Jan 22, 2023 Update

We are in full swing with our Vancouver and Edmonton expansion. I am documenting each step of our process to build out a playbook that we can use as we expand into other cities and markets.

Worker Updates

Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

We began uploading new social media posts to our Facebook pages highlighting our expansion into Vancouver and Edmonton. At the end of the week we began running paid Facebook ads to generate new worker registrations and at the time of posting this we have had quite an influx of sign-ups. Our funnel for getting workers into a job has a few steps that new sign-ups need to go through which creates attrition at each step. We do this intentionally to help qualify people looking for work and their commitment to showing up.

Job Owner Updates

Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

We began directly contacting construction related companies in both Vancouver and Edmonton but probably started a week too early. Each company that is interested is given a unique Job Owner profile that allows them to select the skills and experience they require as well as any industry tickets or certifications needed. From their profile they can also view the available workers and because we hadn’t finished onboarding new workers from Vancouver and Edmonton the Job Owner profiles were not showing any results.

This week we are looking to see if we can secure our first job in either Vancouver or Edmonton and help new sign-ups find some work. Our goals is to have workers on jobs every week day in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver by June.

Stay tuned!

DG

Jan 14, 2023 Update

We are in the home stretch of completing our first full year. Since our launch in March 2022 we have discovered opportunity while working against the challenges of a start-up including customers, cash and code.

Here is a quick re-cap:

Customers

Finding companies that need to grow and connecting them with individuals that need work has proven to be a lot harder than I originally anticipated. Why? The OndeWork.com platform is a great idea and requires a behaviour change that we are learning how to work with. What is the behaviour change? For companies it’s the idea of trying out a worker before hiring them and for individuals it’s the idea of trying out a company before working for them permanently. Over the long term I don’t see this challenge being harder but easier as companies are forced to change their hiring practices. The labour market is changing and I believe we are on the leading edge of a trend that will be commonplace in the coming years.

Cash

In March 2022, we launched OndeWork.com to help a related company find construction workers needed to complete projects. On the strength of the results, the platform was opened up to non-related companies and I hired some help that I thought would contribute to our success only to realize that the decision was premature. Our initial investment in the company was spent without a corresponding result in revenue and resulted in decisions I made to right-size the business to ensure our survival. It took more than 90 days to correct the decisions and actions made in 60 days and as we finished out the year we were finally in a position to cash flow our growth and look to leverage our platform into other cities.

I have not been looking to raise money for OndeWork.com but have listed the platform on Microacquire.com (now acquire.com). I had more than a dozen interactions with various investors and interested purchasers however as of this update, none have been appealing enough to pursue. The work done over the past 90 days has enabled OndeWork.com to run incredibly lean and I am confident that we can use our own margin to expand and don’t require outside capital yet.

Code

Once our platform was made available to a broader base of customers we quickly realized that our code base needed some tweaks which included building a portal for companies to manage their profile and cleaning up the onboarding process for workers. OndeWork.com is not a difficult technical concept but it certainly has required paying attention to some nuanced requirements which has drastically changed our cost per job and margin. In the coming months we will be looking for a mobile-first solution that builds upon our web application to make it easier for companies and workers to interact, track their data and manage their money.

General Updates

This past week we announced that OndeWork.com (click here for the announcement) will be opened up to a limited number of companies and workers in Vancouver, BC and Edmonton, AB as a result of some requests made by companies in each of those cities. I am excited to see how this works out as it is another step towards helping workers connect with growing companies. Our marketing campaigns to individuals in Vancouver and Edmonton was launched this week and in the coming week we will continue our strategy of finding companies that need to grow their team this year and want to try using on-demand workers.

What started as a solution to my own problem has now become a very meaningful opportunity that has already had a positive impact to a few companies and to a few dozen individuals. I am excited to leverage our results into something greater.

DG

Dec 5 Update

Onde Team – 

The sprint is on to get to the end of the year. We have been asked by a Vancouver based company if we would consider launching our platform there, and they will help us find a few more companies among their colleagues that would support us to help us get a running start. For all of the effort required, I think we will look to launch into Vancouver and Edmonton at the same time subject to marketing results coming through that evidence our ability to generate new Job Owner demand. Launching in 2 new cities will be a lot of fun but we want to make sure we can support ourselves with a proven marketing strategy after the initial activity subsides.

