Seven years ago I was an unemployed college graduate and I thought it would help people like me find good companies to work with.
It turned out to be a very good idea. Just look at our list of success stories (and these are just some of the people who took the time to e-mail me).
Millions of people visited my sites. Thousands of people chose to receive my e-mail in their inbox every morning. Thousands of people asked me for help or advice. And about 20 people bought a job search prep course that I co-developed (it was a bad idea). I was also able to hire some of my readers as paid interns to enhance this site.
I couldn’t find a job so I helped people find a job
There is no doubt that One Day One Job succeeded in its goal of helping college kids find interesting jobs and internships. It also helped me avoid falling into my trap. After I graduated I waited a long time to get serious about my job search. Creating ODOJ was something meaningful, interesting and perfect for me to work on for seven years, even though I had no prior experience. ODOJ did for me what I did for others.
I couldn’t find a job … so I created one … helped others find a job. It’s a weird thing to explain to people. If you want the whole story, check out one of these links:
For most of the seven years, I worked alone at ODOJ, but I was alone. It started with my parents who let me stay at home for free when I got land from the site. I think they blamed me for infecting me with entrepreneurial disease
Then there’s Amy, my wife. He was my silent co-founder. ODOJ was as good as it kept pushing me. One of my proudest achievements is that ODOJ profits are paid for its engagement ring.
I am so grateful to everyone who subscribes, responds, shares and encourages. It was the support of the crowd that kept me going for seven years. I woke up every morning to write a new post because I knew many of you were expecting it.
It’s not a job if he doesn’t pay
ODOJ taught me my business. I learned from doing, but also by studying all the 2,482 companies and organizations we profiled. I made wonderful friends like Jason Seiden and Sherry Mason. I was also mentioned in newspapers, books, major websites and on television. It was a wonderful “entry level” experience.
I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds, of startups trying to get into the recruitment space and fail.
That was the problem. ODOJ never really clicked as a business. My initial plan was to increase traffic and see what happened. The economy collapsed as our traffic skyrocketed. I didn’t have a real business model, but I kept moving forward based on all the positive feedback. After a few years with minimal income, I got lucky in a very good business model. Really relevant advertising improved the overall user experience of the site and made me money. It motivates me to keep growing the business.
Google had other plans. Somehow ODOJ got stuck in an algorithmic update that halved our traffic overnight (this is what we always played by the rules). I spent years trying to fight it and get back into development. I often found ways to increase revenue per page view, but my traffic kept declining, no matter how hard I tried to reverse the trend. I also tried using daily e-mails to send traffic back to the site. Every step forward seemed to be one step behind in our search rankings.
It was my fault for not doing more resilient business. ODOJ was really close to becoming something big, but I was never able to make the right move at the right time. I didn’t attribute the idea to how big it could be, and I played it very ervatively. If you stay small for too long, you will eventually be crushed.
For at least the last one year, I’ve been on autopilot. I stopped learning, and I stopped having fun. I was waiting for things that were out of my control (Google). This is not a way to run a business.
I haven’t really finished the jobs
Yesterday’s post about the detour was my last. I think it’s appropriate to end the Labor Day weekend with a post with a company started by entrepreneur Andrew Mason, which has been a big inspiration for me ever since I met him at some tech event in Chicago.
While the decision to “terminate” ODOJ is personal, it is also financial. Revenue has been declining over the past few months, and now I don’t think it’s worth trying to fix it. I want to start another business, but I’m still looking for what it will be.
One day a job and one day an internship websites go nowhere. They will exist, but they will not be updated and the daily e-mail will be discontinued. This is the last.
You can still reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you if you want to share a success story at the end, buy ODOJ and keep going, let me know what I should do next, or just say hi.
If you have any questions about the business, what I learned, or anything else that might be of interest to a wider audience, you can also comment below. Here is a picture of Garion, as the dog.
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