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Workee: Freelancer website builder, 0% fees

Website builder for freelancers - 0% fees and full customisation | Ihor Bauman - Workee

What does Workee do?

Ihor: Workee is the simplest personal website builder with building, booking, scan and payments, and many more. We created this super simple workspace for professionals. It allows you to have your practice up and running in less than one minute.

Our audience is freelancers, but those freelancers who have a specific focus on appointments and online sessions. So you can imagine private teachers, health experts, coaches, psychologists, all those guys. Right now, we have the most active users as private teachers and teachers in the US and many more audiences than we have.

What are your solutions?

Ihor: We noticed that all the professionals, once they start doing their solar business, the private business, are interested in growing their personal brands. Right now, they start from the personal website to appear on the internet. So we created the simplest personal no-code website. You add your name and profession, and we are out generating information about you for your personal website. So after signing up, we already have your website filled with information you need to publish, and it becomes available for all your audience.

We have one of the simplest and most flexible solutions for scheduling. We support multiple time slots and multiple different schedules with the management of your vacations, days off, and other holidays. This makes you very flexible in bookings for your clients and allows you to create multiple slots for both.

The core functionality is available for our users for 100% free. We are running under a free business model. At the same time, we also like working in a niche of back office management, so we help our users manage their finances and send invoices. We also support automatic invoices. We also propose our user users manage the workspace very easily because we connect different countries. So we ensure that your availability is always up to date. We support different payment integrations like Stripe and video meetings like Google Meet and Zoom.

What is the pricing for Workee?

Ihor: Right now, we focus on our user acquisition and retention. Since our product is between B2C and B2B, most of our users, who have freelancers there in most cases, are just trying to start. And in most cases, they do not have a legal entity. So they’re just working as a physical person in terms of text. That’s why our product is between B2C and B2B. So starting with the free version, we call it Workee Starter. It’s a free plan that goes without any trial or credit card requirements and allows you to have your personal story and business up and running in less than one minute.

Right now, we are working on professional features regarding sessions, group video calls, extended invoices, and job listings, and Zoom Suite would be a part of our Workee professional plan. So far, we already have accounting and invoicing available for free within our plan, but we’ll split with the Pro plan.

So if you want to start and have bookings and receive payments without any other fees, we charge a 0% fee for all our transactions and payments. You are welcome to use our Workee Starter plan. Use your personal website, and build your story at the moment. Once you understand that you need more professional features, like more invoice features, job features, professional website templates, et cetera, we allow you to update and upgrade your plan to the Pro one.

What are the Workee integrations?

Ihor: It’s a very tricky thing, you know, from one side, our users want to have everything in one place. But when you’re adding integrations, it means that you have to have accounts in different tools. So we are very careful with integrations. We understand that we are not building the next Zoom, and our users have habits. So that is why it’s much easier for us to integrate with Zoom and provide a native experience.

Our approach to the things we do at Workee is that when we add some integration, we add that to the native user experience level. You won’t recognize that we have something integrated you’re just putting on. So Zoom, for example, will be automatically added to all your video calls, and you wouldn’t understand that until the meeting is happening. So invitations, booking, scheduling, invoicing, etcetera, etc., go on our user interface. Here we are, adding integrations very carefully.

We do support Google Meet video calls and Google Calendar as well. We also provide deep integration with Zoom and Zoom calendars as well. So far, we are using Stripe as a payment infrastructure. We are now adding more integrations for signing documents online for your accounting, and it’s coming soon with Workee Pro.

Successful use cases?

Ihor: As I said, we see the most active part of our users as prior teachers in the US. Most of our teachers come from marketplaces, and you can imagine any vertical of any profess. And every vertical right now will have the marketplace solution. And the deal is pretty fair enough because you, as a professional, want to provide services and get paid. You don’t want to do the marketing.

So, in this case, you’re just going to the marketplace to establish your profile, and after that, you are being booked by your clients simultaneously. You can be on different marketplaces at the same time. You’re just getting booked out of different marketplaces, but you don’t want to be on the marketplace once you already have your network, experience, and clients. You want to work directly with your clients. And this is where Workee steps in. We allow you to create a personal story, and we allow you to work directly with your clients, grow your personal brand, and pay any fees to work.

