Sunday, 2 December 2012

Our blog has moved

If you've head the great news, our website is up and running. You can now access all our blog posts here

Happy Tasking


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Santa’s lil Task Runner - 5 ways to keep sane this festive season

Is it any wonder that Australians greet Christmas with a mix of quiet delight and a sinking sense of misery?

Any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Mum is in the kitchen slaving over chooks, hams, seafood, salads, roast veggies, trifle and plum pudding.
  • Uncle is on guard duty to stop the kids from squeezing and shaking the presents too much before the big reveal.
  • Aunty is almost to the point of stapling the baby into her Christmas gown to avoid any more nudie nappy runs.
  • Every 3 minutes one of the kids insists on putting the antlers back on the less than impressed family dog.
  • Grandpa is in the corner making more and more unwanted advances towards the sherry.
  • Nana can’t get over the heat...oh the heat...and what it’s doing to her ankles, knees, hips and ears.  
  • Whoever gave the toddler a noise-maker is inches away from being strangled by Dad. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It's not even Christmas day!

So we've put together 5 ways to use TaskRunners to keep some sense of sanity working up to the 25th. 

1) Help with cleaning and fix-it projects

The house has to be super clean in order to pass the fingered glove test the mother-out-law (oops, typo) loves so much. So if scrubbing the house like a crazy person was one less day of hard work you didn’t have to do, post a spring cleaning task. 

Those DIY and fix-it projects from last year better not be hanging around lest Dad gets a lecture from his father and father-in-law. You can get help tackling those as well.

2) Pick up the grocery shopping 

Feeding an army at your party and don't want to break the bank? How about asking a Runner with a Costco membership to pick up your shopping and even have it delivered. It's worth the savings in time and money. 

Trips to the farmers markets. Picking up the 10 cartons of alcohol. Picking up the Christmas ham! Don't lose hairs over it, if it's one less thing on your to-do list, have someone help out. 

3) Put up (or taking down) the decorations 

If you love the idea of entering the best Christmas lights on the street competition you could possibly do with a spare hand. Or even if it's just dragging the tree from the garage and putting up the 500 decorations. That's at least a few hours of your weekend you could be doing something else. 

4) Be your personal shopper

How nice would it be to simply write lists and send off to your personal shopper? Well, you can. Managing your time and priorities is one of the best ways to help handle periods which can become overwhelming. Delegating tasks is not about losing responsibility but about prioritising your time and using it wisely. 

5) Help at the party

Treat yourself to actually enjoying your own party and relax with the help of Runners waiting on your guests and helping set up and clean up. A little box of choccies to say thank you for their help would be a special touch. 

It’s funny. Christmas is such a special occasion but the thrill of actually being able to have Christmas your way somehow diminishes as the workload piles on. Even before you can say “yes, we get to do it our way this year!” you’re surrounded with chores and complaints.

Lighten the load with TaskRunnersLarge or small, we can put some of the jolly back into your Christmas this year!

Are you planning to have a stress-free Christmas this year?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Can you help us launch TaskRunners?

At the crux of it, TaskRunners is all about help. Helping people who need things done and connecting them with people who are looking to earn some extra income by providing that help. My English teacher would be appalled to see the word ‘help’ used four times in a paragraph. Sorry Mrs Brown, but I’m trying to get a message through here.

As we inch closer to our website going live in a mere week or so I’m buzzing with excitement that it’s come this far. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished as a team (thank you Michael, Grant, Bek and Corn) and thrilled to have had such positive support from our growing community to keep the dream going. The best is yet to come.

I’ll be honest – starting a marketplace of any sort is not easy. Think eBay as a prime example. Critical mass, ie getting enough people to use the site as either Task Posters or Task Runners is the key, otherwise it simply doesn’t work. The great news is that it IS going to work and you know why? Not because I’m financial and emotionally vested in it but because YOU, our friends, our fans, our family want it also see it succeed. And damn it, it’s going to happen. Here’s where you come in.

The 'Go Live' button. 

On the day we go live, the last thing you and I want to see is a measly handful of tasks posted by my dear mother.  We want to get everyone hitting the ‘Post it’ button from the get go. Flood the pages with things you need done for the house, in preparation for Christmas, for that party you’re having with 50 friends, with getting your small business in order – tasks that have been sitting around for way too long waiting for the tooth fairy to take away and leave her gold coin for. It’s time to get it done!

