Melissa Varischetti here, owner of FindAJobPA.com.
Did you know that this year is our 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY?! Way back in 2012 I took a major leap of faith and decided to become an entrepreneur. After getting my MBA at Clarion University and working through tons of business cases and business plans, I had a hard time settling in a job I liked, so I took what I’d learned in business school and started Black & White Business Solutions, a full-service HR and Recruiting firm designed to help small businesses with their HR needs. HR is something every business needs regardless of size, but unfortunately many small businesses don’t have the time or payroll to have their own HR department. That’s where Black & White comes in – we take care of all your HR needs so you can focus on what you do best.
And if you’re wondering where the name came from, black and white are my two favorite colors and they also represent simplicity, which is really the best approach to business. Plus my step brother was able to design a neat logo for me that really emphasized that simple black/white distinction.
After a few years of running Black & White, I noticed something cool – the little job board I had up on the site was really taking off and making a big impact in my local community. So, after a conversation with my incredible web developer and fellow Clarion MBA grad Gordon Barrows of TechReady Professionals I realized the findajobpa.com website was available and decided to set up a brand new business focused exclusively on the recruiting side of HR. Since I knew the site would be serving all of PA I found an outline of the state and placed my business name smack dab in the middle. From Mercer to Montgomery and everywhere in-between, I wanted to help connect employers and job-seekers with the best opportunities in the state, and so far at least that dream has come true.
So, to celebrate a whole decade of being in business I wanted to change up this month’s blog post and share a few things I’ve learned as a business owner over the years as well as some advice I’d give to my 2012 self if I had to start all over again.
3 things I love about being a business owner
Matchmaking job-seekers and employers
People often ask “what gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you excited to go to work?” For me it’s absolutely the amazing opportunity I’ve had over the past 10 years to connect business owners with the perfect candidates for their open positions. Finding that perfect match is really wonderful and I love helping make companies’ and peoples’ lives better. Plus with my HR background I can help those employers retain and train those new hires so they build those lifelong relationships. Working alongside these small businesses has really opened my eyes to so many different industries and jobs, which leads into the next thing I love about my job – learning new things!
When I started out, I never imagined I’d get to work with such a wide variety of businesses and job-seekers. When you’re helping a business hire a new employee you learn pretty much everything there is to know about that business in a “speed dating” session because you have to be able to answer candidates’ questions and possibly also screen and interview them. Over the past decade I’ve worked with pretty much every industry and gotten tons of crash courses in construction, healthcare, banking, radio/TV, and more. It’s really been eye-opening and I have so much respect for the hardworking folks in all these industries who get up every day and keep the world running.
If there’s one thing HR and Recruiting are not, it’s stagnant and boring. That’s probably the biggest misconception I had about HR going into it – people think of Toby from The Office and assume that’s all HR does. But there’s so much more than that. Between ever-changing government regulations, cultural trends, and job-seeker strategies, there’s never a dull moment in the HR world.
Same goes for recruiting. Back when I started my business, the iPhone wasn’t even 5 years old and Facebook wasn’t even a decade out of Harvard. Nobody was thinking social media would be the massive employment driver it is today. Very few business owners even had social media on their radar of places to advertise their open positions, let alone advertise their business. Now social media is one of my biggest strategies to help connect job-seekers and employers.
It’s the same story in the hiring market. After the 2008 recession, lots of places stopped hiring and it was absolutely an employers’ market – you could have 50 candidates apply for 2 positions and then it was up to you to filter out the best ones and interview them. Now in 2022 we’ve come full circle – it’s a job-seekers’ paradise out there and those old recruiting and hiring strategies have to keep up with the trend. It’s not enough to say “this worked 10 years ago” – we have to be innovative and make sure we are staying ahead of the curve.
3 things I wish I’d told my 2012 self
If I could travel back in time and have a chat with 2012 Melissa, I’d tell her 3 things –
Starting a business is a ROLLER COASTER
If you’re looking to switch jobs, chances are you ask the recruiter what the benefits package looks like – how many weeks of vacation they offer, how much sick time, is there health insurance, etc. When you’re starting a business you can’t do that. If you’re on vacation it means the business is on vacation and that is just about the worst thing that could happen. It’s easy to think that you’ll have more free time being a business owner since you don’t have to clock in and clock out at an office. What folks don’t realize is that as the business owner, you’re always “in the office.” You eat, sleep, and breathe your business. It keeps you up at night. Is it rewarding? Absolutely, no doubt about it. But it’s also a roller coaster of emotions – scary, fun, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.
Hold true to your vision for your business
As your business grows and becomes more successful, it’ll be easy to think you need to change the core foundations of your business to adapt to the times. While it’s always good to be innovative, you need to hold fast to your vision of what you want the business to be. After all, you can’t build a house if you never get a good foundation laid. Nail down what it is that makes your business unique and stick to it. You’ll thank yourself later when things are running smoothly and there aren’t tons of inconsistencies to clean up.
“If you build it, they will come”
Finally, and this is my biggest piece of advice, don’t get discouraged if your idea doesn’t take off and become the best thing since sliced bread overnight. Not everyone’s gonna love your idea or support it 100% at first and that’s OK. As long as you’re doing the right things, the right clients and customers will come along to support you. If you’ve done your homework and identified a business need, folks will catch on to that and come to you to meet that need. If I had stopped running my business the first time someone said it wasn’t gonna go anywhere I would absolutely not be where I am today, and by overcoming objections and negativity I was able to prove to myself and others that I had what it takes to make a business successful.
And there you have it folks, my look back at the past 10 years of being a business owner. We’ve got a lot going on this month to celebrate our anniversary. We’re running a 10% discount all month on featured job promotions – just head over to https://findajobpa.com/post-a-job to learn all about posting a job with us and the many benefits we offer. We’re also running a giveaway for a $100 Sheetz Gift Card over on our Facebook page – mosey on over to https://facebook.com/findajobpa to find the post and share it for your chance to win.
Thank you all so much for your support – I literally could not have done this for the past decade without my amazing clients and friends. It’s been a whirlwind but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Cheers to the next 10 years and beyond!
Until next time,