WorkAround.me: Devang Chouhan
The tech entrepreneur on showcasing employment opportunities in an iPhone app – and balancing starting-up with a full-time job
Tell us what your business does:
WorkAround.me (listed as ‘WorkAround’ in the App Store) is a location-based iOS recruitment app, for short-term and casual jobs. It connects local employers and candidates in real-time.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I was wondering if people knew about short-term vacancies (whether skilled or unskilled) in their local area and how they could make the most of their time.
You might have a few hours free today, when the small business you just walked past could do with some help and make use of your skills.
With the current state of the economy, I thought small businesses might prefer to employ people on a more flexible basis, as and when they need someone, rather than engaging people on a fixed-term contract.
What’s your unique selling point?
We’re looking to cater for the short-term and casual jobs market. Where anyone – from a café owner looking for baristas to a homeowner needing help with moving furniture – can post a vacancy and get in touch with relevant candidates nearby.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’ve been working in the digital space for last seven years and in fact I’m still working as a digital consultant. I’ve worked with start-ups, on film productions, as well as with financial organisations.
What appealed most about being your own boss?
For me, it’s not so much about being my own boss. It’s about creating a product or service which will add value and be useful to people.
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What planning did you do before you started up?
I analysed the market, looking at what services are currently being offered – and what value we could add.
What challenges have you faced how have you overcome them?
Working in a small team is always fun. You can make quick decisions and work on many different aspects of the business – from admin to product design to marketing. But, in that respect, I guess the biggest challenge is managing your time efficiently.
Where is your business based?
We’re currently working from home, but we’re planning to move to the Google campus in east London.
How have you promoted your business?
We’ve just begun so the initial traction we’ve had is from word of mouth.
We’ve also been talking to tech bloggers and small business owners, however, for now, we don’t plan to do paid advertising.
How much do you charge?
It’s a free app so there’s no charge for downloading it or posting vacancies.
For now our main priority is to grow the user base and work on enhancing the user experience. Monetisation will follow.
What about staff – how many do you have?
We’re a team of three – myself and two developers.
What has your growth been like?
It’s still early days, as the app only went live a couple of months ago, but the feedback has been quite positive.
We’re working on an Android version, as well as some updates to the iPhone application.
What would you say the greatest difficulty has been in starting up?
I think time and resource. Having a full-time job, the only time I get to work on the business is in the evenings and at weekends.
Another challenge has been holding down all the various roles – from admin to product design. Although, that’s a fun challenge!
What would you do differently?
I’m still learning! Still iterating.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
The aim for now is to increase the user base and keep on shipping updates.
However, long-term, we want to create a sustainable, global marketplace for short-term and casual jobs.