PickMyWork Co-founder Kajal Malik on Empowering Gig Workers and Helping Internet Companies Scale
StartupTalky presents Recap’22. This is a series of interviews in which we conduct in-depth discussions with founders & industry leaders to understand their growth in 2022 and their predictions for the future.
The gig economy refers to an economic system in which people work as independent contractors or freelancers rather than as employees in traditional jobs. In this type of economy, people offer their services on a project or task basis, often through online platforms or app-based companies.
This type of work arrangement provides workers with flexibility and the ability to choose when and where they work, but can also result in a lack of job security, benefits, and protections that come with traditional employment.
According to a report published by Maple Capital Advisors, the Indian gig economy was valued at approximately $20 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a rapid pace in the coming years. This growth is driven by several factors, including the increasing penetration of the internet and mobile technology, the growing demand for flexible work arrangements, and the increasing number of people looking for alternative sources of income. As a result, the Indian gig economy is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2021 and 2025 and reach a valuation of approximately $35 billion by 2025.
However, it is important to note that the gig economy in India, like in many other countries, is still in its early stages of development and faces several challenges, such as a lack of clear regulations and protections for gig workers. Nevertheless, the overall outlook for the gig economy in India is positive, and it is expected to continue to grow at a significant rate in the coming years.
For this Interview, we invited, Kajal Malik, Co-founder and CSO of PickMyWork and we talked about the growth, challenges, insights, and future opportunities in the Gig Economy.
StartupTalky: Kajal, what service does your company provide? What was the motivation/vision with which you started?
Kajal: With the vision to create a platform where unemployed youth could register, complete sales gigs, and earn commissions, I (Kajal Malik) along with my friends Vidyarthi Baddireddy, and Utsav Bhattacharjee founded PickMyWork in 2019.
We embarked on this mission only after discovering that, despite developing great product lines, internet companies struggle to expand and attract new customers. They depend heavily on two channels which are outdated and unreliable. Online channels are costly and do not result in transactional customers for internet service providers. Managing in-house sales teams on the ground to sell the product to end users is time-consuming and inefficient. It is more expensive, produces slower results, and is not intended for hype scaling. By-passing these alternatives, we established PickMyWork to facilitate plug & play networking solutions for hyper scaling and creating meaningful value for internet companies. On the other side, PickMyWork presents itself as an income platform for gig workers that promises 3X earnings per hour of effort when compared to delivery gigs.
StartupTalky: What new features have been added in the past year? What is/are the USP/s of your service?
Kajal: Many consumer tech companies are collaborating with us to improve ROI and achieve faster results in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where businesses face difficulties in penetrating the market. We freely allow consumer tech firms to concentrate on what they do best, which is creating technological solutions, while we leverage our on-field gig partner network to facilitate the customer/merchant onboarding process.
For Internet companies, this model turns out to be 1/10th cheaper compared to online marketing or having in-house sales teams. Enabling sales gigs at an affordable cost is therefore our USP.
StartupTalky: How has the gig industry changed in recent years, and how has your company adapted to these changes?
Kajal: Disruptive innovations had already infiltrated the gig industry prior to Covid-19, but the pandemic accelerated their growth and mass acceptance. Businesses that initially believed that face-to-face interactions were the only way to execute business were forced to abruptly alter their strategy and become more flexible and dynamic in their customer service. While the global pandemic-inspired digital transformation is constantly revamping the marketing landscape, we at PickMyWork are increasingly educating our workers on marketing tactics to meet client demands. By providing gig workers with various skill sets, attractive payment options, and giving companies access to a larger market via a readily available network of on-demand gig workers, we have garnered a lot of interest in our offerings from different states across India.
StartupTalk: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your industry?
Kajal: We stay current on market trends affecting the gig workforce and the gig economy. We particularly intend to meet the needs and aspirations of all segments of society, from Generation Z to Millennials, who are looking for an opportunity to embrace alternative ways of working and put their entrepreneurial skills to use.
We’re also interested in deeper technological integration, which can lead to greater automation of work for tech platforms. Furthermore, we are constantly looking for ways to upskill our employees and provide work flexibility that traditional full-time employment does not provide.
StartupTalky: What key metrics do you track to check the company’s growth and performance?
Kajal: As our business model grows in a variety of channels, including revenue, client base, and conversion rate, we use multiple metrics to track our growth and performance. Analyzing the company’s sales allows us to determine how well our gig services are functioning in the sector and whether our marketing strategies are paying off or not. In addition, we track the number of visitors to our company’s website each month in order to assess the demand for our services as well as to assess the reputation of our brand.
StartupTalky: What were the most significant challenges your company faced in the past year and how did you overcome them?
