Grey hair and grey matter: good for business

Enterpise Matured aged workers POST

 

It takes a lot of guts to leave a successful corporate job to start your own business from home. And it takes a lot of motivation and chutzpah to cold call prospective clients in an attempt to sell them on your new idea. That’s what Heidi Holmes had to do when she left her job at KPMG to start a jobs board for mature-aged workers. She inspired this week’s Enterprise post.

Sales. It’s a word that can shivers down your spine. Many small business owners love the idea of running their own show, but aren’t natural salespeople. They’re passionate about their product or service, but don’t want to sound like they are pushing people into buying it.

For managing director and owner of adage.com.au Heidi Holmes, this was a skill she had to learn to love. “I learnt to like it because that’s how I feed myself!” says Holmes, who launched her jobs board for “mature-aged and age-friendly employers” in early 2011. “It’s very motivating if you don’t have a paycheque coming in.”

Taking on the big guns
When it comes to job sites, this is a market dominated by some big players. For example, seek.com.au and also Fairfax’s (this publisher’s) mycareer.com.au. Holmes, 30, decided to specialise in the “over 45s” market when she because she felt there was a gap in the market. She was also motivated when her father, at 57, sold his business and wasn’t ready to retire. “He wanted to keep working,” she says. “That’s when I started thinking there must be other people alike him, they still have a lot to contribute. But many of them have stayed in the same job for a long period of time. When they want to find a new job, it’s a bigger challenge for some of these people.”

It’s an idea that Holmes toyed with since 2007 when she began working with a developer to build her jobs website. During this time, she was working at professional services firm KPMG, first in tax and then in marketing (she has an accounting degree and a masters degree in marketing). She also researched the market to validate her assumption that a site for mature-aged jobseekers had legs, including writing a university thesis on the issues facing this group. Holmes can reel off any number of statistics about trends in this segment of the workforce.

You can read the rest of the post here.

About Valerie Khoo

Valerie Khoo is founder and national director of the Australian Writers' Centre, the country's leading centre for writing courses. She is a journalist, blogger and author. Her latest book is "Power Stories: The 8 stories you MUST tell to build an epic business" (Wiley). Valerie is a keynote speaker, small business commentator, and investor and mentor to startups and businesses in Australia.
  • R U FOR REAL

    Are you for real Valerie????? that web site was launched by 2 other women 10 years ago, sorry 12 years ago

    • valeriekhoo

      That’s right. And that’s exactly what it says in the article and I quote: “Instead of continuing to build her site from scratch, Holmes bought the existing jobs site adage.com.au, which had focused on the executive market in 2010. This meant she didn’t have to start from ground zero.”

      Perhaps you did not read this before you made that comment.

  • R U FOR REAL

    I learnt to like it because that’s how I feed myself!” says Holmes, who launched her jobs board for “mature-aged and age-friendly employers” in early 2011

    • valeriekhoo

      That’s right. And read a couple of paragraphs on and you’ll see:

      “Instead of continuing to build her site from scratch, Holmes bought the existing jobs site adage.com.au,
      which had focused on the executive market in 2010. This meant she
      didn’t have to start from ground zero. She now had a working website
      with about 4000 job seekers on the database. This was the impetus she
      needed to quit her corporate role to focus her efforts on her business.
      She rebranded it to cater to mature workers and relaunched the site in
      early 2011. Her database has now grown to 15,000 people.”

      • r u for real

        so which one is it she launched it relaunched, rebranded it since when??? When I applied for a job through Adage 5 years ago they said they had 10,000 registered job seekers.You people ( bloggers )need to do your homework instead of writing absolute unthruths

        • valeriekhoo

          They may have said they had 10,000 registered job seekers when you applied for a job 5 years ago it but when Heidi took over and “cleaned” the list, there were 4000.