How I Started A $1.5K/Month Job Board That Connects Global Employers With The Filipino Talent

Published: May 17th, 2023
Tim Nicholas
Founder, Permworks
from Sydney NSW, Australia
started December 2022
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

By way of introduction, I am the co-founder of Permworks, a jobs board that connects employers around the world with Filipino talent. We also offer recruitment and compliance services to take care of the legal and hiring aspects of the process, making it easier for employers to find and hire top talent from the Philippines.

With a background in start-ups and marketplaces, I’ve set out to make it easy to hire Filipino talent direct.

Here is a quick introduction video to Permworks:

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Running my previous startup (Gohock) involved a lot of moving parts. As the sole founder, I handled everything from web development to sales, marketing, and much more. The workload quickly became too much to handle.

So what did I do? I hired a virtual assistant from the Philippines. Her name was Daina, and she was an assistant any start-up founder could ask for. She was diligent, thorough, and sharp. During my toughest days, she was there, helping me do what I had to do. She helped with research, social media marketing, sales, and regular admin work.

After wrapping up Gohock, I embarked on a mission to ensure each founder has access to staff from the Philippines to allow them to focus on the things that matter, like growing their start-up. Hence, was born.

After a short discussion with my best friend, we decided to embark on our next adventure, which would merge the Philippines workforce with the rest of the world.

For entrepreneurs who are just starting out, I would advise staying persistent and never giving up on your vision.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

We wanted to get an MVP up and running as soon as possible. After trialing multiple no-code marketplace builders, we landed on to provide the first iteration of Permworks.

We bought a pre-built template and layered our business on top. However, this was more complicated than it seems to be.

Building our site via Bubble took approximately 6-8 weeks to go live. Since going live, we’ve constantly been bug-fixing and improving our product to ensure we provide the best platform possible for job seekers and employers.

Additionally, we ensured we were in constant contact with employers posting job ads on our platform and asked; What do you like about our jobs board? What don’t you like? If you were to change one thing, what would it be?

These questions helped us provide a more valuable experience to our employers and boost our retention rate.

For example, when we initially launched, our MVP didn’t have the ability to shortlist applicants (which seems fairly obvious to do now!). After having conversations with our employers, all we did was add a little heart icon which helped narrow down a shortlist amongst a sea of hundreds of applicants.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Once we went live, I hit the phones and emails.

I hopped onto a competitor's jobs board in the same space and started reaching out to companies who were looking for Filipino talent direct. We saw a 20-30% conversion rate in piggybacking off this existing jobs board and having their clients post on our site. From here is where we saw our first paying client.

This launch process also involved making cold calls to local businesses, whether it would be start-ups, marketing agencies, or real estate agents. One by one, our clients came on board and started to post up job ads.

Once we had job ads up, I posted these job ads in various Facebook groups to garner attention from Filipino job seekers. These would be groups such as “Philippines Home-Based Virtual Assistants” or “Digital Marketing Jobs PH”. The responses would vary from group to group. Some groups would be active and some not so much. The initial response once posting in these groups was great - we would sometimes see 1k+ sign ups overnight from these posts.

As soon as word of mouth spread, we began booking meetings with potential clients to explain how the whole process worked from start to finish.

But to have a sound job board, we had to initiate a few streams of revenue. These currently include:
- Job Ad posts @ $7 per week.
- Employer of Record service @ $299 per month.
- End-to-End Recruitment service @ $1490 per hire.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Building a great platform for both job seekers and employers.

Since launching Permworks, we have found that several strategies have effectively attracted and retained customers. One of the most important has been building strong relationships with clients by providing exceptional customer service and support. This means going above and beyond to find the right candidate for the job, even if it means sifting through our database to find the right fit for the role.

Additionally, we facilitate compliance (Employer of Record) services to help with legal engagement. This provides peace of mind to the employers, knowing they have appropriately engaged with their new team member in a compliant manager.

Another is that we piggybacked off existing job boards to fulfill job ads. This involved finding the company name, and poster name and deriving an email address to contact them by. We also leverage social media (short-form content tailored around educating employers) and online advertising (Linkedin advertising - feed posts) to reach potential customers, and we have found that word-of-mouth referrals have been a powerful driver of new business.

We have also focused on creating a streamlined and user-friendly platform that makes it easy for employers to find and hire top Filipino talent. We have also invested in developing a network of talented professionals through Facebook groups in the Philippines and building a strong reputation for reliability and quality service.

The SEO game, it has been DIY so far. As we grow, we seek to engage with an expert in the area to help build our organic reach.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

With 7000+ job seekers on board and almost 100 employers, we are on an upwards trajectory.

Permworks is committed to continued growth and expansion in the future. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our services and better serve our clients, providing access to top Filipino talent and offering comprehensive recruitment and compliance support. We believe there is a significant demand for these services, and we are excited about the opportunities ahead as we continue to grow and evolve.

We want to build the best platform possible for users on both ends.

We seek to raise funds and grow and expand into other countries. So you can hire talent directly from the Philippines and anywhere else in the world.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Through starting Permworks, I have learned a great deal about the importance of persistence. Building a successful business requires significant hard work and determination, and it can be challenging to stay focused and motivated in the face of obstacles and setbacks.

However, by staying committed to our vision and continuing to work towards our goals, we have overcome many challenges and made steady progress toward building a successful company.

Another important lesson we have learned is the value of testing and speed of product improvement. In order to succeed in a rapidly evolving market, it is essential to quickly and effectively test new ideas and iterate on existing products and services.

By staying nimble and responsive to feedback from our clients, we have continually refined our platform and improved the quality of our services. This has been essential to our success, and we believe it will continue to be a key factor in driving growth and innovation in the future.

For founders in the same space, I advise keeping it simple. Ensure to provide a better platform for employers by getting high-quality candidates to make applications for job ads. For job seekers, make sure that there is an abundance of job ads for them to sift through + educate them on how to enhance their CV and cover letter.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We have used:
Lemlist for cold emails.
Lemwarm for email warming.
Canva for all things graphics.
Chat GPT for everything!
Bubble to build our platform.
Calendly for meetings.
Gmail for email management.
Bouncer for email verification.
Hubspot as our CRM.
Notion for note taking and planning.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

  1. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins - is a classic book that explores what sets successful companies apart from their peers and provides insights into how to build a sustainable business.
  2. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie - is a timeless book that teaches valuable lessons on communication, leadership, and interpersonal relationships that can be applied to business and personal life.
  3. "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future" by Ashlee Vance - an engaging biography of one of the most influential entrepreneurs of our time, which provides insights into what it takes to build and lead successful companies in highly competitive industries.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My advice for entrepreneurs who are just starting out is to stay persistent and never give up on your vision. Building a successful business takes time and hard work, and it is important to stay focused and committed even in the face of setbacks and challenges.

It is also essential to prioritize building the best platform possible for your customers.

This means taking the time to truly understand their needs and preferences and continually working to improve and refine your products and services based on their feedback.

By staying focused on providing exceptional value and a seamless customer experience, you can build a loyal customer base and establish a strong foundation for long-term success.

Finally, don't be afraid to seek out advice and guidance from others who have gone before you. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience available from successful entrepreneurs and business leaders, and by learning from their successes and failures, you can avoid common pitfalls and increase your chances of success.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Permworks is not currently hiring for any specific positions. However, as the company continues to grow and expand, it is possible that there may be job opportunities available in the future. If you are interested in potentially working with Permworks, reach out!

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!