Worker Updates

Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

It has been great to see some companies using us consistently and this past week we saw another OndeWorker get permanent employment from a company that used them for a week and was impressed with their skills. It’s exciting to see individuals quickly and easily get into the job market without having to spend time interviewing and responding to numerous job ads.

Job Owner Updates

Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

The president of the Calgary Construction Association made a personal introduction to two companies that he felt would greatly benefit from OndeWork. I have reached out to both companies and this coming week will be meeting with one of them to discuss a regular job posting that OndeWorkers can respond to in hopes of gaining permanent employment should their skills and experience match the job duties. He has also advised that based on our results here in Calgary, he would be pleased to make an introduction to the Edmonton Construction Association when we are ready.

General Updates

My current goal is to see three new Job Owners sign up this month from our marketing efforts. Our vision is help companies that are growing by providing them with the opportunity to try OndeWorkers on a temporary basis until a permanent hiring decision is made. Because we are a marketplace, we have to balance the supply of workers with the demand from companies. This is a delicate balance right now as we are small however as we grow we need to make sure we can place workers within two to three days of signing up and we need to make sure we have the ability to service companies that post an OndeJob. As soon as we see some consistent marketing results (even if they are small) we will begin working on our launch into Edmonton and Vancouver. If all goes well, I would see us planning to launch in Toronto in the summer/fall.

As we finish out the year, it’s great to see that we are almost done correcting our missteps from this past summer. Start-ups are tough and mistakes happen but our ability to keep going will continue to serve us well. I am looking forward to seeing the demand side of OndeWork begin to fall into place and then the real work begins!

Have a great weekend and thanks for your continued help.

DG

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Nov 21 Update

Onde Team – 

We crossed a milestone this week having seen shift number 300 being completed by OndeWorkers! It took 9 months to achieve and as with any start-up, the next 300 should take less than that. It should be noted that we really only began working in a focused direction since the beginning of September and have achieved some pretty remarkable progress. Incidentally, 300 shifts were completed by more than 30 people who were able to earn income through OndeWork which is a great milestone as well. I am excited to see how many more people can benefit from using OndeWork.

Worker Updates

Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

It looks like we can continue to expect a few workers sign-ups each week who are ready to take an OndeJob once it becomes available. MB has done a great job onboarding new sign-ups. Going into next week, our organic social media strategy launches with 2-3 posts daily on Facebook and Instagram where we will use posts to tell our story to individuals in Calgary looking for work. For the posts that generate the most traffic, we will spend a small amount of money to “boost” them in hopes of increasing our reach. I am looking forward to seeing if we can generate some sign-ups through organic content.

Job Owner Updates

Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

Similar to the worker side, I have been slowly increasing our organic LinkedIn posts and going into next week I should be able to get us up to 2-3 posts per day with the goal of having small business owners learn more about how we can help them find the people they need. I am looking forward to having new Job Owners sign-up through our organic marketing strategy with a small amount of money being spent to “boost” the posts that receive the most traffic. This coming week we will be sending out our monthly Job Owner update with a focus on having them access their Profile and/or follow us on LinkedIn which should help as well.

General Updates

As we go into December, my focus is to increase the amount of social media traffic that we receive. We have a rough outline of a content strategy and because of our paid ads in the past, we have some social media audiences that we can continue to re-market to which should help us build some traction. My goal is to see if we can get workers and companies to sign-up through an organic content strategy. This is all being done in anticipation of January, where we will begin our outbound cold calling strategy which worked well for us in September.

The basic premise for OndeWork has been proven and now the challenge is to build up a two-sided marketplace without one side getting too far ahead of the other. I think the best mix right now world be one new company sign-up each week that can post 1-2 jobs per month and 4-6 new workers sign-up each week that are available to complete the jobs.

Thanks for your help this week!