So what can you do to help? In any of the following ways:
  • Post your tasks of course!
  • Share our page with your friends on email, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media and let them know what amazing things we’re looking to do here at TaskRunners,
  • Give out flyers to your local coffee shop, businesses, schools and clubs,
  • Leaflet drops in your building and around your suburb. We can post these out to you, just email me at and let me know how many you’d like and your mailing address and I’ll get that out to you quick smart.
  • Spread the word whichever way you like.

I can’t say thank you enough for your support. There truly are amazing people in the world. I’m looking forward to hearing stories about your experiences and how TaskRunners has really made a difference.

Yours in tasks

"I am surrounded by good energy, great opportunities, and amazing people." - Sylvia Borges

Monday, 5 November 2012

Why we're launching FREE

When you kick off a start-up, a lot of people (we’re talking pretty much ALL the people you talk to) will rave on about the power of Early Adopters. For ease, let's refer to them 'EAs'. We’re not talking Angelina and Brad adopting mind you. These are the people who uncover the ‘cool and new’ things, and who are such apparent trend setters the rest will follow their lead if they think your new business idea is fantastic.

So compelling is the theory that this is the group a lot of businesses (especially ones online) aim for when they first kick off because even if the EAs don’t necessarily have a need for your product, they will tell someone who will. And you see it in a lot of Australian start-ups.

But does it make it right?

We’re stepping out on a limb and going against the grain.
TaskRunners won’t be launching in the heart of EA territory. It’ll be launching in the heartlands of where people need the help the most – right in the heart of suburbia.

We can’t ignore the need to ‘monetise the product’ but we will be skinning this cat in a way that is different to most through offering both cash and in-kind as a payment option (so swapping or bartering basically) and taking a little more of a creative route to the road of a sustainable business (stay tuned for more on this).

We want to roll up our sleeves, get in there and help people get things done as quickly and as stress free as possible.

<Drum roll please>

We’re making TaskRunners completely FREE until the end of 2012. We’re testing our theories related to sharing tasks to create a better way of using time without our community of members paying for it.  

If you can hear a gasping, screaming sound right now, it’s probably the collective groans of the start-up community because we’re not trying to romance trend setters or looking at this from a plainly cash perspective.

We’re in this for the right reasons and for the long haul so we have to reinvent things a little to make sure it works the way it should.

That’s why we’re diving right in at the deep end to save your sanity. Because we wouldn’t have it any other way.

What do you think? Crazy stupid or crazy smart?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Taking on our Biggest Task

If you've read our post about how our TaskRunners journey started you'll realise we we're pretty much stuck in the busy-ness of life like millions of Australians. Simply overwhelmed.  

When I first thought of TaskRunners, I wasn’t looking for a specific “collaborative consumption” business to start. I didn’t even know the term or movement existed. I sure wasn’t looking for an online start-up that could make use of the latest in technology because I’m almost a complete technology dud. Start-up culture and practices weren’t even on my mind.

No. It sounds a little cliché but I just wanted to help and connect people which brought some joy into their lives. I’m not talking around help in a charitable way (that’s another one of my passions that I’ll save for another post) but in a sense that made people’s lives easier, more enjoyable and just so they have the freedom to choose what they wanted to do with their time. I know it was what I also wanted for myself and my family.

What I was seeing around me was (and have since found out):

  • Parents, especially mothers, drowning under the weight of the domestic burden, sleepless nights and a lack of ‘me’ time.
  • Overworked and stressed out individuals who were working ridiculous hours without time to even enjoy their families let alone look after their own health.
  • The growing Grey Army (of which my parents are a part of) who have all this skill, experience and knowledge to share but don’t get a lot of opportunities to make the most out of that without a lot of digging.
  • A huge underutilised workforce in the form of stay-at-home mums, university students, carers, the disabled, underemployed and the unemployed.
  • Freelancers who were stressed by the growing number of eBidding sites denting their livelihoods as more and more work went overseas.
  • Small business owners who saw less and less of their families because of impossible ‘To Do Lists’ attached to their workload.
Mission Impossible

With all these people leaping around in my head, I began to wonder what I could do.  How could I do something to cater to all these different markets or it just impossible? It literally bugged me for months before I began to realise it was TIME that was everybody’s problem. It took me that long to come to that realisation because I was just so caught up with life myself. 

So what if I could find a way where people who had spare time on their hands could help others who didn’t and redistribute what everyone needed to do and re-balance time? Sounds a little far fetched but I did my research and I knew I could introduce a localised solution to cater to the Australian family. The task was on! On now, just mere weeks away from going live, we're ready to get things happening for people.

