'Get shit done. It's my motto' - Alex Depledge, Hassle

20 QUESTIONS: The founder of the house cleaner booking website renamed and refocused the business, but would give it all up to become a wrangler in Wyoming.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 08 Dec 2015

1. IF YOU HAD DONE SOMETHING ELSE WHAT WOULD IT HAVE BEEN?

To be quite honest, if I had my time over I would have moved to a ranch in Wyoming and become a wrangler.

2. WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU NAME YOUR BUSINESS?

We went from Teddle to Hassle and it was the most painful six months of my life. People would say, ‘Who? Tweedle? Teedle? Taddle?’ Names can look fine on paper, but spoken they need to connect with the audience.

3. IF YOU COULD BE BASED IN ANOTHER (town or) CITY WHERE WOULD IT BE?

Chicago, because I lived there from 20 to 25 and I loved it. It’s the biggest small town you’ll ever live in. I feel like I have more affinity with Americans.

4. WHEN YOU STARTED, HOW DID YOU RAISE MONEY?

We went into an accelerator called Springboard, now known as Techstars. It was 12 weeks on Google Campus, with £15,000 funding. We didn’t take any money out of the business for over a year.

5. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DECISION SO FAR?

To focus on one category. We originally started with 23 categories - you could get everything from mobile hairdressers to pet groomers on the site - and we realised it wasn’t working. 75% of traffic was looking for a domestic cleaner.

6. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST MISTAKE?

We should have hired a marketing person from day one.

7. WHAT IDEA DO YOU WISH YOU HAD COME UP WITH?

Velcro. It is unrivalled in competition and so useful.

8. HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS?

Not very well. When I stop sleeping that’s when I know I’m stressed. I know it sounds so new age, but I take a long bath and I meditate. I also go out with my girlfriends and talk - that’s one of my best stress relievers.

9. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?

When I was 11 I had two paper rounds. At 13 I started laying tables for weddings in a local hotel. I was an embalmer’s assistant. My first proper job was an accounts manager for a plastics company.

10. WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB?

It still haunts me. I packed greetings cards in a factory for one day when I was 16. The people terrified me – they were very aggressive and shouted a lot.

11. WHAT WAS YOUR BEST JOB?

In the beginning I absolutely loved working for Accenture. I worked with electricity companies in the UK. I started working there at 25 and was there for seven years, so the best part of my professional career was spent there.

12. IF YOU WERE ON THE APPRENTICE WOULD YOUR TEAM BE NAMED?

Get Shit Done. It’s my motto.

13. WHAT COMPANY WOULD YOU INVEST IN RIGHT NOW?

I can’t remember the name, but there’s a company that picks up waste coffee beans from all of the Costas and Starbucks and turns them into energy. So it gets paid to pick them up and then sells the energy. I think that’s genius.

14. APART FROM PROPERTY, WHAT IS THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING YOU’VE BOUGHT?

I had my eyes corrected with laser surgery. That was hugely extravagant and so worth it.

15. SUIT OR JEANS?

Jeans.

16. FLEXIBLE WORKING OR OFFICE HOURS?

Flexible working, because I subscribe to the idea that you spend the vast majority of your time working. And that’s not a bad thing, so you need to have flexibility in how, when and where you work. I don’t work normal hours.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT THE OFFICE?

The people.

18. WHAT APP CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?

The one app that I check all the time is Google Maps. I couldn’t live without it. I get hideously lost.

19. WHO IS YOUR BUSINESS IDOL?

I do really like James Caan. He’s just a bit of a dude, in the sense that he’s smart but he uses instinct as well. I’m like that - I’m not a numbers driven person, I trust my gut a lot.

20. IF YOU WERE PRIME MINSTER FOR THE DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?

I’d take all the homeless people off the street. I think it’s horrendous that as a country we can’t give people water, education, a roof over their head and food on the table. Other than that, I’d get rid of all the labour laws, because you can’t hire anyone easily.

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