DG

Nov 14 Update

Onde team –

I missed sending out an update for last week as it was a strange week of making adjustments and writing code to assist with our job owner marketing strategy. I am pleased to report that we have provided companies with the ability to create a profile and immediately see the available OndeWorkers that match the skills/tickets they are looking for.

Worker Team Updates
Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

We are trying to figure out what the right advertising rhythm is for attracting workers. We did not run any ads last week and this week only started again on Wednesday. I am not sure we have the right strategy for paid advertising yet – seems to me that we can improve the ads and messaging to speak more to our mission which is to help individuals work short-term jobs with companies that are looking to hire on a long-term basis. I think we are missing the opportunity to build a story and a narrative outside of “need work”. I will work with Lisa on this over the next few weeks as this is something that differentiates us from the rest of the job posting marketplace. It also means we have to work at telling our story in a simple and engaging manner. I am thinking of a series of ads that tell our story and our mission which (if done properly) should help us find individuals that align with what we are doing.

Job Owners Team Updates
Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

As a recap of our last 80 days of marketing:

      1. Cold call small companies to see if they had plans to hire or need workers

      2. Send a follow-up email with some information about OndeWork

      3. Build an internal profile system where we could track companies that plan to hire and need workers

      4. Allows prospective companies to see their profile and access available workers that match their profile

      5. Send out a monthly update encouraging prospective companies to view their profile (amongst other content)

      6. Make a “check-in” call with all prospective companies asking if they have any upcoming work

The above efforts found us a few companies that posted jobs with one company in particular deciding to use the platform for 4 weeks as they had a large job they needed help with. This past week we started telling our story to the market through paid ads (we are trying a LinkedIn PPC campaign) and have given companies the ability to create a profile without our help. We currently have 155 customized profiles and will continue to use this metric as a way of measuring our top of the funnel success. Similar to the worker side of our business, it seems obvious to me that we have the “bare bones” of a marketing and sales strategy and now need to focus on telling a story and creating a narrative for companies that aligns with our product. The more calls I have with companies and the more research I do on the competition, the more a I realize that our key differentiators are meaningful and need to be explained before they can be utilized. The opportunity for workers and companies to try each other out before making longer term decisions is powerful as is our technology stack that allows this to happen instantly and seamlessly.

MB agreed to a revised role with OndeWork that better matches our current state of affairs and we are grateful for her making the adjustments. We spent the past week going through our financials and while we are close to breaking even, we are not quite there yet and MB has agreed to make adjustments to her role until such time as we are.

With the end of the year approaching the focus will be to work hard at defining and presenting our story to the market as we continue to manage new worker and job owner sign-ups as well as job postings. Our strategy will be using this time to learn how to create effective PPC campaigns to the end of the year and we will measure our success by how many new worker and job owner profiles are being created.

There is no question that a start-up is hard but we have proven our idea works and now we need to focus on telling our story to the people that need our solution. We have all witnessed the difference our idea is making in a small group of people and companies and it will be exciting to see more people benefit from what we are doing.

Have a great weekend!

DG

Oct 31 Update

Onde Team –

This past week was officially the transition to winter with all of the snow we have received! I imagine this will have an impact on the types of workers and job owners that will be interested in using our platform. I think we should consider moving to warehouse and cleaning jobs outside of the potential pilot programs we are pursuing.

Worker Team Updates
Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

Seems to be a bit touch and go with registrations. We have crossed over 350 total worker registrations and have been able to provide shifts for just over 10% of that pool (or 38). It costs us approximately $10 per worker sign-up but the cost per worker that gets into a job is $92. We are able to recover our cost per worker of $92 on their first job so which is a good thing and as reviewed this week, it seems that we need to be able to place a worker with 1-3 days of their sign-up or we exponentially lose their interest. Our current focus is to shorten the amount of time between sign-up and placement which requires have a list of jobs that we can quickly offer to new sign-ups.

Job Owners Team Updates
Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

It was a good week for the job owner side of business as we had another job posted with a company that will use us as long as we have workers. They were offering $20 per hour which is a great pay rate but we had a terrible week for weather which I believe discouraged some folks from taking the work. We had another company post a $17 job which most likely will not be filled but if we can work with them to increase their hourly rate I believe we will be able to help them and they most likely will continue to use us.

