RailsDevs is an example of a niche job board success story. I came across this Youtube interview recently with its founder where he tells the tale of its origins and how he makes money with a reverse job board concept.
A reverse job board is a type of job search platform where companies pay to access a pool of applicants. In this case with RailsDevs they pay a monthly fee and then pay 10% of the hired persons salary instead of posting jobs.
How It Started (quotes)
About a year ago I was working with a few clients and, and more, more inbound leads were happening for my Rails consultancy and just couldn’t work with everyone and wanted to help them, but didn’t really know where to refer them to. So I started reaching out to people on Twitter and was like, Hey, I know you do freelancing. When are you available? What type of projects do you like to work on? And literally created like a spreadsheet, like it was a Google Sheet, multiple developers on it and just started sharing it with businesses that wanted to work with me.
And within like a month, I had gotten people two or three freelance jobs, someone got a full-time job from it. And I was like, there’s something here. If I’m referring people, I’m creating my own little network, uh, of, of Rails developers. Why can’t this be an automated business that I’m also making a profit off of? Because it’s a business, but helping more people and not just helping the people that I know in my network, but helping every Rails developer out there find their next job. And I think, uh, you know, a week later I, I made my first commit to Railsdevs and started getting people to sign up.RailsDevs founder
The spreadsheet was built from talking to people directly on Twitter. So asking people for where their availability was. I never shared the spreadsheet publicly because I was worried about sharing people’s like email addresses and their skill level without their permission, which has also kind of encouraged me to make it more official where they could add their own, you know, their own information to the website. It got me thinking a lot on a, there’s probably something here business-wise, but also after talking to a bunch of Rails developers specifically about getting hired and finding their next job, a lot of them really, really hated it and just like didn’t like the whole process of having an up-to-date resume, having to apply, hoping someone would get back to you whiteboarding for hours, days, and then just never hearing back. Right. So Railsdevs is built around this idea of empowering the independent developer. So this is perfectly reflected in how on Railsdevs, like you said, it’s a reverse job board. You don’t apply to jobs, you post your profile companies reach out to you if they think you’re qualified and then you’re off to the races.
Chicken or the Egg Problem
It being a marketplace creates that classic chicken or the egg problem of Yeah. Which side do you build first? If you don’t have any developers, no businesses wanna sign up. If you don’t have anyone hiring, how do you get developers to join? And the way that I tackle that is I focus my marketing 100% on the Rails developer. I talk about the benefits of the platform to the developer, how it’s better for developers, how the powers in their shoes when I build them public on Twitter. It’s always about what can I do to make this a better experience for the Rails developer? And that inherently has organic appeal to developers signing up. At this point, I’m getting two to three developer new developers on the site every single day. And you know, that compounds, that’s, I’m at 500 something plus developers on the site, like it’s crazy. By doing that, I’m able to build out a huge portfolio of folks that are ready to be hired, which makes talking to businesses a little bit easier. It was how I kind of solved the chicken or the egg. I went for the side of the marketplace that wants to get hired, that gets more value out of it, and then went for the people that happened to pay for it second.Joe Masilotti