Wrapping Up Vs Looking AheadPosted: January 2, 2010
Well, as we come to a close of 2009, I see many other blogs ending with a wrap up of the year, posting top ten lists and so on. I figured that this blog hasn’t been around for most of 2009, and there isn’t a whole lot for us to reflect back on. 2009 was certainly an exciting year for us with a business incorporation, site design, and development of the site starting, but I’m more excited about what we plan to make happen in 2010 than what we have already accomplished (which is arguably, not much). So, while everyone seems to be looking back, I thought I’d create a post that looks forward to what we expect in 2010.
The First Problem(s)
In order to build a site that matches employers with contractors and freelancers, we need to fill one side of the hopper, so to speak. No one wants to post a job to a site with no candidates and no candidates are going to join a site with no opportunities posted (our problem). This lead to the idea for Project Molloy which will provide a simple, inexpensive (often free) way for individuals and small businesses to create and send estimates, invoices and sales receipts to their clients. I’m excited about Molloy for a bunch of different reasons, mainly it being the first release and the opportunity for us to provide a valuable service to a wide number of people. While the online billing market is quite saturated, I think we provide a great interface with an excellent price point. My focus on this release is to gather users and to help facilitate the growth of their business.
For many contractors and small businesses, finding an ideal way to manage the billing of clients is tricky (problem two). Do you use a full-fledged bookkeeping software and pay for a bunch of features you don’t need to get the features you do need? Or do you use Excel and paper receipts and pay your accountant more at the end of the year? I expect to see continued growth in the independent worker movement and more companies looking to hire contractors to manage their bottom line. As this growth continues, I think the limitations of many of the current solutions will allow solutions like myTooq.com to gain traction.
After the initial release of Molloy, we’ll spend a couple of months on polishing the application, fixing bugs, A/B testing, marketing, and the like. We will then move on to adding some of the other key features such as mobile access, time tracking and other smaller features.
The biggest enhancement to Molloy is a separate project titled Project Malone. Depending on traction and our customer’s needs, Malone will allow for the handling of payments of the invoices already sent. There are a ton of development options here, and I’m not going to pretend I know what type of solution we’ll implement. If the demand isn’t there, we’ll likely delay to work on:
The Meat and Potatoes
myTooq.com is going to be a solution for replacing recruiters after all and we need to start building Project Watt soon. I’m still working on the design and need to talk with both contractors and folks from companies that currently (or recently) have used recruiters. I’ll be looking to set these interviews up in late January or early February. If you fall into either category, and are interested in having a chat, drop me an email at brian at mytooq dot com. My goal for Watt to hit beta is July 2010. I’ll pass more details on as the design evolves.
Other Product Notes
There are a few other things we have planned for myTooq.com that are not yet tied to a release structure. While I’m quite open (maybe too open?) about our plans, there is one thing we have planned for the site that, to me, will be more important than a lot of the features we could ever add to the application. I’m not going to show my hand on this one quite yet, but let me say that it happens a lot in the brick and mortar world, does not seem to happen online, and will offer something incredibly valuable to users of myTooq.com. It is not locked into a timeline and may release as early as the spring or as late as the fall of 2010. The only reliance here is a critical mass of active users that should not be too hard to achieve (500 or so).
Currently, I am the only full-time founder working for Tooq and that will likely remain the case for most of 2010. Unless we hit some crazy viral explosion in growth, our focus is on keeping costs down and that means keeping payroll as small as possible. While the founder count should remain low for the year, I am hoping that we can increase the developer count fairly soon (February or March). The timeline on hiring someone really only depends on:
We’re are getting ready to complete a friends and family round of funding over the next few weeks. We’re not looking for crazy amounts of cash, but we do need more than our original round of self-funding is going to provide. I’m guessing that we will look at convertible notes or simple debt funding depending on the contribution amount. I still need to talk with the lawyer and get some ducks in a row before presenting to anyone. I have spent a good chunk of time fleshing out acquisition numbers for Tooq and our business model should allow us to make income sometime this year, so hopefully or F&F round can get us to positive numbers and we can minimize the need for further outside cash (unless of course we see signs that an influx of cash would help us grow much faster).
I set out to provide a roadmap for 2010 in this post, but I think it this post would go on for too long to provide too many more details. The above hits on a high level of what we have planned, but I think future posts broken down by a smaller time frame will provide better insight. I’ll detail my plans for January in a few days.
I hope you had a great holiday season. Here’s to looking forward. All the best in 2010.
“The wisdom of the years tells me that getting old is a frame of mind, and the way to stay young is to listen to your dreams and keep one’s vision more ahead than behind” – Andy Russell