Building Business Relationships – Blake Stanton The Relationship Guy

Maybe you are a college student selling old sneakers to make a few bucks? Maybe you are an aspiring entrepreneur who is tired of doing everything by the shake of  the hand? Or maybe you need a dog walker and want to make sure all of your dog’s specific needs are met and understood?

Do any of these sound like you? I, at one point or another in my life, have personally been in all three of these situations.

Hi! My name is Blake Stanton I am a 27 years old African American male, born and raised in Southern California where I grew up playing basketball and football.

Growing up in the city you gravitate towards three things: music, sports or the streets. Luckily for me, my infatuation with sports came at an early age. I looked up to many athletes and aspired to be like them one day. Sports not only played a large role in my life, but also the community.

Building Professional Relationships In High School - Quiktract

Over the years I worked effortlessly to become a decent athlete which led to my acceptance to Crespi High School. The thought of attending an all-boys school at the age of 14 was horrifying, but no amount of persuasion would change my mother’s mind about enrolling me.

Although I had my initial reservations, today I can proudly say, “Thank you. Mom, I cannot thank you enough for pushing me to be a Carmelite.” Being a small school (500 students) AND an all-boys school, I built genuine, lasting relationships with some amazing people. Most of the relationships I have today correlate directly back to Crespi, including the one I have with Cole Midkiff (founder of Quiktract).

Building Professional Relationships In College - Quiktract

From Crespi I had the privilege of attending the University of Oregon where I played four years of Collegiate Football, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Crime, Law and Society as the first in my immediate family to graduate from college.

Although my experience at Oregon encompassed some of the best years of my life, my freshmen year at Oregon was extremely tough. It was my first time being away from home, the weather wasn’t always great, and the town was small.

I was depressed, lonely and questioning everything in my life. Was a degree important? Did I even want to play football? I knew fundamentally that the answers were yes, but was losing sight of this.

I realized that enough was enough and decided to make an effort to put myself out there and meet others. I put on my “life of the party cap” and found myself building even more long lasting relationships, just as I had at Crespi.

The Art Of Building Professional Business Relationships Early In Life - Quiktract

I learned to love the positive experiences I was having at the University, and to better myself with the negative ones. Though I did not get the playing time I thought I deserved, I didn’t let that define me. Daily, I continued to smile and give it all I had. I knew at this point that being at the University of Oregon was so much bigger than being a football star (the more than an athlete mindset). It was about the relationships I was building and people I was meeting along the way!

When the dream of being in the NFL subsided, my passion for sports did not. Through a relationship I built at the University of Oregon I received a post-graduation internship in a Sports Agency. Being a young, black athlete I found it easy to relate and build trust with other athletes. Of course, being on the representation side is much different than being on the athlete side, but I found it extremely fun and rewarding!

Working closely with athletes, brands and marketing tactics over the last five years, I have seen a lot of success and even some failure, leaving me with countless lessons learned. I personally pride myself on being a leader, following the rules, while still be fair. I’ve quickly noticed from being in the industry that a lot of people have different motives and operate solely for their gains, which is not my approach!

The Importance Of Building Professional Relationships - Quiktract

Cole and I played football together when we attended Crespi – Go Celts! We were always more than classmates, we were teammates. We created a brotherhood that I knew was going to last a lifetime.

Almost eight years to the date after our High School graduation, Cole and I reconnected over our favorite pastime, Hookah. Cole spilled what he had been working on, and I was immediately drawn towards it!

Quiktract was exactly what I was looking for when I was selling those sneakers in college. It was exactly what I was looking for during my entrepreneurial stouts that were all based off of trust that the other would do the right thing. And it was exactly what I was looking for when I needed a dog walker for our new mascot Ryder the Bulldog!

Not only have I first hand experienced the need of Quiktract, but I have also seen those closest to me looking for this very solution, my mother included who constantly worked side jobs to make ends meet for myself and my siblings and prayed that the she was going to get paid for doing the jobs!

