Connor Cameron is the founder of multiple businesses, including Stakk, which allows you to book North Shore students for jobs like babysitting, gardening, and tutoring. Oh, did we mention he’s just seventeen? The entrepreneur shares the secrets to his success and how his idea is changing the lives of students on the North Shore and beyond.
Connor, you’re still a teenager, but this isn’t your first business! Tell us your first ideas?
I had a couple of smaller ones before this. It began with selling cans of Cokes out of my locker when I was around 13. A couple years later I moved on to my first real business, a surf apparel brand. I really enjoyed doing that, as did I with another internet business selling products from overseas here in Australia. I think most importantly, they helped a lot moving forward, and now with Stakk.
Now you’re the founder of Stakk- what does STAKK stand for?
As a student myself, I knew how much I wanted to find work. And I soon figured out that there were lots of people out there wanting to hire students like myself. So I figured why not build a platform where the two could connect, and that is what I am trying to do now!
What were your initial markers of success? How did you know it was working?
I knew people wanted the product when I started getting hundreds of people signing up to the platform and lots of jobs were getting posted. After making a lot of different changes to how people actually go about doing the hiring, I think I have finally settled on something that works. People can fill out a form in as little as 60 seconds – and have a student there by the next day.
In a gig economy, do lots of teens build businesses? Are your mates doing the same?
Not really. These sorts of businesses are hard to build due to the ‘chicken and the egg’ problem (we need to build up supply and demand at the same pace), but that being said, many of my friends have been really helpful with Stakk. A couple of them have even started there own ventures too.
There are advantages to being young, but are there drawbacks as well?
Yes, but nothing that I haven’t been able to get around as yet. It doesn’t help that I can’t legally sign a binding contract, but yes, so far I have been able to get by.
What about cashflow? Are you going to retire at 20 and live on a private island?
I think that even if that was a possibility, I wouldn’t really want to. I enjoy building up businesses and I hope to do that a while longer.
Who is your business inspo? Someone inside or outside your family who inspired you?
Both of my parents have had businesses in the past and I think that’s been a big influence, they have been really helpful so far.
What about haters? Is there anyone who you had to prove wrong along the way?
Whenever people start something new, there are always people that disagree. There is criticism you need to listen to, but there is also a lot that you just need to let go and back yourself. For the most part though, people have been really positive about what I’m doing, and I think that it is a real need.
What advice do you have for people starting out to avoid any mistakes you made?
I would argue that you shouldn’t avoid the mistakes, I heard this time and again when I was staring out and it really rings true. I don’t think that I could’ve got Stakk this far without what I had learned from previous businesses.
What about your big wins? What were the best moments for you so far?
There have been quite a few that could constitute a ‘best moment’. To name a few, when I reached the thousand user mark, getting an interview on national TV and my first bit of revenue. But the best of all would have to be my first review, which explained that a man who had hired from Stakk had enjoyed the service so much that he had already told all his friends, that was really something to be proud of.
Finally, what’s next for Connor Cameron? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I couldn’t tell you if I tried! I’ll just have to see how things go with Stakk, but I’m hoping to build products that 7 billion people can use, that’s what I want to work toward.
Book North Shore students to do your jobs like gardening, household labour and babysitting with the simple steps on Stakk.