A university student at King's College London is aiming to change the student job market.
Jack Tang, a second year student currently studying a degree in Business Management BSc at King's College London is hoping to disrupt the student job market with his startup thestudentjob - a social network based platform that aims to become UK’s first immediate solution to flexible labour needs, an aggregator for all temporary and casual work throughout the UK.
Here is the full interview.
So Jack tell us a little about our startup The Student Job?
Thestudentjob.com was founded with an aim to help thousands of students to find casual work whilst at university. We are trying to encourage businesses to offer really flexible work such as a couple of hour shift here and there or even part-time jobs so that students can fit it around their studies. The initiative came soon after the heated debate on tuition fees and student cuts, having a job whilst at university is going to be a necessity to make life work at university.
Students will either be strong-armed from university, or, graduate with a life of debt repayments for many years. Our business is built on strong beliefs that thestudentjob.com, consist of a group of university students can make a difference, reduce youth unemployment and help students tackle the imminent financial hardship we will face. These form the foundation of our core values at The Student Job.
What makes The Student Job different from its competitors?
Firstly from a business perspective, we are a student lead initiative and student run company. We understand the student market better than any other. Aside from that, our website is second to none, thestudentjob.com is a real-time location based job site. We aim to help students to find jobs in real-time and within their local area.
For example, Ellie wanted some money to go purchase some books, her student loan has run out, she can find a one-off job on thestudentjob.com, perform the job on the day or soon after the application and then get the money she needed for the books. Ellie would have been able to save time and money on travel as she’ll be able to find jobs on her doorstep.
Further to this, we are the first casual employment social network, each student has it’s own LinkedIn style profile and each employer has their own profile for students to find out more about the company as well as following the company’s activities.
What was the inspiration behind The Student Job?
I’ve been surrounded by many amazing inspirational people with great motivations. Over the years, I’ve also developed my own internal source of inspiration; my aim is to develop businesses to benefit the masses, for the greater good. This motivation acted as my inspiration to develop creative business ideas that will socially benefit others but also I can make my mark.
Is it your first startup? If no, what was your first startup and was it a failure or success?
Thestudentjob.com is my 3rd start-up, I’ve been experimenting since the age of 12. My previous venture before thestudentjob.com was Tapalog, Tapalog is an IT system used at exhibition events that provided a self-service style information kiosk, visitors could obtain products information on specific companies by using their business card or exhibition pass. Tapalog acted as an information exchange medium, where visitors got the product information they wanted from the businesses but also left their business information for the company to contact them at a later date.
This start-up has been successful for me personally. Financially, we have not made a penny but only losses, but that didn’t matter, why? I have enhanced my technical skills, business skills, skills that are invaluable for entrepreneurs. Tapalog was trial tested at Excel London for the Grand Design Live 2011 and Natural Stone Show 2011. Without spending all the time developing the system and trying, I wouldn’t have been able to meet contacts and test my product at one of UK’s largest exhibition halls. The experience of building the business has been the success of this venture. I’ve learnt many things and being ambitious is a great thing but I was over ambitious and unrealistic with the given amount of resources I had at the time.
What have you found to be the hardest part of building a startup?
Keeping yourself motivated is one of the hardest parts of building a start-up; it really isn’t an easy task. It is a marathon; you need going and also motivate your colleagues because they are extremely valuable resource in getting your business off the ground.
Being an entrepreneur can get lonely, but have a close circle of friends you can talk to and bounce ideas off them. It will make your experience a lot more enjoyable.
What advice would you give to any aspiring entrepreneurs?
My key message has always been, start while you’re young, explore into different ventures now. Don’t wait for things to happen, because it won’t. Even you don’t have the big idea now; you should still look into setting up a small business buying and selling products or services. You will learn a lot of new skills every time you do something different. Accumulate all your skills and really go 110% when you think you have that ‘Big’ idea.
Now you're still at university, which is great as your target market is right there in front of you, while your but how do you find managing your time around both?
Over the years I have been setting up businesses whilst in full-time education, I’ve learnt to juggle my time and always find time to get things done. I tend to plan my time in advance, equip myself with good communication tools so I can squeeze in an email whilst on the tube and send it when I get off. Those little moments you have nothing to do, I always see that as an opportunity to work on my business. Recently, I’ve started to recruit a lot of interns to work on areas they want to enhance their skills. Although I’ve spent a lot of time training and educating them, overtime, it has saved me time to do other things that warrants my attention.
There is a lot of debate about going to university or starting your own business, considering your doing both, what is your opinion on this?
Well, personally I believe that university is not for everyone. Although it is a great platform to meet new contacts and be exposed to lots of opportunities, I believe that if you are ready to venture out and take risks with your business you believe in, then university is not for you.
The reason I went to university is not the right one, but, the time I’ve spent here at King’s College London, I have met many talented individuals who I can see them working in my business later on. It has been effectively been a ‘incubating’ period for me to develop my ideas and making sure when I do chose to leave university, I am working on something that will surely take off.
For me, I’m using my time at university as an incubator to develop my business. However, theoretically I am still obliged to keep on top of my work at university, which I have if any lecturers are reading this.
How did you go about funding the business?
Funding thestudentjob.com has been a mixture of my personal savings that I have accumulated from previous ventures and by doing slide services to generate revenue that is reinvested into the business. My technical skills and our skills as a company is web development and internet marketing, we have contracted our skills as services to other companies to generate revenue to invest into our brainchild.
What does your revenue come from?
Thestudentjob.com has several revenue streams, which is great for keeping the company afloat. Our main source of revenue comes from our job listing fees; we charge a one-off listing fee per vacancy (similar to eBay). Our second revenue stream comes from advertisements on our website, we have several placements to sell each month. Our third comes from sponsorships, as we are a social enterprise, large corporations have been attracted to sponsor our cause. Fourth, we charge businesses to carried out targeted marketing services to our members and also direct marketing services we offer as apart of thestudentjob.com subsidiary services.
How many people are signed up to the studentjob.com?
To date, and since our beta launch on the 10th October 2011, we have had over 8,500 students registered on the website as job seekers. We have processed over 300 job applications and we haven’t stopped growing since!
How have you marketed your site on a shoestring budget?
Our marketing expenses so far have been less than £1,000 in total, so yes, on a shoestring budget. We have doing all the marketing we can do in-house; most of our budget has gone into printing for the fresher’s fair, which hasn’t had a great response in-comparison to our social-media efforts. We’ve got over 4,500 fans on our Facebook page without spending a penny.
Have you always been an entrepreneur at heart or is it something you grew into?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, I started selling cartoon trading cards at the age of 11, started my first computer hardware business at the age of 12 selling bespoke computers. At the age of 14, I started a web design and online marketing company, today it is known as Interwebs (Interwebs.org). I have had many small ventures that I have not included in my writing but I have learnt many small lessons that I have applied to my latest venture thestudentjob.com
If you are interested to learn more about Jack Tang and his latest venture, please contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
Interest in working with Jack? Thestudentjob.com offers you invaluable skills and contacts you can take away with you – you may even land yourself a job! Get in touch email@example.com