As I started to tell people about my excitement and love for this new app, Quiktract, it was quickly identified by others as another “tech thing”. Soon I was being asked if I was a “tech guy now”.

While, yes, it is an app and, yes, technology goes into it, it is so much bigger than just being another “tech thing”. Quiktract is a platform to help solve everyday problems, to help hold others accountable and to build stronger relationships instead of breaking them when a hand-shake doesn’t work!

The Importance Of Relationship Management For Business Success - Quiktract

And I am not a “tech guy”, I am a firm believer in living by the books and building relationships to gain success!

We hope to change the way we conduct business one message at a time, as we are real people, just like you, looking for solutions to gain control over what we can!

Cheers,

Blake Stanton

“The Relationship Guy”

Quiktract is Live!

The last six months have been an incredibly busy time for the team at Quiktract and we’re excited to share that we recently marked a major milestone in our journey to make contracts and agreements easy. We’ve launched the Quiktract App on both iOS and Android for public use.

I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished, as well as their commitment to bringing a much needed solution to the marketplace. Service providers and buyers alike deserve contractual protection, as well as simplicity when transacting payments. They also deserve a platform and process that makes obtaining that protection easy.

While Quiktract 1.0 is only the first step in a journey that will bring additional functionality to service providers and buyers, we believe we have met our public launch objectives and look forward to garnering feedback from the public.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the team that has been working tirelessly to make the Quiktract App launch a reality. Start-up life is never easy and while we’ve had bumps and hurdles along the way, they have managed to execute on our plan and pull it all together. Quiktract is a first in the marketplace, and given its never easy to carve such a new path, our team deserves a lot of credit for reaching this milestone.

As noted, Quiktract 1.0 is only the first step in a journey that will see additional functionality added to the platform throughout 2019. Working with clients to obtain feedback, innovate and build quickly, we hope to grow the Quiktract App and its value proposition over the coming year. Productivity tools, provider search utilities and document management are just a few of the things users will see added in 2019.

We invite you to provide feedback and suggestions as you use the app to help us continue this journey, refine these future features, and build upon a value proposition that can assist upwards of 200 million Americans annually. Working together with our users I am confident our community and team can grow the platform in a way that helps the ever-growing solopreneur community.

Lee Midkiff, CEO

By | 2019-03-13T17:57:44+00:00 March 15th, 2019|General Quiktract, Lee Midkiff, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

Quiktract Releases First Contract & Payment App Targeting Cash, Check and Verbal Agreements

The Quiktract app allows service providers and buyers to avoid long-form contracts and inconvenient payment methods

Springboro, OH, March 13, 2019 Quiktract Inc. today announces the release of the company’s mobile application on both the AppStore and Google Play. The Quiktract app provides individual service providers and buyers alike with the ability to get legally binding contracts in writing via their phone, as well as facilitate payments at the end of the job without having to navigate long-form contracts or deal with only cash or check as payment methods.

With an estimated 191 million Americans either buying from or providing services to another individual annually, the person-to-person “gig” economy has never been stronger. From traditional freelance and design work, to landscaping and lawn care, fitness instruction, babysitting, coaching, pet sitting and more, Americans are increasingly dealing directly with each other for their individual service needs.

Despite the strength of the person-to-person service sector, most buyers and providers don’t get the terms of their service arrangement in writing. Quiktract offers buyers and providers “quick contracts” on a mobile platform that gets agreements in writing, amends them in real time as terms change, and facilitates payment at the end of the job. Protection and accountability are delivered to all parties via a process that takes less than 60 seconds and delivers a documented agreement on every job.

“Three quarters of Americans are part of the gig economy whether they consciously realize it or not. Consistently, more and more individuals are working with another individual to meet their service needs,” says Lee Midkiff, Quiktract CEO.

“Despite these trends, individuals aren’t getting the details in writing – even if just on the back of the proverbial napkin. Quiktract makes it easy to get it in writing with simple-to-use, convenient technology.”

