New hobbies like crocheting and baking. Personal goals of exercise and mindfulness. A heightened sorrow for normal society—all things produced by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
While some stayed inside and binged new TV shows, others got to work using their newfound free time to begin their entrepreneurial endeavors. Apart of this group was then 18-year-old Jake Piekarski and his idea to connect households with students looking for alternative work opportunities.
“During the pandemic I started a business called Chore Hub. It’s an online marketplace for homeowners looking for household help and students looking for work opportunities. There are about 10 basic services that utilize student’s free time, and their special skill sets to earn some extra money on the side. It’s been going pretty well.”
Chore Hub is a platform set on connecting two sides: homeowners and chore-doers. A homeowner must simply visit the website, inquire about the service they want, and get a student to come to their home to complete it.
Before COVID, Jake went door to door selling curb address numbers in his hometown of Huntington Beach, California. There he found his passion for sales by selling 40-50 addresses a day. He wouldn’t go home until he knocked on 100 doors, but soon he realized that he wasn’t moving in the direction he wanted.
“I wasn’t getting opportunities to turn the curb address business into a repeat opportunity, but I did have the clientele. So, I stuck to what I’m good at. I did some window cleaning and lawn care on the side. That’s when I realized I could turn it into an actual business because I already had clients for what I was servicing.”
It wasn’t long before Jake had to hire extra help to meet the influx of clients, so he turned to his friends and family. He soon realized that they were making good money while being able to choose their own hours and rates, and he saw an opportunity to be the connection between the two sides.
Coming to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is what influenced Jake to move operations to Madison. Although being incredible for business, the hardest part was scaling student labor with the jobs.
“Out of 30,000 doors, I would have around 8,500 phone numbers. People were constantly calling me, booking our services, and asking questions. It all became pretty overwhelming, and we were pretty understaffed. It’s still growing tremendously, especially now with the move to Madison.”
Currently, Chore Hub has 72 employees across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Madison.
Having an entrepreneurial mindset, Jake started his first business when he was eight years old.
“My mom had a friend who frequently flew between the US and China. He was a supply chain manager, mostly with products, and I grew up playing hockey. He was able to get 100 rolls of hockey tape for 20¢ each and I would sit outside of my hockey rink selling them for $3 a roll. My weekends were spent selling hockey tapes. I’ve had six different businesses since I was a kid: making surfboards, creating and selling paint on Amazon, and my new business Snow Scholars.”
“If you’re going to start a business, you’d better make sure that you are overly passionate about what your business entails and stay true to your mission,” says Jake on the best advice he could give someone wishing to become an entrepreneur. “That’s what’s going to separate you from being successful versus just being in the race with everyone else.”
“Do as much as you can by yourself. The more people you get involved, the longer it takes to make a decision. You need to have a strong sense of where you want your business to go. I own 100% of all of my companies. I’ve never raised any money. Don’t raise money if you don’t have to. If you do, you’re going to have to answer to someone else.”
Outside of entrepreneurship, Jake loves skiing and surfing. He loves playing hockey on frozen Lake Mendota and likes fashion. He loves spending time with his family, and just backpacked Europe for a month by himself visiting Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
As for his future, Jake would looks forward to learning more about his three majors at the Wisconsin School of Business, real estate, management, and entrepreneurship.
“Where I’m from, real estate is booming. I would love to get into the development side. It’s somewhere to invest my earnings and turn it into repeat cash flow. If you can learn to manage people, you can make them happy. That’s when you can reach true productivity and your workers will be motivated to help you build your dream.”