Time is a resource, too. Time for growing.

It seems like every (online) startup wants to grow and grow fast. It seems like if you didn’t “make it” in 2 years, you should fold. Some already throw in the towel after 3 months. “We failed.” Apparently you should grow really quickly and burn a lot of cash while you’re at it (or other resources) – but why?

While creating a niche job portal I’ve come to realize that sometimes it will just take some time to grow, gain traction, become profitable. Sure, you can throw money at it and make it grow faster. But now I’ve finished the first phase of the job portal and all the basic functionalities exist and I’m working on squishing some bugs here and there. It could use a few more customers, but they’re coming in more or less regularly and the ones that come, usually come back again – so with time it grows. And I think people just need to gain trust. And the number of new newsletter subscribers (i.e. people looking for jobs) is increasing by about 100 a week (considering this is a German job portal in a specific niche, I think it’s an ok number, I think it’s one of the higher growth rates in any sustainability / environmental website in Germany).

The thing is – the longer I wait, the bigger my client list will become, the higher the number of subscribers will become, the bigger the social media fanbase will become. (I admit, this “let it grow in the background” possibility might be a luxury of a non-consultancy online startup :-) .) Every time someone wants to publish a job, it takes a few minutes of my time. The highest cost factor currently is me. So I’m gonna continue working on the job portal, but will input less time (I think if I input more time into it – I will just introduce unnecessary features). I.e. it’s like putting too much fertilizer into a growing flower – sometimes less will create more growth.

I’m still starting interesting cooperations and growing the job portal through them – but as it stands it’s growing by itself, the brand is getting stronger and it’s getting more profitable. I don’t need external funding and I don’t need to start cooperations I don’t want to. The fixed costs are rather low. By reducing my working time by 70% I’ve reduced the fixed costs even more (and boom, suddenly it’s a profitable business!).

The best thing I can do now is let it grow organically and get a stronger base. (This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be on the lookout for competition or that I can relax 100%, it just means I should spend my time on the job portal more efficiently, get only crucial features in and let time grow the company. I’m still talking to clients and users all the time and will see where I can improve, but I won’t stress over 100 new features that I want to implement.) As Warren Buffett said:

You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”

As it is now, with the time I have I will start a consulting business + website on the side, focusing on online marketing for sustainable / environmental businesses. Not only might I earn money with the consulting + website, but maybe also earn some new clients for the jobsite. And the new stuff I learn on online marketing can flow back into the job site. And my stress level is quite a bit lower :-) .

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