The option of doing business with Israeli-based service providers has recently become much easier. A new online initiative, JobShuk.com is essentially just as its name describes, a network of individuals and small companies in Israel who are available for a wide variety of jobs and projects – primarily on behalf of employers and businesses located abroad.
Zvi Landsman, the founder and developer of Job Shuk, conceived of the idea for the site out of his belief that the Israeli marketplace represented a wealth of professional talent, which could allow business owners abroad an excellent opportunity to show their support for the Jewish State. “The site enables not only individuals to promote their professional skills, but is in fact promoting all of Israel as a viable business option,” says Landsman who moved to Israel from New Jersey.
Of the several hundred “job seekers” who have signed up for his site since its launch in September 2007, the majority are olim, he says, but many native Israelis have expressed interest in the concept and have also signed up to try their hand in the international marketplace. Landsman says that even while choosing to do business with service providers in Israel is a reflection of solidarity, it also makes sense from a dollars-and-cents perspective: “With the lower cost of living that exists in Israel, we are able to charge lower rates which benefits buyers who are looking for a high quality product without spending higher prices.”
To date, Landsman has focused his marketing efforts on spreading the word about his site through local e-mail lists and word of mouth – primarily directed at American and Jewish audiences, but in the long term, he thinks that people all over the world and of many backgrounds stand to benefit from the service. “Our goal is to spread the message of working with Israel not only to Jews but to all supporters of our country,” he says.
At present, the site is in a relatively basic graphics form but work is already underway for a full overhaul of the look of the site, designed, of course, by local Israeli designer Aaron Ovadia whose profile is featured prominently on Job Shuk. Ovadia says he welcomes the opportunities that are presented to Israeli business with sites like this. “Israeli freelancers have a great deal of talent that we’re interested in sharing with customers abroad,” says Ovadia who runs the site photoshopcandy.com, a blog for budding designers and web professionals. “Job Shuk gives us an additional ability to market our services to clients that might otherwise be inaccessible. It also gives friends of Israel a great way to work together with us.”
The website is very user friendly with profiles categorized based upon key words. When designing a profile, the service providers are able to insert descriptions of their services and then choose the keywords that will enable them to be located by buyers. The site welcomes users to include photos and images with their profiles.
A “buyer” thus can simply enter the area of expertise they’re looking for and a list of profiles is offered with the name of the service provider and the city in Israel where they are from. Buyers are also encouraged to develop profiles when they are in search of a particular service. Unlike many of the larger websites designed to assist freelancers, JobShuk will not take any percentage of projects secured through the site. Rather, Landsman says, revenue will be generated from sellers who purchase space on the “featured list placement service.” This service allows sellers to be placed in prominent locations on the site, and be in the full view of buyers thus substantially increasing the chances of securing a project.
The site includes an active blog managed by Landsman, who is encouraging submissions from other users. The blog has a strong focus on Jewish and Zionist themes where he enlightens readers on how supporting Israeli business is well rooted in Jewish tradition. Summing up what Job Shuk is all about, he concluded one recent posting writing, “The next time you’re looking to hire someone for work that can be done wherever, remember your obligation to the people in Israel who are determined to live there, even if their financial situation is difficult.”