It’s been a whirlwind journey since founding OneShift two years ago (we just celebrated our second birthday in June)! There are definitely no dull moments when you found your own business, that’s for sure. I’m learning new things everyday, both about the industry and what it means to run your own business.
A few years ago when I was travelling through Europe, my friends and I found ourselves really struggling to find temporary, casual jobs. I noticed that there was a real gap in the market – nothing to assist people trying to find this kind of work. When I returned to Australia, I found the gap existed here too and decided to fill it with OneShift. It’s similar to an online dating site, the only difference being that we connect job seekers to businesses! It’s a unique code that reads the details on your resume and skills and automatically matches jobs that suit your profile and location. It cuts out the middleman and provides a simple solution for both parties involved. I saw it as the answer to my own frustrations and I wanted to make it easier for the next person.
Last year we received a $5 million investment from Programmed, a staffing and facility management company. This was an amazing opportunity for growth for us and having people believe in OneShift was extremely encouraging. The benefits of developing our business with the assistance of Programmed go beyond the monetary investment. They were able to provide a wealth of knowledge and background as well as shared services that were extremely beneficial to us as a young company. Since then, our team and users have continued to expand.
The most unforgettable moment for me since starting OneShift would be hitting 300,000 users nation-wide around Australia. It was such a surreal feeling and definitely a big moment of celebration for everyone on the team. Knowing that we were making a real difference to our users, being able to provide them with a platform to find work, it’s an incredible feeling. Since then we have also launched OneShift in New Zealand! That has been a successful step in widening the potential of OneShift. The aim is to be able to use OneShift as a platform to find temporary work on the go – no matter where you are in the world. I am a big advocate of having a part time job and a full time life and that is what we aim to create with OneShift.
It’s been a winding journey to arrive to where we are today and this is just the beginning. There is great potential for OneShift to flourish in today’s market and with the ever-changing nature of technology; we aim to continue to tweak ourselves to stay in tune with the needs of our businesses and job seekers.
What drove you to become an entrepreneur and to start your company?
G: I suppose I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak. Back in high school I actually started my own baby-sitting club so that my friends and I could earn extra spending money while still keeping a flexible work schedule. I loved the business management side of it all and I realised early on that I wanted to be able to do that as a career and have the opportunity to work for myself.
What was the biggest challenge you experienced in your entrepreneurship journey and how did you overcome it?
G: Earlier this year, we did a complete makeover of our website design. During this time we decided to cut a significant amount of spend towards marketing which was a risk in terms of losing traffic to our site and growth within our user base. We diverted the funds to create a better website with an improved UI and the feedback from our user base has been overwhelmingly positive.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
G: Hindsight is an interesting thing, and of course I have made mistakes along the way, but a lot of them are necessary when you’re starting a new business. And to be honest, those mistakes have led the business to where it is today. Everyday presents new opportunities and I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done – each mistake has given me the chance to learn, reassess and grow along with the business.
What is your vision for your company in the next three years?
G: At OneShift, we have a vision for a better work/life balance. Everyday we strive to facilitate an online space where job seekers can live flexible work lives while reclaiming back the important things in life. This is not merely for youths but for people of all ages and skills. I believe this is where the workforce is naturally headed in the future and I want to be able to assist people and businesses in leading more flexible lifestyles. I live by the motto: work to live, not live to work. This is what we aim to make a reality in the future of OneShift.
Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
G: Think big or you will always be small. You never know where your business can end up, so continue to think big and move forward. I figure it’s much more important to be a part of the race than continuing to stretch!
Another extremely important thing is your team. Be very careful in choosing who is responsible for launching your new company. The height of success is dependent on every player.