This month we were lucky enough to catch up with PeoplePerHour.com‘s Xenios Thrasyvoulou. One of the most popular websites for listing and finding freelance work online, PeoplePerHour.com aims to change recruitment and helps people match skills to work.
1. If you were building PeoplePerHour again with the knowledge you have now, what (if anything) would you do differently?
I guess I would be less conscious and anxious of getting everything right from the start. In fact I’d plunge in and iterate more. And I would probably trust my gut instinct more.
2. How is the company organised and what’s the culture like?
We have a very flat team structure in general, but of course we also eat our own cooking! We have a core in-house team and around that we have a ‘virtual’ team spread globally including designers, developers, social media managers, PR managers etc.. all from our site. Our culture is very entrepreneurial and we make a concerted effort to make sure that it feels like a technology start-up even if we are bigger now than your typical start-up.
3. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from developing PeoplePerHour?
To sum it up in a quote, “Give people the tools to deliver and they will. But touch their inner nature and they will rock your world”.
4. How has PeoplePerHour changed the way small businesses recruit?
PeoplePerHour has revolutionized the way small businesses work, by making use of the web. Before the web and before the existence of online websites like PPH which essentially provide the medium to match small businesses with a remote workforce, small businesses simply needed to recruit full-time if they needed things done. This meant that even if they didn’t have the scope or need to hire someone full-time, they were forced to do so. This lead to a lot of wasted energy and time in finding the right people through interviews etc, whereas now, small businesses can hire freelancers through the web when and as they need to, without having to go through all the hassle and paperwork of recruiting, firing, re-recruiting etc.
5. What are the most enjoyable aspects of being an entrepreneur?
The best reward out of being an entrepreneur is watching your own creation come to life in a form that drives people and – even if in the slightest – changes the world for the better. At the heart of every entrepreneur lies a deep passion for innovation and a hatred for conformance to inefficiency. Entrepreneurs hate it when things are done badly and they set off to do them themselves in a better way, which is most often how businesses start.
6. What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own company?
Don’t wait for the perfect idea or the perfect plan. Plunge in, roll up your cuffs, dig into the detail, iterate relentlessly, listen to your customers, iterate some more, trust your gut, keep iterating and you will get there. And never ever think of giving up. When the thought enters your mind that’s when you’ve lost the game.
7. What’s the best/most memorable listing you’ve seen posted on PeoplePerHour?
“Need a website like PeoplePerHour ”
8. PeoplePerHour listings usually have numerous bids – what advice would you give to freelancers to help them stand out from the rest of the competition?
• My first piece of advice is: don’t try to be the cheapest. Price your bid sensibly and substantiate your price. Most clients go for quality over price, and often, pricing your bid too low is indicative of both a lack of confidence and a lack of professionalism on your part.
• Secondly, make sure you write detailed proposals. Clients like well thought out and structured bids. State your assumptions and be honest about skills you may not have and therefore need to bring in order to complement yours.
• Don’t take on more work than you have the scope or skills for – it will only result in under-achievement and your reviews will suffer as a consequence.
• And last but not least, invest time to build up your profile – A visual portfolio can make all the difference. Take the skills tests that are relevant to you and – most importantly – get some referrals. Feedback is the single biggest determinant of awarding a bid. If you are new to the site you can import feedback from previous clients who’ve used you thus giving you a head-start.
9. What are your favourite online resources for entrepreneurs and/or freelancers?
I follow a variety of blogs mostly in the tech start-up arena. Paul Graham’s is my favourite.