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On July 16th, our AskforTask Co-Founder and CEO, Muneeb Mushtaq presented on “Empowering Others” at the TechTO Conference.

Speaking on his experience as an entrepreneur over the last 10 years, Mushtaq stated that his mission is to create value and empower others. AskforTask is one example of this vision in effect, as the company’s purpose is to empower people to be flexible, make their own schedules, and become micro-entrepreneurs themselves.

For Mushtaq personally, his 2018 challenge has been to inspire as many people as possible to start something or get in on something starting up. This means to create value for yourself and to figure out a mission to work to. For Mushtaq, that larger mission has always been about empowering others.

Mushtaq stressed that to empower others, you have to first empower yourself. Addressing entrepreneurial hopefuls in the audience directly, he suggested four practical ways to jumpstart an entrepreneurial journey:

  1. Launch a business, even if it is a side hustle. Start something.
  2.  Find a mission-based idea that you’re willing to dedicate a decade of work to.
  3. Give, give, give and then potentially get something in return.
  4. Hardship defines you, which means persistence is key.

When considering how to empower others, Mushtaq highlighted three key things that he actively practiced:

  1. Build a family and not a team by supporting the people around you.
  2. Empower others to give you constructive feedback.
  3. Put time aside to contribute and give back to the community.

With some time left for Q&A, audience members were able to ask questions.

“How do you know when to take your side hustle to a full-time job?”

Mushtaq replied that when you’ve spent all that time and effort building value into your side hustle, you would know when it was time to take it and run with it. He also shared an anecdote about how one of the first investors in his side hustle was his full-time job supervisor at the time, who told him that he didn’t belong at his 9-5 and should take the leap into building up his passion project.

Building a business is a dynamic process that is deeply personal. The more invested and connected you are to your work, the easier it is to feel the pulse of its growth and make decisions accordingly.

“How did you get your first 20 taskers?”

Mushtaq’s reply was that you have to try fast, fail fast, and repeat it. You keep changing yourself. You keep evolving. You will notice that certain things are sticking. When those things stick and yield positive results, build on those things. 

The fact is, you learn as you go. In this process, as Mushtaq mentioned earlier, persistence is really the key. Learning when not to give up, when to push through the challenges, and when to pivot when necessary are key pieces of wisdom to pick up as you become more experienced in building your business.

Although these sound simple in practice, we all know that in the midst of the work grind, staying on course is the challenge! But every complex task is really just a series of decisions made consistently and purposefully. If you stay mindful of these few principles, consider what empowering others and yourself looks like in your business model, they will definitely help you with your own entrepreneurial endeavours.

Watch Muneeb’s full talk here!

About AskforTask

AskforTask is Canada’s largest on-demand home services platform connecting people looking for help around the house with highly reviewed, insured and verified local Taskers. Our Taskers are reliable and trusted individuals dedicated to helping you get the cleaning, handyman & other errands done.

About TechToronto

TechToronto is a mission-driven organization, working to grow and diversify Canada’s technology ecosystems. Through best-in-class events, insightful research and meaningful advocacy, TechToronto is helping to support the growth and development of the Canadian tech community. TechToronto is a non-partisan advocate on behalf of the tech community, a tireless champion of local entrepreneurs and their companies.

Many people ask us how they know the Taskers they hire can really do the job. AskforTask’s answer goes right to the heart of what it means to be part of the global sharing economy.

A decade ago, you would see public service announcements everywhere that read:

  1. Beware of strangers.
  2. Don’t believe what you read online.

Today, the exact opposite of those two warnings form the basis of “The Sharing Economy”. The benefits of sharing resources with strangers—getting in their cars, letting them in your home and giving them money to fulfill their dreams—are driving the growing popularity of extremely popular services like Uber, Airbnb and Kickstarter.

These systems work so well because they are designed to reward the trustworthy, and are managed by customer experiences. A report by Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation (DMCPI) found that more than 10 million Canadians are on sharing platforms. More than 40 percent said they are willing to either rent what they own, or rent what they need from others online.

However, you don’t necessarily want to do business with everyone you meet online. We do everything we can to ensure that the people you meet on our platform can actually solve your problems.

AskforTask’s Virtue at Scale

We know that our business model depends on good faith bargaining between our Taskers and our Askers. Over the past six years, we’ve helped thousands of people clear out their ToDo lists. We connect reliable, dependable doers with those who simply need things done right the first time.