So, our successful user stories have the work blog we are sharing. Our user’s expert opinion, our user success stories. So far, we have almost 5,000 users. So, most of our users are successful because they already run their private businesses. One success story that should be live soon, it’s with Sofia, a private teacher. She’s providing documents and translation. She also provides some concept validations, some articles, preparation, etc. And it’s super nice to see how she manages the whole business, and all the engagements are working because she has a personal website and a simple button and books me.

And when you tap on Book Me, you can see about 15 different time slots. So this is a very great example for our users of how they could run different businesses in one single place who is working because, in this case, you are just adding a new time slot, adding a new job each time slot has the name, description, and price, you can set up any price and terms of duration and description and attachment picture you want. So it allows you to have different areas of your expertise of your skills being booked by your users.

What’s your view on the competition?

Ihor: It’s kind of in between blue and red ocean right now. For market pace, it’s a red ocean. As I mentioned before, there are verticals, and there are different marketplaces in each vertical. The same goes for private tutors. The nice thing is to see how our concept is validated by the market leaders like Squarespace, Upwork, or Fiverr. Because these guys do not have like specifics, they are already big enough to have different and multiple verticals.

And it is very nice to see how they are already working, or maybe someone has already released the back office management because we are talking about how to allow freelancers to work with their clients directly and manage the business at the same time. Because, if talking about the accounting and tax action in the US, it’s far away from being easy, right?

It requires you to manage everything, all your income and expenses as well. So many things took you away from your plans and your kind of success example of the day. That is why these guys are already on the market and HoneyBook. The top saddle that is doing that professionally from day one. So yes, there is competition. At the same time, we also understand our unique advantages and how to bring value to our users. First of all, we thank our users for talking with us and sharing their feedback because it helps navigate you through thousands of ideas.

When did you start Workee, and why?

Ihor: We started the idea in May 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic. The idea actually started from the personal pain of one of my close ones. At the moment, my mom was working as therapy in private here in Ukraine. At that moment, due to pandemic restrictions, that hospital was not ready to operate because it was not meeting the requirements. And my mom was at the point of losing her job working for that private hospital.

At the same time, my mom was doing many appointments and sessions planned, and most of the clients were not from one city. And when I told my mom, maybe you should just try using Skype. She said that she already was using Skype, but the thing was how to get paid, how to get booked, how to manage the work and the client’s history, and have it in a way automatically so you don’t lose your focus.

That is why we decided to create this super simple space that allows you to go online in a minute. And that allows you to have everything that you need, like the full steps out of the box, without any need for integration because, as I said, we provide very close integration with another video call provider. So we are just doing the job for you, grading your work website and bringing integrations. You need to work online, and after that, when you’re growing, you can add new integrations, find new features, get booked differently, add invoices, etc.

Have you raised funds from Startup Wise Guys?

Ihor: Yes, one of our investors is the Startup Wise Guys, and yes, we raised funds, and it was in different steps. Everything started with me bootstrapping out of my personal savings. After that, we had one small angel that believed in us is that moment and that we were really helpful because he helped us.

When you like working by yourself, you say – okay, let’s do this way and this way, or Maybe I shouldn’t start, etc. But when someone brings you money, you have no choice but to start. We also won a Grand National Startup Up competition and non-equity for $25,000. So it was another push. Then we’ve been accepted to the Startup Wise Guys exploration program – the biggest exploration program in Europe. We were lucky to get in and finish the exploration. And after exploration, we raised around $600,000

How big is the Workee team?

Ihor: Right now, we are 12 people. From day one, all our team members who are working remotely. For us, it’s a challenge when it goes to the culture. To the mentality mindset question, it’s super hard to transfer that via online being, however, in terms of work perspective, it also requires you to be, experienced with good skills to make sure your tasks are estimated and will be delivered on time.

Your biggest challenge in founding the company?

Ihor: It was actually putting together our co-founding team. You can be a super knowledgeable and experienced guy, but you will do nothing without people around you. It’s hard to understand, and you understand that after some period of time that in most cases, you are not running screens, you are running microphones. So it’s super important to have your people follow the work-life balance.

