Our Timesheet Software program Went From Aspect Mission To $1.2M/Yr

Posted on


Good day! Who’re you and what enterprise did you begin?

Good day, my title is Will Roberts. I’m a Co-founder of WeWorked. WeWorked is an easy-to-use timesheet software program product that integrates invoicing, depart monitoring, expense monitoring, and extra. WeWorked is designed particularly for small companies in any a part of the world.

Most enterprise software program is designed for giant enterprise prospects, which leads to excessive costs, undesirable options, a gradual enhancement charge, and horrible customer support for small companies. WeWorked focuses on the time monitoring wants for small companies by integrating depart monitoring, invoices, expense monitoring, and reviews into an internet utility at an reasonably priced value level.

We’re bootstrapped and worthwhile internet hosting timesheets for about 20k subscribers and common month-to-month income of $100k.

Explainer video:

our-timesheet-software-went-from-side-hustle-to-1-2m-year

What’s your backstory and the way did you provide you with the concept?

Rising up as a child in inner-city Washington, DC, I at all times had the intestine feeling that I used to be meant to do one thing massive. Though I had completely no concept of how I used to be going to get there, I used to be 100% sure that it was to be. Nonetheless, it wasn’t till highschool, positioned in a extra prosperous space than my very own, that it grew to become clear to me that my path to “one thing massive” was entrepreneurship.

The fantastic thing about launching your personal product with no outdoors funding is that there’s by no means a proper or incorrect. Issues both work or they don’t. No matter works, we hold doing it.

With WeWorked specifically, my Co-founder John Holmes and I birthed the concept following a few years of expertise working for small companies that usually struggled in addressing their organizational time and attendance wants. The options they employed had been virtually at all times both unaffordable, too sophisticated, or simply not superb. And plenty of occasions they had been all the above.

Take us by way of the method of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The prototype took about 3 months to develop. We began with solely the net model. The android and iPhone apps got here years later. We did, nevertheless, have a mobile-friendly model that labored fairly properly on cell browsers.

See screenshot from model 1:

our-timesheet-software-went-from-side-hustle-to-1-2m-year

John and I met whereas working for a small contracting agency in DC the place we developed customized software program for the federal authorities. Your complete workforce consisted of solely about (5) folks and every of us was required to be closely concerned within the improvement course of from design to supply. We had been all cross-trained in order that we might carry out interchangeably and fill in for each other at any stage of the software program improvement lifecycle.

As I discussed earlier, I knew from a really early age that I in the end was going to start out my very own enterprise however on the time when John and I met I nonetheless didn’t actually know what that enterprise was going to be. I can recall him and me typically bouncing varied enterprise concepts off of each other.

At first, most individuals both thought I used to be simply speaking and ignored me and/or felt I might in the end fail. It wasn’t till folks began seeing the fruits of my success as an entrepreneur that they began to take discover.

Though we didn’t determine to launch WeWorked till a few years later, I might say that this expertise created a stable basis and inspiration for the place we’re at this time. The expertise that we gained throughout that interval was the proper springboard onto what would ultimately grow to be WeWorked.com. We knew that we might undoubtedly work collectively and construct absolutely anything we needed. As well as, John and I knew one another’s ability stage and work ethic. We had been within the trenches collectively and emerged victorious on many events.

Each John and I had been software program builders by commerce, so when he pitched the concept to me, it was a no brainer on condition that we might actually launch the product with the sweat off our backs. Nearly all of our improvement software program was open supply, even the database, which began as MySQL. Adobe was in all probability the one paid software program we used. There have been loads of open supply choices to select from to launch a product. So the one substantial funding required to launch our startup effort was our time. That call in the end positioned us in a really distinctive place by which we had been in a position to launch our tech startup with completely no outdoors financial funding.

Provided that we each had full-time jobs, we had been required to work evenings, late nights, and weekends to get to some extent the place we might launch. I can confidently say that the effort and time that we invested upfront in growing the prototype is well equal to a minimal $2M money funding.

