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How Boss as a Service Helps Productivity Better Than Tools

How Boss as a Service Helps Productivity Better Than Tools

Roberto Popolizio
Website Planet had the chance to sit down and chat with Manasvini, Founder of Boss as a Service.

She shared the story of how she developed Boss As A Service, a human-centered solution to her own procrastination problem, and why it beats productivity tools 10-0 in helping increase productivity.

Let’s introduce Boss as a Service to our audience. What is it and how does it work?

Boss as a Service is an accountability service, powered by humans. Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution to go to the gym and get fit at the start of the year – and by February, you’ve forgotten it? Don’t worry, most of us end up doing exactly that – and that’s why Boss as a Service exists.

We match you with a “Boss” or accountability coach – a real person, who will check in with you everyday, and make sure you’re following through on what you committed to. We’ll ask you questions, help you understand why you’re facing trouble, and call you out when necessary (everybody gets lazy about going to the gym sometimes!). Most importantly, we won’t stop bugging you till you do what you promised to!

Since BaaS is run by humans, and not automated, we’re extremely customizable. You can tell us pretty much anything that you’d like to achieve, and we’ll hold you accountable to the small steps you need to take to get there.

People have used Boss as a Service for all kinds of goals, personal and professional, from planning a wedding, to completing a PhD, to creating and sustaining healthy habits.

For those who need even more accountability, we also have an integration with our friends at Beeminder, which will literally charge your credit card, if you don’t follow through on what you committed to!

How did it all start?

The idea for me definitely came out of my own proclivity to procrastinate. I’ve always been akratic – I’m that person who doesn’t start working till the night before the deadline, and then pulls a frantic all-nighter.

Yet, I had no trouble with deadlines, when I worked fulltime as a lawyer, at a law firm. I realized much later that this was because there was an inbuilt structure of accountability around me. When colleagues and clients depended on me, there was no way I’d let them down.

Things changed when I quit my job to work for myself…

I had no structure to my day, no plan. I’d start my work day not knowing what to do, and of course, I’d end up doing nothing at all.

With all the freedom in the world, and nobody to report to, I found myself doing things like watching Netflix on a Wednesday morning. Even when I did work, I’d lose whole days and weeks to busywork, where I’d *feel* productive, but do nothing that actually moves the needle.

At the end of a few months of this cycle, I had to confront the fact that I’d accomplished very little.

I thought I knew why – I’d lost the accountability structures that kept me going when I worked with other people. In short, I really needed a boss – someone who’d check in on me, who’d ask me questions, who’d not let me waste days or even weeks getting nothing done.

Almost on a whim, I posted about this on a few forums, and found an outpouring of support. It turns out I wasn’t unique in feeling this way! In fact, it seemed to be a common problem for so many other people. These conversations were really fundamental in understanding exactly what people wanted, and what the problem really was.

When I realized nothing in the market solved my procrastination problem, I decided to start it myself.

How does your mission differ from the other companies in your niche?

The unique selling point of Boss as a Service is definitely our emphasis on human accountability. This stems from our belief that automation just doesn’t work to make someone feel accountable. It’s so easy to ignore an automated reminder – we’ve all done it! That human touch is what Boss as a Service is about.

Second is probably our emphasis on the basics, on what matters – systems over tools. The productivity ecosystem is replete with tools – especially todo lists – of every kind and description. And productivity nerds like me love it. I still get excited when I discover a new one, especially one that looks cool. But after trying every tool in the market, and trying to create our own, we came to the conclusion that productivity is more about actually getting things done.

“It took me years to understand that the number one problem I had (and most people have) with productivity is not “I don’t have a place to write my tasks in.” It’s not even “I don’t have a well-designed and inspiring place to write my tasks in.” It is “I don’t have something that ensures I finish my tasks.”

You don’t need another app to write down your todos. What you need is something that ensures you get your work done.”

Our long term goal is to help people be exceptional. Our users tend to be smart, ambitious people, and we want to help them get to the next level.

Who are your typical clients and what problems do they have when they come to you?

Since we’re currently B2C, our typical users tend to be people who work independently, who could really use the accountability a Boss offers them. A large percentage of our users tend to be students, freelancers, founders, writers – all professions where you’re working primarily by yourself.

Akrasia is a pressing problem for many of us, so it’s not surprising that many users have tried other solutions before. A popular one is asking your friends or family members to hold you accountable, but in our experience, someone close to you makes the worst accountability partner!

They hesitate to call you out, because they like you, and don’t want to hurt your feelings. And when you start making excuses, they’re easy on you. They don’t want to make things awkward or jeopardize your relationship. And, most importantly, they don’t have the time to follow up with you consistently, every day! After all, they have their own lives, and their own goals to pursue.

These are all reasons why you should choose a professional accountability coach – to make sure you have that requisite distance to make this relationship work.

What results do your clients typically get?

Most of our users tell us that the main benefit they get from BaaS is the similar structure of accountability as they’d have with a real Boss – someone who’d check in on them, get daily updates on progress, and hold them accountable for completing their tasks.

Other benefits would be the brainstorming, planning and “rubber-ducking” you can do with a real life accountability partner. Sometimes it’s great to just have someone to bounce ideas off, or have someone with whom you can discuss what exactly is holding you back!

What new features do you plan to introduce to enhance the user experience and further drive accountability?

We have a lot of exciting developments cooking up at BaaS. We’re continually working on “little tools” to solve the problem of focus and procrastination – one example is our diagnostic tool, Why Do I Procrastinate, which helps you understand the reason you’re procrastinating right now – and fix it as well.

Another example is our Google Chrome extension, Dopanope, which helps users not waste time on the internet, by blocking time-wasting websites, and our tool Crunch, which breaks down your bigger goals into smaller, more approachable little steps.

Besides these, we regularly host “Challenges” – small tight-knit groups where people work together over a few weeks to achieve a common goal. For anyone who works well with a little friendly competition, this format works wonders!

We plan to double down on these and launch a lot of tools and events for focus, productivity and battling akrasia.

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