The Quiktract app currently includes 14 templates that form the basis of a Quiktract agreement. Quiktract templates available immediately span the entire service sector and include areas like lawn care, digital design and software, pet care, babysitting, handiwork, coaching, tutoring and more. Each Quiktract may be amended in real-time and amendments must be agreed to by both parties in the event scope or job details change during the contracted work.

Furthermore, embedded messaging between the parties not only streamlines communication but results in the automatic creation of service exhibits appended to every Quiktract.  Payments are likewise logged within each Quiktract and users are provided with the ability to pay or get paid electronically via the company’s QT Pay platform.

About Quiktract

Quiktract Inc. is the first person-to-person contract platform with integrated payments designed specifically for individual service providers, buyers and the general “gig” economy. Via either the Quiktract iOS or Android application individuals are able to create and execute legally binding contracts in less than 60 seconds. Quiktract’s integrated payment functions further allow individuals to quickly send and receive payments electronically directly via the application. Headquartered in Springboro, OH, the company also maintains marketing and development teams in Los Angeles, CA, Minsk, Belarus and Bhavnagar, India.

Quiktract Media Contact:

Lee Midkiff

lmidkiff@quiktract.com

 

CONTACT

Name: Sjoerd Martens

Phone: 1-646-480-0356

Email: sjoerd@publicize.co

 

Quiktract Honored to Exhibit at Startup Grind Global Conference

The Quiktract team is extremely honored to have been selected to exhibit at next week’s Startup Grind Global Conference.  Possibly more so than any other conference, Startup Grind’s Global Conference highlights all sides of the start-up universe in a way that is hard to articulate to those not having traveled the start-up path before. Quite frankly, the name says it all. Startup life is a grind and no matter their success, entrepreneurs understand it is in fact a grind; albeit an exciting one.

With over 8,000 attendees, 212 start-ups from 34 countries exhibiting, and speakers representing those that have reached the pinnacle of start-up success, the conference offers something for everyone. This all comes together within the common theme of building a stronger start-up community. Most founders and start-up teams have all experienced the same challenges at one point or another. A conference that brings together individuals from all stages of the start-up community presents a phenomenal opportunity to learn, make connections, and possibly see what the next best things coming to the market are.

Having been selected to exhibit from thousands of applications is a great testament to our team and the vision they have crafted for Quiktract and Quiktract users. The conference will provide the team with a phenomenal opportunity to network, make some friends and hopefully educate a lot of individuals on the Quiktract App. With 8 out of 10 Americans buying or providing personal service annually, having the opportunity to demo our product, its value and build some excitement to such a large group of potential users is a great way to kick-off Quiktract coming to market.

If you happen to be going to the conference, or are in the Bay Area and consider attending, I’d encourage you to do so. I’d also encourage you to stop by our booth while you are there. The Quiktract team will be represented by members of our management and technical teams throughout the conference and relish having the opportunity to talk about Quiktract and the platform we’ve created.

For more information on Start-up Grind’s Global Conference, feel free to visit https://www.startupgrind.com.

Lee Midkiff, CEO

6 Ways to Build Confidence as a New Freelancer

Launching a freelance career can shake the confidence of the most successful person. Competition is fierce on bidding sites and the internet in general. Freelance writers submit articles to magazines in hope of publication credits and pay. Self-employed programmers offer their apps for sale and approach companies to fulfill their needs remotely. Designers hawk their skills on social media and their own websites with rich galleries and ever-lowering price lists.

The ability to put yourself out there and offer your talent or skill to professionals and businesses takes confidence. At the start, that can be in short supply. No matter what type of service you offer, these six tips can help you find the guts to go for gold in your new freelancing venture.

1 – Start Small

A New York Time featured article is a pipe dream for most freelance writers, and a software scriptwriter working from his kitchen table is unlikely to sell his code to a Fortune 500 company. Targeting the ultimate gold-standard in markets will frequently lead to utter defeat, which damages your confidence even more.

Get your foot in the door with easier targets. Submit to places you know you have a good chance of acceptance. Smaller blogs, local businesses, and publications that pay one dollar instead of one-hundred per word are more likely to say, “Yes.” Every “Yes” you get will fuel your self-confidence more and more.