Our preliminary necessities consisted of bare-bones timesheet features. All of our options had been constructed from a United States perspective. The purpose at launch was to find out if a historic enterprise market was prepared for a SaaS model. We shortly realized the SaaS timesheet market was international. In consequence, we needed to expedite worldwide options. WeWorked grew essentially the most within the first 12 months of launch.

our-timesheet-software-went-from-side-hustle-to-1-2m-year

Describe the method of launching the enterprise.

From inception, I keep in mind us making the analogy that we needed to place ourselves to be the equal of the retailers that offered picks and shovels throughout the Gold Rush of 1849. Admittedly, we knew that timesheets weren’t the sexiest or revolutionary concept however we additionally knew that just about all people wanted them of their quest to launch and maintain a profitable enterprise endeavor.

Though we had a stable goal demographic in thoughts, we unintentionally made an assumption that will have led us in a barely totally different path initially. Because it seems, we had been considerably blinded by the truth that we had been bodily positioned within the States.

As Americans, we’re subconsciously conditioned to consider that enterprise solely happens throughout the borders of the 50 states. Nonetheless, a particularly aggressive and profitable search engine optimisation technique would show that these borders had been imaginary. We began out considering that our goal demographic existed solely throughout the U.S. However because it turned out, our buyer base was certainly all the globe.

There was one buyer specifically that made that ever so obvious. This firm was a UK-based retailer of auto tires with a number of thousand workers. They signed up for a free trial of our system and beloved it with one exception. The system was designed to be used within the U.S. Subsequently, issues like currencies, date codecs, and timing of notifications didn’t align with their particular wants as a overseas entity.

John and I put our heads collectively and decided that this was a golden alternative to make the product extra versatile and internationally pleasant. We supplied them a vast subscription for a reduced flat charge with the settlement that we might make adjustments to accommodate their wants shifting ahead. This transfer ushered us into the worldwide market the place we now host timesheets for greater than 50k subscribers in over 120 international locations.

Since launch, what has labored to draw and retain prospects?

Our enterprise mannequin and technique make use of many distinctive ideas which can be nonetheless broadly exceptional within the software program trade. We don’t supply phone help. We don’t make use of a gross sales workforce. We don’t supply product demos. But, we compete for neck and neck with main trade gamers like TSheets and Replicon who’ve estimated funding totals of $20M and $40M, respectively. These corporations and plenty of related are bleeding money and wouldn’t survive 30 days with VC cash.

Provided that a lot of our ideas had been so groundbreaking, there was no body of reference or advisers to hunt steerage from. In reality, we had two mentors that proceed to advise us to at the present time. Their names are “Trial” and “Error”.

One of the best enterprise concepts don’t require massive quantities of cash to get began. Time is your most beneficial asset. Don’t be afraid to launch a product that already exists. Typically there’s an current void inside a market that may be tapped into very lucratively.

The fantastic thing about launching your personal product with no outdoors funding is that there’s by no means a proper or incorrect. Issues both work or they don’t. No matter works, we hold doing it. No matter doesn’t work, we both abandon it or make changes and retry it later. It is that straightforward. We don’t have traders that now we have to reply to and search approval from. If in any respect potential, bootstrapping is unquestionably the best way to go. At this level, we’re extremely worthwhile and haven’t any incentive to nor beneath any strain to enter right into a deal that doesn’t serve our greatest pursuits.

Amazingly sufficient, we’ve been in a position to thrive with none main advertising and marketing campaigns. We appeal to new prospects solely by way of natural search engine optimisation advertising and marketing, Google Adverts, and buyer referrals. We don’t make use of gross sales or advertising and marketing groups. As a matter of, we don’t have a broadcast cellphone quantity nor present help by way of phone. All of our gross sales and buyer help is completed by way of e-mail and chat. This permits us to keep up low overhead prices and hold our pricing extraordinarily aggressive.

Our first technique was freemium. We merely needed customers and their suggestions. Freemium was large round 2009. Individuals had been persistently together with the “free” of their seek for software program options. We knew if we centered on the free facet of search engine optimisation together with a deal with small companies, we might seize our meant viewers. Individuals are inclined to suppose prospects are solely paid. The primary 12 months, we checked out buyer suggestions as our most treasured tender. With the appropriate suggestions, we might evolve WeWorked into precisely what the market wanted.

