It took me eight months to get my first gig. Now I’m a Top Pro.

TackMaster goodforkcaterer
TackMaster
10 10 2,041

Before I started my business, my livelihood had always depended on someone else. I worked in the corporate world and had been laid off a few times, either due to a company acquisition or the company going under. Eventually I just said to myself, “I’ve had it with this.” Food had been a passion of mine for many years. I wanted to make money doing that instead. I started Good Fork Catering Company on Thumbtack in 2014.

I had some savings. Enough for six months. Well, it took me eight months to get my first gig. But I stuck with it, because the way I saw it, it was a numbers game. The more you put in, the more you get out. It was a big risk, but it was just something that I needed to do. I just kept answering inquiries for personal chef or catering services.

I don’t know where my confidence to start a business came from. I don’t feel that confident in other areas of my life. Maybe it’s because I really wanted this to work. You could call cooking my “calling,” but for me it’s a love. It’s something I’m in love with. And I thought, “If Martha Stewart can do this, and Ina Garten can do this, I can do it too!” That was another thing that kept me going. I wasn’t reinventing the wheel or anything. I was doing something that lots of people do. And there’s a need for it.

When I finally got my first job, it was for a young lady who hosted a dinner for her boyfriend. Honestly, I don’t know how I got the job. Maybe she liked me when we spoke on the phone. The job went well and she was very eager to give me money. I remember feeling awkward about it. I thought, “Oh my god, am I allowed to take her money?” But then I reminded myself that this is business. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. This is how this thing works.

So from there I kept sticking with my goals. It took me some time to figure out how to keep it up. But now I’m a Top Pro on Thumbtack. So it was hard. It was scary. But also empowering. And if I could go back in time to give myself advice, it would be: “Do everything exactly the same.”

10 responses
Moderator Meckell
Moderator

You should be so proud of yourself @goodforkcaterer, this is truly an amazing story!

TackMaster LZDNVG
TackMaster

I love this message and the advice is so open and honest. It's such a good reminder that we're never going to be perfect and we rarely have it all figured out before we get started. Staying positive and seeing a slow start (or a slow period) as a chance to improve instead of a failure is essential for all entrepreneurs and small businesses. Congrats on Top Pro 2019!

Community Manager DustiO
Community Manager

@goodforkcaterer You are so incredible!

Motley1958Gay
Level 1

My name is Gay Mullins and I am a terrific house cleaner .I will do whatever I am asked to do .I live in Whitehall ark  I am new to this thumbtack .But just give me a chance and I will show you I would like t o get the job at Robert S. In Redfield

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

Hi there @Motley1958Gay and welcome to Thumbtack. I'm not seeing a Thumbtack pro account connected with your Community profile, have you been able to get that started? Do you have any questions for me? 

GailGutenmann
Level 5

@DustiO Hi, Dusti! I'm curious how you became an employee of TT? Can you message me or brief me here? That was my question for Marco last night but I didn't get to ask it. Not you per se, but how exactly does Marco build a team of reps from each category that are actually qualified to "represent" that industry? It seems to me (coming from a long background in the restaurant/catering industry) that the folks on the other side of the catering curtain at TT don't really know anything about catering. Pardon my frankness, but it would behoove everyone involved (client/pro) in any category to put the knowledge cart before the horse. I feel like the questionnaire (if you can even call it that) when soliciting a caterer on TT is a far cry from what it should be. Every time I complain/suggest offering my expertise or consultation services I am told to just explain my business better in my profile. Hmmmm....that is assuming after I pay an exhorbitant rate for someone who might take the time to read my entire bio explaining the ABC's of catering the person might then realize AHA! I can't afford this at all which I hate to say is about 60% of all so-called leads. Catering isn't cookie-cutter takeout ordering. And you can't have your wedding catered for $15 per guest. I feel like this is something that clients would value if they had more information on a Catering Landing page. I could write an amazing How-To and it wouldn't need to list my name or company. Just to educate and save everyone time! I feel like I waste more time and MONEY explaining how Catering really works and all the costs involved only to have most realize they had no idea what the actual cost would be out the door. Even giving the ranges now is costing me money because clients don't understand what all goes into that price. The simple "Per Guest" cost means so many different things. It is so frustrating. If a client goes to TT (and trust me I have done it to get their total experience) they literally click on a few boxes and Boom they are done. That's like asking a Contractor to build you a new house and giving them 6 boxes to check. Do you  like the two-story or the single-story? Do you want a big house or a little house? Do you want a fireplace? Pool? Okay, you're done. Now wait for the Contractors to laugh while they try to not go broke spending all their TT budget educating the so-called homebuyer. 

My question: How do you get a job or get on a team for TT to be a consultant? I think this is what's missing. Have you ever eaten in a restaurant that a new chef opened? They assume because they are a great cook that they can open a great restaurant. The food is ususally great but the restaurant typically fails because the chef knows how to cook but nothing about running a restaurant. Two completely different jobs. If you haven't worked in a restaurant (a lot of them) then you won't know how to run one. Period. I feel like TT is trying to "run" a platform for industries that it doesn't know about. I just want to help TT so TT can help me. I'm sure each industry on TT has a plethora of Pros that would do the same thing for TT. For Free. 

Community Manager DustiO
Community Manager

Hi @GailGutenmann, to answer your question about me - I live near our Salt Lake City office and I used to make a lot of cakes for Thumbtack. I also came into the office to speak about my experience as a pro several times a year for a few years. I was looking to shift out of making cakes full time, and get some weekends back so I could spend more time with my family. I found an opening at Thumbtack and applied - and voila! 

As for pricing in specific categories - the best thing you can do as a pro is give very specific feedback on pricing, customer journey, etc --- How would you price jobs, what questions would you ask customers, etc.

We have also recently launched a program where we are enlisting our very best pros across the country to host meet-ups in their home towns, connect with other pros, support one another, and also to hear feedback and bring that feedback to Thumbtack - like a pro advisory council. We are doing everything we can to bring the pros' voices to the table to help shape the future of Thumbtack.

We are also visiting cities across the country to host events and to hear feedback directly from our pros. Keep your eyes peeled here in our online community for future meet-ups!

And of course, we have this forum in which we gather feedback every day!

If you have any more questions, feel free to DM me.

Thank you!

Dusti

GailGutenmann
Level 5

Thanks Dusti! 

I really appreciate your feedback. I missed the first two meetups in Vegas because I had events. But I hope to make it to the next one. I love any opportunity to gather as a group. Does TT have an office in Vegas? Sorry I posted on the wrong thread earlier. Didn't realize I was on a blog post. Yikes. 

Community Manager DustiO
Community Manager

@GailGutenmann We don't have an office in Vegas, but we do have a local pro who helps put together the meet-ups! @perrysto if you want to shoot him a DM he can tell you more about upcoming meet-ups!

ChefOfAllSeason
Level 10

@GailGutenmann Couldn't have said it any better than you did. Thank you!