The sharing economy is one of the fastest-growing business trends in the world. Some refer to it as the peer-to-peer economy while others call it the collaborative economy. The term does not really matter, more importantly is what it is all about.
Think crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, accommodation renting services like Airbnb and Couchsurfing, and ride-sharing services with Grab being the most successful example. Yup, you got it.
Beside reducing the dependency on middlemen and keeping costs down, the sharing economy increases social efficiency while being able to reach out to a much bigger market. Encouraged by the rise of digital technologies, everyone can benefit from this network.
Founding team of Outside App. From left: LuXian Brueschweiler (Creative,UIUX) , Dion Aw (CTO), Nicholas Lim (CEO), Tristan Yong (Lead Developer, Head of Ops).
With great foresight, Nicholas Lim (24yo) and Dion Aw (24yo), realised this industry’s potential back in 2015 and that was the start of Outside App. Simply put, Outside App is a community tasking app where students or freelancers can earn some pocket money in exchange for completing user-generated tasks such as running errands or document translation.
As a part of Singapore's tech startup ecosystem, Nicholas is both proud and excited because he believes that this journey is only going to get even more exciting as new technology and opportunities arise. Let’s hear more from this zealous entrepreneur!
Describe your life as an entrepreneur.
I believe that entrepreneurship is more of a lifestyle than a job. I'm not confined to my job scope, skills, work hours or responsibilities and I find myself constantly learning and coming up with new solutions.
It's a rollercoaster ride everyday and I love the adrenaline!
My schedule also changes frequently and there's a lot of impromptu stuff that pops up along the way, both good and bad stuff of course. The bright side - I got really good at time management.
The people in the ecosystem are really nice and most of them are willing to share their knowledge and experiences if you reach out at the right time. I'm really proud to be a part of Singapore's tech startup ecosystem!
You tried multiple businesses before deciding on this. What about Outside that you saw such a huge potential?
We attempted several ideas before Outside that ranged from platforms to games and contract jobs and realised the immense power of network effect. So, we believe Outside is a creation based off parts of everything we have learnt and tried along the way; something that we were meant to do.
Like the saying made famous by Ronald Reagan, "We can't help everyone but everyone can help someone", we believe that we can create an easier, fun and seamless way for people help others around them.
What were some main teething problems?
Marketplace-based businesses consistently face the chicken-and-egg problem and we are no exception to that. Our team is consistently monitoring app analytics, speaking to users, working on functions and campaigns that better connect our requesters and taskers.
And tell me one of your proudest moments.
We worked very hard to get the app off the ground. So, one of the most memorable and proudest moment for us was when the first task was completed by two users that had no affiliation to us, meaning that the users were not our friends or introduced by them.
I remembered clearly that it was a task in Hougang that required someone to assist with collection and delivery of a bolster!
What keeps you up at night?
Sometimes, I get really excited at new opportunities and sometimes, I get too immersed in researching and drafting possible products/campaigns/partnerships.
Aside from days like that, I try to get a good 7 hours of sleep so that I can bring my best to work everyday.
What motivates you to keep going?
My team! We've been working together for quite awhile now and we've learnt so much and experience countless things together. They are the people I learn and play with and I constantly depend on them to keep myself going.
The Outside team is made up of incredible people who constantly challenged themselves and grew alongside me. We all picked up programming together but they're miles ahead of me now!
If money isn't an issue, what would you set out to create or do?
If money is out of the way, I'll join the biggest fight of the century and join the companies who are in the sustainability space. That's another problem that need to be fixed. But, I do not have the expertise, money or experience to help there yet so I'll just focus on breaking the barriers for community tasking first :p
This 4 years as a tech startup entrepreneur has no doubt been an exciting yet challenging period for Nicholas. But, challenges are exactly what makes one stronger and wiser. With all that experience gained, this resolute young man is well-aware that quality connections are integral to both business and personal growth.
“Don't be afraid to reach out and speak to people. There is so much you can learn from a conversation with the right people!”
“I'll even attribute a big part of our learnings and progress to the conversations that we have with our users, clients, founders and other incredible individuals in the ecosystem”, Nicholas asserts.
Support our local boys, download the Outside app and start helping someone today! Likewise, you never know when you need a little bit of help yourself. If you are interested to collaborate with Outside, you can find out more about them here.
Stay tuned for more inspirational stories on local entrepreneurs and businesses!
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