In enterprise oftentimes timing is all the pieces. In 2009, our major key phrases had been lower than 50 cent to rank above the fold and seem as one of many prime hyperlinks on Google search outcomes. We took an enormous loss the primary few years on account of working aggressive AdWords campaigns. Nonetheless, we knew that our recurring income mannequin would ultimately deliver us within the black as we acquired extra prospects and gained model recognition. In the present day the identical key phrases would run us double-digit pay-per-click charges. We had been fortunate and conscious sufficient to be aggressive on the time.

Our capacity to retain prospects lies largely throughout the ease of use of our product and our 24 x 7 x 365 Buyer Help mannequin. The simplicity of WeWorked.com’s design permits our prospects to “go dwell” inside a median of 24 hours with little or no person coaching required. Moreover, our “round the clock” help mannequin makes us obtainable to all our subscribers across the globe on a regular basis.

Essentially the most outstanding factor about our help mannequin is that all of it works with lower than 5 workforce members. All employees members, together with the founders, are cross-trained and might carry out just about any required gross sales or buyer help activity. This dedication has confirmed invaluable throughout the pandemic. We really elevated income 100% over the previous 12 months.

How are you doing at this time and what does the longer term appear to be?

Constructing an internet utility outdoors of Silicon Valley is extraordinarily troublesome at this time, and just about exceptional again in 2009 after we began. Within the DC space, most software program corporations deal with authorities enterprise by constructing costly enterprise functions. Good, reasonably priced small enterprise software program was uncommon.

Noticing that many small companies struggled with monitoring employees time, we determined to create a web-based timesheet software program with options centered on small enterprise wants. Individuals thought we had been loopy or simply ignored us all collectively after they had been informed about what we had been planning. We sometimes heard “somebody already does that”, “it will by no means work”, “you know the way to construct one thing like that?” or “it will take eternally”. They had been kind of proper. We had rivals that had been massive dinosaurs that could not survive 30 days with out VC cash.

It in the end did work however not precisely as we anticipated. We thought the U.S. was our buyer however because it turned out our buyer was the world. Ten years later, now we have greater than 50k customers in 120+ international locations. We now have finished the inconceivable. Competing with big-name timesheet corporations like Replicon and TSheets. We had no blueprint, only a dream, and persistence.

Throughout the previous 12 months, we’ve been approached by a number of corporations relating to the potential acquisition of WeWorked.com. These talks stay in progress. Clearly, we’re unable to debate specifics because of the NDA’s which can be in place. Nonetheless, let’s simply say the longer term is wanting mighty shiny! And till such time that both an acquisition or strategic progress funding is smart for us, we plan to proceed to supply glorious customer support and improve our product based mostly on the wants of subscribers.

Via beginning the enterprise, have you ever realized something significantly useful or advantageous?

The job the place John and I met really turned out to be my final expertise working for another person. I ended up leaving that job to start out my very own contracting agency. Coping with challenges in my private life on the time, I used to be actually put right into a scenario the place I had completely nothing to lose. Taking my present circumstances into consideration together with my need to in the end be an entrepreneur, I got here to the conclusion that it was the proper time to start out my very own enterprise.

The challenges of beginning a brand new enterprise served as a welcome distraction from what I used to be going by way of in my private life. I used to be in a position to redirect that destructive vitality into my newfound endeavor. At first, most individuals both thought I used to be simply speaking and ignored me and/or felt I might in the end fail. It wasn’t till folks began seeing the fruits of my success as an entrepreneur that they began to take discover.

If we might begin another time and do something totally different, I don’t suppose we might change a factor. Considering again, each problem and setback that we encountered and ultimately overcame has led us to be on the proper place on the proper time to get us the place we’re at this time. I imply even all the way down to the roles that we had after we first began out. These jobs afforded us the required flexibility and demanded the exact quantity of our time which in the end allowed us to position the required stage of effort and focus required to create WeWorked.

