I first learned of Jess when I attended a League of Extraordinary Women event here in Brisbane. Jess was discussing all things collaboration marketing. From that day forward I have been religiously following all things Collabosaurus and Jess.
Before founding her own business, Jess built up quite an impressive resume. After finishing high school she went to Macquarie University and studied a Bachelor of Media and Communications. She did internships and work experience at the university as well as for PR firms and a film studio. Jess, always the entrepreneur, set up her own tutoring business from 2010 (her first year of uni) through to 2015. In 2015, already with a wealth of experience, Jess shut down the tutoring business (she also worked for a PR firm during this time) and joined a business dedicated to teaching small business all about marketing. Are you tired yet? I know I am just from reading it!
Lately, Jess’ life looks a little less hectic. Now she is only a guest lecturer at the College for Event Management, an industry partner for Ducere Global Business School, a marketing educator for Australian Style Institute, a mentor for Think BOLD, a curator for The Fetch, a keynote speaker and the founding CEO of Collabosaurus. What a lazy woman!
Obviously, I am joking. Jess Ruhfus is a go-getter that makes all other go-getters look lazy in comparison. She is the type of person that is not afraid to roll her sleeves up and HUSTLE her heart out. Not bad for someone in their 20s (yes, you read that right).
Collabosaurus is undoubtedly Jess’ absolute passion. Collabosaurus is the matchmaker for businesses; connecting brands and creating mutually beneficial and pretty darn magical collaborations. You can see some of the partnerships Collabosaurus has brought to life by clicking here and navigating to ‘Case Studies’.
Now that you have been introduced to Jess properly, it is time you learn a little about her...
Get to know Jess in 30 seconds...
Tea or coffee?
Morning: Coffee! Strong cappuccino, ¾ full
Night: Chamomile with an ice cube
Pizza or burger?
…….. All of it (Burgers from Salty Rooster, or Pizzas from Ricardos)
Chocolate or candy?
Your best friend would describe you as…
I just texted her & got SO EMOTIONAL at the reply. I’m too awkies to share but it was the sweetest thing ever.
Name three items you can’t live without...
My amazing pillow, iPhone & that trusty hair tie I mostly wear on my wrist.
What are you reading right now?
I’m in between! Recommendations?
What is your current obsession?
Expanding my recipe repertoire
The psychology behind cult brands.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
What did you study?
BA Marketing & Communication majoring in PR, minoring in 17th century literature
Now for the deep dive…
What was the driving factor that made you leave the safety net of being an employee and start Collabosaurus?
That’s a good question, I think it was a bunch of things all working together. One of the biggest driving forces was how consistently excited I was about the idea & its potential. I usually get bored quickly, but not with Collabosaurus! I sat on the idea for 5 months and didn’t tell anyone about it, and I knew I had to give it a shot because it’s all I thought about while working my day job.
Having bootstrapped Collabosaurus yourself, there is little doubt you are amazing with money. What are some of the biggest money-lessons that have gotten you through life?
I wouldn’t say “amazing” at all haha! But I have definitely learned to live on a tight budget. I used to be really driven by money, whereas now it’s 100% lifestyle. I met with a financial planner about two years ago (when I was paying myself about $300 a week) and she asked me how I’d rate my lifestyle, despite the lack of savings.
I rated it 8.5/10 at the time because of the lifestyle I already had. Sitting down to think about what I’d do if I had a bunch more money, it really came down to travel, looking after my family, investing it into Collabosaurus, eventually getting back into the property market, pursuing a few hobbies and exercising.
Turns out, I don’t need a tonne of money to do any of those things (except the house, which can absolutely wait).
My parents are amazing but I’m not sure what they did to instil money-values - I suppose I had limited pocket money & little hope of getting anything I wanted unless I worked for it. So I was fairly enterprising quite young. I did the typical lemonade stall thing at 7, and I sold paintings outside the local deli. I got a job at 13 because I wanted to go on a school tour to Europe at 17 and knew it would take a bunch of saving. When I started Collabosaurus, I was working up to 5 jobs at one point (it was crazy) and I’d even started a high school tutoring business which got so overbooked I needed to quit other jobs!
I suppose the lesson is - you’ve got to work for what you want. And in a business sense - being backed into a financial corner often sparks the best, creative ideas.
You recently got back from San Francisco to take Collabosaurus to a new market + to drum up support for capital contributions. What was the greatest thing you learned from that experience?
Oh! San Francisco was the greatest thing I could have done for the business. One of the biggest things I got from that trip was validation that we were on to a good thing, customers loved it and I got super clear on what steps we need to take to be successful overseas.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
I love the quote ‘don’t wait for opportunity, create it’ - it’s so true. Hustle your way to greatness and out-effort everyone!
Who is a go-getting gal that you look up to or admire?
There are so many I can’t name them all!
Any final pieces of advice for go-getting women reading this?
You have SO got this.
That’s it, folks! I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Jess for agreeing to this interview.
If you want to get some more Jess in your life (which you should) you can:
I also highly recommend you check out Collabosaurus - the matchmaker for businesses.
- Their Instagram is packed full of handy marketing and branding tips >>> @collabosaurus
- Their website has great blogs + so so so much more >>> www.collabosaurus.com
As always, thank you so so much for reading,
(Pssstttt before you go.…. do you want more go-getting goodness delivered straight to your inbox?)