In this interview we speak with Natasha Morgan who is applying technology to the issue of professional property supervision and pet care for home owners way from their residence.
Natasha also secured a partnership agreement with Netgear, bringing some much needed “tech” to a sector that has previously left home owners in the dark for weeks at a time.
Please introduce yourself (any Co-Founders) and your startup?
Our specialists provide quality home checks and in home pet visits for the home owner that is away on holidays, business, or for a vacant home (being sold /rented we work alongside real-estate agents in helping prepare homes for opens and customise our services for their clients) and holiday homes.
Some of our services include collecting you mail, water your plants / gardens, putting your bins out, feeding and having play time with your pets, we will even stock your fridge for you!
My Home Watch is the first company in the world to partner with tech giants NETGEAR and offer a hire service of their new Arlo Pro Smart Home Security Cameras so homeowners can self-monitor their homes from their smart devices.
How did you go from Idea, to MVP and launch?
Being a private assistant / Estate Manager and flying throughout Australia, overseeing the management of over 15 Million dollars in property for 8 years before having my first child.
I began envisioning this business after reluctantly asking my mum if she would look after our house while we were away.
It wasn’t at all convenient, as she lived 40 minutes away. We didn’t want to get a house sitter, having a stranger stay in our home just wasn’t at all an appealing solution, and none of our friends could help as they already had their own homes to care for.
After spending months researching, I found there was a huge gap in the market which fitted nicely with my own desires, to create a trusted, professional, affordable service for Australia.
From their My Home Watch was born! I spent weeks building the business model, even today our model is still evolving due to service requests and I spent a lot of time testing the market.
Building strong global relationships with our geo reporting software partners, and NETGEAR was the pinnacle point of bringing the business model together. Being able to build our services around the advance technology of time logged, geo reporting home updates with photos being sent to clients anywhere in the world and offering the Arlo Pro Smart Home Security Systems for hire really sets us apart from anything else on the market.
Deciding to Franchise was the next step, giving Australians the opportunity to buy their own franchise, work in that territory, build up their client base, build trust and repetitive service with their clients and build up that really good rapport. As our service is a very personal professional service we need to ensure that all MHW specialists fit our requirements.
No prior business experience is required, however our ideal franchisees are individuals or couples who love working with people, have great communication skills, honest, self-motivated, hardworking people.
What challenges did you face during this period and how did you overcome it?
The growth strategy for My Home Watch has had to come into play very early on in launching the business on a National scale. Wanting to protect the idea, brand and launch nationally, I needed to learn all about franchising and very quickly. Not being from a legal background and having to learn the franchising code of conduct and ensuring that as a company we are following its strict national regulations and legal requirements has been a lot to learn.
Working with fantastic franchising lawyers that sit on the board of the Franchise Council of Australia and who offered mentoring, has been huge support and has helped enormously with this challenge.
During this journey to build and launch your startup what is one thing you look back on with a sense of achievement?
Having the courage to contact global tech giants NETGEAR and pitch My Home Watch to them and how I saw their Arlo Pro product working with my business model. When they said YES to being a supporting partner I felt overwhelmed with a sense of achievement even though it was still very early days!
Offer us one insight, tip, marketing strategy or growth hack that has worked really well for you and your startup?
My best tip would be, really spend time researching the industry or business you wish to start, see who your competition is, and how you’re going to be different and try to answer these fundamental questions;
- Market size – is it a giant market?
- Validated problem?
- What problem are you solving for people?
- Understand your business and get the sense of whether its unique and scalable?
- What solution will you offer?
If you can solve a huge problem or offer a unique product and tick of all of the above questions you know you have something really special to market. I spent approximately 4 months, just on reading material alone and it has paid off!
How is your startup going and what do you aim to achieve in the next 3, 6, 12 months?
We started operating in Adelaide 6 months ago and since launching nationally 10 weeks ago the demand for our services has been enormous, we are receiving enquires on a daily basis all the way from Victoria up to Queensland and beyond.
My Home Watch is focusing on expanding nationally and has a number of opportunities in Vic, NSW, Qld, SA, ACT and WA.
We have set ourselves a goal to setup 5 new franchises in each of these states over the next 12 months. Hoping to introduce franchisees into every state and then also some regional areas as well where the service is needed.
I would like to see us strategically align ourselves with supporting partners in the travel, real-estate, pet, and insurance industries over the next 6- 12months. We are having huge interest from the real-estate industry, they are enquiring about how our services can be tailor made to suit their clients.
At present the company has had no funding rounds, however we would welcome interested parties.
Our beyond 12 months future goal is to expand the My Home Watch brand into other service areas, and push out globally. In the past 10 weeks we have already had international interest from countries like, NZ and Dubai.