Luke is one of the founders and CEO of Employs.com.au. He has a Bachelor Arts/Bachelor Teaching double degree and a Master of Education degree. He is also an elected Councillor on Lake Macquarie City Council. He grew up in Newcastle and now lives in the neighbouring city of Lake Macquarie with his wife and two children. He enjoys founding things and he has previously founded 3 other organisations being a charity, a political party and a software company.
Can you share a bit about your idea with us and what made you decide to take the plunge to make it happen?
Employs.com.au is a trusted online marketplace where people find or post everyday tasks that need doing. It matches people wanting work with people wanting tasks completed like gardening, handyman, cleaning, office administration, web design, deliveries, tutoring or anything else for a home or organisation. We match freelance labour with local users wanting help with everyday jobs. Users simply post a task and access trusted and skilled people for home or business tasks.
We discussed the idea for a while, as a result of over 1 million Australians being underemployed. We also examined the impact of the sharing and gig economies. Plus, we considered recently released statistics from the University of Newcastle that state almost half the current jobs will no longer exist in 20 years. We decided to do something about it and so we spoke to some people we thought we like to invest. They loved the idea and invested and now we’re fully launched and scaling.
What does your business model look like?
Employs.com.au is a freemium site. Users can pay for optional upgrades for job posts, similar to gumtree.
Can you share what it is you’re working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
We are focussing heavily on how we get more volunteers and not-for-profits connected on the site. We think there’s a lot of people who would love to give back to their community but are unsure who needs help or where to start.
How do you make ideas happen?
I’ve got a great team around me with the attitude of “it’s not if it can be done but how it can be done”.
What role have mentors played in your business life?
A crucial role. There are some many experienced people who can provide so much advice from their lives. Things to do and things not to do.
What does your typical day look like?
I usually check Employs.com.au to see how many new users or tasks have been added. There are always many things on my to-do list, so I work through those in priority order as quickly as I can. There is also usually time for meetings or brainstorming with others about strategy, direction, opportunities etc.
What challenges have you faced when starting a business in Australia?
The biggest hurdle, as many of your readers would appreciate it, is finding the time to get things done.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
The best ideas are ones you have ownership of or are passionate about. So, I’d say the best idea is the one you’ve had yourself. Take it and find a way to make it work. If it hasn’t been done great, be first. If it has been done, great, you’ve potentially got validation, and find a way you can do it different or better.
What about internationally?
Do you think business can play a role in affecting social change?
A major role. Jobs, money and opportunity are major contributors to social change and important parts of business.
Is there a particular charity or social enterprise you support?
Yes, DonateYourDay.com.au. It’s a a modern charity that is a charitable fundraising site for people to fundraise on their birthdays instead of receiving gifts.
What are 3 websites you would recommend to our readers?
Which 3 Australians do you think we should follow on Twitter?
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?
Yes, always open to any suggestions, partnership opportunities, interns etc. A recent Fairfax media article led to a number of people approaching us about investing so “my door is always open”, so to speak.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, what would it be?
What’s the best value customer acquisition method they have come across?
Do you have a favourite café?
There are a number of great ones in Newcastle but I do go to one called Hippos a lot.