Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. Simart regarding his start-up “GetProjectLog.com”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “ProjectLog” is all about?
Projectlog is an online invoicing solution for consultants, freelancers and other service providers. We offer a very simple and intuitive tool to track time, submit timesheet, invoice clients and record expenses. The Easy way!
Through our web-based application you can manage projects (time/budget spent), track payments and look professional with our template for invoices.
2. When has ProjectLog” been founded? And what stage is ProjectLog” currently at?
Projectlog was founded early 2012. We have currently released our second version. We bootstraped our development since day one. We’re still at a very early stage and looking to get more experience with our customers. The app is solid and business model clear, however we need to learn more from clients and increase customer acquisition.
3. What is ProjectLog” business model and how does it work?
Projectlog is offered through a SaaS business model. We offer one single simple comprehensive plan to all subscribers. We have no plan to change it, only continue to add more value to members. With just one monthly plan it makes our offer understandable and easy to read. This way all members benefit from our best offer.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Projectlog was founded by Yafoy. Yafoy specializes in web projects. We develop web-based application for clients but also manage a couple of projects on our own time, just like others companies dedicate Friday to extra projects, or the 20% time rule at Google. We do it all internally: Design, coding and marketing happens in our studio.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
What makes Projectlog unique is our ability to focus on a few easy steps without tons of options. We only propose a few key components like invoicing, time tracking and accounting but we do it in a very easy way. The major advantage of this is we can present data in an easy-to-read format for members. At a glance everyone knows what’s going on and how they’re doing. We also support internationalization.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has ProjectLog” achieved so far?
Projectlog was recently launched. We are at a very early stage but on track with our objectives. Since we’ve dedicated our sales efforts to some countries only for the moment (Canada, US and Europe) we are still gathering feedback to improve our solution. We also chose to contact as many work-placement agencies as possible so they could become affiliates and help us spread the word.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is ProjectLog”’s competitive advantage over them?
We have a few competitors. The largest ones are Freshbooks, Harvest, Blinksale and Solo. Our biggest advantage is our ability to integrate expenses. Most of them will focus only on time tracking and invoicing but we went a bit further. Our functional scope may be less but our solution includes the 4 key components (time tracking, invoicing, timesheet and accounting) to give a complete overview at a glance.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The main obstacles we faced was «soft launch». A number of obstacles came up right before launch due to hosting. As any other startups it is also important to get traction from the beginning. We needed to collect advice from different mentors to help us overcome these challenges and get our product out. But this a marathon and fun just started.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Competitors all have their own challenges to overcome. Some definitively do things with style however our sales strategy is a bit different and can give us a good edge on untapped potential. This is because even though some solutions are very similar in terms of functions some really let users save time and access valuable information very quickly.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We think success comes from execution. Our solution remains young for the moment but we have more than 10 years of experience in consulting field and worked on large projects in very different conditions. Today we can say our solution could adapt to 99% of projects out there. As explained before we really want to cover our perimeter and not going into a features war.
11. If ProjectLog” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We want to go mobile. Now that we’re able to offer a solution to entrepreneurs so they can manage all core aspects of their business on the road, we want to take a step further and offer a mobile solution for tracking time and checking project budget. We think this is really major. We also want to enhance collaboration between members and their clients.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build ProjectLog” based on?
As a large quantity of startups out there Projectlog was born out of frustration at first. We quickly realized the interest from other consultants to be able to manage projects, clients and budget from a single location, accessible anytime. So we started to open it up to others and collect feedback and build from there.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We learnt a lot. Stuff we had read before and stuff we could not imagine. We learnt more on marketing aspect, online advertising, referral, A/B testing…On the technical side it’s more fixing issues and optimization than anything else. Find the expert you need most and learn as much as you can to reduce downtime. Everybody will benefit.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
As said before it’s all about execution. On one hand we need to learn mobile technology. On the other hand we need to optimize, test out, tweak, release, rinse and repeat. We need to work on conversion and keep the application as fast as possible. Internally the application is made to let you save time, we just need to make sure system is also speedy.
15. What’s the benefit for the user?
There are lots of benefits for the user. Major advantage is to be able to carry everywhere ‘your business’. The other advantage is to make is accessible anytime from anywhere, whether user is at client’s location or working remotely. Finally, we cover the full workflow from time tracking to billing and accounting, giving user a complete overview.
16. How did customers and/or users find out about you?
We have been featured on several css and design websites, getting visibility from the web design community. We are also recruiting clients through our network of work placement agencies. We are working on a referral program with placement agencies across the world in an effort to increase application discovery.
17. Who are your current users? Who are your target users?
Our current users are consultants, mainly IT and creative, freelancers and other service providers. What is great is we have clients from all across the globe thanks to the localization of the application. It is not fully translated but we handle all tax systems for example. We also want to develop the impact of placement agencies in our bottom line since they also need to aggregate project information.
18. Where do new users come from and what makes new users try you?
Most of our new users come from referral and word of mouth. Since we do not advertise a lot but decided to team up with placement agencies most of new customers come from an external source. We also try to engage existing customers to become ‘Ambassador’ and recruit new customers. We have an ambitious referral program in mind for the next releases.
19. What do your users say about your product and/or service?
I think the best word to describe Projectlog would be ‘useful’. Our target is established and new business starters so we don’t have the luxury to go after fancy stuff. Speed, experience and value define the core aspect of Projectlog. We really think a happy customer is worth two so this is where our focus is for the moment.
20. How are you going to scale?
Scaling is not an issue for the moment since we’re trying to grow at our own pace and keep everything under control. We are fortunate to be able to rely on strong resources to help us reach the next level so we are confident. We also researched a lot about optimization, bandwidth impact, speed and response time as we figure out this would be crucial.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers keep asking for?
For the moment it is about mobility. People on-the-go really need a way to update time spent per client from anywhere. Tough, this is quite possible however we feel user experience could be enhanced. So, we listen and this is what we’d like to offer in the next couple releases. The second aspect is about reporting and notifications. We want to offer several other views to look at projects and expenses.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Projectlog currently supports localization to some extent (date format, currency, numbers…). However we’re not going to expand physically our operations for the moment. We can manage it all from there and do not plan to translate our app in other languages for the moment. This is one of the advantages of the SaaS business model. Build once, operate from anywhere.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Well that’s a good question but this is not our priority for the moment. We simply want to polish the app before taking it to the next level. If we do a good job (all about execution) clients will notice us and join. From there, we need to make them stay with us. We are on a growing market with big names out there. We simply want to find our own niche and see what happens. It’s too early for us.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We’re looking to hire service providers to help us in customer acquisition, marketing, and data analysis (conversion, A/B testing). Anyone interested can drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org We’re looking to add new members from anywhere on this planet. We’re young and understand remote work. We’re also interested about writers four our knowledge base and social media.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We bootstrap our development and have no intention to change that. However we’re interested about partnership and mentoring. We’re there for long term. We want to build a sustainable solution with the help of a core team where everyone brings talent, time and skills. We’re more interested about direct contribution.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Well, we all started one day. With all the resources out there our job as entrepreneur gets easier (to avoid mistakes). Of course it still requires a plan and a vision. Our advice is to lay down a strategy and execute it. Collect data, try and adjust again. And don’t forget to seek for advice and delegate.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Internet helps us all so let’s try to contribute all in some way and keep learning. Looking forward to reading your profile. Consultants and freelancers give us a try!