It all started with three co-founders out of UNSW – Marina Wu, Dan Brockwell and Jono Herman. Now, they've grown their community to 2,500+ young people and raised 700K Seed Investment in just a year.
Their mission is to give young people access to a network of like-minded professionals and startup gigs so that they progress in their careers and build the local ecosystem. In this episode of Weird Growth, Marina covers how community building is the only real moat left when it comes to your Marketing Strategy.
Marina says, “you can copy other tactics and software, but you can't copy your audience.” When you build an authentic community from day one, it acts as great customer research tool, and it allows you to co-create a product with your community. We get into the ‘nitty gritty’ of community building in this episode while chatting about memes, hacker houses, and colourful lights for your room. Join us as we go back to the beginning of Earlywork and how it came to be a pillar for young people in the Australian Startup community.
The world of work is still set up to funnel talent into old school jobs. University degrees aren’t teaching the required skills and the classroom/lecture format can encourage habits of passive learning that generally need to be unlearned to be a successful founder or operator. And where is your network? If you take the “safe” option of a grad program you’ve got a built-in group of friends (with the occasional frenemy) but jumping into the new world can mean having to form your own community from scratch. It’s clear that we need a new interface between talent and work.
One big piece of advice for Founders
Start now. The biggest risk is in your career is in action. It’s not having a go at your crazy idea that you can’t shake from your mind. The worst that can happen if it fails is that you just go back to your previous job. Do it now before it's too late.
(0:00) – Introduction
(2:15) – The business Marina would start today
(5:45) – The core problem Earlywork is solving
(7:33) – How Earlywork reached their first community members
(10:40) – Community as a modern-day growth channel
(12:55) – The increasing importance of community in a remote-first world
(15:18) – How Earlywork scaled beyond first community members
(18:08) – The main types of gigs available through Earlywork: ’The careers of tomorrow’
(19:17) – Marina's advice for Startups looking to hire employees in today’s job market
(22:50) - How to use Community as a growth channel and defensive moat
(25:30) – Earlywork’s pre-seed investment from Square PegCapital
(29:28) – What's next for Earlywork
(31:30) – Earlywork’s launch house
(33:11) – Marina's one big piece of advice
(35:08) – Marina's favourite tool
Show & tell: