Survival Jobs for Actors of New York City a job board that connects actors and employers for flexible and part time work in New York and Los Angeles.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching the business: I was sitting on the floor of an audition, scooting from friend to friend asking for temp agency recommendations. There has to be a better way to find a survival job, I thought. So, I created one.
Ideal customer: Any actor who needs extra money. Employers: temp agents, caterers, toy demonstration, babysitting and promotional companies.
First customer: I had relationships with a few temp agents from working with them in the past. So, I contacted them about the new idea.
Measuring success: The first sale of a job posting was an amazing experience. I remember dancing around my apartment and my husband took a picture. It was validation that other people saw what I saw.
Biggest struggle: Sales are very hard for me: because I’m from New York, I know people are busy and don’t want to talk to sales people. I also work a full-time job, so I’m not able to do anything for Survival Jobs from 8am-6pm, so that limits my sales capabilities. I am working on outsourcing sales. For now, most of my communication is via e-mail, because I can do that at anytime.
Surprise!: Sales, Sales, Sales. I knew it would be important, but I didn’t realize how much work it would be.
Promoting business: I think having a community on Facebook and Twitter to show how many actors I have really helps employers see my vast database of talent. Of course the temp agents who I have worked with and had relationships before are some of my biggest fans. I did a HARO ad, which brought me one sale.
What you wish you would have known: Not everyone likes the Beatles. Best advice my husband gave me: not everyone is going to like your style. I’ve had people tell me that my e-mails are not professional enough — and I’ve had people tell me that they like that my e-mails are so genuine. Just be you and be true to yourself. Not everyone is going to like exactly how you do things, but it’s your business, be true to yourself and you can’t go wrong.
What keeps you up at night (business wise!)?: Searching through LinkedIn profiles to see who I can e-mail.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Well I do have a full time job – and it allows me to do what I love, so that’s why I do it. My job pays the bills (for now) my business is for me, my customers, and it will allow me to live on my own schedule in the future. That’s why I do it.
Biggest goal: I am expanding the business to Los Angeles. Having a steady employer base there will be my biggest goal. I’ll start with my New York clients to see if they have any contacts out there. Then I’ll start with the cold calls.
Pricing: Know your strength. What makes you different? What makes you special? What makes you money? Look at competitors and start there. But, make sure you’re making money.
A few good tips: I have an events background, so I did a sample temp night without charging anyone, just as a test-run. It was a great way to learn what I could do better for the next time. Now I’m doing an event where I’m charging employers and I know I can back it up with an amazing experience. Be organized, and have tons of help if you’re going to do an event. Always write down notes from every event to see what you can improve upon next time.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: when I get an e-mail from an actor saying they got a job from my board.
If I had to start over again, I would: started out with separate New York and Los Angeles mailing lists, like I have now.
I never imagined: sales would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “Follow your dreams, it’s so worth it. Do not be afraid. The worst someone can say is no, and it won’t kill you!”