Every single Tasker we allow on our platform goes through a rigorous onboarding and vetting process. We require them to show that they have years of experience—the more the better—for each task category they choose.

We interview prospective Taskers to be sure we’ve found a good fit, then train them to use the platform in the best way. Finally, we test how well they understand our Code of Conduct.

We require all Taskers to provide government-issued ID and complete a background check before taking on their first taskFor an added layer of security. After they start, we conduct randomly selected spot checks to verify the quality of their work.

The Power of Public Opinion

After the task is done, we encourage Askers to improve our platform by rating the Tasker. Accumulated ratings are public and can be viewed by the Asker once a Tasker has picked up their job. We suspend a Tasker from our pool of first-class, reliable professionals if their rating falls below 3.7 out of five stars.

We also recognize that life is full of surprises, even for seasoned professionals, so we cover every single task with $1 million CAD in insurance. If something doesn’t go as expected, Askers can click the “submit request” button and our customer relations team will jump in to resolve the situation.

We want you to rest assured that when you’re on the AskforTask platform, you are going to wipe out your to-do list without the hassle of investigating the work history of your assigned Tasker. AskforTask is a community of good people – some who are short on time and some who are long on skills. We bring them together. Who could ask for anything more?

Hire A Tasker Now

Are you ready to take control of your work schedule?

A 9-5 schedule is a thing of the past!  It’s time to define your own schedule. AskforTask is the leading online service provider in Canada that matches Taskers (cleaners, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters, movers, and general helpers) with Askers (people who want jobs completed). Does this sound like an ideal work schedule for you? Well, here’s the good news, we are always actively on-boarding Taskers all across Canada!

We provide you with free Tasker training, access to the exclusive Tasker app, and allow you to start picking up tasks right away in your local area. Use the app to select the tasks that you would love to do, add them to your calendar and start making money!

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The application process is simple:

  1. Select your skill sets
  2. Complete the eligibility questionnaire
  3. Download the Tasker app and complete the training
  4. Schedule in a phone interview
  5. Start picking up tasks and making money!

Explore a better way to earn and apply to become a Tasker by clicking below.

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AskforTask Rebrand

Since our initial launch in 2012, we have made a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, by helping people help people. As the company became more established, we realized that our voice and image was in need of a refresh, to better represent our services and to foster growth. It is our hope that the new rebrand direction will allow users to feel a sense of satisfaction when they are able to simplify their busy lives so that they can spend more time doing what they want, not what they have to.

Collaboration with Local Creatives

The creative team at AskforTask teamed up with a Toronto based design agency to reimagine their brand universe. The new brand, including a logo, icons, web, and app design, needed to reflect the re-focused trajectory of the digital platform and hone-in on what it means to be an AskforTask community member.

Enter the BEE!

The bee has come to represent our busy lives. We are constantly on a mission, running from place to place, seldom stopping to really smell the flowers. With work, family, friends, events, and social media, we seem to be increasingly left with less time on our hands. For us, the honey bee represents both sides of our business – the customers (Asker) who are busily completing their everyday commitments, and our workers (Taskers) who embody all of the traits of a honey bee: hardworking, efficient, organized, social, and very skilled at what they do.

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The New Asker App

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May marks the official launch of the brand new Asker app. Not only has it undergone a rebrand, but it includes exciting new features that you guys are going to love! There are now 32 unique categories (instead of the old four: cleaning, handyman work, movers, and general help). So whether you need your bedroom painted, your house cleaned, your garden weeds pulled, or new faucets installed, there is now something for everyone. Another great new feature is that you can now directly book recurring tasks through the app (weekly, biweekly, or monthly cleanings)!

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Did you love the Tasker that completed your task? You can now add them to your “Favourites” list in the app so that you can request them for your next job. We love that people are really starting to build strong relationships with their Taskers. While using the app to book a task, a price estimator tool has been integrated to eliminate guesswork when it comes to the total cost of the work that you are getting done.

The new design flow makes posting a task a breeze. We hope you love it as much as we do!

Download the app to see for yourself!

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Partnering with Habitat for Humanity Canada

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The fire that raged through Fort McMurray was hugely devastating to all that lived there and many families lost everything.

