by Rob Marsh
Marc Cenedella is the founder and CEO of TheLadders, an online job site that originally specialized in jobs paying more than $100,000, but now helps all professional job seekers. Before starting his company, Mr. Cenedella worked for HotJobs.com, where he noticed a gap in the market between large job boards which worked well for entry level job seekers, and professional recruiters at the top of the market.
After leaving HotJobs, he started SalesLadder.com in his living room to address this market gap. In true startup fashion, Mr. Cenedella did everything from teaching himself how to program the company’s first web page to finding job opportunities to feature in his regular email to his contacts. He launched several other “ladders”—FinancialLadder, OperationsLadder, etc, before combining them all into what is today TheLadders.com. Today the company has more than 6 million customers and is estimated to be worth more than $500 million—an amazing success considering the company’s humble beginnings in Cenedella’s living room.
In addition to founding his company, he is the co-author of the best seller, You’re Better than Your Job Search. Here are a few things Marc Cenedella has said as he had grown his company that we think other entrepreneurs and small business owners might find inspirational:
“In the beginning, you can try a bunch of different ideas and see what works, but you can only do that for a very short amount of time. At some point, you have to pick one and go, and it has to be something you have a passion for.”
“I have a radical suggestion for somebody trying to figure out how much their contributions are worth to their [organization], Ask your boss.”
“When you launch a venture, you have to be comfortable with the idea that this is what you’re going to do for the rest of your professional life. It has to be awesome; it has to be ten times better than anything in the marketplace. Also, it can’t just be better because nobody else is doing it currently. It has be to be something that nobody other than you can do, especially once you’re up to scale.”
“Turn off the power (on your tech devices) and turn on your insight.”
“Some entrepreneurs say they’re successful because they’re so smart and have this strategic advantage; that’s bull. The ones who say, ‘You know what: I didn’t quit,’ there’s real deep wisdom in that. Showing up and not quitting is a remarkably important part of life. It’s not enough to start something. You have to push through the early challenges, and you can’t let the early successes make you complacent.”
“It’s going to take perseverance, and humor, and an open mind, a little humility and some hard work, but we will get through this if we don’t let the times get us down, and we set about our daily work with the attitude ‘the world may give me its worst, but I will bring my best.’”
“Never hire someone if you have a twinkling in your gut telling you it’s the wrong decision.”
“Hundreds of factors go into making a startup successful. Should you spend an hour coding, an hour talking to sources of capital, an hour marketing, or an hour convincing an NYU freshman to be an unpaid intern? There’s no spreadsheet you can run that against; it’s all relying on intuition. To decide, you need to be clear about the critical path you’re taking to your next milestone and which steps you need to take to get you there.”
—Marc Cenedella, Author and Founder of TheLadders.com