Building a multimillion dollar app is a significant achievement, however, fostering a community of passionate customers – prompt to gift cake and chocolates – is another realm of success.
For the founders of award-winning finance application, Hnry, the journey began with a $100 Twitter campaign, shareable spreadsheets, and a desire to simplify accounting for small operators.
After being thrown into the deep-end of contractor work, James and Claire Fuller – always previously in salaried jobs – felt more stressed after visiting an “old school accountant.”
“We were totally overwhelmed by the amount of admin involved: invoicing, expense deductions, tax payments and filings,” states Mr Fuller.
“The whole thing was so inefficient and costly!”
Choosing to create custom spreadsheets, Fuller realised the opportunity potential before him after receiving requests to borrow them from friends and friends-of-friends.
“Some friends of ours finished their salaried jobs and went into freelance work, and I offered the use of our spreadsheets to help them out. They loved it, and told some of their friends, who asked if they could use our spreadsheets too.”
“We realised the problem we’d solved was far more widespread than just the two of us.”
Looking back, Mr Fuller admits that grasping the scope of the problem was hard to assess.
“Yes, we had friends and family saying it was a great thing, but were other people outside our social circle experiencing the same problems?”
“It was really hard to establish how big the market was, or how much pain people were experiencing”
“In the end, we had to get over the idea that we’d find out by researching, and get comfortable ‘finding out by doing.'”
In late 2016, the Fullers created a one-page website, put $100 into a Twitter campaign, and “waited to see if anyone signed up.”
Today, Hnry is an awarded multimillion dollar fintech application that files taxes for small traders, contractors and freelancers, to reduce miscalculation and administration time.
The company has quickly accented across Australia and New Zealand, with the passion of its grateful users apparent from year-one – cakes, chocolates and cards.
“A few days after we’d filed the first few hundred tax returns, a woman arrived at our office and knocked on the door,” says Mr Fuller.
“She said “I don’t know what this company is, or what you do, but my cousin told me I had to bake you a cake.”“
“Later that week, we received chocolates from a customer down south, sent by his wife. The card read “Thank you so much – he’s a changed man now that he doesn’t have to do this stuff himself”.
“It was such a nice surprise – I remember saying to our team, “when was the last time you sent an app, or an accountant a cake, just to say thanks?””
Last year, almost half a million Australians were forced to amend their tax returns due to errors, inevitably slowing down the process, and by extension, their own business success.
To the surprise of some, Hnry decided to expand internationally from its New Zealand home to Australia during the thick of the COVID19 pandemic: March 2020.
“Whilst we could have shied away, and decided that the pandemic and the economic turmoil would make it too hard, we did the opposite.”
Fuller affirms the team knew “now, more than ever” Australian contractors, freelancers and sole traders would need support – “focus on earning, not admin.”
Hnry was opened to a small group of early adopters, with many entering self-employment for the first time after being made redundant during the COVID19 crisis.
(Read more: INTERVIEW: Faces Behind The ‘COVID Business Boom’: A Fired Qantas Pilot, Pregnant Designer & Serial Mumpreneur)
Today, Hnry is an international fast-growing fintech application, multi-award winner, and firmly grounded in its impactful reputation for turning the messy into seamless.
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