AskforTask and Habitat for Humanity Canada partnered up to raise money for those who lost their homes in the fire. It is going to take a long time to rebuild what they lost.

There are two ways to help out!

  1. Book a spring cleaning and donate unwanted furniture: book a cleaning with AskforTask to declutter your house and all cleaning proceeds will be donated to habitat for Humanity Canada’s long-term efforts in Fort McMurray. AskforTask will also help you to collect your unwanted furniture for Habitat for Humanity Canada to pick up and sell through their ReStores.
  2. Donate funds: These go straight to Habitat for Humanity Canada so that they can work on addressing long-term housing damages in Fort McMurray.

To read more about how you can help out (even in the smallest of ways), click here

It all started in a basement in Mississauga, after two brothers struggled to find a reliable plumber. Born in 2012, AskforTask has grown into one of the most trusted systems for booking help with tasks around the home and it has been an exhilarating rollercoaster ride. We are mature enough to be viewed as a trustworthy service that people can rely on. May 2016 marks a pivotal month for AskforTask: the complete company-wide rebrand and the launch of the new app for booking tasks.

Over the last year, our Askers (customers) have become our loyal advocates as they understand the convenience along with the financial and timesaving potential that our services bring. Many of our users have now booked recurring tasks with us and have a strong bond with their Tasker whom they request on an ongoing basis. Our Taskers (workers) are also better trained, have a strong alignment with our brand, and have become proficient in utilizing the app to take control of their life to bring in work and money.

For AskforTask, this is the not the first time that our logo has gone through adjustments. However, this time, it’s a bit different. We decided to redefine the brand that would not only signify our journey so far but also solidify our brand values and future path.

new and old logo

Why the big change?                              

AskforTask is a proud Canadian company that is focused on one very simple mission, “to be the world’s largest local marketplace for daily errands”. Since our initial launch in 2012, we have made a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, by helping people help people. As the company became more established, we realized that our voice and image was in need of a refresh, to better represent our services and to foster growth. It is our hope that the new identity will allow users to feel a sense of satisfaction when they are able to simplify their busy lives so that they can spend more time doing what we want, not what we have to.

Going back to our parent’s and grandparent’s generation, everything had a very localized approach. Support for your neighbour was very common. Even though technology has made the world seem smaller, we have started to drift apart. Social media platforms were developed in order to better connect you with your friends and family, but they have actually reduced our ability to do so on a personal level. The idea of AskforTask is to utilize the power of technology to bring back that sense of community and reconnect people face-to-face through matching those who want tasks done, and those who can do them.

What is the glue that really holds this system together? Trust. The rebrand runs much deeper than a change in logo. The Tasker on-boarding system has been completely restructured through incorporating interviews, full training, and creating an extensive vetting system. This is how our community can feel safe and comfortable with them in their own homes.

Collaboration with Local Creatives

The creative team at AskforTask teamed up with a Toronto based design agency to reimagine their brand universe. The new brand, including a logo, icons, web, and app design, needed to reflect the re-focused trajectory of the digital platform and hone-in on what it means to be an AskforTask community member.

“We wanted to dig deeper into what it really means to “Get Stuff Done” within the sharing economy today. No matter what you need help with, there is a highly skilled person in your area to help you get it done; someone you can trust in your home space.” – Muneeb Mushtaq, CEO

Preliminary design sketches:

 

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Origins of the Busy Bee

“Getting Stuff Done” in the AskforTask universe relies on a synergy between Askers and Taskers; Askers value their time, money and the reliability of the services they access. Taskers want to apply their skills to generate an income with the help of a seamless digital experience.

Dozens of conceptual directions were explored to describe the helpfulness and the efficiency of the AskforTask platform. As the team dove deeper into the heart of the brand, we began to see the Taskers as helpers for the home. Images of the “busy bee” and the “thriving hive” emerged.

“There’s a balance between being “busy”, and being “free” which we wanted to play with. The bee was our humble inspiration – The hive can’t thrive without it!” – Rebecca Brunette, Designer

 

02-Bee evolution

 

The Bee                                              

The bee has come to represent our busy lives. We are constantly on a mission, running from place to place, seldom stopping to really smell the flowers. We seem to be increasingly left with less time on our hands with work, family, friends, events, and social media. For us, the honey bee represents both sides of our business – the customers (Asker) who are busily completing their everyday commitments, and our workers (Taskers) who embody all of the traits of a honey bee: hardworking, efficient, organized, social, and very skilled at what they do.

