GetOutMom.com | Business, March 2012

Written by on March 1, 2012 in Business, From this Issue | March 2012 - No comments

Building a Bridge

GetOutMom.com founders Cami Back and Stacie Gopsill help women connect

Click here to read in the zMagCami Back admits she doesn’t have a green thumb. But when she wanted to spruce up her flowerbeds, she knew right where to look for inexpensive, reliable help.

BusinessShe turned to GetOutMom.com, a website she and Stacie Gopsill launched last March. GetOutMom.com matches women offering a service or expertise with other women looking for help with tasks like party planning, tax preparation or interior decorating. Members post a skill they’re offering or a service they need, set their rates and connect via the site.

Back, a mom of two and a former technology teacher, dreamed up the idea after seeing so many friends struggle with the reality of returning to the workforce after having had children. They had a degree and specialized skills, but their family responsibilities didn’t fit the mold of a typical 9-to-5 schedule. Yet, they didn’t want their talents to go to waste.

That was exactly Gopsill’s situation. She worked in marketing before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. When it came time for her kids to start school full time, Gopsill wasn’t sure if she wanted to return to the workforce.

“We really wanted to help moms who were in my situation –– they had a skill set, a degree or a more specialized skill they weren’t able to use,” Gopsill says. “Then it evolved into also helping the working moms who were too busy for these tasks.”

The site’s beginnings
Back knew Gopsill would be a good business partner. The two are neighbors and have known each other for about five years.

“We’re the type of people that, if something needs to be done, we’ll dive in and get it accomplished,” Gopsill explains. “Knowing each other and how we’re both willing to do whatever it takes helps us stay sane and have fun at the same time.”

The first order of business was finding a quality web developer. Then came lots of brainstorming and long nights to make the site a reality.

Back and Gopsill started marketing efforts via social media in December 2010. A lot of business has been generated through word of mouth. Even now, the challenge remains in getting the word out.

“It’s been such a fun learning curve and a great challenge,” Back says. “One person can be overwhelmed, but two people can make so much happen.”

How it works
BusinessDespite its name, the site is not limited to moms –– whether stay-at-home or working. Back and Gopsill recognize that even single professionals and empty-nesters need help crossing items off their to-do lists.

Members can join for free or choose to pay a small monthly fee to further personalize their posts and view the site without ads.

When creating a post, members specify what they’re looking for or offering, what they’d like to pay or be paid, their schedule, and their desired location.

“Some say, ‘I’m willing to travel in this ZIP code,’” Back explains. “Others are saying, ‘I’m willing to travel within a 50-mile radius from Indianapolis.’”

Members receive an email notification that someone is interested in their post, and they can message each other through the site to determine if they want to do business together.

“The beauty is, you’re reaching someone with a lot of talent who might not have formed their own company yet, so the prices are more reasonable,” Back says, adding that some choose to barter.

Some members have used clientele gained from GetOutMom.com to launch their own businesses, Back says.

She has used the site for more than just improving her yard’s landscaping. She found a woman who transferred videotapes to DVDs, and another woman created a slideshow for Back’s sister’s 50th birthday.

“Those monkeys on your back –– you can peel them off because now you can make it happen,” she says.

A ratings system allows members to leave feedback about their experiences.

Recently the site opened up its services to small businesses. For a fee, businesses can post openings for part-time and seasonal employment and advertise their services to a powerful group of consumers.

“They can get their name out there and use us as a resource at the same time,” Gopsill says.

Growth expectancy
Right now, Gopsill and Back are concentrating on growing the site in central Indiana. But there’s no doubt in their minds that it will expand to other cities.

“By the end of the year, we’ll be seeking funding to help make that happen,” Back says.

Another area for growth is offshoot sites, like GetOutDads, Seniors or Teens.

For the “2 Moms,” it’s all about helping make the connection.

“The more everyone knows,” Gopsill says, “the more busy people can get stuff done.”

Business Tips

Cami Back offers these tips for aspiring business owners.

> Be receptive to help. You will encounter 1,000 unforeseen hurdles. So many people are willing to help us at any given time, but women in particular often struggle with asking for help when we could use it.

> Being passionate about your new or existing business is key. However, I’ve learned as a female business owner that, when communicating, our passion needs to be balanced with business sense in order for others to take us more seriously and not perceive our work as mere “fluff.”

> If you’re just starting, make sure you surround yourself with strong people who truly believe in your business. If they’re not excited about what you’re doing, then they might not be the right fit for your team. It’s also important to take your time, gain some insight from others who have been there, and formulate a plan.

For more information about Back and Gopsill’s business, log on getoutmom.com.

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