First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Bryan Golkhajeh: Thank you for asking that question. My family is fortunate enough to have been able to adapt to the remote working lifestyle pretty easily. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture during a crisis like a global pandemic. I like to think about where we came from as a society 100 years ago, where we are today, and what the future could hold. People have always generally been able to overcome and adapt to obstacles, and I think we will globally conquer this as well. It gives me hope for the future.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Workload.
Bryan Golkhajeh: I grew up in a rural town in Indiana and used the internet as a way to learn about new things that my town wasn’t really exposed to. I was building websites on GeoCities in the mid-’90s and created a basketball card trading site that got shut down by the FBI when I was 13…long story. Since then, I guess you could say I caught the internet entrepreneur bug, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. Through several failed attempts, a friend from high school and I landed on Workload. We saw a huge opportunity in not only the online freelancing economy but also in helping small businesses find software experts to help run their companies.
How does Workload innovate?
Bryan Golkhajeh: We listen to our users. We are proactive at asking for their feedback every chance we get. Our mission is to build the best experience for freelance software experts and business clients to find each other and work together. We have a really motivated team of designers and developers, and we ship features and fix bugs weekly, sometimes daily.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Bryan Golkhajeh: We were already a remote team that was geographically distributed, so it wasn’t much of a difference for us internally. However, the coronavirus shutdowns came as a shock to small business clients, so we focused on helping them get their businesses online as fast as possible.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Bryan Golkhajeh: Some of our clients had a hard time coming up with the money to pay their experts because their business could no longer operate or were shut down as a result. We decided to step in and pay our freelance experts anyway, out of pocket. We decided it was more important to keep our community of experts happy rather than a client not making the transaction whole. We voided the invoices for those customers and just moved on. Some things are more important than money.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Workload in the future?
Bryan Golkhajeh: It’s important to get proper exercise and eat well. It’s easy to sit at your computer desk all day and grind out the thousands of projects you think you need to be done. I have a Peloton bike (username: bee_ryde) and make it a habit to take a live class once a week while peppering in Alex Toussaint’s Hip Hop Rides. I also play small-sided pickup soccer on the weekends. It allows me to focus on the here and now, the present. You can’t possibly think about work when you have the ball at your feet!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Bryan Golkhajeh: Our competitors include Upwork, Fiverr, and a handful of niche freelancing sites. The freelance economy is worth over a trillion dollars, with Upwork being the largest market cap company valued at $2 Billion. That’s only a 0.002% market share, so I’d say there is plenty of room for competition. We are going to just stay in our lane for now and become the best at what it is we do.
Your final thoughts?
Bryan Golkhajeh: With every crisis or problem comes an opportunity. Always look at the “silver lining” in situations no matter how bad they are. It will keep you optimistic and give you the will to keep going!