Multiple bees come together to make a community. Though small in size, their collective effort is giant.” – Terry Popik, Designer

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The Honeycomb and the Hive

The honeycomb is a core building block prevalent in nature due to its efficiency. The structure is like that of our smart technologies – hidden from view, but highly sophisticated and ordered. It contains inner richness that allows the community to thrive. The honeycomb also represents the completed tasks. It is a visual representation of a Tasker’s successes. You can see this shape throughout our website, app and integrated into our icons. The hive represents the home of the Asker and also our entire AskforTask community.  It is an organized system that works smoothly, efficiently and produces a great result!

 

 

Better services. Fresh look.

Not only have we freshened up our look, but we have also introduced some new categories! The four old categories included cleaning, handyman work, movers, and general help (anything from snow shovelling to dog walking). The categories have now gone through a complete makeover and have expanded out into eight areas of help: cleaning, handyman, painting, plumbing, renovations, moving, electrical, and general help. So whether you need your bedroom painted, your house cleaned or new faucets installed, there is now something for everyone.

 Of course, an identity is about more than just a logo and symbols. Therefore, we have redesigned our website and have launched a brand new app for our Askers! We want to be able to walk the walk not just talk the talk about efficiency, ease of use and reliability of our services. To do this, we have integrated some great features into our new app like booking recurring tasks, the ability to request your favourite Tasker, incorporating an accurate price estimator tool, and upgrading the design and flow so that posting a task is a breeze. We have remodelled every AskforTask touch point to create a unified and consistent experience for our users.

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 As always, we look forward to receiving your feedback on our new brand identity. We also would like to thank you for your continued support and for helping us in becoming the #1 service marketplace in Canada. We are excited to continue this journey with you and offer more features, value and help with all of your tasks.

On April 18th, Kate McKenna included AskforTask in her “Must-Have Spring Cleaning Apps” on The Social (CTV).

“Spring is when you are supposed to tackle all of those little nagging jobs. But sometimes I just don’t want to do those little nagging jobs. I would rather someone else do it for me!” – Jessica Allen.

Well, there is an app for that! AskforTask!

Kate described how, through the AskforTask app, you could request anything from cleaning, handymen, dog walking, and even IKEA furniture assembly!

With the nice weather finally starting to set in, do you shudder at the thought of cleaning out your packed garage and spare bedroom, or completing all of the little household tasks you avoided all winter? Don’t worry! You can hire a friendly, well trained and reliable Tasker to complete your tasks so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the warmer weather.

Apart from AskforTask, the segment also covered a wide range of cleaning apps such as:

  • BrightNest which creates tailored home-maintenance lists, cleaning projects, and cool tutorials,
  • Think Dirty, an app that gives you “dirty ratings” of your makeup products so you can decide which ones to toss,
  • Trend Trunkan online marketplace that allows you to sell your used clothing
  • Flic, an app that spring cleans photos on your phone to make room for more memories

With all these wonderful apps available to help you, getting your life back into order will be a breeze 🙂

On April 12th, 2016, AskforTask CEO, Muneeb Mushtaq appeared on The Todd Shapiro show (Sirius XM CH 168) for an interview!

Todd Shapiro has a knack for making his guests feel comfortable and completely open up, and the interview with Muneeb was no different. Although Todd had never used AskforTask before, he seemed very intrigued by the idea of a task sharing economy platform, especially when he found out that he could get someone to assemble his IKEA furniture, which seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence.

Connecting People Through Technology

Going back to our parent’s and grandparent’s generation, everything had a very localized approach. Support for your neighbor was very common and neighborhoods were home to many more communities Although platforms like messenger apps were developed in order to better connect you with your friends and family, they actually reduced our ability to connect on a personal level. People have started to drift apart and become more isolated. AskforTask was borne from this desire to utilize and harness the immense power of technology to bring people back together and reconnect them face-to-face.

AskforTask is in the business of matching two types of people: those who are looking to free up some of their time, and those who have extra time on their hands and would like to help those in their neighborhood while making extra cash.

What is the glue that really holds this whole system together? Trust. Through AskforTask’s new Tasker onboarding system, the Taskers are interviewed, fully trained and vetted. This is how the Asker community can feel safe and comfortable with them in their own homes.