2 – Perfect One Step at a Time

If you come to a new freelance career looking at the big picture, you may quickly get overwhelmed and experience fear paralysis. Instead look at each step that will take you toward your goal and learn, practice, and perfect (or as near as you can get) each one before moving on to the next. Knowledge destroys fear and builds confidence.

For example, a freelance writer needs to research markets, craft query letters, negotiate contracts, write the article, work through rounds of edits, and handle invoices and payments. As a whole, this seems like a huge amount of studying or you are at risk of getting it all wrong. Approached one step at a time, however, it becomes much more manageable. If you become an expert at finding great markets, that is one thing off your fear list.

3 – Surround Yourself With Community

Your mother might think you draw wonderful pictures on the computer, but that will do little to instill real confidence that you can market yourself as a freelance artist or designer. Get on social media, message boards, and join groups with fellow self-employed professionals. Networking can not only help you learn more about how to succeed; it can give you the confidence to get outside your comfort zone and try something new in your career.

4 – Don’t Scoff at Self Help

While quite a few people poke fun at the self-help industry or raise their eyebrows at people who read the books and practice the techniques, there has been real scientific research that shows cognitive and mood improvement from some of the methods. Really, how can repeating affirmations or taking ten minutes to meditate hurt you any?

Confidence is, after all, a mindset. The lack of it is not a disorder, vitamin deficiency, or curse. While those suffering from clinical depression, anxiety, OCD, and other issues need outside help, self-help techniques can help everyone feel more self-assured and eager to launch into a new project.

Another large part of this is realizing that you will fail to land coveted jobs or sell your services to the ideal client and being okay with that. Acceptance of this fact can lead to confidence that helps you get back on the proverbial horse and do what it takes to succeed the next time.

5 – Constantly Challenge the Boundaries of Your Comfort Zone

Building self-esteem is impossible if you never do things worthy of esteem. In order to become a more confident freelancer, you need to achieve things you were not sure you could. The comfort zone, by definition, is a very comfortable and easy space to be in. Push the boundaries, challenge yourself, and celebrate the successes you achieve out there.

For some this may mean making bold advances toward dream clients once per month or so. For others, simply tip-toeing across the comfort line. The key is to recognize your efforts and the good results.

6 – “Fake It Till You Make It”

A man or woman in a power suit gets respect. Freelancers have the freedom to shlep around in their pajamas all day if they want to. Professional businesses have slick websites with domain-specific email and professional design. You can easily get away with a free host and a template.

Pajamas and cheap websites make you look and feel like you are not taking the freelance career seriously. If you lack confidence, pretend you do not. Present the best possible face to the online world you can. The feedback will provide external validation that you are a professional.

It will help you psychologically too. The things you make an effort for will be the things you come to appreciate. If you want to be a successful professional freelancer in any field, act like one. Your emotions will catch up soon.

By | 2018-12-03T04:04:11+00:00 December 3rd, 2018|Freelancer Thoughts, General Quiktract, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

From L.A. to Ohio to the”Silicon Valley” – of Eastern Europe

Quiktract is quickly approaching its formal release and work towards bringing simple agreements and payments to solopreneurs and buyers nationwide is proceeding in 24X7 fashion.  While 24×7 can often be viewed as an embellishment, at Quiktract it is the nature of our work and in fact is how our days proceed.

From Los Angeles to Belarus.

Like a lot of start-ups today Quiktract currently maintains teams in multiple locations. With management and technical staff headquartered in Southern Ohio, the company also maintains marketing staff in Los Angeles. Adding to the geographic diversity of the company, an additional team of individuals working on mobile development is based in Minsk, Belarus. These three locations span 11 time zones and create a true 24 hour work cycle for the company and its management.

A visit with the team in Minsk.

