On Monday, technology news site Recode brought attendees of the Enterprise Code Conference, its first-ever summit on the future of work, to Thumbtack as part of a tour of local tech companies that are redefining how Americans connect with economic opportunity.
Recode Editor-in-chief Dan Frommer noted, “Thumbtack is really representative of the kind of technology company that is enabling people to work in different ways than they did before.”
At the event, three Thumbtack professionals talked about how they built successful businesses on Thumbtack, alongside presentations from Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta and in-house economist Lucas Puente.
So what’s in store for the future of work, from the point of view of Thumbtack professionals?
Thumbtack takes away the stress of constantly finding new customers.
Thumbtack pro Chantelle Hartshorne (pictured, above right), provides makeup, hairstyling and photography services. She learned about Thumbtack three years ago and built a business that now works across the country. In her first year, she brought in more than $150,000 in revenue, and she says Thumbtack ROI is “1,000 percent better than Facebook or Google advertising. A Thumbtack shopper is committed to the actual transaction, which helps with filtering requests.”
Baron Lambert and his partner Jessica Garcia of Top-Tier Fitness originally met working at 24-Hour Fitness. When a friend told Baron about Thumbtack, he realized that his “true potential was outside the gym.” After scaling his own client base in personal training, he brought in Jessica as a partner, and eventually expanded his team to include additional trainers. Today, 75 percent of his business comes from Thumbtack.
Ian McCarthy and Rosa Lynley originally met on the job, fell in love, got married and decided to start their own bartending service, Sharpshooter. They learned about Thumbtack two years ago and now use it to find 50 percent of their business, delivering imaginative bartending services to private and corporate clients. They say their ability to consistently connect with new customers on Thumbtack means they can shift their focus to other business considerations, like organization and billing.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to succeed on Thumbtack.
Chantelle, whose parents were both small business owners, says that her success on Thumbtack wasn’t about being tech-savvy. From her parents’ example, she recognized that the key to success in a small business was to be fast, responsive, and get great reviews from her customers, further helping her get hired on Thumbtack and find new clients via word-of-mouth.
Baron says Thumbtack has helped his team because “we work with the human body — that’s our profession. Data analytics from Google and Facebook advertising were over our heads. With Thumbtack, you generate a beautiful profile, connect with customers, and that’s what the customer’s going to see. We’ve had clients contact us in their 80s – if an 80-year-old can figure it out, any of us can figure it out.”
Thumbtack CEO Marco Zappacosta agrees: “The ingredients for success have always been hustle, hard work, and dedication to making customers happy. At the end of the day, the tech part should be intuitive.”
The future of work is about mobilizing individual talents using technology.
Thumbtack CEO Marco noted, “The biggest source of wealth in our country is the talents and capabilities embodied in each and every one of us, in the tens of millions of pros working to provide services. Thumbtack helps abstract away the challenges of building and running a small business so folks can focus on what they do best. Technology isn’t inherently at odds with work. In fact, technology can do just as much to empower the professionals that exist today, to actually expand the market and help more people go into business for themselves.”
Thumbtack uses survey research and data analysis to better understand the population of small business owners who operate on Thumbtack. 90 percent of these professionals are self-employed or have fewer than 5 employees; they also often travel to their customers (plumbers, photographers, dog walkers, and more), so their needs are not always fully considered when policies are made relating to small business owners who own brick and mortar business like retail shops and restaurants.
Thumbtack’s research includes the annual Small Business Friendliness Survey, which reveals how small business owners grade their local city and state government regulations, and a monthly economic outlook study that looks at how small business owners respond to current events. Thumbtack uses this information to make more informed decisions about improving the platform and to advocate for small business owners with the government, as when Thumbtack president Jonathan Swanson recently spoke at a White House conference on the healthcare needs of skilled professionals.
For further reading, check out “Beyond the Gig Economy: How New Technologies Are Reshaping the Future of Work.”