After three years as a product manager at Google, Ethan Anderson left to start a company called Redbeacon. It enabled consumers to get project bids from local home service professionals. In 2009, Redbeacon won TechCrunch50 and in 2011, it was acquired by Home Depot.
Anderson didn’t let the project’s success slow him down.
”It doesn’t mean that just because you start working on something you had it right,” he says. “You absolutely have to be willing to learn, and be willing to pivot.”
As the saying goes, learning comes from failure, not success. Anderson returned to the drawing board to examine how certain facets of Redbeacon had failed.
“So, I thought if I was to re-do this and come up with a new concept, what would it be? And the idea for MyTime came.”
MyTime began as an appointment booking system for local service businesses, and the company has grown around that. Today, 2.2 million businesses are active on MyTime.
An Invitation to the Digital Age
When researching how small businesses operate, Anderson and his team made an unexpected discovery.
”We started the project with the belief that the existing software calendars that were out there were good enough. We thought, ’we don’t need to reinvent this wheel’. It turned out they are actually old designs which are expensive and hard to use, which is why people are sticking with pen and paper instead of a proper software scheduling tool.”
These businesses lacked a real-time connection to consumers.
“They were really behind the times,” Anderson says. “It was like, their availability wasn’t available. It wasn’t exposed, if you will, to the world.”
In April, the company launched a comprehensive platform to help businesses manage bookings and client records, automate marketing, and enable chat functions for improved communications with clients.
Anderson says changing consumer behavior habits is the biggest challenge for tech-startups like his.
”Every major innovation that happens in technology, whether it was Amazon with the first book online or Uber convincing people to use an app instead of calling a taxi, everyone has to change consumer behavior in some way.”
MyTime encourages customers to routinely book local services on the platform in several ways. When the app is first opened, a list of suggested favorites is curated by scanning the contact and calendar data on your device, MyTime sends reminders when it’s time to schedule a new appointment, and there’s a loyalty program for free bookings.
What Entrepreneurs Should Know
Anderson offers some advice for young entrepreneurs.
”It’s not worth it just jumping into it,” he says. “I find that too many young entrepreneurs today, they just feel like entrepreneurship is the goal, rather than solving a problem with an innovative solution.”
Entrepreneurs should critically assess ideas and work on problems that haven’t been solved yet. Anderson says it is important to remember entrepreneurship is no easy endeavor.
“It is absolutely, completely exhausting and time consuming to be an entrepreneur. No matter how big or small, how successful or unsuccessful it is, it takes endless time and energy and even frustration as you’re running into roadblocks all the time.”
Not everyone is cut out for the job. Success requires stamina, Anderson says.
“As the entrepreneur, you are wearing every single hat in the whole company, from design to product development, to finance to marketing – it never ends. If you don’t have unbelievably high stamina and endurance mentally and physically, you should not be an entrepreneur. You just can’t, you can’t do it.”
From the markets of Budapest to the skyscrapers of London, Caitlin is our expert on all things European. Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, Caitlin keeps us up-to-date on the European startup landscape, plus culture, food and whatever she finds along the way.