While few Americans know much about Belarus, it has become a technology leader in Eastern Europe with many products having emerged from the country that are now used globally by billions of users.  With an advancing IT Park where over 30,000 individuals specialize in software development, and a culture whereby half of grade school children long to be programmers, Belarus is quickly solidifying itself as a great location to innovate and develop software.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend over a week in Minsk with the team working on portions of the Quiktract mobile app. Admittedly, I can’t say that Belarus was much of a known entity to me prior to joining the Quiktract team. That said, I was excited to not only spend some office time with our developers but also learn about this former Soviet republic that few Americans know much about, and even fewer visit. The Minsk team has been phenomenal to deal with to-date and while daily video conferences do bring some personal elements to collaborative work, getting face-to-face with everyone was something I couldn’t wait to do so it was off to Minsk I went.

Arriving in Minsk, the first thing one notices about the city is that the majority of its architecture makes you feel as though you are looking back in time to the decades before the collapse of the Soviet Union. With over 80% of the town destroyed during WWII the vast majority of the city was in fact re-built in the post-wars years in what could be called typical Stalinist style. Large, square, concrete block buildings and wide multi-lane boulevards are the dominant style throughout town and this is noticeable the moment you make your way in from the airport. Modern buildings are obviously popping up throughout the city but a big portion of the city maintains that 1960’s Stalinist feel. To a history buff like myself this in itself made Minsk incredibly intriguing.

Probably most noticeable to an American visiting Minsk for the first time is also the limited use of English throughout the city. With limited Russian speaking skills and virtually no ability to read the language it makes the visit both challenging and more interesting at the same time. That said, with the iTranslate App in hand, a good GPS on the phone, and an adventurous spirit, Minsk is surprisingly a phenomenal place to  explore when not working. The subway system is straight-forward, inexpensive and ridiculously clean so through a combination of public transportation and comfortable tennis shoes I was able to take in a large part of the city in between meetings and visits with the team.

In regards to working while in Minsk, fortunately for both Quiktract and me, the local development team does speak English and their methodologies and approaches are very much in line with what I am used to. Agile, daily-stand-ups, retrospectives and rapid development are a common language that seems to cross cultural boundaries. In-office Foosball, fitness equipment and lots of Star Wars gear is also something that most American tech people can relate to and elements that make an office visit in Minsk feel not too far from Springboro, Ohio.   Needless to say, my visit with the team seemed like “home” and was 180 degrees from some of the differences one feels as an American exploring Minsk.

Being onsite for both the completion of a current sprint, app demo and forecasting for the next development sprint was a great experience to not only see the team in action but also spend time with individuals I had only previously gotten to know by way of Zoom, Slack and other communication methods we use across locations. Add in a traditional Belarus dinner (inclusive of the most impressive shot tray I’ve ever seen) and I can say it was a phenomenal experience both on a product development and personal level. We’ve brought good people to the team in a relatively short period of time and without a doubt those working on a little app known as Quiktract in Belarus are at the forefront of our crew. Geographical and cultural boundaries aside, we are all on the same page of bringing a great app and great solution to the marketplace.

After 7 days in Minsk I was actually sad to leave. Meeting the team in person and getting to understand their day outside the context of a Zoom meeting was a phenomenal experience. Getting to experience a city that’s evolving from its pre-Soviet collapse roots into the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe was as equally exciting. I’m already looking forward to the next scheduled visit which will come in the month ahead.

Minsk in Pictures.

 

Lee Midkiff, CEO

 

By | 2018-11-27T12:52:33+00:00 November 27th, 2018|Lee Midkiff, Management Thoughts, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

Data, stats and an enormous number of Americans using individual-provided services.

To help our management team get our arms around exactly who and how person-to-person agreements were taking place, we embarked on the process of conducting narrow market research. I will say the results were fascinating and well worth the extensive exercise.

With a solid sample size we knew the results would give us a good handle on how people interact in the person-to-person space on a monthly basis. What we found was that 77% either purchase or provide services on a monthly basis. Thus, three out of four American adults are part of this independent “gig” economy. That’s an estimated 192,000,000 adults; a pretty big number.
As expected, buyers outnumbered providers with two out of three people purchasing services regularly. Slightly less than 40% of individuals provided services in one form or another.
 