I was finally able to meet with Bill Black of the Calgary Construction Association who took some time to understand what we are doing and offered to introduce us to two (2) larger companies that would be perfect candidates for a pilot program where they would continuously take OndeWorkers to fill their weekly labour needs. Bill was also willing to make an introduction to the Edmonton Construction Association depending on the results of the local introductions. This is very promising and will be a significant milestone for us if we can secure one or both of the companies.

I will continue to create Job Owner Profiles and look to have us hit 200 before the end of the month. We are currently at 153 and are seeing activity from about 10% of them as measured by the click-through rate into their profile. I will be giving a list of engaged job owners as measured through Hubspot criteria to an overseas outbound caller who will be making calls to see if they have upcoming work. The update that went out last week to job owners had a 23% click-through rate which I think is fairly good.

We chatted this week about MB’s role in continuing full time past the end of the month as we are not yet breaking even financially. We are close but with December approaching we may see a slowdown which doesn’t end until the first or second week of January. We agreed that we would revisit her role on the 15th of this month to see how we best move forward even if that means reducing hours over December to coincide with her vacation and maybe bringing the hours back in the New Year. We know that Onde is working on a small scale and now we have to figure out how to manage our cash so we can grow. I have begun some preliminary work on finding cash but still think we should bootstrap our platform until the New Year. We are so close to break-even!

It was great to hear MB acknowledge that a start-up is not without its highs and lows and she continues to remain positive about how we continue to move forward to make OndeWork a success. I am very grateful for her help and fortitude.

Stay warm as this week is going to be another tough one!

Thanks for your help 🙂

DG

Oct 24 Update

Onde Team –

It continues to be an all or none schedule. We are either all out dealing with issues or nothing is going on. So goes the life of a start-up!

Worker Team Updates
Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

We were able to see new workers sign up this week as we finally sorted out Facebook after having lost our account access at Indeed. While not totally surprising as we knew that Indeed was a temporary solution, we used to build our onboarding process, it still was nice to see that Facebook and Kijiji have picked up the difference. Still not sure what happened with Indeed – maybe we will never know (lol). With the introduction of Facebook, we do need to close the gap quicker with showing new sign-ups what skills or tickets Job Owners are looking for and I hope to have this in place for the coming week. MB did a great job sorting out some of the missed hours for existing jobs and now that we know to invoice separately through Stripe for these instances, we can add this functionality to the Job Owner profile in the next little while.

Job Owners Team Updates
Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

Unfortunately, MB spent her time this week dealing with a new Job Owner who had paid for a job last week and for a series of unrelated circumstances, three workers were not able to fulfill this job request. The Job Owner even had a chance to speak with them on the phone but life happens and I don’t think we will see this Job Owner again any time soon. While frustrating it is part of the learning curve and it also didn’t help that we didn’t have any newer workers available as our sign-ups didn’t begin again until late in the week.

We were able to send out the monthly update to Job Owners and saw some engagement which now allows us to follow-up with specific individuals to see if we can help them with upcoming work.

ZA has decided to take a break from OndeWork for a while and I have interviewed a few people for his replacement. I have heard back from one of them and hope to have them engaged midweek as it is a long (long) weekend in the Philippines right now. I am eager to see how the new prospecting strategy works of creating Job Owner Profiles immediately as we haven’t had a chance to try it yet given LZ and ZA’s schedules.

As we come to the end of October, we continue to learn quite a bit and going in to November I remain hopeful that we will be able to secure one or two companies that will agree to use OndeWork on a consistent basis. This continues to be my prioirty.

Have a great weekend and thanks for your help.

DG

Oct 17 Update

Onde Team!

It was a week of finishing up some work with Job Owners that took a few weeks longer than I anticipated. We didn’t get to see LZ or ZA contribute this week due to other commitments they had but both of them have suggested that they will be re-engaged in prospecting for new job owners in the coming week.

