Yesterday, after switching to a per-job offer fee model 15 months ago, LinuxJobs.fr, the job board for Free and Open Source Software Professionals, reached the 100th paying customer! That’s an awesome milestone for us, proving we deliver great value for our customers.
We also reached a Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) of 1000€ for two months in a row, described in my previous blog post.
Our Journey To 100 Customers
We launched LinuxJobs.fr November 2015. We slowly started to improve given the great feedback we had from both recruiters and applicants, but creating a community around a new service takes time, and without community, it was difficult to offer a great service to the recruiters. And building a new community takes time.
Starting from the bottom: the Importance of Social Networks
Today lots of people use social networks and it’s a great way to communicate… if you have followers 🙂
We opened a Twitter account in 2015 as soon as we understood that sharing our job offers as often as possible was a great asset. Today the number of followers grew slowly to +1000 followers.
We also tried to open a Diaspora* account, but for some reasons it was not really followed by Diaspora* users. Fast forward to 2017 with the new Mastodon social network, we saw a great opportunity with this social network based on a Free Software and we created our own Mastodon instance to publish our job offers. Today we have more than 800 followers on Mastodon.
Switching to per-job offer fee model
In 2017, LinuxJobs.fr was more and more useful for recruiters, broadcasting many job offers to the community through its website and its social networks. We offer great discounts to the customers using our service since 2015. Switching to a paying model was mandatory to continue to offer a great service and for the project to be substainable.
Monthly revenues vary a lot, but are slowly growing. That’s the most important point.
Customers who don’t pay… are not customers
Since LinuxJobs.fr switched to a paying model, we lost a good part of our first users. I offered important discounts to the first users in order they become customers but it could be related to the fact that the community around the website and social networks were really poor at the beginnings, so the value of the service was not that great.
Today this community is strong and some of the first customers came back and accepted to pay to post job offers that were free to use for them when they first joined LinuxJobs.fr. We offered important discounts to thank them to be early birds and they made great deals using this discount to by a large pack of job offers (5, 10 or 15).
The fact is: if your customers don’t pay, they are not real customers. Because of that fact, since we switched to a paying model, I never offer free trials. Today we offer a great service, the basic fee is cheap so there is no reason why a company should not pay to use the service.
Usually, after chatting with the recruiters asking for a free trial, I offer a discount. 99% of time, the deal does-not-happen. So my conclusion is: if the customer is not ready to pay, you’ll never make good business with this customer because he perceives your service should be free or is not worth to pay.
Whatever happens, customer service is great
I won’t lie, we made mistakes. We make mistakes and we will make mistakes. The service tries to improve at each encountered step. But the customer service is great. Really. We rock. I can’t sleep if a customer does not have his answer. And the customer service needs to be great because a new player in the game can not afford not listening to or disappointing the customers. In my opinion, customer service is everything.
Goals for 2018
One of the main goals of 2018 is to reach a constant MRR of 1000€. Consequently it means increasing the number of paying customers. The job market in France is quite difficult, with a really high demand. Providing a great customer service, there is no reason we don’t reach theses goals in 2018.
The second major goal is to start to replicate LinuxJobs in other countries. Stay tuned!