SelfInformed

October 2016


Searching for Self-Employment

Monday, October 31, 2016



Tim Smith
is the owner of WorkerRental.com based in Amherst, Ohio. WorkerRental works as a hub for Self-Employed residential workers. The goal of WorkerRental is to connect self-employed small business owners who provide services that typically are needed around the house to homeowners who need those services. By cutting out large businesses, Tim hopes that the relationships built by those who use the site will help prove the value of small personalized business solutions.

When and why did you join the NASE?
I joined the NASE in April 2016 for two reasons: I am self-employed as the owner of WorkerRental.com and am always looking for and open to business advice. Additionally, since WorkerRental.com is geared towards self-employed residential workers, joining a group that is specifically my target demographic only made sense to me.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?
A few years ago, I was looking to do some side work (I am an electrician of 25 years) and was struggling to find a way to market myself without spending any money. I was certain a website existed that would be set up like a dating website, but instead of finding a date, one could find a local self-employed worker (or somebody that did side work). When I found no such website, I decided to create one!

When and why did you start your business?
I began thinking about the website around 2012. When I realized it was a unique idea, I brainstormed a lot and began writing everything down. I wanted an easy way for self-employed people to find jobs. Hiring self-employed people is win-win, the homeowner pays less than they would to a big corporation while the self-employed person makes more per hour than they would as an employee. The feedback rating system helps the member feel comfortable that they are hiring a qualified worker.

What challenges have you faced in your business?
Since the website is completely free to use, people often think of it as “too good to be true!” Adding to that the fact my name is very generic (Tim Smith) and it really gives people pause to believe in the legitimacy of the website. I overcome this by placing all of my contact information, including my personal phone number on the website. I want people to call me with ANY questions. I explain to the callers that the website is legit and that I will eventually make money by offering optional upgraded profiles when the website grows. Marketing is also a challenge, as it is for most businesses, especially since the website currently generates no income. Since I have no income from the website yet, all marketing is at a loss.

How have you overcome this marketing challenge, how do you currently market your business?
I currently have ads running on Facebook and YouTube. I am cold-contacting self-employed people to inform them of my service. I also have LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and engage on social media as much as possible! Since this is a completely free service, I try to keep my advertising costs as low! Also, I have sent brochures to a lot of Small Business Development Centers and encourage them to hand out the brochures to people that might benefit from having a profile on the website.

Do you have any employees?
Currently I have no employees. Eventually I would like to hire someone to focus on marketing, but I’m not ready for that yet.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day?
Typically, I work my full time electrician job during the day. After that it’s family time, I get the kids and take them to youth sports and theater for practices and home for dinner and homework. After that, I will typically spend about two hours on WorkerRental either marketing or returning phone calls/emails. Free time on most weekends also seem to get devoted to working on the business.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
I’m technically still an employee during the day, so I’m not exactly full time self-employed, but the best thing about WorkerRental.com for me is building the website from just an idea to a full functioning website that can help society as a whole. So generally speaking I really enjoy the creative freedom and ability to see my vision come to fruition.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
I’ve had people call me that were skeptical of the website and tell me all of the research they did to make sure it’s true. When people tell me they thought WorkerRental.com was too good to be true and then find out that it is true and they appreciated the site; that makes me feel good.

What is the most important piece of advice you would give to starting their own business?
Aside from creating a free profile on WorkerRental.com, I would encourage people to check out Fiverr.com. I have had a lot of work done from people on that site and most of it for less than $20 per job. More broadly speaking, if you have an idea, don’t be afraid to step out and make it a reality.

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