What platform/instruments do you employ for your small business?

We run a comparatively lean operation. However the instruments that we do use, we depend on closely:

  • Amazon Internet Companies – This serves because the spine and infrastructure of our software program platform.
  • Stripe – That is the place 99% of our funds are processed.
  • SendGrid – This permits us to speak with our prospects with reliability and helps determine our emails as originating from a respectable and reliable supply.
  • Google Translate/Google Chrome Translate – This permits our non-English talking prospects to make use of our software program with none modifications on our finish. It additionally permits us to successfully present help to those prospects no matter their native tongue.
  • Google Adverts – With the diminishing panorama of natural search outcomes on Google, this can be a mission-critical supply for gross sales leads.

What have been essentially the most influential books, podcasts, or different assets?

Our product imaginative and prescient, launch, and supreme success got here largely from 37 Indicators, their books, and different related corporations. This inspiration led us to launch WeWorked.com utilizing some very distinctive ideas. One such idea is that we supplied email-only help with no contact quantity or phone help. One other factor that we did that distinguished us from our rivals was that we bundled our person licenses and elected to not supply the normal per-user pricing mannequin. Each of those ideas allowed us to supply decrease pricing to small companies.

Under are another influential assets that received us right here:

Recommendation for different entrepreneurs who wish to get began or are simply beginning out

One of the best recommendation that we can provide somebody beginning out is to have them perceive that the perfect enterprise concepts don’t require massive quantities of cash to get began. Time is your most beneficial asset. Don’t be afraid to launch a product that already exists. Typically there’s an current void inside a market that may be tapped into very lucratively. Know-how can be utilized to succeed in prospects everywhere in the world. The precise product, pricing, and advertising and marketing can assist you to compete with the most important and greatest.

Our largest gross sales driver to this point has been aggressive search engine optimisation advertising and marketing. Nonetheless, for a quick interval whereas we had been listed on the Wikipedia timesheet software program comparability web page. Throughout this span, we skilled a surge of 1000+ sign-ups inside a 48 hour interval. Though our itemizing was subsequently eliminated quickly thereafter, it grew to become clear that the important thing to us blowing up exponentially was merely publicity. We had been actually one journal article or press interview away from being bought for $350M like TSheets.

Ideas:

  1. One of the best enterprise concepts don’t require large quantities of cash to get you began. Your time is your most beneficial asset.
  2. Don’t be afraid to launch a product that already exists. Typically there may be an current void inside a market that may be tapped into and be very profitable.
  3. Know-how is your good friend and the web can be utilized to succeed in prospects everywhere in the world. The precise product and advertising and marketing can assist you to compete with the most important and greatest.
  4. Do one thing that you simply’re keen about.

The place can we go to be taught extra?

When you’ve got any questions or feedback, drop a remark beneath!


 

Will Roberts III
 
Founding father of WeWorked

Need to begin your personal enterprise?

Hey! 👋I am Pat Partitions, the founding father of Starter Story.

We interview profitable enterprise homeowners and share the tales behind their enterprise. By sharing these tales, we wish to show you how to get began.

Keen on beginning your personal enterprise? Be a part of Starter Story Premium to get the best companion to beginning and rising your small business:

  • Join + get recommendation from profitable entrepreneurs
  • Step-by-step guides on how one can begin and develop
  • Unique and early entry to the perfect case research on the net
  • And far more!

PROMOTED

Do you know that manufacturers utilizing Klaviyo common a 95x ROI?

Electronic mail, SMS, and extra — Klaviyo brings your advertising and marketing all collectively, fueling progress with out burning by way of time and assets.

Ship extra related e-mail and textual content messages —
powered by your information.
Klaviyo helps you flip one-time consumers into repeat prospects with all the facility of an enterprise resolution and not one of the complexity.

Be a part of Brumate, Beardbrand, and the 265,000 different companies utilizing Klaviyo to develop their on-line gross sales.

Strive Klaviyo without spending a dime proper now ➜

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.