Never Too Old
What started off as a simple phone list turned into a full-time business for Martha Carrigan and her husband Jeff.
They are the owners of Big Shoes Network. It's a job posting website where people go to find either jobs/internships or to post them. Before the website, Martha and Jeff had a list of contacts they would call if they found a job for that person, but now they've expanded.
Martha and Jeff took some of their savings and paid someone to build them a website. It was a crazy idea at first to Martha because "who starts a company in their mid 40's?" It took eight months for the website to be up and running.
Big Shoes Network currently only provides job listings for the Midwest.
"The creative talent in the Midwest is mind blowing."
Martha decided to take on the website as a full-time job in 2006, and her husband soon followed after her in 2007.
"When you're an entrepreneur you live and breathe what you do."
Everyday Martha spends hours working on her site. Every week she sends out an email filled with the most recent job postings from 5-10 days prior. She sends that email to her 8,200 subscribers, but the numbers don't stop there.
Big Shoes Network has 12,500 followers on Twitter, 14,500 connections on Linked In and 2,500 Facebook likes. And depending on the job posting, Martha will post it where she knows it'll get the most traction.
Businesses pay Martha a fee to post their job listings on her site and they have up to 45 days until their post is deleted. When Big Shoes Network first came around, she was doing the work for free until a business asked why she wasn't charging?
Her business is 40 percent agency and 60 percent corporations/non-profits.
Martha's business is doing tremendously well, but she wasn't for sure about it at first. It took lots of convincing from the right people for Martha to go all in. But it's not about the money for Martha.
"I just love helping people."
She wants to keep growing the business to eventually become the "go-to place for the creative industry."
Martha wants to be the recommended site for professionals and students, whether their looking to post a job or trying to find one.
Martha and Jeff have been married for 32 years and they're working on teaching couple's classes. They have two sons, 22 and 24, who used to help with the site, but now their adults doing their own thing.
Martha's in a cut-throat business but that doesn't take away from the person who she really is.
"We are personal [and] professional," Martha said. "We're honest but not snarky."
Honesty is needed when you're trying to run a business. Martha will turn away a client if she thinks their business won't do well on her site. She may turn down someone but she'll never talk bad about a business. Martha will recommend you to someone who can tell you more about a specific business, but she won't be the one to negatively talk about it.
Before businesses job post are posted, they must first be checked by either Martha or Jeff—it's a must for them to put out quality work.
Martha hopes to continue helping people and growing her business into a household name.