Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Outroop-connecting consumers and making everyday tasks easier than ever

Outroop-connecting consumers and making everyday tasks easier than everOutroop connects consumers and service providers online. Consumers can post work, review bids, and select their provider from any location. Service providers can create profiles, find work, ask questions, and bid in one place. Outroop will change the way you think about finding people, and make it easier to get work done.

With everyone’s busy schedule, simple tasks like getting your car repaired or laptop fixed becomes a huge obstacle with the time constraints. Our goal is to help make these tasks easy for consumers. The consumer can post the work they need done on Outroop and receive bids from service providers who have committed to the timeline, budget, and requirement given by the consumer. The service providers place bids on the project, which creates healthy competition to benefit the consumer. In these trying economic times Outroop is a great solution for people looking to save money as well as time.

Why did you start your company?

Outroop was started because of an unusual experience with another site that claimed to provide services-our founder contracted a handyman to fix his air conditioner but the handyman made some temporary changes, took the money, and disappeared. The problem with the current system for finding service providers is a lack of accountability and commitment to the customer. Outroop changes the dynamic between the customer and the service provider by allowing the customer to choose from a variety of options.

What was the biggest transition you had to make (i.e. new skill set, habits, abilities, focus)?

When the idea for Outroop was formulated, the site’s original intention was to connect engineers and architects with potential employers. After the initial brainstorming and setup of the site, we realized that the connection between technical people and their employers already existed through sites like Odesk, Elance, or Monster.com. So we transitioned from a site that would connect a target market of only skilled technical people to a site where everyone from all skill backgrounds can connect.

Our bidding system wasn’t as well suited to a field in which prices are generally set beforehand, and where people are less willing to divulge that kind of information. In a context where the task being performed isn’t of a technical nature, say garden repair, the bidding system becomes an essential tool.

Outroop-connecting consumers and making everyday tasks easier than everThe lesson we learned from this retargeting of our site is that the original idea was good, but was the wrong user group. Since we diversified our user base, the interest in our site has increased and more work is being posted. Never place limits on the potential anything you do has, whether it be in business or in day-to-day life.

What is the one thing that you did right?

Keep the website free. It encourages more people to try it out. The mention of payment is an automatic turn off to the majority of consumers, since advertising is everywhere in today’s world. We also consistently reevaluated the appearance and functionality of the site until it reached a point where we were satisfied.

How many people are currently working, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?

We currently have a team of about eight people, with plans to increase that number as site traffic grows.

Do you use Social Media tools like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn?

Social media has changed the way everyone markets. If you are not in social media, your company cannot survive. The question should not be do you use it, if your company does not, you need to ask why.

Outroop, we are very active through social media and it is the most effective type of marketing. It’s important to draw the line between social media and other types of marketing because people interact with social media differently. They want to see content, something that’s interesting, instead of being bombarded ads and requests.

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Outroop

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/@outroop

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Since we are still a relatively new site, we work on reaching out to local blogs, businesses, and individuals directly. Word of mouth is invaluable because people value the opinions of a friend far more than information from a third party. Outroop is currently free for everyone, so getting people to join hasn’t been an issue. We also post in tech and business groups through social media which is a good way to reach many people with the same interests who will potentially use our site. We contact each person individually to make sure they get a personalized message and avoid sending mass e-mails.

What is the best advice you never got?

When it comes to marketing, many people are afraid to say that the most important tool one can have is resilience. Especially with start-ups, a lot of people won’t be interested or take notice right away, because you don’t have the money or media presence behind your company.

Believing in your product or idea is crucial and with that passion are born creative ideas. With the fact that a start-up runs on sweat equity and a few bucks, it forces you to start thinking outside the box to get noticed.

There will be times when people hang up on you during phone calls, days when you send a hundred emails without a response, but keep on going. This is advice rarely given in regards to the marketing. Out of every 100 people, all you need is one yes or one happy customer to keep going.

 

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