Buzz, Buzz – that’s what Lauren from Buzzy Tasks wants to hear. The buzz of people getting their chores done. This Perth entrepreneur is about to launch a new personal tasks website marketplace called BuzzyTasks which is aimed squarely at all
you us lazy people.
It sounds like a fun idea and Perth doesn’t really have anything like this just yet, I know I’m up for having people do my stuff for me. Like the ironing for example.
So what is Buzzy? Buzzy is an online marketplace (hive) that lets people outsource small jobs or tasks to trusted individuals in their local community.
Why? Life is complicated. Buzzy allows you to free up your time and simplify your life so that you can spend more time doing the things that you really want to do. Buzzy also allows you to earn extra cash doing the tasks that you love doing.
Whilst the launch is planned for February, Lauren admits there is still a lot to do, and as the sole founder she is keen to talk with cofounders or investors to share the journey.
Here’s what Lauren had to say when I met up with her at The Partisan.
Please leave your comments and don’t forget to give your rating for this startup.
SN: Hi Lauren, tell us a little about yourself.
LT: My name’s Lauren Trlin, I am 25 years old, about to turn 26. I work fulltime as a lawyer, my background is, I come from a very entrepreneurial family and I think that’s what’s led me to this point, I’ve always wanted to run my own businesses and I think I’m now at the stage in my life where I’m actually ready to do that.
SN: What is your venture and how did it start?
LT: So, my venture is called Buzzy, or BuzzyTasks, it came about when I started full time work two years ago, and I live inner city, and I live on my own so I kind of realised that there were so many things that I needed to get done in my spare time. My to do list was almost never ending all the time and I just didn’t have the time or the patience to find those individuals that could do those things for me. Which really got me thinking that this was probably a problem that a lot of other time poor people were having and that nothing existed out there that sort of allowed me to find those individuals. Or find them in a manner that I kind of felt that I could trust them. So essentially I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel comfortable going and using something like Gumtree, or placing an ad in the newspaper, I would prefer to be able to log onto a website and read a profile and find someone that I feel comfortable allowing into my home. Which I guess typically would have been done via word of mouth in the past if you were part of a community.
About a year and a half ago when I think I first came up with the idea I got onto the internet and realised that based on the searches that I was doing that nothing quite like this existed in Perth but something had just started up in the US known as TaskRabbit. And I think that was a moment for me when I realised well maybe this is an awesome opportunity, especially given that I was starting to consider business ideas and I was thinking about a few other ideas at the time.
SN: How does it work?
LT: So Buzzy is an online marketplace, I call it a hive, that connects people that need odd jobs done and tasks done around the home, so domestically – with people that are looking to complete and have a certain skillset and looking to pick some extra work for a little bit of extra money. And so essentially I am simply creating a marketplace that connects those people together.
SN: Whats has the response been so far?
LT: In terms of the response I’ve had to my, the idea of Buzzy, I think it’s been really mixed and that didn’t surprise me, I was expecting it, and it wasn’t something that I allowed to deter me from going ahead with what I was doing. If anything, everything, all the feedback that I got I use it in a positive manner. I sit down and think about it and then decide whether or not I want to discard what I’ve been told, or if I can implement it somehow. And so responses really range from ‘this is awesome, I know it’s happening elsewhere, it’s not happening here’, ‘and I’m really excited that something like this will soon exist.’, to ‘oh it’s been done before, have you not heard of Gumtree or, I don’t know, some other similar business’, but I actually do think it is different from what’s being offered in that it’s for one off jobs, it’s not through an agency, it allows people to pick up jobs flexibly without being tied in to any sort of casual work. But yeah the response is definitely varied.
SN: What is the potential for your startup in terms of scale and reach.
LT: I think in terms of scalability and reach, I think the beauty of something like Buzzy is that once you get the formula right it is really scalable and I think that’s been proven with task rabbit, Airtasker and a few of those other companies and I think there’s nothing to suggest that Buzzy cant extend beyond tasks and errands at some point, maybe to more professional services, and maybe not necessarily like physical services, but more online based services as well. So I do definitely think it has a lot of potential. I’ve just got to get it to the point where I can scale it, and that’s why I’m focussing it initially on the Perth CBD and surrounding suburbs and I figure if I can understand how that market works then I can scale it.
Similar sort of businesses I think have cropped up over Perth but I think they’ve, the scope has been too wide and so if someone in Rockingham is looking to do a job, but that person is in Joondalup it’s never going to work. So I’m hoping to start quite narrow and then expand from there. And I know that it’s a lot less daunting for me to think well ok, this is where I’m starting and I know that on this very small it’s not going to work in terms of making money, but if I can figure that out, and then expand it then we’re talking a whole different story.
SN: Do you have any investors at this stage, or are you looking for investment?
LT: In terms of co-founders and investors, definitely, I think it takes a village to raise a child, I’m sure it takes a small village to build a startup. And it was one of those things I really kind of wanted to get to this point on my own and think it all through, be really comfortable with where I’m at with my idea, and now I’m definitely looking at people that share my passions, perhaps different skill sets to the one that I have, and I’m not closed off from the possibility of investors. I think I’m realising now that these things involve a lot of time and effort and money.
