##BuildInPublic #IndieHacker #Startup 🇬🇧

The 3 first months as IndieHacker with RubyOnRailsJobs

Jean Romain Krupa

Jean Romain Krupa

7 min read
In June 2022, I launched RoRJobs with a simple mission: Help Ruby developers find their next freelance mission, job, internship...
I wanted to share with you the successes and failures (also called learnings
😅) of my 3 first months as an IndieHacker.

June 2022: European job board dedicated to Ruby On Rails

My stack for this job board is RubyOnRails 7, TailwindUI, JumpstartPro, Sidekiq, Heroku, Administrate, and a couple of assets and models from previous projects et voilà ! The product was ready after a couple of long nights (during the days, I work fulltime as Fullstack Ruby Dev for Oqoro, a french startup).

On day one, I "scrapped" WelcomeToJungle (french job board) companies who use Ruby as their primary programming language. This tiny hack enabled me to add 200 companies to the page and release a V1 of the product (example: a list of companies using RoR). Despite this, users want access to jobs not companies, so I didn’t gain much traction. This section still exists but is not frequented. That was it for V1, next step… V2 of the Ruby job board.

The next stage required a lot of work as I had to manually add all the jobs sourced from Linkedin, WelcomeToTheJungle, Indeed and Slack communities (Le Wagon, Paris.rb...). I continue to add jobs manually and I share a weekly post on my Linkedin of all the new listed jobs.

1st month metrics:
  • 71 RoR jobs or missions listed
  • 216 companies using Ruby
  • ~300 uniq visitor (10 organically 🐌 🐇)
  • 18 newsletter subscribers
  • 0 newsletters sent
  • 0 € revenue
  • Expenses: 7 € for Heroku

1st month "learnings":
  • No marketing == no visits
  • Marketing, copywriting, blogging is a skill I need to develop
  • Companies are primarily looking for mid or senior devs 
  • Lots of applications from junior devs (Junior filter is the most used)
  • RubyOnRailsJobs is perhaps not the best name for a brand but super cool for SEO

July 2022: “do things that don’t scale”

I have a limited amount of time to dedicate to this project (~8h / week in the evenings), which pushes me to prioritize my tasks. New features should all contribute to my primary goal: "help developers find their next gig

3 options:

  1.  Build a scrapper for each Job board and remove DB duplication 
  2.  Wait for companies to create the jobs themselves
  3.  Manually add the jobs myself

I chose the last option which retrospectively, provides a lot of advantages.

  • I know most of the companies recruiting for Ruby devs
  • I have a good understanding of what makes a job cool / attractive
  • What are the perks and salary you can ask for depending on your experience

 To pursue the "quest" of things that don't scale, I also try to manually invite every CTO or recruiter to become "owner" of their account on the platform. The idea is to allow them to CRUD on their jobs.

 Adding a job, creating an account and inviting users takes me roughly 5 mins / job. It doesn’t bring any revenue but it does bring value to developers. I received a lot of messages telling me they are using it every day.

July KPIs:

  • 90 jobs, 200 companies
  • 600 uniq visitors, 3K pages view, 20% SEO
  • 0 newsletter sent 😅
  • 10 user interviews (dev and companies)
  • Still 0 € revenue 

July learnings / generalities:

  • Companies are mainly looking for developers with more than 2-3 years of XP
  • Ruby Developers applying for jobs have between 0 and 2 years of XP
  • Ruby Developers with more than 2 years of XP don’t apply for jobs, they are headhunted
  • Ruby developers with more than 4 years of XP are often freelancers
  • The salary for a junior dev (0-2 years XP) is around 35K€ / year, for 2-3 years XP the range is 45-55K€, and >60 K€ for senior devs
  • The most demanded feature is the email alert to receive a list of the latest RoR jobs posted

August 2022: Let's try new things

A glimpse of marketing 

I finally built a V1 of the email alert. Every day, developers receive the latest jobs and missions posted. The V2 will add filters, a choice of periodicity and the option to receive an alert when a company you follow posts a job or mission.
 Marketing in general is not natural for me. Also, with my fulltime work I can't devote a lot of time to writing every day. The solution I found is to automatically build my post content. Every day on my admin interface, I have a prewritten blurb about the latest roles that I can just copy and paste on social media. The V2 of this will be to create other types of post templates such as, the latest companies created, the most visited jobs of the month / week, etc.
 I started to work on SEO by ensuring I have metas on every page, a sitemap, and a CRON to ping search engines. The next will be to add structured data to job posts to enable Google to index the jobs at the top of the results page.

A reverse job board for Ruby developers

 In the same spirit of rails devs in the US, I coded a reverse job board where companies can directly hunt their next freelancer or fulltime dev. The idea is to try to align companies' needs with developers expectations. 

 Benefits for companies:
  • Highly qualified and scoped profiles 
  • Developers are more responsive than on Linkedin
  • The pricing is super fair 90 € vs 10K€ charged by a head hunting company
  • Support from myself

Benefits for devs:
  • Recruiters come to you directly
  • Recruiters already know your criteria (salary, job type, remote expectations...)
  • You can stay anonymous or let me qualify jobs for you
  • You increase your personal branding 
  • You can make money by referring other devs

A new business model

It's 100% free for developers. 

For companies 3 options:
  • Free: They can create their account, be referenced in the Ruby company listing and publish jobs, freelance missions, internships, cofounder search...
  • SaaS for 90 € / month: free plan + access to the list of qualified developers
  • Recruitment services: 10% of the annual salary (only for permanent contracts): I source, qualify and submit suitable profiles for the company

2 first customers 🥳
The fist one chose the SaaS model. His need was clear, he saw a developer profile matching his criteria in the list, paid 1 month to obtain the contact details, and canceled the subscription straight away.
 The exact same day, another company contacted me for the recruitment service. They are looking for backend devs and need help to recruit.
 The main issue with marketplaces is the difficulty to grow both sides (offer and demand). The good thing is that when I source for a company, I also grow the number of developers on the platform. The more devs there are, the more valuable the developers' list is to a company.
 August 2022 metrics:
  • 109 jobs, 246 companies
  • 2 customers
  • 38 developers
  • 1100 uniq visitors, 4.6K pages views, 30% of the traffic is SEO
  • 90 € of revenu
  • 12 K€ in the pipeline
  • 0 € bounty
  • Expenses: 26 €

Next weeks challenges

  • Gather testimonials of developers recruited thanks to RoRJobs
  • Create a referral program to refer devs to a job/mission
  • Increase the ratio of gigs added by myself VS created by users (I am going to have a baby soon 🥳, so my time will be even more limited)
  • Prepare a Product Hunt launch
  • Create more content by writing more articles
  • Build features in public
  • Reach 100 devs on RoRJobs by September
  • Have a logo that is not an emoji 😅
  • Increase the number of freelance missions on the board

 If you have feedback or questions I would love to hear from you. Feel free to write to me directly by email at jeanro@ruby-on-rails-jobs.com

translated from french to English 🇦🇺 by my amazing wife Eloïse.

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