Thursday, 19 July 2012

How a renovation nightmare sparked an idea

Chalkboard 48 by Chalkboard Wisdom
Many moons ago in 2009, my husband Cornelius and I, had not long nailed our last nail in a gruelling 10 month renovation of my parents' home (thank god!). They were overseas working and we were renting from them. Ok, so we were a tad naive and overly optimistic to think that living in the home whilst renovating and working full time would be 'an exciting challenge'. We'd done Tech classes and made jigsaws at school, how hard could putting up plasterboard walls and ripping out a cast iron fireplace be right? Fools! Turn back, wrong way!!

So as much as it was a, putting it nicely, 'growing experience' for our marriage and our wood working skills, we swore from then never to lift another paint brush in our lives again. On the plus side - the place looks pretty darn fantabulous now. Just no jumping around and loud talking you hear me. 

Word of advice: if you ever have to stick a 6 foot, 150kg fish tank into a wall make sure you measure the space 99 times plus one more and then get someone else to measure it for you another 50 times. Just saves soooooo much heartache. 

Return of the Parentals

My parents were due to return in 2010 for their grand retirement and back to their sparkling newly revamped home. As life would have it, my mother discovered a tumour in her bowel and did a bee-line straight home to Sydney for the operation. We hung around to help with her recovery and provide morale support. My step-dad, we call him Uncle Bob, in the meantime, embarked on continuing with minor renos and given the garden a face light. Slight problem was with a sore hip and knee moving around wasn't particularly easy. So really, progress was p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow (sorry UB!) and our weekends ended up back in our trackies, covered in dust, hammer and paint brush in hand. Argh!! 

Excuse the language but yup, it felt just like that

The reality was, it was all minor stuff that needed done. Painting the top of the car porch, hammering in plasterboards, touching up paint. Really anyone that was a little handy could have done it in a flash and but we were flat out like squashed possums by Monday absolutely exhausted. Problem was, no tradie was going to want to take on little jobs like that and who else apart from family could you get to help out? A neighbour maybe, or even a uni student but how or where would we find them?

Mini Bob saves the day

So happens UB did manage to find, through the Plumber, a uni student (Bob, aptly named Mini Bob) who, for a daily fee, was there to help out with the planting, the weeding, the ladder holding, anything! It was a match made in heaven. UB happy. Mini Bob happy. We had our weekends back! UBER HAPPY!

That 'Light Bulb' moment

We thought, wouldn’t it be great to be able to have somewhere to go to find people like Mini Bob to help out with tasks, small jobs and things you needed done which could be a little random (or not) which would mean time strapped families could get more done and spend more time doing the things they really wanted to do. It would allow people to earn an extra income using their skills, time or knowledge to help someone out. It just made sense. Haven’t we been doing this for centuries? Isn't this what community is about?

Stuff it, let's get it done!

So to cut a long story short, that’s where it all began. It took a while for us to actually act on it with full time jobs keeping us busy but a chance encounter with Magic Mike (Michael, our brilliant developer) in late 2011 ignited the fire. We've since moved out and then in May 2011, after our return from a soul searching trip to South America,  I took the crucial step of living my cushy job to embark on this journey. We hadn't flushed out the nuts and bolts of exactly how it would work or whether it would work but we knew it was about connecting people and creating a win-win.  We called it TaskRunners. More on how we came up with the name in another post.

Our soul searching trek in Patagonia, South America

The biggest leap of faith, or act of stupidity? Well, you'll just have to join us to find out. 

Have you ever made a leap of faith into the unknown? What was it for and how did it turn out?


  1. Bravo, Cheryl & Corn! I think it's a brilliant idea. There's definitely a need for part-time helpers. All my very best wishes for your success...take care and have great fun :-)

  2. Thanks Joyce for your support! Fingers crossed x