Because when you’re doing that, definitely you have releases, You have tough times with the fundraising. You have tough times with all the boxes, issues with the production of your product, etc. Tough times will be every day and everywhere – it’s again a marathon. You should keep your team motivated, ambitious, and healthy as much as possible.

What is your vision with Workee?

Ihor: One of the main things that keeps me really ambitious about Workee is its potential. So far, we are targeting on private education and private teaching in the years that is 25 billion US dollars, just in 2020. We also understand that we can easily extend to other audiences like developers, designers, teams of freelancers, and small agencies. So the potential here is huge, and, according to Forbes, until 2040, about 50% of the global workforce will be freelance.

The global vision for Workee allows different kinds of professionals to find clients, find teammates, and combine teams to deliver specific projects. This is what drives us.

What is your story, Ihor?

Ihor: Everything started, I guess, from the university. I was starting my bachelor’s degree in finance. And in the last year of study, I worked at Nest- a global company. I was working there as an analyst and doing my work there. After that, I started working in an advisory department, as a business analyst, for a couple of years. That was a super, solid, and powerful school for me, for my heart and soft skills.

Because it’s a professional company – you are providing professional services, and you need to be committed to what you do and be careful about what you do. So I was working as a business analyst and then as head of the consulting department in one it for a development company, we worked with different clients across the globe. They’re living projects for them. Then I switched to another client working for the product. So, we were working in the product development space for the B2B segment. Then I switched to another company, also working in software development. Doing my last two jobs, I met our two co-founders.

It would be a very good trick for listeners of our podcast – be very careful with the people you are working be because you never know where you will find them and how we will work together. So it’s very important to keep your network warm. Continue to keep relations with your partners, ex-colleagues, and ex-manager because you already know that – the world is not too big. You can be in a couple of hours, you can be in another country or another continent. So you never know where we meet another partner, another client, or another co-founder.

Ihor is a member of the Forbes Technology Council

Ihor: The story is pretty simple, you know? Referring to my previous answer, it’s all about the network. It’s about being in the network. When you are running a business, it’s very important to connect with other businesses and founders, change ideas, change expertise, and change connections.

Forbes is a great place to be for different reasons. First of all, again, community. Secondly, it’s kind of some public appearance. Certainly, you can also assure your thoughts by bringing your articles to Forbes to write something. So this is also a good way to support your company and your personal brand.

Everyone who wants to become a part of the Forbes Council needs to meet some criteria – they’re on the Forbes official page. You can just go there, double-check the criteria, and after you think that you can match the criteria, you just complete the form and go through a couple of interviews with forms representatives. And based on that, you are approved or not approved to become a council member. So that was the story, and this like the main motivation to be there. It’s about new opportunities and new people.

Were you first a mentor at Startup Wise Guys after that, they invested in you or firstly invested in you, and after that, you became a mentor?

Ihor: That was the second option. We were a startup in the program a year ago. And after that, they invited us to mentor the startups. And, you know, the exploration program is one thing, but all chapters are covered by different mentors. I am really thankful to Startup Wise Guys for putting those mentors. Also, I am trying to help other startups because, again, it’s about bringing the same value that you had to other teams and other founders. I remember I met a couple of great advisors who really changed many things in Workee and our mindset.

It is very nice to have mentors from different stages like series C, series B, series A, seed stage, pre-seed stage, etc. For us, speaking with people from different stages is definitely nice because you can see what they’re thinking. It is also very interesting to speak with people not far from you, just a couple of steps, and, yes, that’s why right now I’m trying to bring them some kind of hot piece of advice, some head-on advice. By the way, I’m also a mentor at Dium. It’s another big IT open accelerator. So recently, I had a big session with 15 startups. So, trying to be helpful as much as I can.

What’s your favorite software?

Ihor: By the way, I’m asking this question during the interview when we hire people.

So I have a couple of software that I really appreciate and respect. It’s Slack, Figma, Notion, and also PandaDoc. I’m using them almost daily, and you can see how they’re changing, how they’re following their user’s feedback, how they’re growing, how they’re testing, and how they are failing as well. They really allow you to be more productive and to cover your pains. Since I’m using that on a daily basis, they are always on, on my table. I can also kind of like Uber.

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