Just like 16 million more people in the USA I was was laid off in early spring, 2020.
I worked full time as a content writer for an IT startup that lost its investor and–during one month–dramatically reduced the office staff. So I was one of about 20 people who had to leave.
In a week, a massive lockdown happened and I started looking for a job that could be done remotely. I thought being a content writer promised enough opportunities to find the option I needed. So I was browsing job boards in search of a new position and realized that I had quite a number of criteria and the search was not easy at all, at least for someone as picky as me.
The a-ha moment
The majority of the job boards and professional social media I used didn’t allow me to filter the vacancies using all my preferences. For instance, I wanted the job to be remote right now, but with the possibility to go back to the office after the pandemic. So I needed to look for offerings near my home as well. Besides, the job had to be full-time and related to the IT-industry.
I realized that if the job search and filtering possibilities were improved, that would make the life of job seekers much easier, especially now, when we need to be employed fast.
This was the moment when an idea to start an independent project helping people find a job fitting all their criteria crossed my mind. A fast and convenient job search based on numerous job seeker’s criteria became the core idea of the website.
Building a team
If you ask me how to build a team with no budget, I would say networking is the best way out. I always laugh saying that my friends are my most valuable asset.
So I contacted my former teammates asking if they were interested in taking part in the project. And two of them–a developer and a designer–were ready to participate. Both Andrew, responsible for the coding, and Anthony, the designer, by that moment, had already found new jobs but agreed to take FarFarJob.com as a pet project to support me.
We had a kick-off meeting at the very end of March 2020. As it was initially my idea we agreed that I took the responsibilities of project owner. Besides, I was in charge of the site content including our blog.
Still, it feels like the biggest part of the project fell on my friends’ shoulders, who did the design, back-end work, promotion, and some of the business-development.
In mid-April, we made FarFarJob.com public. That felt very quick and we all realize there is so much more that needs to be done. But at the same time, it gives me creeps to think about how dramatically ones’ life and career can change in such a short time.
One of our ambitions was to make the site free for all the job-seekers and give recruiters an opportunity to use it for free as well. So at the moment, the service can be used for free by both parties, which in our opinion is crucial in these times of uncertainty.
As any micro-business that has just evolved, we face all the startup challenges. The market we have entered is pretty competitive and already has established players. However, we believe that competition only helps us to push the limits and constantly improve the existing paradigm.
We are a self-funded project, which gives us the freedom to make any decisions we find reasonable. On the other hand, it inevitably limits our resources, and in a way growth-speed.
Basically more than the money, we invest our time and expertise. At the moment we are focused on inexpensive ways to increase our marketing efforts, such as blogging, search-engine-optimization and social media outreach. To bring more resources to the table, we consider using crowdfunding as a way to bridge the gap.
Remote way of life
When I was imaging myself working from home years ago, I surely pictured a sandy beach, the ocean shore, and maybe a cocktail. Due to obvious reasons, the freedom I got and extra time saved on commuting does not let me travel right now.
However, we were lucky enough to have rented a house in the countryside and moved there when the virus outbreak started. It is a distant and isolated place that would never go hand in hand with having an office job as I would have to spend a couple of hours on the road commuting. So if it was not for these changes we would have hardly ever tried a more slow-paced life at the lakeshore.
Another expected benefit and a simultaneous drawback of working remotely is having your family around you 24/7. So from time to time, I find myself juggling project plans, blog post drafts, homemade pizzas, LOL-dolls, and toy-cars.
It may be really challenging to rhyme zoom-calls with crying kids and uncooked lunches with a hungry partner, but this is totally a way of life that made us feel closer as a family than ever before. And having the chance to spend so much time with my seven and five-year-olds ones gives me more energy than all the mess around it absorbs.