In this segment, Muneeb discusses how you no longer have to be tied to a traditional 9 – 5 job. You can find stimulating and exciting ways to make money on a schedule that works for you by engaging with the community that you are in.

We are now entering a new era that we call “Urban Tech”. Companies are utilizing the immense power of technology to solve pressing challenges in cities to make people’s lives easier. The Urban Tech movement aims to enable cities to change the way they function by creating faster-paced environments. Above all, through technology, the urban tech movement wants to build platforms that empower people who live in urban settings.

New Cities Summit

From June 21st to the 23rd, Montréal will be buzzing as it hosts the New Cities Summit. This summit will bring in Urban Tech leaders from around the world to engage in global discussions on the challenges, opportunities and best practices for cities of the future. As an Urban Tech entrepreneur, AskforTask’s CEO Muneeb Mushtaq will be speaking on June 22nd as part of a shared economy breakout panel: “Sharing is Caring, Trust is Key”.

It is incredible to see the way people have integrated sharing economy companies into their everyday lives. Even 10 years ago, the concept of allowing strangers into your house to perform tasks or welcoming unknown people to stay at your house in your absence was unimaginable, and yet now this is the norm. The success of this type of platform is based on two things:

  1. Elevated trust between strangers
  2. Increased awareness that the average person can make additional income from the skills and assets that they already have

The panel will discuss how the sharing economy has led to heightened trust between city dwellers, and also how regulatory bodies can build on “technology-enabled trust-based interactions” to help the urban innovation ecosystem thrive.

Check out the event program, list of speakers and more information on the summit!

Finally, AskforTask would love to engage with you! We are a marketplace service that not only aims to solve the problems of service supply in urban spaces. We hope that the efficiency of our services also helps to forge strong community relations between people through technology-enabled spaces. Visit our website and like us on Facebook!

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On March 19th, AskforTask’s COO, Qazi Fakhir Jamil, participated in an amazing Hospitality and Tourism conference at Ryerson University. Focusing on the sharing economy, students, professors and industry members came together to discuss how the rise of this industry is changing the way people are buying and consuming hospitality products. Notably, one topic of discussion revolved around how this change will provide new opportunities to millennials in the coming years.

On The Rise of the Sharing Economy

During the panel session, Andrew di Tomasso, Market Manager for Expedia Canada kickstarted the day by discussing the current state of the online world of hospitality and tourism sales. New technology innovations are challenging older models to change their ways. With the increased use of sharing economy platforms like Airbnb, companies like Expedia have been forced to re-evaluate their traditional ways of selling their services.

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Food lawyer Glenford Jameson mediated the panel, and representatives from both sharing economy companies and traditionally-run companies responded to questions about how their industry and businesses have changed over the last couple of years. Besides AskforTask’s Qazi Fakhir Jamil, the panel included Foodora’s David Albert, Rover Parking’s Tim Wootton, and Easton’s Hotel Group’s Reetu Gupta. These panelists represent a range of business model types, all working in and adjacent to the food and hospitality industry.

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On The Need To Innovate

Reetu discussed how her company, which eschews a traditional business model, was now establishing a stronger focus on quality service to beat out the technology-driven Airbnb. David, Tim and Qazi explained how their sharing economy companies are providing opportunities around employment and income by encouraging people to utilize the assets and skills that they already have.

AskforTask employs an online marketplace model to locally connect Taskers who are looking for work, to Askers who need work done and facilitate a renewal of community-based support and work exchanges. Although not a traditional model of work, AskforTask draws inspiration from traditional concepts of community and neighborhood.

Overall, it was a thoughtful and stimulating panel discussion. A big thank you to HTMC 2016 for hosting such a great conference! Events like these provide a hub for like-minded people and curious students to share knowledge, experience, and resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sharing economy or collaborative consumption first showed up on the mainstream radar in 2012. The speed at which Sharing Economy is gaining traction in our lives is simply mind blowing. No one even knows the extent to which it will disrupt our lives and the way we interact with each other. Last week I was invited to do a TEDx talk at Mohawk College to discuss how Sharing economy is our future. In addition to what the talk covered, here are three deeper insights on how it’s making a difference.

Sustainability

Collaborative consumption has been so overwhelmingly popular due to its convenience, and how it promotes sustainability from the onset. A new culture has shifted towards accessibility and function as opposed to ownership. We are moving away from a model of multiple owners having the same commodity.

