With $5k Left in Her Bank TheMuse Was Launched, 50m Visit Annually and 600 Companies Pay

Kathryn Minshew

In Episode #702, Nathan interviews Kathryn Minshew. She’s the CEO of founder of TheMuse.com, a career platform that is used by over 50M folks to find jobs, learn professional skills or advance in their careers. This platform is also used by hundreds of companies looking to grow their employer brand and to hire. Kathryn is a Harvard and Wall Street Journal contributor and she’s spoken at MIT in Harvard along with the Today’s Show. She’s been named The Smart CEO’s Future 50, INC’s 35 under 35 and a Duke alum. Kathryn worked at Rwanda and Health Access Initiative and before founding The Muse, she was previously at McKinsey.

Famous Five:

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:42 – Nathan introduces Kathryn to the show
  • 01:35 – The Muse was founded to be the most trusted and beloved place for people to navigate their career
  • 01:42 – The Muse is a marketplace with over 50M people who use the site annually
  • 02:00 – The Muse has over 600 companies which they help in hiring and employment
  • 02:25 – “If you want really great people, you have to compete for them”
  • 03:00 – The companies can reach more candidates through The Muse
  • 03:19 – The Muse is a SaaS-enabled marketplace
  • 03:31 – The Muse somehow competes with LinkedIn Recruit and Glassdoor
  • 04:05 – Most companies in The Muse sign up for an annual subscription
  • 04:24 – Average pricing is $20-30K but enterprise is higher than the mid-market businesses
  • 04:54 – The Muse works with every business size in every industry
    • 05:04 – The businesses are categorized by team size
  • 05:25 – Companies that are subscribed have access to different tools on the website
  • 06:11 – The marketplace on TheMuse.com is where companies can post their profiles and job listings
  • 06:21 – The Muse has also developed more products
  • 06:41 – One of The Muse’s client has 50K to 150K employees
  • 07:29 – The Muse also assists their Fortune 100 companies on their existing channels
  • 08:12 – The Muse started targeting individual users
  • 08:24 – The Muse was launched in 2011 having career-related tools and content for individuals
  • 08:31 – The Muse rolled out their first company profile after hitting 100K website visits per month
  • 08:41 – The Muse have never had an advertising on the website
  • 08:58 – The Muse had their first 100K users in 6 months
  • 09:05 – The initial cash for The Muse came from Kathryn’s savings
    • 09:39 – When Kathryn left McKinsey, she had $25K in savings
    • 09:50 – Then Kathryn got an offer to work at Rwanda
    • 10:28 – Kathryn was 25 at the time
  • 10:56 – Kathryn has always thought that savings equate to freedom
  • 11:34 – When Kathryn came back from Rwanda, she started a business similar to The Muse
    • 13:02 – Kathryn spent $20K on her first company
    • 13:23 – With only $5K left in savings, Kathryn together with her co-founder started The Muse
    • 13:45 – Kathryn tried to keep her expenses low
  • 14:24 – Kathryn started The Muse because she had all the questions and wanted answers
  • 14:29 – The community then gave Kathryn the answers
  • 15:02 – The Muse initially had 50 articles giving career advice and providing resources
  • 15:10 – The first job listing was posted after a month as a test
  • 15:29 – The Muse used to get paid for the job listing but it doesn’t work that way now
  • 16:17 – Kathryn shares how the conversation happened between her and the co-founders
    • 17:11 – They wanted to work and make it happen
    • 17:25 – The equity between them is almost even
  • 17:54 – The Muse raised a round for $100K in 2012 and got into Y-combinator
  • 18:41 – The Muse raised $10M in a series A in 2015, and $16M in a Series B: Q1 of 2017
  • 19:12 – The Muse is closed to breaking even
  • 19:31 – There are different ways in building a business and there’s no one perfect path
  • 19:53 – The Muse has 600 active businesses
    • 20:10 – Some companies just closed or got acquired
  • 21:35 – Average revenue
  • 23:05 – The Famous Five
  • 23:32 – Kathryn’s book The New Rules of Work

3 Key Points:

  1. You can start a business with minimal means and still grow it into a profitable one.
  2. There is no one perfect path to building a business.
  3. If a task or venture is hard, that’s a good sign it’s worth it.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives