21 May 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
In the latest of our highly popular Meet the Successful Founder series we caught up with Xenios Thrasyvoulou, CEO and Founder of PeoplePerHour, to learn about his entrepreneurial journey.
“Our mission at PeoplePerHour is to empower entrepreneurs to turn their bright ideas into reality, helping launch and grow their businesses from the ground up. Since 2007, we have paid out more than £150m to freelancers around the world.
We are now the UK’s leading freelance marketplace and have over 4 million users across 150+ countries. During that time, we’ve become an invaluable resource for small businesses in the UK and outside, allowing them to hire expert talent as and when needed, ‘on-demand’ thereby staying lean and flexible while they grow.
What is your background?
Prior to starting PeoplePerHour, I founded a travel business and a concierge business, both of which provided me with a great learning curve, particularly in all the mistakes I made. This paved the way to both conceiving PeoplePerHour and making it a success.
Can you tell us why was it created? What is its mission?
Our mission at PeoplePerHour is to empower entrepreneurs to turn their bright ideas into reality, helping launch and grow their businesses from the ground up. Since 2007, we have paid out in excess of £150m to freelancers around the world.
What are its USPs?
We empower entrepreneurs to turn their bright ideas into reality, helping launch and grow their businesses from the ground up. We are an invaluable resource for small businesses in the UK and globally, allowing them to hire expert talent as and when needed, ‘on-demand’ thereby staying lean and flexible while they grow. For freelancers, we are an added outlet where they can start their own business either as a side-hustle or a start-up and use our platform to grow.
Can you share the story of the brand’s journey – from concept to where it is now?
I started PeoplePerHour in 2007 with a pen, pad and telephone with a simple vision to connect businesses to freelancers. The idea evolved from my previous business, which I started fresh out of university. I had launched an offline version of what we do today; we were the service provider, a bit like a virtual assistant outfit.
Originally, I had no plans to turn it into an online business. However, employees began leaving because they were saying actually, I can do this from my bedroom and be self-employed. Skype was just becoming a big thing and people suddenly had access to free online communication. I realised that the future was to provide the marketplace for businesses and freelancers to connect, rather than acting as a virtual assistant and hiring out my own services. That’s how the idea for PeoplePerHour came about. I soon hired engineers, and we started to build the platform that has developed into what it is today.
What’s the secret to the brand’s success?
We’re constantly improving and making changes. We’re improving our customer experience and always making changes to our site to meet the changing needs. As we continue to grow, there are the challenges of needing a bigger website, integrating new methods of payment or new technology which we need to implement into our business.
Who are the key personnel and can you tell us a little about their contribution to the brand?
I believe it’s a team effort which we all contribute our part to.
What are its most successful innovations?
Setting up the business and getting to where we are now with over 4 million users across 150+ countries.
What are the biggest challenges and how have they been overcome?
Personally, to keep going when the times are tough – running a business is testing to one’s personality as you can’t turn to anyone. You really need to have the stamina to keep going. Keeping a balance overcomes these challenges – making sure you have other interests and maintain a physical routine. For me, it’s boxing which requires you to totally concentrate – you need to be able to switch off from the outside world and be fully focused. For me, it leaves little room in my head as I am able to avert any worries or stress whilst releasing toxins from the muscles. This can then give me a fresh perspective to better deal with problems and also have a sense of achievement after my sessions. Boxing helps to relieve tensions that can collect when you experience stress.
What are the brand’s biggest successes?
Reinventing ourselves constantly and creating products from our initial one after seeing leading businesses increasingly using tools for project management, global payments (both payroll and freelancer payment automation) and solutions for hiring internationally, compliantly. We created TalentDesk – a product to help businesses migrate all their data relating to external talent (invoices, tax info, KYC documentation, contracts etc.) all on one platform.
What are you most proud of about the brand?
That PeoplePerHour has become a recognisable brand. It’s about meeting people on the street who you’ve helped either make money or grow as a business.
Can you tell us about any key charity/philanthropic initiatives/efforts the brand has?
We pledged £10 million in an initiative to help small businesses and freelancers during 2020 to offer support to the freelancer and SME communities during the pandemic.
What’s next for the brand?
The business is 13 years old and is constantly improving and evolving. We’re improving our customer and user experience, redesigning to improve and meet our customer’s needs as we grow. There are the challenges of a bigger website, new methods of payment, new technology which we need to constantly keep working at.
Can you share 5-10 key pieces of advice for success?
Pick the best people
Raise money but don’t spend it
Never get complacent
Work hard and you’ll get there
What is your favourite inspirational/motivational/leadership type quotes?
Most companies don’t die of starvation, they die of indigestion. This reminds entrepreneurs not to take on more than they can chew.
Website & Socials
Twitter / Instagram: @PeoplePerHour