Entrepreneur Ubika Dev’s Motivation Comes From Wanting To Inspire Her Daughter To Persevere
- IWB Post
- February 10, 2018
Ubika Dev entered the corporate world after getting a degree from IIMA. She sampled various functions including strategy, finance, and even HR. As years passed by, the monotony of corporate life hit her. Just as she was thinking about the direction her life should take, her friend Kunal was thinking about the benefits freelancers could bring to SMBs.
Together Ubika and Kunal started InstaTaskers. A company that connects freelancers and businesses. As Ubika sums up, “We believe that the 15 million freelancers in India can be a great value-add to the startup and SMB sector in the country who are constantly struggling to find expert assistance. Since day zero, our aim has been to change the perception that freelancing in India is a doomed adventure.”
Ubika’s greatest motivation is her daughter. From strategizing for the most prominent construction company in the country to running the most successful aggregator space, she is a true inspiration. In this interview, she discusses the pros and cons of working independently and freelancing in general.
How do you differentiate yourself from UpWork, considering they have the same model?
We spend a lot of time verifying the freelancers. On platforms like Upwork, there’s no strict verification, and there’s no way to find out the quality of work that will be provided by freelancers but on InstaTaskers we verify the profile, work samples, etc. so we can assure all our clients that the quality of work will be up to mark. In fact, our conversion rate for freelancers, i.e., people who can work as a freelancer from all the people who have registered is only 40%.
Do you have any policies that prohibit client and the tasker to interact outside platform?
Not really, we don’t have any such policies. They can communicate outside the platform as well. They can choose any mode of communication, only the transaction must be routed through us.
Tell us about the risks of being an aggregator between freelancers and clients.
Some clients don’t understand the difference between a service provider and an aggregator so they expect us to do the work which freelancers should do. Talking about freelancers, they sometimes don’t put much effort to get the client, thinking that all the leads will be converted. They need to showcase their work and assure and convince the client about deliverables.
What are some things that freelancers must follow to generate potential leads and convert them?
I think creating a great profile is the key to getting more clients. Freelancers must make a precise and formal profile and list out all the services they can provide on their profile. A great portfolio will always stand out and generate great leads.
Do you usually see freelancers not being able to convert potential leads?
It’s not only freelancers, even clients are not able to communicate their requirements clearly and might become a hindrance to convert the leads. For example, giving a one-line description for an IT project will always be insufficient, and the client needs to provide overall details for the freelancer to provide quotes and chart out the deliverables.
In this age of freelancers and entrepreneurs, what challenges do you think this independent model of working brings?
I think productivity is the biggest challenge. When you start working independently, you need to manage your time and also make sure that numbers of hours that you are putting are productive. It might seem that you are working for longer hours compared to your day job and not being productive enough. The second most important challenge is generating business. Since you work on your own, there’s no time left to contact potential leads, and if you strive to get in touch with them, the work gets delayed.
Tell us some peripheral skills that all freelancers must learn or imbibe to get projects, such as marketing, email writing, etc.
I think, like in any other industry, having soft skills is very important. Communication skills are a must, no matter what your line of work is. Also, being professional regarding communication and getting the job done is also very important.
What strategy should start-ups have for various departments, outsourcing or in-house?
Startups must employ all their resources for the core business. So strategizing and planning can be done in-house, but once the strategy is decided by the internal team, execution can be outsourced. For example, marketing and PR plans must be decided internally as the team knows the product and TG better than any PR firm out there and once you decide on the strategy you can outsource it to the agency.
How has your journey been as an entrepreneur?
It’s been a phenomenal journey. I didn’t know anything about content writing, graphic designing or the other services. I learned everything about all these services. The first year was more about executing and automating our site and involved a lot of planning and precession. The second year was about scaling up and building a team.
What are some of the issues that you faced while scaling up?
According to our business model, the client has to pay the amount to InstaTaskers before the work is delivered. We then lock that amount and release the payment to the freelancer once the client tells us that the task is complete. In the beginning, clients had to be convinced to work with us, but once they started working, they were pretty convinced and even recommended us to others.
What are some things/rules that entrepreneurs must remember?
All entrepreneurs must remember that persistence is the key. There’ll be times when things might not turn out the way you want and might feel you have met a dead end but persisting in such times is very important because if you can overcome these difficult times, then you can survive in the market for a very long time.
Name one entrepreneur who inspires you.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma is an inspiration for everyone. Though there are many other platforms, Paytm has been a revolution in this space.
What’s one routine you follow every day to stay motivated?
I spend a lot of time with my daughter every day. When I feel like giving up, I just look at her, and that makes me realize that I don’t want to be that failure example for her, instead I want to be an inspirational example.