StartUs Presents: Alltagshelden

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Imagine donating your skills to help make a difference in charitable organisations. Dominik Beron, founder of Alltagshelden, shares his reasons for founding a social enterprise.

Describe Alltagshelden in 50 words or less. is a matching platform for skills-based volunteering. We enable people and companies to use their skills for a good cause by connecting them with social organisations in need of professional support.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

During and after my studies I worked for several law firms, a public prosecutor and at a district court, so I tried the common jobs for lawyers. To be honest, I really like to work on cases and write contracts, but there’s nothing as fulfilling as pursuing your own dream. I think I started Alltagshelden because I wanted to do something completely different. Things start to bore me quite quickly, so I always try to do something new, to work with people with completely different backgrounds, gather new experiences and more importantly, do something that could make a real difference.

Working in a law firm is a big intellectual challenge, which is great, but I didn’t see the “higher purpose” (wow, that sounds esoteric) or the chance to do something that triggers change. Moreover, it’s an incredible feeling to make the decision to work on some idea you’re having, to start from scratch and then seeing how people start to work with you on this idea, investing their money, forgoing their weekends, sharing your drive to make it a reality, and to see your friends or even people you don’t know supporting what you’re doing, because they think it’s important.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

7 years from now, we’ve changed the perception of volunteering and accelerated social engagement of people and companies to leverage the impact of NPOs and Social Enterprises on a European level. If people hear the word “volunteering” they won’t only think of “conventional” volunteering like gardening, serving soups, folding envelopes etc., but they’ll think of sharing their knowledge and individual talents with social organisations.

Our vision is a society where it’s common to support charitable organisations with individual skills and knowledge.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

How we measure success: If we are going to be successful it means that we have supported a lot of great NPOs and Social Enterprises. As you can see, our success is bound to the success of our partner organisations and the projects implemented by our volunteers. That’s why we are measuring success by the number of implemented projects and the impact created thereby.

How we make sure to not lose track: We use a project management tool to gather and organize our tasks. When we started to work on Alltagshelden, I kept all tasks in my head, but sooner or later the number of tasks grows as well as the number of people you need to manage. You always have to think weeks ahead and at the same time manage tasks and solve problems that surprise you in the now. You need to be everywhere to know what’s going on and where everything should move. Visualizing your tasks with a project management tool helps you to not forget about anything and the same time forces you to look at the bigger picture. It also helps to track whether you really get things done, such as if you see your list of done tasks growing and growing. Moreover, we are keeping meetings short and I always prepare brief agendas which help team members or customers prepare and serves as a guide for the meeting, to make sure the conversation doesn’t get lost in discussions about stuff which doesn’t really matter. Apart from that I always make sure that the only people attending the meeting are those who really need to be there.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

I’m the kind of person who sets 3-4 alarms and I have to admit that I’m also a heavy snooze button user. When I wake up – between 7:30 and 8 – I usually stay in bed for 5 minutes and think about the goals I want to accomplish that day. Then I shower, have breakfast and a cup of good coffee (this part is crucial since I love good coffee). I also try to take 30 minutes off to read the newspaper and see what’s going on in the world.

Then I work till the hunger kills me which is around 1 pm. I don’t really take a lot of time off for lunch, usually it’s less than 30 minutes, but in the best case I take off an hour to work out in the afternoon. Sports is a great way to shut down and it helps me to stay focused. After finishing my tasks I think about the most important things to be done in the next days, prioritize, distribute and schedule them. Besides that I’m doing my PhD in law, so on some days there are seminars and university stuff between all that. In the evenings, which start between 8 and 12 pm, I’m either meeting friends for drinks, Super Mario Cart on my Nintendo 64 (yes it still works) or watch TV series with my girlfriend, which really helps me to relax.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the platform for social projects like you imagined it in the beginning?

I think we had a very good idea of how everything will work out, but of course we pivoted. There are just too many factors you cannot foresee when you start working on your idea. But pivoting is a great thing, as I think it shows that you’re listening to your customers and that your idea evolves and gets better. However, I think it’s also very important to have a strong idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it in the beginning. Through many interviews with our stakeholders we discovered some things we should change to improve our product. But the basic idea – enabling people to donate their skills for a good cause and making it incredibly easy to do so – always remained the same.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Until now we bootstrapped. Thanks to support in different areas (e.g. free cloud storage, co-working space) and the fact that we could keep our costs very low, we haven’t needed investors yet. Moreover we want to reinvest the entire profit into Alltagshelden to fuel growth and enter new markets. We might try to raise some money in the future, but the only reason for us to do so is if it’s necessary to improve our product and the support we want to provide for NPOs and Social Enterprises.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Diversification and specialisation. We are covering a very specific niche – we don’t match conventional volunteering, we don’t do volunteer tourism neither do we help people donate money – which is why we don’t really face competition on a national level. Moreover there are a lot of European countries missing initiatives like ours, and we are doing everything a little bit differently than comparable businesses. However, we are working on partnerships with important players of the 3rd sector and try to build strong personal relations with our partner organisations.

What do you look for in team members?

I believe in hard work, great employee relationships and respect for each other’s commitment. That’s why I am looking for team members who are convinced that what we are doing can make a real difference, and who get things done. I think it’s necessary to find people who meet these criteria, cause they will give all they have and they will deliver results, which is crucial if you want to bring your idea to the next level.

Why would a talent join your team?

We do what we do because we think that Alltagshelden could change something. Talents wouldn’t work for us because they expect to get a lot of money right away, such people would rather go to management consulting firms, international law firms, Google or similar companies. Alltagshelden is a very young startup, so I think people would join us because they know that what they can accomplish by working with us is not only the possibility of having a vital impact on our startup, but also to have a big impact on society since our goal is to shape a better future. So I think the reason for a top talent to join is that we are providing a real chance for self-realisation and triggering change.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

There have been many great moments in the last couple of months, but the most memorable was the moment I realized that other people are giving everything to make my dream a reality, and more importantly that they started to share my dream.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Only work with people who are 100% fascinated by your idea. You can’t buy this kind of commitment with money.

There’s also one no-brainer: Formulate your idea and then check for state funding (“Förderungen”) before you start to hire contractors. Money makes everything easier.


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