Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Finding a solution to every Mom’s Problem – a BIG Idea!

It all started with my friend and fellow mom (and now business partner) Cami calling me last summer to tell me she had something important she wanted to talk about when she got back from vacation. But, she didn’t want to tell me over the phone. No, it was something so BIG she wanted to talk in person when she got back in 2 weeks – now known as the longest 2 weeks of my life! I knew it had to be big and life-changing. I was like a kid counting down the days until Christmas…I couldn’t wait for her to come back and fill me in on the huge idea she had.

Two weeks later, she was home and we quickly made a play-date at the splash park with our kids so they would be occupied and we could talk…uh-hem…uninterrupted (right…if you have kids or know kids you know that this just doesn’t happen, but we did our best!!) So, on that day July 29, 2010 over sprinklers and juice boxes at the water park, GetOutMom.com was “conceived”.

Mind you, we are not “business” women. At least we weren’t at that point. We are moms that feel like every problem has a solution if you’re just willing to look hard enough for it. And the problem that Cami saw was that moms all over were choosing to stay home with their kids… What?? Why is that a problem, you ask? Well, really, the problem lies within that choice. Moms everywhere have skills and education they WERE using before kids, but were now focusing on their family – and those skills are being pushed to the back burner. Oodles of talent is sadly lost to the work force when so many women choose to stay home over rigid work schedules that don’t fit into their family dynamic. For so many women it’s all or nothing when it comes to working outside the home.

We were about to change that…

The BIG idea was to solve 2 major issues in our society by:

1) Creating a central resource for all busy people to access to hire out countless jobs, projects and tasks from a group of quality local workers that up until now have been an untapped resource, or to hire from afar if the talent does not require proximity.

2) Creating a central resource for all moms and others who would like to market themselves and offer their services within a casual venue on their own terms.

This is a place where moms can market themselves and work a little, or a lot, by letting people know about the skills they have, and then setting their own schedules to be hired on days and at times that make sense for them. This place allows them to stretch back into the person they were before they turned their inner switches off and put their families first, without feeling guilty doing it. They can work a couple hours a week, or micro manage smaller jobs to create a larger work commitment. In our current softer economy, we believe we are providing key options for people to either save money by hiring from your local pool of people that are quality workers but not as expensive as professional companies, or to earn money by getting hired by others… two critical ways to help stimulate family budgets.

The possibilities were endless and our minds were spinning…the skills moms could offer were mind-boggling (help someone garden, shop, learn a new language, brush up on computer skills, do crafty things, clean windows, organize…), the people who could plug in were limitless (moms who stayed at home, moms who worked, moms who were in between)…and we realized that there were moms out there that wanted to hire other moms to do the things that they didn’t want to do, or didn’t have time to do!! Then we realized that ALL busy people can plug into this – that’s right you don’t even have to be a mom (more head spinning)!

So, GetOutMom.com was created to connect all those moms and other busy people. After that day at the water park, we realized that we could allow those moms to “Get Out” and become Happier, Healthier and Wealthier…whether to make extra money or to just flex their brains a bit. All busy people can hire quality moms and save money by doing so. This follows the farmer’s market mentality, in addition to buying local you can now hire your local mom! Our summary of what the site is goes a little something like this:

It’s a site for moms and others to market themselves who don’t want to work a 9 to 5 job, but would like to work with the skills they already have. It harnesses their skills and talents and connects them with interested parties so they can work on their own schedule. Equally as important on the flip side, it allows moms who are working or who have a hectic life to hire out the things they don’t have time for or dislike, thus creating more quality time for themselves and their families. So ALL moms and busy people in general can benefit. A win-win.

Frankly, it’s a little hard to describe our site in a short paragraph because there is so much you can do on the site. But, moms are getting it and they love it.

The story doesn’t end there…as I said, we are not business women…we are 2 Moms. One of us is a part-time teacher and the other works very part time and stays home with her kids most of the time. We are not experts at writing business plans, creating a website or developing a marketing plan. We are moms who see a problem and search for a solution. Being moms, we know that 2 moms connecting can pretty much solve most any problem in existence!

So, where did we start?? The first thing we did after finding a URL that wasn’t taken (a major task in itself) was to search to find a developer that could help us create our vision. And we were sooo lucky to find the team we did. As moms, we knew what we wanted to happen on the site, but as business people we had no idea how to pull all our ideas together. Enter our Designer & Developer, Rhaya Shilts of Jackson Sky Web Design, and Brad Griffith with Buckeye Interactive. They listened to our ideas, pulled them all together, added to them and created our vision with patience and technical knowledge. No small feat considering several new enhancements evolved as we consulted many long hours figuring it all out. But, after many many hours of conference calls, revising, testing, and tweaking, we finally launched our site on March 3rd, 2011 – only 8 months after our splash-park meeting, and 9 months from the light bulb moment.

This short amount of time is largely due to the awesome number of people who have been in the right place and the right time for our little company. We have been very lucky to meet and connect with several very instrumental people who have latched onto our idea and have used their connections, knowledge and skills to make our company that much better. We now are a company of four employees – Cami Back, Founder & CEO, Stacie Gopsill (me) Co-Founder & COO, Kim Graham-Lee, President and Business Advisor, and Dana Mullin, Marketing and Communications Manager. We also have several others helping us with things like social media, business planning, etc that are as much a part of our family as the four of us – we know that without everyone we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Since the launch of the site, we have switched gears to Marketing and Advertising, something that is a challenge since we are working on a very limited/non-existent budget and since it’s something the two of us know very little about. But with every problem, we look for a solution. With Kim’s past marketing experience and direction, and by hiring Dana to help we are already seeing great results. Our press release finally went out the door on April 20th and our site tracking software (we use ChartBeat & Google Analytics for the moment) shows us that every time we are featured either on TV, radio or in an article we get a spike in traffic and a ton of activity on the site. So, it may seem obvious, but we are pushing for as much press as we can get.

Along with the press, we are very active on Twitter (@GetOutMom) and on Facebook (www.facebook/GetOutMom) and have created some YouTube videos (we are no experts but again found someone who is and she did a fabulous job making some videos for us). We have also worked in a ton of sharing features on the site so that our current users can share their posts and other info about our site with their friends. We know word of mouth is going to be key to our success, as is the case with any great idea.

So, our little company that started with a BIG idea is off the ground and running. Now, we’ll focus on pulling people to the site and keeping them once they’re there. No small task, but if two “moms” managed to launch a website, we surely can create a plan to do that…and if we can’t, we’ll hire another Mom from GetOutMom.com who can!

 

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