Richard Eastes helped grow car rental comparison website, VroomVroomVroom from his bedroom at his mum and dad’s house into a $2m EBIT business. He is now back in the startup game after co-founding GreenSocks.com.au – the easiest way to get your lawn mowed. He loves surprise marketing, robots and Reddit. Ideas Hoist caught up with Eastes recently to chat to him about startup life.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
People in Australia want to make money when they feel like it. Not 9 to 5 in a job they hate. I also found that the lawn mowing industry in Australia is ripe for disruption, so I thought “here we go. we have something here”. Coincidentally, my business partner Andrea Martins thought of the same thing at the same time. Double thumbs up.
2. Please explain your business model?
We help people get their lawn mowed by people who want to make money by mowing lawns. We do marketing, insurance, the website, customer service and easy credit card processing. We take 20% from every job.
3. What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
I’m currently trying my best to get GreenSocks.com.au to rank well on Google. It’s not easy. I’m most excited about who the best rated mowing guy will be. So far we have thirty guys who consistently receive a 5/5 rating from customers. I want to see who is crowned king of the lawn mowers in 12 months.
4. How do you make ideas happen?
Wake up after dreaming of an idea.
Ask myself “does this idea help with my one big idea?”
If it doesn’t, throw it away. The worst idea of a great idea is a different great idea.
Test the idea in the easiest, cheapest, laziest way.
Work on the idea in some way, every day.
5. What role have mentors played in your business life?
To be more decisive. If I’m not sure of a decision I’m about to make, a good mentor will ask me the right questions to help me answer my own questions with confidence.
6. What does your typical day look like?
Reddit, Facebook, coffee, plan the day’s to-do list, Reddit, emails, work on to-do list, make phone calls, check ranking on Google, make my space exploration game, chat to business partner, Reddit, work on to-do list until sleep.
7. What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Surprise marketing is so underrated in any business. For example if you’re going to give away a free donut with a coffee. Take down the sign out the front that says “free donut”. As you hand over the coffee and donut give them a nod and “Here, Rick that’s on me. Hope you have an awesome day”.
8. What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
Uber isn’t our industry, but they being VERY disruptive with a similar style business model and it’s fascinating to watch.
9. What about internationally?
Robots. Some European companies have some pretty cool lawn mowing robots, but they are far from being an acceptable quality.
10. What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
By being banned from influencing politics with cash. Spend that cash on helping the less fortunate.
11. Speaking of affecting social change, is there a particular charity you like to support?
Anything that will help get kids of any country to achieve great things. It’s the greatest long-term investment.
12. Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
http://rivercitylabs.net (for Brisbane Entrepreneurs)
13. Can you name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter?
14. Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
Yes! I’m looking for:
People wanting to make money mowing lawns.
Any business out there who wants to do some sort of joint promotion. Let’s help each other out.
15. We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea-makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetisation, product development etc. What would it be?
What single question can you ask a stranger to get to know the real them?
16. What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Greasers in the Valley, Brisbane
This article originally appeared on Ideas Hoist – a website focused on Australians making ideas happen.
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