As to what these transactions entail, the expected categories appeared consistently. 43% of those polled were involved in individual landscaping / lawn care agreements. One in three used an individual for handy work or cleaning services. Not surprisingly, in today’s small animal crazy society we live in, 30% interacted with someone for pet services.  Fitness, photography, media and other similar services were also towards the top of the list. 
 
Overall, it was extremely interesting to get a quantifiable view on who the Quiktract market exactly is, how big it is, and how we as an organization can  help them.
 
In the next blog post we will cover the other side of the same national survey. That dealt with the good, the bad and the ugly, and truly speaks to the need for Quiktract. As a teaser, people don’t get things in writing, job specs change a lot, and many people are left unhappy at the end of the transaction.
By | 2018-11-24T16:20:21+00:00 November 23rd, 2018|Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

A Newcomer’s Point of View

I just joined the Quiktract effort a few weeks ago. When I heard the premise for Quiktract, I just assumed there were a bunch of apps already handling personal agreements and that we must have some angle or “secret sauce” that would be an advantage. Turns out, there really isn’t another app or platform out there dealing with creating simple yet binding agreements between buyers and service providers. Turns out a lot of the time these “agreements” are made verbally or at best over email or text. And there certainly isn’t an agreement app with payment capability built in. I was pretty amazed.

The fact that there really aren’t any direct competitors isn’t to say that the Quiktract development team hasn’t created an incredible app — they have. But more importantly, they’ve made reaching a binding agreement approachable for small businesses and single owners as well as everyday buyers like you and me (and pretty much all of those small business owners and single proprietors are also buyers in other relationships). They’ve made it simple and easy, yet flexible enough to handle everything from lawn care and landscaping to personal fitness to freelance work to graphic design to babysitting.

They also know that agreements are living things, so the app tracks communications about changes and supports modifications of the agreement including signoff by both parties. I know I’ve personally been in multiple situations where I thought I clearly understood what we just agreed to change about an agreement only to find out that the other party also clearly understood…and ultimately, we were each clearly wrong since we thought two different things.

It’s also nice to be able to make and receive payments through the app. It beats going to the bank for cash or dealing with writing/cashing checks. That also brings a certain peace of mind to the buyer and a lot of convenience for the provider.

If the Quiktract team did have competing apps out there, they would have still had a “secret sauce” of sorts in the form of the attorney network they’ve created for those times when one of the parties breaches the agreement. While both parties would hope to never have to use this “feature,” it certain helps each sleep at night knowing that if worse came to worst there are local attorneys ready and available to help resolve the situation.

It’s been great to be part of the team and it feels even better to know that we’re bringing to market a tool as useful as Quiktract to small businesses, single proprietors and the buying public.

Brian Montgomery, Marketing

By | 2018-11-20T02:26:46+00:00 November 9th, 2018|Management Thoughts, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments

Welcome to Quiktract!

Welcome!

I wanted to take this opportunity to personally thank you for a) finding our journey blog and b) taking a look at what is on the horizon for Quiktract.

Quiktract gives buyers and sellers an easier way to create written agreements and then settle up when the work is done. We help everyone in the person-to-person services space, from lawn care, to pet sitting, to freelance work, to fitness instruction, to babysitting to a lot of others. Quiktract covers both providers and buyers with simple, easy to change agreements and integrated payments.

We’ve created this blog as a pre-announcement way of keeping “insiders” up-to-date on our progress, as well as to bring those new to us up-to-speed. Start-up life is a journey and we hope to share that with you through our product and corporate visions as we get to launch.

The Quiktract app will be in your hands very soon and we hope you will give it a try, as well as possibly become a supporter of ours in spreading the word.

Thanks again for finding us!

Lee Midkiff, CEO (contact)

By | 2019-03-13T18:01:23+00:00 November 1st, 2018|Lee Midkiff, Management Thoughts, Quiktract Inc.|0 Comments