Think about the last time you needed help with a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. Where did you get it? You probably searched online and watched (way too many) how-to videos on YouTube only to find it was almost what you needed, but not quite. Randy Herman knows exactly how you feel.
Randy is the founder of HelpMe, a concept stage startup that helps you complete your DIY projects faster by matching you with professionals via video chat. This means you get on-the-spot, face-to-face help from a professional and exactly the help you need without scrolling through hours of videos that don’t answer your specific questions.
Read on to learn about how a bad alternator on a 4-runner and a rap song inspired Randy to start his business.
The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: Funny story, I lived in Corbett at the time and was working on my 4runner, replacing the alternator in the snow. For those who are unfamiliar with Corbett, it is a very small town and only has one store which happens to be the liquor store, market, and gas station all in one. The nearest city is an easy 30-minute drive. So, I was working on the car and as I was removing the old part, I moved the bracket out of position. Unfortunately, it was a very minor shift and required a ton of force to move it back, which is why it took me three days to figure that it had even shifted in the first place. I thought the whole time, if I could just pay to have someone who worked on these cars regularly facetime me, they could most likely see the problem immediately and tell me the solution. It would have saved me a ton of time and money.
The problem it solves: Efficient DIY problem solving, with Pro support (and pros get paid!)
How you came up with the name: I believe my thought process was, “I wish someone would help me, I’m about to lose it!”
How are you different than your competition: The video chat is what really sets us apart. We give you pro help, while still allowing you to learn and do it yourself.
How you make money: We take a 10% transaction fee.
The best thing about being an entrepreneur: Being in control of your own destiny, and when others see your vision and get excited.
The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: How many people are willing to help and mentor us, as well as the number of resources available.
A failure story and what you learned: So many! But I want to share the failure that’s becoming my success. Myself as a person, and this app. To set the stage, I decided to take all my life savings, quit my job, and invest it into two things I know nothing about, business and tech. So, it’s been a helluva ride, to say the least. I started working when I was 16 in blue-collar jobs. I’ve always known I was going to own a company but never thought it would be of this gravity, or in this industry. I figured I’d be a mechanic or a carpenter and own a company like that. I’ve always been an incredibly stubborn person and haven’t dealt with authority very well which is another reason why I am on this journey. So being able to shut my mouth, ask for help, and take criticism knowing it’s in my best interest; has really transformed me from a punk with no confidence and a great idea, into a leader and CEO who is slowly becoming capable of making this idea a sustainable global enterprise.
I feel that failure is a very important prerequisite into becoming a success. Every successful entrepreneur will tell you that. You must be excited to fail and stay tenacious, learn from each failure and enjoy the journey just as much as you dream of destiny.
What keeps you up at night: The thought of making my ultimate dream of this company a reality, and then becoming greedy or abusing my wealth, and it having a major effect on the people that helped me build the vision. I worry about becoming a corrupt, negligent person who can’t handle success and letting all those who were there for me during this startup phase when time and money are both insanely short.
The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: 1) Fail early and fail often, and 2) shit rolls downhill but anything worthwhile is an uphill battle. Both are John C Maxwell except, the second he doesn’t actually say the curse word he just hints at it and lets us figure it out. The first one basically means, test your theory and if you’re wrong its ok, learn, adjust and test again.
Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: There is ALWAYS a silver lining! Setbacks are just setups if you keep your eyes peeled. What I mean by that is even when you think everything is going wrong, calm down and focus on what you can control and you will usually find a better solution than what you originally planned or hoped for.
The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: I have a top 3 in no particular order: The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy, Intentional Living – John C Maxwell, and finally How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie.
Your favorite local businesses: Nike, Columbia, and Intel. They all are global and local success stories. I’ve met Phil Knight at a Ducks game and live close to his personal hanger in Hillsboro, OR.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: When I was young (middle school) I heard the word “entrepreneur” in a rap song by Lil’ Flip called “Sun Don’t Shine”. I liked the word and the song so I looked it up and knew that’s what I wanted to be.
Is Oregon is a good place to start a business? Yes, I feel that Oregon is an incredible place to start a business. Once you can tap into and take advantage of the network of entrepreneurs and startup classes it can immediately propel the process and greatly enhance the trajectory of your company. I’d say the challenges were not knowing of the resources that were right under my nose from the get-go.
HelpMe App: Email Randy here.