How We Started a Platform
Bringing Together Gurus and Clients
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi, we are Batuhan Akarsu and Seda Ergin, the co-founders of SorGuru. SorGuru is an exclusive marketplace, a new way of consulting and a place where people can find experts in all areas, whatever comes to mind.
It is very simple to use, in that people can get in touch with an expert with one click when they have a question about something.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
We noticed the need while we were studying in the same university. Nobody knows what they want to be in the future and everybody is chasing answers,instead of easily taking advantage of other people’s experience, including us. Also we noticed that everybody tries to find satisfactory knowledge on the internet but it is very challenging to find useful things amongst the overload of information.
We realized that when people want to start something from acquiring a hobby to going abroad it doesn’t matter what it is, they need to ask questions and find people who are experts in their field or people with previous experience. We thought about whether there was a platform out there with experts who people could ask questions to.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
We’ve faced a lack of financial resources when we decided to start this project. We had already graduated from university, but didn’t have any financial freedom.
Also one of our biggest challenges was reaching out to gurus and finding the right ones. As our product is not our website, our product is people’s knowledge and experience. We are not marketing the website. We are marketing to our gurus and their specialities.
We knew from the beginning that if we couldn’t build a community of successful people, we probably would fail.
Who is your target market?
We don’t have a specific target audience in terms of gender/age etc. We target every person who has a question in their mind or trouble with something that can be solved with an expert. We aim to reach every person who is able to make an online payment and can use the internet. We address every lifestyle , every problem and every need.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
There is a misconception that spending a lot of money on advertising is a must for growing your business. Of course more money means more ads, but you cannot buy loyal customers. We believe that if you are reaching the right audience you have a better chance to be able to achieve this.
As I said before, we have limited resources like all start-ups and don’t have money to spend to get benefits from every channel. But due to limited resources we learned to create out of nothing.
For instance, we are meeting with university and high school students via clubs without any payment. We are listening to them, getting feedback about SorGuru and providing discounts and activities for them. We always believe that attracting young people is an investment for the future. We need to grow together.
The most successful approach has been using affiliate marketing with influencers. We combine specialties and influencer’s audience by analyzing which content is suitable for which audience. It’s definitely the most effective way to cut costs, drive traffic, return to sales and profit. We don’t give them money out of our pocket and how could a better example be value engineering than this.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We make different types of campaigns for our members. Also analyze our customer and we remind them what they need.
Our customer-client relationship is very satisfactory. We always care about feedback. They can make written comments after the meeting but we are still looking to get to know our customers much better and call our customers to try to understand what they need later.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Because of the pandemic we all work remotely from our homes. We do not support a 9 to 5 system while working. We have a flexible working style that only requires meeting the deadlines. We don’t care whenever or wherever our employees work and this is a new normal. Even after the pandemic ends, we will adopt flexible working and will use the office as a common workspace.
Our team members are very young and all friends with each other. We always say that if you can distinguish between slacking and having fun while you are working, enjoy every moment! We observe that this perception motivates them and triggers them to spend more time on work.
The most important thing is our team members own everything about SorGuru as much as we do with such passion. It is so important to enhance our work and come to that point in a short time.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Batuhan: Nothing always goes completely well so enjoy the process, because so many beauties are still here. Manage not by generalizing, but by customizing because everybody’s talent, needs, and way of learning is different from each other. Try every logical thing you want, and bear in mind failing is learning.
Seda: Be friends with your teammates and share your success.
Batuhan:The most important lesson I’ve learnt through this amazing journey was “don’t wait for your perfect product, start from somewhere today :D”
Of course, I’ve heard this several times before our own journey, however it feels different when you live in the exact situation. We lost approximately two months for a feature that we ended up not adding to the product. We had the chance to launch the product earlier without waiting for that feature to be done.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Seda: Jean Jacques Rousseau says ‘The freedom of mankind does not lie in the fact that we can do what we want, but that we do not have to do that , which we do not want’. I think this sentence sums it up well enough.
Batuhan: For me it feels like, everyday a car hits you while you are passing through a green light and you do not have the chance to say I was right, it was my turn, but that you must find a solution to solve the dispute.
The way you react and what you do characterises the start-up. It feels amazing and so satisfying when everything settles down and you look back and see the progress.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Seda: There’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s definitely blood, sweat and tears. Being an entrepreneur means sleepless nights, rapid heart rate, hide the tension and instill hope to others, even if you are in despair. I think the least favourite aspect is ignoring beauties due to uncertainty but isn’t life just about uncertainty? The day we learn how to surf on a wave, everything will be more enjoyable.
Batuhan: Since the business is yours sometimes it feels like you work for every second you breathe. However, at the same time you are not doing it just because someone is forcing you to, but because something instinctively forces you to do it. You just want to be successful quickly!
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Batuhan: “The Everything Store” by Brad Stone is one of my favorite books. It’s about e-commerce by chronicling the story of Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Whenever I want to find inspiration, I open the book and start reading like 30 pages. It proves that everything is possible, even the idea of an everything store.
It really motivates me since we also want to make SorGuru as like the everything store of Gurus, making people think like whenever you want to ask something related to any subject, the first place you seek should be SorGuru.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
We aim to answer everyone’s questions and find solutions to everyone’s problems all over the world. We dream of a much bigger SorGuru family and aim to reach over ten thousand guru’s from all nationalities.