Moreover, paperless transactions reduce deforestation, ride shares cut carbon emissions. There is less stigma in using something that isn’t brand new, as second-hand clothing sharing rises, especially in wedding dresses. In fact, according to a research, in favourable conditions, 7% of a household budget can be saved and 20% of household waste reduced through collaborative consumption.

Economic Boosts to Developing Countries

The sharing economy can provide a great economic boost to countries that have access to technology but are lagging in economic activity. An astonishing example is from the most recent FIFA World Cup 2014 held in Brazil, where roughly 1 out of 5 tourists (about 120,000 guests) booked a place to stay through Airbnb, which made them the largest hospitality company in the region.

Moreover, making money through collaborative consumption does not require regulatory bodies, governance, or a high-level of education either. This means anyone can participate in the shared economy, from anywhere at anytime.

Resilient To Recessions, Combats Unemployment

Collaborative consumption is generally recession-proof, and can potentially facilitate numerous industries. With so many houses foreclosed on in the modern day, renting out a room can contribute to a mortgage payment. Not only this, but lower prices through ridesharing companies likes Uber and service sharing companies like AskforTask can eliminate the existence of a hefty middleman entirely, i.e the corporations.

After surviving the catastrophes caused by the 2008 economic conditions, people are relying more and more on reliable and efficient ways of interacting and consuming. Collaborative consumption can provide that temporary income relief for those between jobs, or looking to make money around their schedule.

 

AskforTask is an active contributor to the sharing economy, facilitating an online marketplace for handymen, cleaners and independent contractors to look for jobs within their local communities. Use BLOG10 to get $10 off your first task with AskforTask and check it out for yourself. Make a new connection, discover a new opportunity, have control over your schedule!

Muneeb Mushtaq is a serial entrepreneur with the passion to innovate and create exciting ventures. He pioneered in the technology industry by starting and exiting a successful marketing company. Muneeb then co-founded an online platform, AskforTask.com, the largest online marketplace for daily errands. In one year of operations, AskforTask has saved members $20,000,000+ and is available in over 100 cities. Connect with him on directly on LinkedIn or follow him on twitter.

I attended Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone this past Tuesday to listen and shake hands with – in my world of communications – some of Toronto’s media royalty. We were addressed by our host Ms. Katherine Scarrow (Report on Small Business Editor, The Globe and Mail), followed by a panel of young, smart influencers in Toronto media, Erin Bury (CTV Contributor, Managing Director at 88 Creative), Amber Kanwar (Anchor/Reporter, BNN), Darrell Etherington (Staff Writer, Techcrunch) and Matt Hartley (Editor, Financial Post Tech Desk).

They presented that for the most part, journalists are up to their neck in annoying, pointless news they just don’t care about. But rather than making us PR people feel like total failures, they provided tips to avoid being ‘THAT’ person they send to their trash can. Here is a roundup summary of their suggestions on how to better pitch articles.

1)   Don’t yell at them

YOU’RE PROBABLY WONDERING WHAT I MEAN BY THIS, RIGHT?! Did you yell when you read that line? Did it sound like I was yelling at you? Yeah, journalists in print and online media are not big fans of subject lines that include 175 uppercase characters. However, Amber Kanwar, differed from the rest of the panel. TV tends to be flashy and those capital letters actually grab a reporter’s attention. With this said, pay attention to the medium you’re trying to attract. Takeaway: Don’t yell at print or online journalists, but broadcast media outlets will be more receptive to the slight emphasis in your message.

2)   Be clear

The panel was fairly unanimous on this one. If you have a story, complex or not, do not pitch it in the way you would to an expert in that field. A journalist’s job is to make stories easily consumable for the public, so difficult headlines or too much detail wouldn’t work for their audience. Be simple, concise but interesting at the same time – it’s not as easy as you might expect.

3)   Be unique

You still need to spark a journalist’s attention. In order to do this, you have to make them care by providing an interesting and unique story to tell. The fact that your website has over 50,000 users may be interesting to you but what’s it to them, or to anyone else for that matter? Provide an original storyline that journalists can imagine working off of. You should include interesting facts and figures within a story, but do it in a way that adds support and evidence to the information. If the story cannot be expanded upon or related to any other news or trends, it isn’t really a story, it’s just a thought. If journalist’s wanted to report about thoughts they would just look at their Facebook news feed.

