Rob Whetham interviews Vahan Avagyan. Here is the full transcript. This interview was recorded in New York in April of 2017.
Rob Whetham: What’s up everybody, welcome back to the show. Empire Radio Now dot com presents the professional’s roundtable. I am your host Rob Whetham, joining me live on the phone from Middle Village, New York, is the co-owner of Servicejoy. This is the website: www.servicejoy.com. His name is Vahan Avagyan. How are you doing Vahan?
Vahan Avagyan: Hey Rob, how are you? I am doing well, thanks.
Rob W: Alright, so Vahan, just tell me a little bit about Servicejoy. What do you guys do?
Vahan A: Basically, it is an online software that helps business owners with their accounting, mostly about invoicing, estimates, you collect payments, you basically create even visual invoices. Let’s say you are a grooming company or any service company, and you can create a lot of estimates, send them to your clients, they can review it, they can accept it if they want to, you get notified, everything is in one place. I am not even going to bother talking about reports and clients portals, contacts, to do management, files management — and it does all in one place.
Rob W: Alright, so this is your one stop shop for all of your business, like behind the scenes type needs?
Vahan A: Yeah, I would say mostly for accounting parts, yes.
Rob W: Okay, so basically keeping your finances in order is what you are saying?
Vahan A: Exactly, mostly invoices and such. You are right, for the business.
Rob W: Okay, so what’s the biggest benefit of using your service?
Vahan A: I would say simplicity and the value it brings for the price. The main reason we created Servicejoy was that we went through so many complicated interfaces and some were simple while some were not doing what you need. Anyway, at the end of the day we started building something that we would want to use and when we started back in 2012, users of our software started wanting to have that to use on their own. And so we decided to basically create a SaaS which is Software as a service for others to use as well. So, it is based on the need that organically made us want to create this software for everybody else to use.
Rob W: Okay, let me get this straight, you basically created a software so that it would be easier for you to keep your own finances in order and the people you worked with were like, “Hey that is pretty cool, can we use that too,” and you were like, “Alright, we are turning this into a business.”
Vahan A: Yeah, that is exactly right Rob. What happened is basically we catered for our own clients and those clients at the end of the day started asking, “What is this thing you are using? This is very easy to use I would like to have it for my own clients,” and things like that. So, we’ve revamped the entire software because it is very different when you are creating something for a very small quantity of people to use versus something that majority of people use, your goal is to basically multi-thousand people at the same time. Very different infrastructural, security, and things like that, so we did that.
Rob W: Alright, it is a good idea, you’re obviously doing good now, so it was obviously a smart idea to share the information with other people. What were you doing before you started this business?
Vahan A: We, me and my co-founder Andranik, we built software, we designed software. Both our background is doing a lot of back-end security and also front-end which is mostly visuals, what visitors at the end of the day interact with, and we did that for many many years for many different clients. Yeah, that’s basically our background — building digital products.
Rob W: Alright, cool! This is the professional’s Roundtable on Empire Radionow dot com. I’m Rob Whetham speaking with Vahan Avagyan. He is the co-owner of Servicejoy in Middle Village, New York. Shout out to his partner Andranik listening right now. So, tell me what inspired you to start another business based off of this software. I mean was it the type of thing where you just kind of knew that it would be something that people will want to use?
Vahan A: So, not to repeat my answer, I’ll try to explain differently. Basically what happened was back in 2012 we had our own clients, and we had to invoice them at some point. We had to use some spreadsheets or some software that was available to use which were not cloud-based. You had to install something, and then… it was a huge drag talking to the clients asking them to review it, accept it, and pay it. The whole thing was a mess, and when we started looking for solutions, especially in my case with my clients, there was nothing that I was very satisfied with in terms of technology, simplicity to use, all features in one place. We ended up using like three different softwares basically, and after that clients had to jump from one software in order to be able to do something reasonable. So, after that frustration, we decided to create something for ourselves, so we can bill our clients. And that organically went into the idea that my clients started asking, “What is this you guys are using? I like it, and I want to use this for my clients.” And obviously at that point, we didn’t have a software that we could just give others to use, but because of more and more, that kind of requests made us rethink the entire idea of having the software, is it for just us or should we just create something for everybody else.
Rob W: Okay, I think it’s a little bit more clear now. That was a good way… I mean you explained it clearly the first time but to just kind of put it in different and words you know.
Vahan A: My bad Rob.
Rob W: No, listen, you did a great job. So, listen, I want to ask you… let’s talk a little bit about you real quick. Where is your accent from?
Vahan A: I have Armenian accent. I’m Armenian from Armenia, originally.
Rob W: Armenia, okay. And your partner as well?
Vahan A: Yes.
Rob W: Okay cool, and where did you go to school.
Vahan A: I am assuming him too, we both went to school in Armenia.
Rob W: Okay, alright, because you’re very smart the way that you are explaining everything. Is English your first language or second language?
Vahan A: I’ll take that compliment, first of all. It’s my third language actually.
Rob W: Third language… Alright, very good, because you speak very well and very fluently. How long have you been in the United States?
Vahan A: Many years actually, since I was almost a teenager, let’s say it this way.
Rob W: Okay, alright, very good. So, you have twenty years under your belt here and in the United States?
Vahan A: Almost 20, let’s say almost because it is not exactly 20 but almost 20.
Rob W: Okay, was it easy for you to learn how to speak English?
Vahan A: Yeah, in my particular case, yes, because when I was growing up my parents were basically teaching us three languages at the same time, and somehow I had some basic background already before I’ve moved to the US.
Rob W: Okay, very good, I just want the people to know a little bit about you, it is always important to sell yourself, you know, as well as the service that you offer. So Vahan, how can people get in touch with you if they have any questions?
Vahan A: The simplest way to do that obviously is my Twitter (@vahanavagyan) or anywhere on social media. Personally, if they want to contact me, that would be my first and last name that is my social tag which is @vahanavagyan. So, basically my first and last name with the @ sign that would be on Twitter, Instagram, everywhere else but I will recommend them not to get directly to me but to Servicejoy first, which is Servicejoy.com.
Rob W: So, definitely that’s the best way to get in contact with these guys, www.Servicejoy.com, they can help you with all of your financial planning and just keeping everything in one spot. They can help you with all of your financial needs. Vahan, thank you for joining the program today, it was a pleasure speaking with you. You’re offering an awesome product and great service, and hopefully, you know more people will be able to get in touch with you now.
Vahan A: Thanks for the opportunity Rob.
Rob W: Of course, it was my pleasure.