8 min read

Job Boards Are More Powerful Than You Think

Job boards are ushering in the middle and upper class of the creator economy.
Job Boards Are More Powerful Than You Think

The creator economy that we've actually been waiting for. Built for someone with 5,000 fans or 50,000.

Hello friends 👋,

This is the free weekly edition of our newsletter. The Pallet Post features conversations with awesomely insightful professionals, jobs from companies they recommend, and a few of our own unique takeaways.

Product Drops: ✋🎤 ⬇️

We've been working with some very exciting people recently!

This week we announced a partnership with Litquidity, Financial Meme maker. You can check out their board here:


We also dropped a partnership with Exponential view, a newsletter dedicated to explaining how technology is changing our world. You can check out their board here:


Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Last week's piece talked about some rather exciting ideas we have for the (not-so-distant) future of recruiting.  We want to be a platform that anyone can use, whether that person be a job-seeker, job board creator, networker, or hiring business.  Right now, we're a product for people who have any sort of audience or community.  I'd like to use this essay to tell you why that's such a powerful step in our journey.  

There are two major classes of customers that our job boards are well suited for: creators and online communities.  

Online communities are perhaps a more obvious match.  Lots of them are professionally oriented and have some sort of recruitment activity already going through them.  Whether that's a hiring channel or an existing job board on a native website, companies are beginning to realize how powerful these congregations are. But they're not centered around content, they're centered around some sort of community promise— advancing your career, proximity to respected professionals, receiving feedback on your work from like-minded online colleagues.  

Creators, on the other hand, require a little more product education.  For them, the value prop of a job board isn't as obvious.  The middle-to-long tail of "monetization" tools has already arrived.  Everybody is trying to figure out how to make creators money— and it's probably easy to confuse Pallet with just another monetization tool.  

While we do help creators make money, we're not necessarily in the same bucket. I'd like to illustrate this point by first talking about how homogenous other "monetization" tools are, and how they push creators into the same hamster wheel of endlessly creating.  

For far too long, creators have been presented with narrow opportunities for financial mobility. The current system is entirely dependent on creators producing content, and then more content, and then some more content on top of their content. It's a bit "on-the-nose" at first, but ultimately as you add things on top of one another, it becomes unsustainable.  Invariably tethering content production to the promise of upward financial mobility has exacerbated the earnings gap between small and large creators. While new tools have cropped up to make it easier for creators to create or easier for creators to collect on their creations– they haven't helped open the door for smaller/early-stage creators looking to simultaneously add value to their audience while scaling financial ladders.

All creators should have the opportunity to flourish, not just a select few.

So what is happening?

We've not seen a middle-class creator economy emerge. As Li Jin puts it,

But while some have been propelled to massive stardom, examples of a wide swath of the population achieving financial security from these platforms are few and far between. The current creator landscape more closely resembles an economy in which wealth is concentrated at the top.

You can look at one of the most popular creator platforms, Gumroad, to highlight this wealth concentration. Gumroad is an e-commerce marketplace that facilitates the sale of digital goods by creators directly to consumers– its creators earned a collective $142 million in 2020. Here's the distribution of those earnings:

• 8 creators made at least $1,000,000
• 179 made at least $100,000
• 1,853 made at least $10,000
• 7,945 made at least $1,000
• 20,591 made at least $100
• 45,917 made something!

Anyone who has taken the time to make a YouTube video, write a Substack post, or even write a great Twitter thread knows how much time it can take to execute properly – and that's only one piece of content! It's a non-stop job, and a majority of the time creators don't even charge for the content they produce.

Creators are excellent at value creation but regularly struggle with value capture. It's really challenging to build an audience and then ask your audience to pay– even under the "1,000 True Fans" model, these types of systems are incredibly difficult to attain and retain.  

If your newsletter doesn't come out on a given day, or your youtube video is delayed, you effectively erase your potential earnings for that week— whether that be through lost ad placements or unsubscribed paying members.  

The rise of monetization tools for creators has hampered how they can charge for their value creation. We mainly see either memberships (Substack, Patreon) and digital good sales (Gumroad) as the most typical way for creators to make money. And while there might be an extreme power law in terms of earning potential for these goods, they also have huge marginal costs; both time and financial resources.

Instead of rewarding creators for building audiences, which is a zero-margin activity (it costs nothing for content creators to add additional viewers) - we force creators into a cycle of endless of content creation supported by their audience.

If a creator isn't interested in selling a course, or writing another book - what options do they have? What if a creator wants one primary income stream, with huge margins, and also doesn't require them to consistently ask their fans to pay? Sound too good to be true? Well, that's where Pallet comes in.  