Kajal: While many businesses stagnated during the unprecedented times of Covid-19, the gig economy grew exponentially, owing to a massive need for cost-effective solutions and freelance workers.
Also, digital businesses and brands that used to emphasize long-term goals, such as meeting yearly milestones, had to shift their focus toward short-term targets. With such growing trends, we had to readjust our platform and expand our potential by hiring ambitious youth and enthusiastic gig workers that could drive the growth of internet companies.
To upskill them, we undertook initiatives such as live webinars and made use of pre-recorded training videos with an end test for each product to further improve the understanding of the gig agents to work on new gigs and challenging situations.
StartupTalky: Trust among all the stakeholders is very important for a marketplace. How do you ensure it?
Kajal: At PickMyWork we believe in the philosophy of honesty and clarity to build trust with stakeholders. Communication too is critical to be on the same page when it comes to expectations from each other. Direct communication also holds true in situations when coursework and priorities change. Keeping shareholders engaged in the project and taking their inputs seriously works for the long run.
StartupTalky: What are the different strategies you use for marketing? Tell us about any growth hack which you pulled off.
Kajal: As a growth-stage startup, we use marketing strategies and growth hacks in the most optimized way. We heavily focus on the CAC, ROI, and RoAS. We focus on different channels of marketing: we use 6 social media platforms which form a major chunk of our marketing. We have a small community of influencers who create awareness and drive user acquisition for us. Other than this we have SMS, WA, and Email as additional tools to reach out to our partners on a regular basis. We maintain our user acquisition with in-app marketing campaigns and giveaways for our partners. Growth hack which worked for us: doing webinars and live sessions with industry leaders on our socials to create awareness on relevant topics without directly focusing on marketing our product. Talk about important day-to-day issues regarding finances. This acts as a consideration stage and a credibility tool for us, establishing us as Key Thought Leaders in our chosen sector. In addition to these, the meme marketing and our office BTS videos have acted as a bridge between the PickMyWork employees and our on-field network of partners, giving a personalized touch by focusing on the PickMyWork team members working behind the scenes to make this gig platform go from strength to strength.
StartupTalky: Keeping up with supply and demand is important. How do you keep both in order?
Kajal: Companies in India are increasingly looking for gig workers to fill roles in business development. To keep the supply and demand for gig workers balanced, we use cutting-edge technology to find, train, and manage agents for digital companies. Our mobile app lists internet products that need to be sold to end users (individual users/shop owners). Any interested youth who wants to earn extra money can download the PickMyWork mobile app from the Google Play store and begin earning when a sale is completed successfully.
StartupTalky: What opportunities do you see for future growth in your industry in India and the world? What kind of difference in market behavior have you seen between India and the world?
Kajal: The gig economy has been growing not only in India but around the world, and it is estimated to outperform pre-pandemic projections due to an influx of gig workers switching from full-time employment.
Since India has been quick to adopt gig trends, domestic gig employment models are expected to become more flexible than ever before. To be able to provide for themselves, workers no longer have to rely solely on traditional 9-to-5 employment to make ends meet.
Although gig work is not yet prevalent across all sectors of the economy, it has the potential to become so in the coming years. The gig economy will include both traditional jobs that have adapted to gig platforms and new jobs that are being created in the industry. Similarly, because gig work is more gender-inclusive, women will be able to take on gig work while continuing to fulfill their other responsibilities.
StartupTalky: What lessons did your team learn in the past year and how will these inform your future plans and strategies?
Kajal: While we had started out to build solutions for certain kinds of gig opportunities, it became clear with each passing month that there was a tremendous amount of demand from multiple segments of the population for a variety of gig opportunities.
Therefore, with this huge appetite being clearly visible to us, we are now foraying into sourcing and providing various kinds of gig opportunities that we can design and deliver to the ever-increasing number of gig workers registering with PickMyWork. Therefore, allowing the market to guide us on the path ahead instead of restricting ourselves to a predetermined plan, has been one of the biggest lessons learned in 2022.
StartupTalky: How do you plan to expand the Customers, service offering, and team base in the future?
Kajal: At PickMyWork we are working diligently to grow and expand into new geographies, upskill our gig workers, and build a solid foundational model for our clients to scale up and acquire customers. As new-age startups emerge in the Fintech, D2C, and Social Commerce spaces, we continue to build more operational muscle and expertise in various domains via the gig model: we aspire to be the preferred distribution channel for all emerging startups. Additionally, we aim to have 10 million agents on our digital distribution network by the end of 2023 as well as build the largest plug-and-play network of its kind to facilitate the hyper-scaling of internet companies.
Kajal: Solve for the side of the marketplace that is harder to solve. The other side(s) become progressively easier to solve after that.
We thank Kajal for spending her valuable time and sharing her learnings with all of us.