4)   Don’t give “exclusives” or “embargoes”

Matt Hartley was adamant about declaring his hatred for exclusives and embargoes. For those who don’t know what they are – shame on you. For those who do and still use them, stop.

Telling a journalist you are giving them an exclusive is a lie – you know it and they know it. Why would a company or individual only want their news in one piece of media? They know you’re probably going to at least nine other media outlets with the same “exclusive story” – so don’t play with their hearts and heads like that. It’s rude and deceitful – they don’t like it and neither would you.

Embargoes are another ridiculous request that Techcrunch banned years ago. If you want a story out, you’ll get it out when a journalist/editor puts it out, not when you say so. If you have a product launch in two weeks, don’t give them a bunch of information and say they can only release the info when you say they can. That’s not their job. Their job is to report new information in a creative way and bring in readers and greater interest to their outlet. Sorry but embargoes are obnoxious and just selfish.

5)   Know them

The majority of my friends and family are not journalists. I have some pretty strong connections here and there but overall, journalists are not the easiest people to meet, unless they’re covering a story on me (which personally, I think they should do more, because I’m a pretty hot topic). For the most part, when a journalist is interested in something, they will seek you out, not the other way around. But, alas, they cannot know everything. So, when people send them a story, it definitely helps to hear it from a familiar voice.

Erin Bury revealed that she is more inclined to open an e-mail from someone she knows first.  What does this mean? How do you become friends with a journalist who isn’t in your immediate circle of friends and family? First piece of advice; be friendly. Shoot them an e-mail and introduce yourself.  Don’t ask them to publish your news right off the bat, get on their radar first. Even more, if you are sending them news, know what they specialize in as a reporter. Don’t send Darrell Etherington a story about how your pet pig can flush the toilet – I mean you could, he might find it funny, but he isn’t going to report about it.

In conclusion, don’t be aggressive with journalists – they don’t like it. Be smart, witty, interesting and likeable. It’s like trying to get someone to date you, but harder. Journalists like to feel special but don’t bribe them either. Unlike a lot of other professions out there, they tend to stick by their code of ethics. My advice is to be honest and transparent but never boring. They may not print your story today, but at the very least they’ll admire you for being credible. As a communicator, that matters more to me than delivering a sensational story without basis.

Happy Friday folks!

Nicolina, Head of Communications, Ask for Task

 

It Starts With A Word: ‘Hello’

Fast Company recently wrote an article on a simple enough idea; An idea that sometimes gets lost in the sometimes hectic world of business, connecting, communicating and working with people. This idea, Fast Company says, in ‘the economy of human interaction’ is simply saying ‘Hello’.

Michelle Welsch, author of this article quotes Howard White (VP of Nike’s Jordan Brand) in stating, “When we separate ourselves from others, we limit our own potential and that of those around us. When you say “Hello,” you extend yourself. It’s an offering, a giving.”

This couldn’t be more important for start-ups that aim to work with and connect with communities across a city, nation or the globe. Being based in the most diverse and multicultural city in the world, we have taken heed of the necessity for various ways to say hello. With a team that adequately represents Toronto’s multiculturalism, we connect with our community members in ways that keep us growing and innovating.

We love saying hello to our community members, new and old.

Drop by our Twitter and Facebook and say hello back! Follow us on LinkedIn to stay connected!

– Amy, Social Engagement Specialist

 

AskForTask was recently featured on a Globe and Mail story on the collaborative economy:

“Many people enter into the sharing economy for financial reasons, but they end up staying for the human connection,” Ms. Foster said. “We’re coming out of an era where much was written about how we’re more alone as a society, how the social fabric is weaker, how we don’t know our neighbours, and all of that is changing. That’s what the sharing and peer economy is growing out of – the need for people to feel connected to one another, to know their neighbours, and to be part of communities.”

Muneeb Mushtaq, founder and chief executive officer of Toronto-based AskforTask, said his company’s website is filled with stories about people finding work experiences and making new connections with others.

“Once you [take on] a task, you meet a new ‘asker,’ it’s all about increasing your network,” he explained. “[With such websites], now it’s really easy to get to know each other, because it’s a community of neighbours helping neighbours.”

Read the full article here!