Worker Team Updates
Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

Since our last update we were able to place a handful of workers in jobs and continue to onboard existing workers that had not completed their steps yet. Over the next few days Lisa and I will be working to post our Facebook ads and will look to continue attracting workers to our platform. MB was helpful this week working with one worker in particular who may have landed a permanent position with a new Job Owner.

Job Owners Team Updates
Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

I focused this week on getting through the rest of LZ and ZA’s leads which included setting up Job Owner Profiles for them. As of yesterday, we have 139 profiles for Job Owners that have indicated they need workers and are interested in OndeWork. Both LZ and ZA will be contacting each of their prospective Job Owners to ask if they have any upcoming jobs that require workers. We now have a systematic process for finding job owners, creating a profile for them that they can access any time to see which workers match their profile and now need to focus on onboarding them into their first job posting.

To help with the last step, I have reached out to several larger companies to begin the conversation of trying OndeWork on a pilot program basis to see if we can help make a difference in their labour shortage problems. This sales cycle will be longer than the small job owners we have now as they have more layers of approvals and bureaucracy to work through before being able to consider OndeWork. I met in person with a larger construction company that will be trying us out in the next couple of weeks and currently use three (3) different agencies to help them find low-skilled workers for their projects.

A few observations from this week:

1) Most of the Job Owners we are currently working with are small business owners that don’t have a dedicated person responsible for hiring. Many decisions are made in the moment which makes planning ahead difficult. This means that OndeWork needs to continue to be seen as an easy and simple way to quickly secure the workers they need.

2) The behaviour of swiping a credit card and getting workers is quite different compared to existing alternatives. With a job board, a Job Owner pays for an ad and expects to receive and review resumes. With an agency, a Job Owner expects to make a phone call or send an email and get a worker with an invoice following at the end of the month. With OndeWork, swiping a credit card and getting a worker seems too simple. I am not sure what do to about this other than to take testimonials and use them to create trust.

I have also begun sending out our pitch deck to see what kind of responses are given from companies that fund companies in our position. This will be a weekly and continual exercise and I work through what we need to do to grow and hit our goals. I believe that once we have addressed points 1 and 2 above we will be in a position to grow in a meaningful way.

Have a great weekend everyone!

DG

Oct 10 Update

Onde Team – 

It was a short week but was still very busy. As a small team there always seems to be more tasks to be completed than what we have time to do. We either have too much to do in a short period of time or nothing to do…lol

Worker Team Updates

Goal: We help workers upskill and connect with opportunities.

The big event this week was being kicked off of Indeed which is where we were advertising for OndeWorkers. This wasn’t totally unexpected but certainly impacts how we attract new workers to our platform. Over the coming week we will be posting on Facebook and paying for sponsored ads to attract new workers. We also agreed that we would begin looking for individuals that want to do cleaning work not just construction work. We did have some people sign-up and will look forward to growing this.

Our largest long-term challenge right now is creating a network effect that helps us attract new workers without having to advertise or pay for them. Having people tell other people about OndeWork is the best advertising and we will continue to figure out how we can do this.

Job Owners Team Updates

Goal: We help companies grow their team using temporary OndeWorkers

I have now contacted most of the leads that LZ and ZA (and some MB ones) found for us. It’s been a mixed response as I think I waited too long to follow-up. I have created more than 57 Job Owner Profiles which is something I built to help our prospects see how many workers we have that could be working for them. I have also sent out an update to ZA and LZ about continuing with OndeWork to help us find prospective Job Owners and will look forward to hearing back from them.

I had more than 5 companies reach out to me this week that indicated they would like to start using OndeWork and now I will continue work them to get them to post their first job. The biggest learning I have had is that we need to make sure we don’t waste our time with companies that are not really interested in working with us. Many of the leads from LZ and ZA liked the idea of OndeWork but didn’t really want to learn more. However, a very small group of them were very interested and I believe will post their first job with us soon! This small group of companies will also post jobs on a regular basis (every week or a few times a month). The majority of the leads might only post one job every few months which is not a good fit for us as they are not looking to grow their teams using temporary workers.

I am excited to see what happens in the coming week and hope you all have a great weekend.

DG