How did I end up here?
Initially, I came up with the idea for Everyday People, to solve a couple of problems I had.
These were problems I think a lot of people can relate to – I needed more work! I also needed access to Yorkshire-based professionals I could trust and were experts in their field.
Everyday People seemed the perfect solution!
“People will love it,” I thought. Plus it’s going to save me and many others so much hassle! The temptation was to go away and create something perfect, and then unveil it to hoards of eager and amazed customers! (maybe you can relate?) It’s like the first time you have a website built… you agonise over colours, copy, images, pixel sizes.
Finally, it’s perfect.
You love it. Your friends love it!
So, it goes live…
You sit there expecting the phone to ring off the hook, and no bugger calls! Which could be for a number of reasons, but I can almost guarantee it’s not because you chose fuzzy peach over electric blue.
Don’t get me wrong I understand the importance of branding, but there are so many other fundamental factors. Like, do people actually want what you have to offer.
Luckily for me, I’d read a book called The Lean Start-up, which suggests creating a minimal viable product (MVP). An MVP is something with enough features to find out if your idea is any good and to see if customers actually want it? This was music to my ears! I didn’t have much money, so building a prototype was a quicker and much cheaper.
What I also liked about the lean start-up approach is that it tells you not to bother with a formal business plan. Personally, I’ve always found them a bit of a waste of time. I always felt like I was guessing about a lot of things that are impossible to measure and I had little control over.
It was also reassuring to hear that it’s ok to make mistakes and perfection doesn’t happen overnight.
For example, Air BnB seems like an overnight success. In fact, it actually started ten years ago with a simple website listing one loft space, with three blow up mattresses.
Similarly, Groupon launched with a simple email, and one pizza coupon.
The Lean Start-up also describes a social search engine you’re likely to have never have heard of called Aardvark. Here, people sat manually answering questions for nine months, pretending to be a search engine. Aardvark went on to be acquired by Google for $50 million.
A year ago I had an MVP built. A year of blood, sweat and tears ensued. But, the MVP has enabled me to test the concept, validate learning and gain some traction.
Over the past twelve months, I’ve particularly enjoyed organising events, chatting to members and getting to know some of Yorkshire’s amazing freelancers and small business owners.
[Post continues after the videos]
Here’s Matt Essam, Leeds-based Marketer and Founder of Creative Life, speaking at one of our events.
Me discussing content marketing with York-based member Jacey Lamerton.
So, how does Everyday People work?
“There are 400,000 SMEs and 140 freelancers in Yorkshire and Humber.“
Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
At some point, almost all businesses will need a website, a logo and marketing support. Many businesses at some stage will also have to outsource other specialist skills; perhaps they need a UX designer, a mobile app developer or maybe even a voice-over expert.
So clearly, people are solving this problem already!
However, my research findings have mirrored my own experience and, to quote a Leeds-based creative agency owner I spoke to:
“the existing solutions are messy.”
Some of us are using Google, others resort to Twitter or LinkedIn and some may even contact a recruitment agency.
At best we are asking for recommendations from within our own networks. Which is a great solution if you have the Rolodex of Reid Hoffman.
However, most of us are actually recommending people that we’ve never actually worked with and have simply swapped cards at a breakfast networking event!
How does Everyday People solve the problem?
“Time is a business’ scarcest and most often squandered resource”
Michael Mankins, et al Harvard Business Review
The beauty of Everyday People is that it’s quick and easy!
You post your project on the website for free and within a few days you’ll receive 3-5 applications from people suitable for your project.
These applications contain:
> A Quote
> Member Profile
> Contact Details
> Feedback from previous users of Everyday People.
This doesn’t cost you a penny, so if you’re not happy for any reason you can still post on Twitter and go through the process of getting quotes, references and portfolios yourself.
Version 1 of the platform is finally ready, now the real work begins…
If you’re part of a Yorkshire-based community and are interested in finding out more about Everyday People, our journey so far, or how we can help our local small business community, feel free to get in touch. I’m always happy to run workshops, speak at events or write guest features. Likewise, I’m keen to hear from people who’d like to contribute to our expanding community.
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