Sell Your Skills On Skillendar – The Neighborhood Social Network
Raise your hand if you couldn’t use a little extra cash. Especially in the early stages of a startup company, before you’re pulling in the big bucks, chances are that you’re going to need to find other ways to pay your rent. Chances also are that you don’t have a lot of time to work with as you focus on getting your company off the ground.
What’s a budding entrepreneur to do? I’d say the first thing is to cross your fingers and hope that your neighborhood is on Skillendar, a new neighborhood social network that helps you turn your hobbies and random skills into money makers, in your own time. Founder Sundar Venkitachalam took some time out from his 14 hour work days to answer some of our questions about his latest venture and the start-up life
Tell us about your latest Project, Skillendar.
Skillendar is a neighborhood network and skills & services marketplace for you to connect with and reach out to your local community.
Like Facebook is a network for friends and LinkedIn is a network for professionals, Skillendar is a network for your neighborhood. Also Skillendar has a unique calendar-based skill search that helps you find the availability of people in your neighbourhood who are open to share their time or provide a service, at a glance. Hence the name Skillendar, short for ‘Skills On Calendar.’
Anyone can become a provider and start helping their community regardless of whether they would like to charge a fee for the service/time or they are open to do the job free of charge as a community service.
Skillendar is designed for short term or temporary jobs. Hence it really suits people with busy schedules and limited availability like students, people with full time jobs wanting to do a second job etc. Moreover, Skillendar helps you publish your personal interests and hobbies and attract potential clients to earn extra income over your evenings and weekends.
How long have you been involved with the internet? What were your first steps?
I have been fully involved with internet for the last 16 years or so. I was about 18 years old when I first got on the World Wide Web back in 1994. I was in India and in those days we had something called a ‘Shell account’ which gave access to a very basic text based web. It’s really interesting to see how internet has changed from being something really dull and boring to today’s colourful and wonderful web.
What time do you usually start work each day?
I am not a morning person; so I usually start working at 10ish but always work until midnight. We have a virtual office setup and I mostly work from home.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
I religiously follow and check Google analytics and reports in our platform all the time. But I still wouldn’t be able to sleep if I haven’t checked the user reports one more time just before going to bed.
When do your best ideas come to you?
I am a 24/7 ideas guy but most of my ideas get developed when I am in bed at night.
Remember the early days starting up? Tell us about the challenges.
Being a self-funded single person start-up, every aspect of this business has been a struggle. Starting from the market study, product development, design and architecture to liaising with strategic partners, bloggers, publishers etc., I had to do it myself. I was working for more than 16 hours a day every day including weekends. It was an absolute hard work but I learned a lot while doing it. I would say it’s a kind of real time MBA training. It really was a learning curve for me. However, I still have to wait and see whether it was worth all the trouble.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
I am very passionate about science and technology and enjoy learning something new every day. From my childhood I was always interested in finding the best possible solutions to our day to day problems.
When I started working in the tech industry I thought I would make all my ideas a reality. But unfortunately; to my dismay, I was never ‘At the right place at the right time.’ In many occasions I had to sadly watch big guys like Google and Microsoft get the limelight releasing similar products/technologies that I had silently worked on way before them.
All these ill experiences made me start my own company as a platform for me to try out my ideas.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
- Never ever start your business alone; try to get a core team with skills that mutually complement each other.
- Do the market research first before you start coding.
- Always be ready to pivot based on the market.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
My wife; without her support I would definitely have dropped out from this project long ago. Though she is not a part of the Skillendar team, she was involved and contributed in every aspect of this project from day 1.
Can you share what got your latest “WOW” moment was?
Skillendar was initially built as a platform for professional service providers. After our beta release and several market analyses we realized that there is a big gap in the market for a platform for neighbourhood outreach.
This really was an ‘’aha’’ moment for us. We went back to the drawing board and started building the new community focused skills and service marketplace.
Where can our readers get hold of you?