Sign up here to be the one of the firsts to know when we launch. 

What do you think of TaskRunners? Love it? Hate it? Not quite sure?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

x Cheryl

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Results of the TaskRunners Survey! (Infographic)

The Results of the TaskRunners Survey! (text version)

THANK YOU very much to everyone who took the time to respond to our very first survey! 

It’s daunting starting a new business idea and we thought we’d better get as much information from people as possible. Considering we’re all about helping you as much as we can it really really helps us plan for the future.

If you're a visual person, we'll be posting the infographic in our next post.

Now, to the results! 

1) Which of the following best describes you? (select all that apply)

A whopping 45.3% of respondents are drowning from the weight of the domestic burden and would really like some help around the home. We totally understand! There are so many more important things to do than fold washing, constantly battling it out with household mess and chasing your tail in a never-ending cycle of demanding household tasks!

We’re obviously a pretty busy and applied bunch! Over a third of you are also juggling community and creative projects and would love some help with those too. And 28% are looking to use your skills to earn some extra income.

For our time-strapped small business owners, time to breathe a sign of relief. With almost a fifth of businesses weighed under with work, it’s nice to know 24.5% of our respondents are freelancers or sole operators looking for paid work.

Oh, and interestingly just a shade under 42% of you would be happy to swap help as opposed to cold hard cash to get your tasks done. Vive la barter we say!

2) Does the idea of sharing tasks appeal to you?

We’ve got 85% of survey respondents rearing to go on the sharing the tasks stakes and even the majority of the no’s were more in line with “it depends on the circumstances” and “time poor” to the point where they’d prefer to just simply pay straight up for someone to do things for them. All of which we can help you with.

What we can say from this result is an overwhelming majority of you are up for getting some help through TaskRunners. How awesome is that!

3) Why does the idea of sharing tasks with other people appeal to you? (select all that apply)

We’ve heard a lot about how important supporting local economies and so forth are in the news and it is definitely a major concern for 63% of the respondents who would much rather use a local option to get the help you need than a big, faceless corporation. Also, sustainability plays a huge role with 59% citing the pooling of resources and helping the planet as a major point of persuasion. Finally, you’re all a helpful little bunch who just wants to share your knowledge with other people (54%) and get together with your community to share the load (52%).

So you want to support local, be as green as you can and connect up to help and create community. What an awesome bunch of people you are!

4) Would you rather pay someone to do a task for you or swap getting your task done for helping someone do theirs?

It truly is a case-by-case basis for most of you with 58% coming back saying it depends. 24% appear so time poor they’d just rather pay to have the help they need and 18% would prefer a swap of their task for yours if the option is available.

Whatever the case, we will definitely be making room for all of you, you can bank on that!

5) What kinds of things would you like to have more time for? (select all that apply) 

Cue the Madonna and pack the Hawaiian shirts- more than anything else, you want a short break or a holiday with 68% of you pining for a load lightening service to enjoy a little getaway! This is closely followed by 64% wanting to turn that flab into fab through more time to exercise.

Finally, 52% of you want to spend more time with friends and/or family or get more time with your creative and side projects.

We hear you!

6) What kinds of things would you be happy to help people with? Either for a fee or to swap. (select all that apply) 

The freelancers are in like Flynn with the top total of 42%! You can totally dump your admin and light office work too with 36% of people putting their hands up to help with that too! Looks like those small business owners and overworked full timers have someone willing to pick up the slack!    

And it truly won’t be a jungle out there anymore if 34% of you are to be believed with gardening and yard work taking out the bronze medal in the “I can help you with that!” stakes.

7) What kinds of things would you be happy to have other people in your community do for you? (select all that apply)

Despite the continued population of lifestyle TV shows telling us otherwise, 64% of you would prefer someone else did your DIY and fix-it projects around the home.

Gardening and yard work gets a green thumbs down with 42% of respondents preferring someone else hit the snail trail, tying with the always unpopular general and spring cleaning around the home.

The laundry also leaves us cold with 34% of us happy to shout “let someone else do it!” along with admin and light office work which also came in at 34%.

So basically what you are telling us is you have better things to do than be tied to house repairs, the lawn mower, a mop and bucket, the ironing board and fiddly bits of demanding white paper. We hear ya!

8) What kinds of things would you consider paying for if they were offered? (select all that apply)

Sharpen the pencils and flatten down those cowlicks- 68% of you would consider taking a workshop or face to face course if given the opportunity. This far outstripped the next option of workbooks of advice on 38%.

