Jason Alba is CEO of JibberJobber, your Personal Relationship Manager for your career. JibberJobber grew out of his frustration in finding adequate tools to help him manage his job search.
The core benefits are based on “customer relationship management”, where you can manage the relationships that are important for your career. This includes tracking network contacts and target companies, but also delves into understanding the strength of the relationship.
Aside from this there are many features that allow you to do what career experts tell you to do. For example, you can keep track of where you send your resume, manage responses to interview questions, keep track of job-related expenses and much more.
He has also become a strong advocate of both personal branding and social networking, both for job seekers and entrepreneurs. He is also author of I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?? and I’m on Facebook – Now What??, and maintains several popular blogs to help promote his business. Elite got a chance to sit down with Jason and ask him about his entrepreneurial success.
What made you to start JibberJobber?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but really, I never thought I’d be able to invent that “better mousetrap.” During my job search I realized that there was a huge issue with organizing and managing the entire process of data, and that no one was addressing it for the job seeker. I’m guessing it’s because no one really cares about the job seeker. They have two interesting characteristics: (1) usually, they don’t have any money, or at least that’s a stereotype about job seekers, and (2) they are in this state for a limited period of time (so they won’t be long-term customers). I realized that those two issues where inconsequential to the model that I was building. Furthermore, they are not necessarily true. So I created a solution to fill a void in the market.
What were some of the downs of starting your own company?
I hate administrative stuff, so the first thing that comes to mind is the day I had to set up the company. After eight hours of filling out forms and making decisions – entity type, bank account info, vendors, etc. – I thought, “no wonder people don’t start businesses!” In the early days, there were some discouraging things, like begging bloggers to please blog about my cool, new tool – and getting a lot of rejections. But there was so much momentum and so many small wins that it was always more exciting than discouraging.
When you first started the business, were you expecting that it would become not only your full-time occupation, but also a growing company?
At first I started it with the idea that it would become an income stream that would stabilize the income I would get from my next job. I never wanted an employer to have 100% control of my income anymore.
At what point did you realize that it was going to take off? At what point did you decide to devote yourself to your company fully, instead of your job search?
I realized JibberJobber was something important as I called career professionals to run the idea past them. I called state workforce departments, university career centers, career coaches and resume writers, and I found an overwhelming response that validated the idea. It was interesting because I had spent months on a job search where no one was responding to my calls or e-mails, so to get any response from these professionals was amazing. But to get 100% of the people I called to say that this was huge and very needed, that was my sign.
From your experience, why is establishing a personal brand important?
Think about some of the brands and products that you know about – BMW, your favorite tooth paste, toilet paper, computer or monitor, candy, hamburger – the education is done already, and there’s very little left for you in order to make a purchasing decision. Transfer that idea to your personal brand – if you have to spend time educating others on you, and what you do, and what you have to offer, you are missing out on opportunities to go to the next level. I wonder how my job search would have been different if I had a personal brand that others knew about, whether it was online or offline. Having that brand has to help you move on quicker, whether its with a personal relationship or in a job interview or in selling your products and services.
What networking tips have you learned in the past few years that have helped you?
Grow your network. You’ve done a masterful job growing your relationships, which includes getting larger networks in various social environments as well as face-to-face and local networks. Nurture relationships. This is not easy to do, but is super important. No one wants to feel like a number, and if you don’t work on nurturing individual relationships people can feel like a pawn in your game.
Whats the next step for JibberJobber?
Over the next year we’ll see significant growth in all of our key metrics. I hope that our technology is more solid and polished (this will be a continually process), and that we have some very important strategic relationships in place. I hope that the idea of a personal relationship manager is more widely accepted, and that people manage their career more than they do today. These are the things that we are working on today and I think that methodical, disciplined growth is the key – for us and our users.