Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with Adam Stone, CEO of Speedlancer .
In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.
Speedlancer is a unique freelance service that pairs highly-qualified writers, designers, and data-entry professionals with clients looking to have quality work done in as little as four hours.
Businesses can purchase tasks instead of managing a complex bidding and hiring process for staff or contactors when they’re looking to get a job done. This means work gets delivered within hours of deciding that you need it done, rather than weeks to even find the best person.
What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?
We already have thousands customers from across the globe ranging from small business to startups to enterprise (PwC, RE/MAX real estate, etc.) using our platform. We see the best means of growing our business to be constantly innovating and optimising our service to attract new customers and retain our existing user base.
We recently closed our seed funding round of $545,000 to make our product more fluid and to spend on marketing activities (most of which we get done through using Speedlancer!). We’ve had great support from a range of different investors - including Silicon Valley-based accelerator program, 500 Startups, that Speedlancer was accepted into in 2015 and Macdoch ventures in Sydney. We’re using the funding to invest heavily in our technology, introducing larger tasks and collaboration using AI project managers, different task categories and subscription services, all to build the future of work.
What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?
We have attracted many high quality journalists, creative directors and other professionals as freelancers on Speedlancer and our goal is to continue to provide a stream of work for them. For us, part of that challenge is educating our customers on the value we can add by streamlining the entire freelancing process to ensure they keep coming to Speedlancer to get tasks done.
How do you differentiate your business from your competitors?
We’ve recognised that the existing freelance platforms make using freelancers unnecessarily complicated. You have to create a project, accept applications (expecting a deluge of poor quality submissions) interview candidates, brief them and so on. That’s before they even start work. On Speedlancer, all you need to do is choose the task you need completed from our curated list and we’ll assign a top notch freelancer to complete it in hours.
What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?
We’ve actually found that we could run our entire company using just our iPhones. Because we rely on our own platform in order to run many of our processes - from marketing to development - and because of our global team, we can work almost entirely mobile, which is fantastic for our flexibility considering we’re an international company. One tool that allows us to do that is the Speedlancer Shido bot we created in the Slack app, which enables us to easily assign tasks to freelancers over mobile.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Think about how you’re going to market your product even when you’re in the development process. A marketing plan is much more important than a business plan, as a business plan will ultimately change according to how your customers respond to you. Without sales, a product is useless and without marketing, you can’t make sales. A savvy business will always be guided by its success in marketing over everything else.
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