SN: Do you have revenue at this stage?
LT: I have been doing matches on the side amongst the people that I know, not charging them anything for it; I’m just using it as a way of getting some really useful feedback. For example what I initially thought, the tasks that I initially thought people were after, turned out to be a lot narrower, so a lot of the same tasks were popping up over and over again which really got me thinking, well I should probably narrow the tasks that I’m offering initially and focus on that and expand that as I go along.
SN: Is this a full time startup for you, or are you planning on turning it into a full time business?
LT: I would love to turn this into a full-time business, at the moment it isn’t, I don’t have that luxury, but I certainly have the drive and determination and I know what I’m in for. It’s going to be really hard and difficult for a very long period of time, but I’m open to the challenge.
SN: Whats the next step for you and this startup?
LT: So the next step is, we’ve got our landing page, I’ve started getting people to subscribe, I’m hoping that via word of mouth we can start to build a little bit of buzz behind Buzzy. The next stage is to get the, hate to use the term “MVP”, minimum viable product going, and then start tweaking that and playing around with it and I’m hoping that Buzzy will launch in February. If it takes that little bit longer it takes that little bit longer. I’m also starting to consider people that I think can help with my marketing, because that will be, and sales side of things, will be really important for me. I’m also just open to meeting anyone else that I think can assist me on my journey, I’m sure there are a lot of things that I haven’t thought of. So many little things to do, just getting all my legal side tidied up, making sure I’ve got the right structures in place. Yeah, but there’s a whole heap of stuff I’ve still gotta do.
SN: What are you most excited about at the moment?
What I’m most excited and terrified about is, I guess launching, and then heading out into the great unknown because once you get going, there’s just so much I know that I’ll be fixing and having to deal with, and deciding on how to go about things without having any sort of precedent in place or not knowing how to go about things. I guess it’s also part of the experience.
The media aspects and the publicity that comes behind it is definitely not something that I’m comfortable with. I think for a very long time I didn’t even discuss my idea, I found it quite difficult to even go stand in front of a group of people and pitch my idea. What I think I’m really excited about is watching Buzzy grow and evolve, because I’m not entirely sure what Buzzy is going to evolve into, and I think that’s what’s really exciting for me. So I think I’m starting off here but I could end up in a totally different place. Yes, so that’s what I’m excited about and the growth and the potential that it has and obviously what I’m going to learn from the whole process as well.
SN: Who do you see is your biggest competitor
LT: In terms of what’s been done like this already, one of my competitors is AirTasker. I know they’re in the eastern states but they’re slowly creeping over this way and I’m hoping that I’ve still got enough time to get going and make sure that I don’t fall too far behind in that regard because I don’t have the funding or the resources that a larger company like Airtasker has. In terms of other competitors, I think a large challenge with Buzzy is getting people to post the jobs and feel comfortable doing so. From what I’ve gathered and I may be wrong about this – this is the beauty of it, I just don’t know it – is that there seems to be a lot of people that want to do jobs but if they’re enough people that will trust Buzzy enough to log on and post their task and want to pay for it as well and so maybe other agencies that provide domestic services are probably my competitors.
SN: Last question, what are your thoughts and opinions on starting a business in Perth?
LT: I think there’s a few aspects to starting a business in Perth. Firstly, the start up community – I come from a non-tech background and so I found it quite difficult to turn up at a group like that and feel as though I maybe don’t necessarily don’t have anything to offer but I think once I got over the initial concern that I can’t build my website and I just have to accept that; that I can keep moving forward and actually, hopefully launch a successful start up. I think once I got through that it’s been fine but I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to meet new people because I think there’s a mentality in Perth that doesn’t really, necessarily encourage creative thinking or start-up thinking so it’s taking a lot of effort to find people that sort of share your beliefs and passions in that regard, well it’s been more difficult for me. I am definitely taking an active step in meeting those exciting individuals and it’s been awesome in that regard and I think I wouldn’t be at this point had I not met those people because it’s difficult to motivate yourself when you’re doing it on your own essentially. I think in terms of another aspect to it, and this is more Buzzy related, is that as a society we’re not entirely comfortable with allowing people into our homes and we tend to live quite solitary lives and I find that living in East Perth is that there could be more of a community vibe and I think that’s true with any kind of suburb. I think there’s a trend moving towards collaborating with one another – Air B & B and companies like that – so I think we’re moving back to recognizing that if we work together as a community then we all benefit in that regard. So there’s a whole heap of stuff; I’m trying to think of what else in terms of start-up. There’s limited support and so I know that personally I’m craving mentors in people that I can just ask questions to because you have so many questions and you just don’t know the answers to them. Sometimes you have to figure it out the hard way. It’s definitely getting there; I think it’s a real exciting time in Perth.
I think the difficulty finding mentors is finding them for starters. Its only through research that I found about the start-up groups and they have been a great resource for me, otherwise I don’t know where else I’d look. Maybe another aspect of mentoring is that I think people that had successfully started businesses in Perth have to make a really active effort to seek out people to mentor or to take a chance on something like a small start-up even though that person has limited experience or haven’t done it before or have limited funding and I think once people get out there and say I’m actually going to mentor this person then we’ll see more start-ups coming through and turning into viable businesses.