This is an ongoing series where I interview people from the eastern part of the world, sharing their stories coming from a place where entrepreneurship is a new concept. Today’s interviewees are indie makers from my home country, North Macedonia, and are probably some of the funniest people I ever met.
Daniel, Diego and Kliment are the makers of a labour marketplace called MojCoek-Komsiski Biznis, which could be translated to My Man a Neighbourhood Business. I know it doesn’t sound especially funny when translated to English, but in our language it’s a fun play on words.
The start of the journey
“It begins with the regular story you hear all around. We met each other while working for the same client, and noticed that us working together was more fun than working separately, so we kept it going by doing our own little thing.”
“МојЧоек-Комшиски бизнис (MojCoek-Komsiski Biznis) is a labour marketplace. It’s Upwork, but for tasks where physical presence is required or where language must not be a barrier. You use it when you need another skilled pair of hands: a handyman, a nanny, a help with your bags or someone to cook for you.”
“These are the most common requests, but there are these quite unusual things that people would gladly pay for, if they only knew that the right guy is just around the corner. Things like having someone walk your dogs, having someone stand in line instead of you… How about having someone to listen and hold your hand when you’re feeling down at 2AM? What we are providing here is an opportunity that let people charge for what they love doing most, but don’t have access to a specific market to place their skills on.”
“Aside from the obvious cost and time efficiency with which chores are being executed for clients, what completely fills our hearts is what happens on the other side of that coin. In the face of low employment our developing home country is facing, the possibility of giving the ones willing to help a key opportunity when they need it the most, is the kind of satisfaction one gets hooked on.”
Making money and marketing
“The business model revolves around people voluntarily using the platform to have the money change hands, which is when the platform can have its cut, which in turn allows users to get rated for their services. That means that it’s gonna be awhile before we become profitable in our home country. And we are totally fine with it. What comforts us, however, is how easily localizable the whole platform is. We just need to pick our next target.”
“A couple of months back, we knew zero about marketing. We’re now maintaining a healthy ratio of facebook/instagram ad-campaigns, which would be impossible without a couple of experts we’ve been working with.”
“The AWS infrastructure is deployed with CloudFormation through Serverless. Some of the services in use are DynamoDb, Lambda, ApiGateway, S3, CloudFront, IoT, Cognito. We are heavily functional-oriented, so all the code for our lambdas is type-driven using TypeScript. The interface to our clients is mostly GraphQL through Apollo. Our clients structure starts with a PWA as the center point. Then, our build system compiles it into Android and iOS. This allows us to have a single codebase covering all platforms. Just imagine making a push and having your CD deliver the change to all platforms. How else would a single guy on the frontend handle everything?:
“But that’s not even the fun part. It’s Elm. It’s that language/framework that everybody knows how badass it is, yet everybody is afraid of trying. I’m gonna try my best and contain myself by not being explicit about what y’all are missing out on, because I’ve already done so here on freeCodeCamp. Let’s just say you don’t need to have your browser open to know that things work.”
“This baby is a really special baby to us. We have all invested significant parts of our lives making this baby. And it was tough. At times, we didn’t even know if this baby wanted to be born. Things got challenging as we got to uncover all the conceptual intricacies to building a complete labour marketplace.”
“Now that it’s here, it would not make much sense abandoning the baby like this. It is now time for us to take turns into helping this baby walk. We need to teach our baby to be helpful while being careful with strangers, so that if it eventually decides to bring home a partner, it will be the one.”
Any Indie Maker from the Balkans and the East (from Eastern Europe to China) who would love to connect with me in order to make an interview to contribute it on Maker Mag, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Maker Mag Interview.