Just to clarify a little confusion around this question too- we’re committed to making TaskRunners a sustainable, community orientated business and as such need to know what our options may be for future planning in terms of supplementing our income as simple percentages on the paid for transactions won’t pay wages.

So the question was intended to find out what you would pay for- not whether you would pay for the service.

9) Have you used any of the following businesses? (select all that apply)

Measuring just how in the know you are about collaborative consumption and the whole sharing ideal saw 78% of you stating you’ve used or know of eBay and 72% are seasoned Gumtree users! Yay!

20% of you are also found snuffling out re-use and recycle treats at Reverse Garbage, Freecycle and are even partial for a little bit of Craigslist.  

We’re proud to say the collaborative consumption movement is growing in Australia and that there are heaps of wonderful things you can share via this A to Z of Collaborative Consumption – nifty huh! 

10) How did you first hear about this survey?

Friends are where it’s at with 56% of our TaskMasters’ Cheryl and Cornelius mates raising a happy hand to offer some input- thank you!

Facebook and Twitter are also get the tongues a-wagging with about 10% of you happy scamps popping by via social media.

You can continue to keep up with our happenings via all our deliciously fun social media in future and bring your friends. We’d love that!

11) Where do you think we should advertise, blog and promote ourselves?

So much advice and so much to cover! Wow- thanks ever so much. We’re just tickled to see so much helpful and enthusiastic information coming through.

Social media like Twitter and Facebook were definitely popular suggestions- good thing we have a vibe going already! Feel free to pop by and say hi.

Local papers are also something you enjoy taking a squiz at and it seems you’re mixing it up with blogs, markets, meet ups and generally reaching out to the community.

We love the ideas about reaching out locally, to women and to families so stay tuned- you could be seeing us in a place near you soon!

12) What suburb/town do you live in?

From Rockhampton to Rowville and from city to the bush and even travelling in Asia we found our survey respondents. Sydney represented in high numbers, especially in the beachside suburbs. But whether you’re from the Gold Coast or Gosford, Brisbane to Bexley, we are really happy to hear our little TaskRunners beacon has been sounding!

We intend to make TaskRunners a service for all Australians to use. However to ensure we can make sure your first experiences of TaskRunners are positive, we will be rolling out in specific suburbs first, monitoring how things go and expanding the fun. Part of this is choosing places where people are super keen- so to help TaskRunners reach your area quicker, register your interest here.

13) What Gender are you?

64% of our respondents were female. So we can see there are a lot of women out there who are either in need of help, really keen to offer help or both!

14) What Age Group do you fit into?

Admittedly being a startup we often hear a lot of stories about how winning the hearts and minds of the early adopters (usually hip young cats living in inner city suburbs) is the way to go. So where you live and your age was really important for us to find out if these is indeed true.

Romping it home with a tiny titch below 44% are the 30 to 34 year old group. The next closest group was 35 to 39 making up 19% followed by 15% with the 40 to 44 year olds.

Coupling this with the strong presence of more family orientated areas and beachside suburbs coming through in our survey means we probably won’t be marching into super cool Hipster-ville any time soon!

This confirms our theory that from the 30’s onwards, we’re all a little overwhelmed with things to do and that we’d happily explore new ways to help each other out so we can regain time for our relationships, kids, creative projects, community and ourselves. 

15) What social media channels do you use or follow? (select all that apply)

Facebook is still King of the Castle with 97.9% of you who do use social media. Twitter grabs 48.7% of you who are social media savvy, and Pinterest and Google + making friends with roughly a quarter. So looks like social media is the super hot tamale in TaskRunner town! 

We will also be looking at blogs too, so if you have any specific suggestions, please pop them on the blog below. Any suggestions on places you read on a regular basis in the blogosphere would be welcome so we can contact them!

Phew! We’d better step to it then.

Well, that’s all for our first ever survey! Thank you again to each and every one of you who participated. You’ve racked up a pretty impressive store of karma points for that. Your input and enthusiasm for TaskRunners at this early stage is so encouraging and keeps us our little legs moving!

The exciting news is we're only a few weeks from launching - so if you popped through your email to us during the survey, we’ll be leaving you an email soon! Keep coming to play on the blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest- it really makes us happy to see comments, retweets, questions and new faces join!

So were the results surprising or expected? Leave us your comments. 

Keep in tasking!

Team TaskRunners