, effort and money) and often never produce the desired results. In fact, a large portion of unemployed people are unable to afford newspapers and may not be within the social circles of people who can recommend them for jobs.
With its popularity on the internet, and over 100,000 Facebook fans and 17,000 Twitter followers, Jobberman.com has the scale and ability to reach more job seekers in the shortest time, with minimum effort and the lowest cost. Above all, it produces very impressive results by providing job advertisers and employers with candidates who meet the specific criteria they have defined. Awesome! It’s a total game changer!
Just a little over three years since it was founded, Jobberman was listed as one of Africa’s Top 20 Tech Startups in 2012 in Forbes Magazine. Early this year, Forbes also listed all three founders as some of the Best Young Entrepreneurs in Africa. The video you’re about to watch is a short (3-minute) interview with the founders. Enjoy it!
How does Jobberman.com make money?
Providing enormous value for people is one of the most guaranteed ways to make money on the internet. Jobberman.com provides such a valuable free service that many of the people who use it are willing to pay for the premium (paid) services. In this section, we shall be looking at all the five interesting ways that this remarkable business makes money. Here they are…
#1 – Curriculum Vitae Consultancy
Although Jobberman.com allows registered users to upload their CVs (resumés) for free, it offers paid services that help to increase the chances of getting the attention of employers. This service includes rewriting an applicant’s CV and cover/introduction letter in a professional format using skilled experts who have experience in this area. It also helps applicants to review their resumés and make recommendations that could make them better. For these services, Jobberman.com charges fees that range from 1,500 Naira ($10) to 15,000 ($100) depending on the category of the applicants (student, fresh university graduates, middle career and senior management professionals).
#2 – Mobile text message (SMS) alerts
Jobberman.com offers a text messaging alert service that updates subscribers with the latest job vacancies and opportunities posted on the site by employers and advertisers. For up to 50 Naira (about $0.50) a week, job seekers can subscribe to this service on any of the major mobile telephone networks in Nigeria. With over one million registered users, this is a significant source of income for the company although it offers the SMS alerts through third parties.
#3 – Enhanced job posting services for employers and advertisers
Apart from its ‘Standard Job Ad’ package which allows employers and advertisers to post job vacancies for free, Jobberman.com also offers ‘Express Candidates’ and ‘Quality Shortlist’ packages which have enhanced capabilities like job application filtering and access to the main CV database. With these packages, employers can get faster results by reaching Jobberman.com’s followers on social media (especially Facebook and Twitter).
Enhanced packages also allow job adverts to be spread across Jobberman.com partners comprising leading newspapers in Nigeria and over 400 blogs and websites. These packages are available from 7,500 to 15,000 Naira (about $50 to $100); very cheap, effective and convenient when compared to other alternatives.
#4 – Advertising
Because Jobberman.com attracts thousands of visitors every day, it is a natural target for companies and businesses who want to advertise their products and services to a large Nigerian audience. Jobberman.com offers advertising slots on its portal and in several other channels (such as mentions in its free email job alerts, banner adverts on the website, social media engagement and in its weekly newsletters). The cost of advert placements on Jobberman’s platforms range from 60,000 Naira (about $500) for an advert on the search results page to 1.5 million Naira (about $10,000) for a full–page takeover on the website.
#5 – General Consultancy
Jobberman.com also provides services to employers looking to recruit beyond Nigeria. It is a member of The Network, an online recruitment network of job sites that provide access to job seekers in more than 130 countries worldwide. As a result of this alliance, employers can publish job ads in every country on the network via Jobberman.com. This provides employers with a single point of contact without having to go through the stress of hiring recruiters in different countries.
Top 2 Lessons we should learn from Jobberman.com’s success…
The rise from simple and unknown university undergrads to high flying internet entrepreneurs is a journey many of us would fancy. However, like with all successes in life, it didn’t come easy for the three founders of Jobberman.com. There are a couple of inspiring lessons we can learn from their journey. Here they are…
#1 – It’s never too early to start a business
Procrastination (delay) is the biggest reason many of us will never start a business in our lifetime. ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘later’ are the most convenient and widely-used excuses for not starting something today. As you read above, Ope, Lekan and Deji started working on their Jobberman dream in their university days. School work, tough deadlines and parties are examples that come to mind for young and energetic undergrads. They had every reason to postpone their dream but decided to work hard at it instead. The lesson here is simple: time waits for no one. The earlier you start working on your business dream, the brighter your chances of success!
#2 – Partnership helps. Three heads are often better than one!
By coming together as a team, the founders of Jobberman.com were able to combine their ideas, capital and resources to making the dream work. Many business ideas and dreams never become a reality because most entrepreneurs want to do it all alone. We all have strengths and weaknesses that can be strongly complemented by partners who share our vision. An entrepreneur who has strong technical skills may be a poor sales man. A good salesman may also be poor at keeping records of the company’s finances. Partnering with people of like minds is more likely to increase your chances of success than walking alone!
Do you have an idea that can solve a serious problem?
The Jobberman success story proves again that lucrative opportunities are available to people who can find solutions to serious problems (like unemployment) affecting Africans. In our popular article, 3+ Guaranteed ways to find profitable business ideas in Africa, we identified problem-solving as one of the easiest ways to find ideas that can become very successful businesses.
This article was written to inspire you to look out for, and exploit similar opportunities in your environment. We suggest that you start making a list of problems you have noticed. Are there solutions to these problems that exist in another part of the world. Can you creatively copy and apply it to your local environment? Think!
We would love to hear from you about your successes, challenges, advice and questions. Do not forget to leave a comment in the section below and share this inspiring story with your friends. You could also explore other inspiring profiles of successful African entrepreneurs in the Get Inspired section of this website!
To your financial success!