Kylie Green decided to quit her secure job as CEO of Kaleidoscope Marketing Communications to launch AdLand Jobs in November. The site is a jobs board for the advertising industry.
She speaks to StartupSmart about her start-up journey so far.
This isn’t the first company you’ve founded, is it?
No, I launched my own agency, Kaleidoscope Marketing Communications, in 1998. I sold it to Photon in 2005. So I did the founding, growing, earn out and leaving – I had a great run and thoroughly enjoyed it.
My parents had entrepreneurial instincts, which I picked up. I was retrenched from my agency and thought I wasn’t old enough or experienced enough to start my own agency. But I bit the bullet and did it.
All the naysayers who said I couldn’t do it because I was too young and a female spurred me on. I hired a CEO in 2009 to train him and hand over the reins. I needed a new challenge and there were no opportunities within the group. There were a lot of changes going on at Photon so it was the right time to leave.
What opportunity did you see for AdLand Jobs?
Recruiters have their place, but apart from Mumbrella, there isn’t anything niche for the industry to view jobs in one place. Instead, people get jobs through who they know or a recruiter. I saw that other industries had done the same so I thought there was an opportunity.
The mass job boards have people from other industries but I wanted AdLand Jobs to attract a community that was qualified in advertising or those looking to get into advertising.
We want to attract people who are tertiary educated to come into the industry. A lot of women are leaving the industry to have children and they are finding it hard to get back into jobs due to a lack of flexibility among employers. There is also an age barrier – there are people with 30 years of experience passed over because of their age. I want to help those two key groups.
Things like the Gruen Transfer and Mad Men were an inspiration. The site has the look and feel of Mad Men.
The advertising industries has had a bad name, associated with long lunches and high pay, whereas it is, in fact, a fantastic industry and people work very hard. The site can showcase that.
What’s the business model?
When a job is advertised, it can be posted for a one-off fee or there’s a fee for a group of jobs. I looked at the free model like Mumbrella, but Mumbrella is a news-led site and my core business is a jobs board. Also, the free model isn’t what it’s cracked up to be – you aren’t necessarily getting the visibility if you go with a free site.
I chose a fee structure that wasn’t the cheapest and wasn’t the dearest. It costs agencies $150 to post a job, which isn’t a big outlay for them.
How much did it cost to launch?
Under $50,000, which came from my own funds. I’m the 100% owner. I never looked into venture capital but since I’ve started I’ve had a few people asking to be investors. It’s something we may use to catapult us to the next level.
How long did it take to build?
I was thinking about the idea from last year so when I left Photon in July I immediately started work. It took me three to four months to get ready for launch.
I did a lot of research on the job board market and I partnered with a back-end provider that specialises in recruitment directories. All of the creative is under my direction – I used a freelance art director and copywriter to bring the idea to life.
Once it was up and running, it doesn’t take eight to 10 hours a day to keep the site up. I’ll spend an hour in the morning and then an hour again later on in the day tweaking it.
How have you marketed it?
I’ve used a social media and direct mail strategy. I sent a huge EDM and DM campaign in the mail to agencies in Australia and New Zealand. In terms of social media, I’ve used LinkedIn and Twitter, as well we Google Adwords. I’ve also used PR.
I knew that coming into December it would be a soft launch but then in January, when people come back to work, it will be the time for another push and provide a brand reminder.
What’s the response been like in the marketplace so far?
Very positive. There are always naysayers, but people who know me know that I’m like a bull at a gate and will do anything to make this successful.
What’s your ambition for the site?
There’s an opportunity to add to the site. I want people to be attracted to it as a resource site and create a discussion around recruitment.
There’s a talent problem in the industry in that the talent has almost been serviced too much. They haven’t had to make much of an effort to find a job. I want the agencies to advertise again and the talent to market themselves.
I’ve got to get the stats up and get word out there. It will take three to six months and it’s a big hill to climb.
I’m supporting it with The Oven, which is my 360 degree thinking marketing agency. I use three consultants who are women working from home.
They work on client projects but without the huge offices and overheads of other businesses. We pass the savings onto clients.
The consultants are women who have had children and didn’t get back into the workplace. A lot of females on the client site appreciate what I’m trying to do with The Oven. Ultimately, the buck stops with me and it’s trading on my reputation in the marketplace.
The vision is to grow AdLand Jobs and start employing people. I hope to grow AdLand Jobs and The Oven side by side.
How do you find the time for two businesses?
I have a girlfriend who runs five businesses and also has kids and she manages to juggle it all. Two businesses keeps you busy, but it’s a good challenge and I’m enjoying it.