Job Boards can truly facilitate the rise of a robust creator economy.  

Creators, like online communities, are natural people curators, they know intuitively how to build and scale great audiences. It's time we start treating creator audiences as an asset class and their content as a vehicle for community building.

Instead of selling to your audience in a one-sided value exchange - you can open up opportunities to a two-sided marketplace where both creators and their audiences mutually benefit from participating. Job boards are a natural extension of community building too.  They're a low-cost, high-margin businesses, and whether you have an audience of 5,000 people or 50,000– job boards don't entirely rely on your ability to churn out new content. Instead, they rely on your natural ability to build community and provide opportunities.

This is also a natural extension of what Creators do already with collaborations, advertising, and partnerships. Job boards leverage existing creator activity and gently places a hiring marketplace on top of it.

How does it work though?

As we've highlighted in previous essays, hiring marketplaces, aren't a new phenomenon. Companies like ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, and Indeed have been building recruitment marketplaces for many many years--but we've shown that they don't work well. At Pallet, we've been able to demonstrate that a new type of hiring marketplace based on niche audiences--wherein creators control the supply (job seekers) and the demand (job recruiters).

We're not going to say that job boards are a magical solution. In order to effectively sell to companies, creators will still have to regularly create content, but not any more so than they already do.  They won't have to manufacture something new. They'll use their existing content as a distribution channel for jobs posted on their boards.

We can look at a creator like Sahil Bloom as an example.  Sahil is a business thinker who runs extremely popular threads on Twitter and writes his own newsletter.

This is an example of how Sahil prices posts on his job board.

Why would a business pay $750 to post a job to Sahil's board? Because not only do his viral Twitter threads have guaranteed engagement with his audience, they also give each job a stamp of the creator's approval. This is an essential piece of context that jobs are resolutely missing on legacy products. You may not trust LinkedIn or Indeed, but you most likely trust someone you follow for educational purposes.  

We recently utilized Sahil's board for one of our own jobs, and have received over 30 applications with ten amazingly qualified candidates.  This is what it looks like in practice.  

For Sahil, it's effectively a singular tweet that nets him $750 dollars.  And it's not outside the scope of what he was tweeting about before, which was generally business-oriented and occasionally highlighting cool opportunities.  

We're not the only ones benefitting either...I probably couldn't articulate the value of context provided by embedding jobs into content better than Alexis Ohanian does here— after receiving awesome results from his job posted into Sahil's board.

But what does this have to do with a burgeoning middle class of creators?

Well, this type of success isn't only available to someone like Sahil, who touts over 200 thousand followers on his Twitter. It's not just for the top one percent of audience builders. Job posts are extremely high margin, and you only need a few posts a month to truly sustain a reliable source of income. Creators aren't forced to charge their audience for this content either– as long as they can facilitate traffic, businesses will pay, and a lot at that.

Let's look at another creator on Pallet who's seeing similar success in their initial days: Nikhil Krishnan.  Nikil runs Out Of Pocket, a Healthtech focused newsletter, Twitter account, and slack community.  It doesn't have the same reach as an extremely large-scale creator, but it does have a different value— focus.

Hilariously, Nikhil pokes fun at his own audience but ultimately makes an extremely important point. Hiring businesses want to get in front of interested parties. There's no bigger time waste than reaching out to someone who may be qualified but has no interest. If you're a healthcare company, who better to receive your potential opportunities than people who "self-select to read extremely long pieces about how healthcare works?"

Naturally, smaller audiences have more focused participants. When you see people congregating in the thousands, it's possible they're all like-minded. Much less so in the millions. But in Pallet's case, both offer a unique value prop to businesses.

That's how Pallet differentiates from your run-of-the-mill monetization tool. The top performers are going to be the top performers wherever they go. And it's true that companies like Substack have created an entirely new set of top performers. But on Pallet, the performance of a specific creator is not necessarily predicated on the size of their audience, nor is it bound to their ability to churn out as much as they humanly can.

We have 20 live partners on Pallet today, and I won't shy away from the fact that there is a range of success. Some of our partners have run rates in the millions of dollars. But, as I said before, the top performers will always be the top performers.

Pallet is both boosting the top tier and affecting the bottom line. We cast our net to a wider variety of creators, and usher them into the creator economy. Every single Pallet partner that has monetized is slated to make at least $10k a year on their job board. Most are making much more.  

And we believe we can raise the minimum even higher with a more streamlined process for bringing in businesses and realizing maximum distribution. You've already built the audience, or you're already in the audience, let us do the rest.