Building a business plan off of the idea that most people would kill to have a relative or close family friend with a law background. Not to get out of jail or anything, but more for the smaller questions, that would only take a few minutes to answer but aren’t worth paying 200 bucks for. Lloyd Barrett came up with Expert Answers, a website that allows users to solicit legal advice from real professionals at a price they get to set themselves.
The service clearly met a need in the market because the site had a 1000% increase in just 18 months. Lloyd talks shop, and lets us in on what day to day life is like at a startup that is growing fast.
What’s the greatest thing about your website?
The user chooses how much they want to pay for the advice they can choose anything from £10 to £150. Regardless of how much they choose to pay they get the same level of service.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
It was a comment made to me several times by friends, family and friends… “wish I knew an expert that could answer this.”
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the World Wide Web?
First time I encountered a computer was in 1992 and thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. My first experience of the Internet is a hard one to define.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
8.30 till whenever I finish what I am doing.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
August 2013 spent a week in Cornwall with the family.
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
Catch up on the football gossip online.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?
Whilst driving long distances on my own.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Two of us started and now have over 80.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
We knew changes were being made b the government to the way the legal services market operated and we knew a lot of people were going to be cut a drift from getting access to legal advice.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
Late nights arguments with partners no money to fund development mistake after mistake that proved both costly and futile.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
Boxing or spending time in the garden doing really really mundane things.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
Cannot work without the TV being on in the corner.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
IPO and remaining [on] as a part time consultant to the business.
Who or what inspires YOU?
Richard Branson – love his shameless self publicity for his business. Like his if “they know about it they will use it” and how do they get to know about it “publicity.”
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Self funding to now… we are now in the process of applying for funding from government.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Believe in what you do enjoy it or you will not do it be single minded spend more time on it than you do in it.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Work with a number of my favorite charities.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
Do not consider myself successful… yet… will do so when I overhear others talking about Expert answers in everyday language without knowing I started it.
Top websites you couldn’t live without and why?
BBC Dailymail Newsnow (sports), Expert Answers, Skype (though not technically a website).
Top mobile apps you’re in love with and why?
Bizcardscanner, teamviewer, Skype.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
Egypt… vast vast wealth of history not many countries can match.
Three people we should follow on Twitter?
Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.
From 20 users a month to over 200 new users a month in less than 18 months. 20% of users small businesses.
Where else can we find you?