Michael LarsenWelcome to the founder lessons series. This week we have an exclusive interview with Michael Larsen, founder and CEO of InsideTrack.  Michael shares his story on how InsideTrack started and lessons learned in the process.

InsideTrak is Australia’s first job search engine that combines job ads with anonymous workplace reviews from employees about what it’s really like to work there. The site launched nearly 4 months ago and has over 40,000 live job ads 5,000+ workplace reviews. Our goal is to allow job seekers to take a real look inside a potential employer so they can make a great decision when finding a new job, but it also seems to work out really well for employers as new hires join the company without any misconceptions.

How did you start InsideTrak?

I was previously a Director at Monster Worldwide and could see that traditional job boards don’t provide an experience as rich in authentic information as today’s job hunters expect. I took the bootstrapping approach of funding it myself along with a couple of angels and outsourced the development so I could concentrate on the marketing and business aspects. Since then the focus has been upon building awareness of the site amongst Australian job seekers and fine tuning the user experience.

 Lessons learned after launch?

Manage your own expectations. Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean that people will flood through the gates as soon as you launch. Building a loyal following takes time so I think it makes sense to temper your optimism and allow things to evolve naturally.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced launching InsideTrak and how did you solve them?

The biggest challenge has been reaching our audience of active and passive job seekers to let them know they have an alternative to traditional job boards. I decided from the outset to take a non traditional approach to marketing so we’ve done things like launch a video spoofing ‘Australia’s Worst Boss‘, run a competition on Facebook for the winner to volunteer for their favourite charity and played some pranks on our competitors. Our business model doesn’t support heavy use of mainstream media so we’ve had to think outside the box.

 What advice do you have for entrepreneurs chasing the startup dream?

The best advice I received was to stop planning and start doing it. The startup leap will always be huge and you just can’t plan away all of the risk. Start now.