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StudentofFortune.com – Homework Hire

Sean McCleese, founder of StudentofFortune.com.

Sean McCleese, founder of StudentofFortune.com.

Where should you turn to when you need help with homework? From friends, via the Internet, of course. That was what college friends Sean McCleese and Nikhil Sreenath believed when they founded California-based StudentofFortune.com.

Back in 2005, Sean, 26, was frustrated with the lack of friendly homework help available on the Internet. During Sean’s senior year in Occidental College, the Physics major had a class in quantum mechanics where homework was due every day or two. Sometimes, his class would encounter some problems they couldn’t solve, and if the professor had already gone home for the day they were pretty much out of luck. “We didn’t need an hour’s worth of tutoring or anything – we only needed help with one single problem,” Sean recalled. With a large number of college friends who were on significant financial aid – and therefore dying for spending money – he realized there was a great combination there. “Kids with a lot of expertise who could use extra money and their classmates who needed help with homework or studying.” That was when the idea of amortized homework help came about. Sean roped in his friend Nikhil, 25, and built a website to help students get the homework help they need and earn money tutoring. StudentofFortune was born.

StudentofFortune.com

StudentofFortune.com

Students Helping Students

The idea behind StudentofFortune is amazingly simple. Students post questions they need answered on the site with a corresponding bounty. Those who can answer them collect the bounty. Alternatively, students can upload tutorials for others who pay to learn them. The site targets college students, graduate students – basically anyone who has some expertise in an academic area. The key to StudentofFortune, Sean says, is its egalitarian marketplace. “We don’t have any ‘ivory tower’ of (people who answer), we let anyone join the site and contribute their knowledge to the site, helping others out and earning money in the process.”

Sean, who has a degree in Physics with a background in computer science, works full time in an aerospace agency. Nikhil, with a Masters degree in computer science, also has a full-time job. Whatever spare time they have is spent on StudentofFortune. “We kept our full-time jobs while building Student of Fortune, working on nights and weekends for years in order to build the site the way that we dreamed it, not to match some sort of projected EBITDA profile or something.”

StudentofFortune is entirely privately owned by the founders, and have been built entirely from scratch without taking outside investments of any kind. “We’ve built the entire thing out of pocket, by hand, and never ran headlong into the funding rounds that can, in my opinion, stymie innovation,” Sean reveals.

“We were, and still are, extremely cost conscious about every move we make – we didn’t have the sudden influx of investor cash to spend on fancy desk chairs or anything. We’ve tried to build the most lean, effective and perfect company we possibly can because, in the end, it’s our blood, sweat and tears that make this thing work” These days, now that the site has grown, it’s increasingly getting the attention of potential investors. “I think I can look back and say that while it’s been a strange and unusual way of building a startup, I’m glad we did it.”

Right now, however, Sean says the site is focused on growing its core market – by building a strong community and staying focused on customer needs. “We spent our available hours addressing exactly the developments that would build our community and address the needs of our customers as effectively as possible.” For example, they try to avoid adding unnecessary features that bloat to the site – instead they focus on refining the core functionality of the site where there is consumer confusion.

“I know that sounds a little bit cliche but I think it’s an unusual thing in this industry. That, in and of itself, has really been a challenge.”

Views on Entrepreneurship

Sean believes that entrepreneurship should be something you do because you have to, not from the desire to get rich or famous.

There are side benefits too, especially the intangible. “I got an email from one of our users a couple weeks ago telling me that he and his wife had lost their jobs in the recession, and with a new one-year old baby, they were facing one of the most terrifying situations I can imagine,” Sean shares. “They told me how they had managed to support their family entirely through money earned off StudentofFortune. Having come up with the idea in college to help kids earn a bit of spending money, this story brought tears to my eyes.”

“I feel deeply honored and grateful that I’ve had the chance to be part of something that’s changing lives in such a way, especially when the family is earning money by helping students in need.”


Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Eric

    SOF is not focused on customer needs, not one bit. I can confidently say that if I wanted to, I could go into their website, post fake tutorials, and scam people out of their money and not worry about this company taking action. They said this to me: “We do not interfere with disputes among students and tutors”. Sounds like they are quite the proactive company. When people here the name “studentoffortune”, they’re not going to think about the great homework help they offer or the reliability of their services. No, people will think about tutors scamming them from their money. So the name studentoffortune will be anonymous with “scams”, “plagerism”, and other words of the sort. Studentoffortune is a great example of a failed brand name. Sorry SOF, I think your customer service needs a little more customer service.

  • http://www.ace-axia.com Lance

    Ace-Axia at http://www.ace-axia.com is a great source for getting a wide variety of very inexpensive Axia-only tutorial papers. They’ve got assignments from all the main Axia courses, and for many of the other courses as well.

    • AYCC

      There is a new site like studentofortune and they are awesome. There is no fees for uploading money nor is there fees for withdrawing your money earned. You get your withdrawals in a couple of days rather than wiat around for 4-6 weeks like SOF. The staff there is very friendly and they never leave you hanging when you messsage the. Spread the word about http://www.aceyourcollegeclasses.com

      • admin

        Hi,

        I’ve taken the liberty to delete all the other fake comments you’ve put up – the similar IP address is a dead giveaway.

        Pitch me the right way, thanks, without all the unnecessary chest-beating.

        – Daniel

    • Micheal Jordan

      Sof these days is not at all working in favor of tutors it seems that they are winding up most of the tutors account with lame reasons. Moreover recently i went to a website name http://alluniversityassignments.com its seems like great one a simple website to shop for your tutorial.

  • http://www.aceyourclasses.com SAMMI

    http://www.aceyourclasses.com totally beats out SOF’S PLAGIARIZED WORK! You can buy a class there for $10.00. They are awesome!

  • aulii123

    SOF HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT TROUBLE! people STAY AWAY FROM THAT SITE. I WAS A TUTOR ON THERE AND GOT MY ACCOUNT CLOSED FOR COPYRIGHTED INFRINGEMENT AS THEY SAY. I DID NOT POST ANY WORK THAT WAS COPYRIGHTED. MY WORK GOT BOUGHT TONS OF TIMES ON THAT SITE AND GOT RESOLD TONS OF TIMES BY OTHER USERS. THAT IS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. I MESSAGED SEAN MCLEESE AND THEY DID NOTHING ABOUT IT. YOU CANT EVEN GET A MESSAGE FROM THEM IN A TIMELY MANNER. aulii123

    • DADDY

      I agrre with you. SOF is not replying to my mails. One user recently purchased all of my $0.25 tutorials and rated them F. He said that I have selling his work. Even after providing him proof that this is my work, he refused to change the ratings. No help whatsoever from SOF support.

  • Trish

    This is fantastic! I’d like to share something else you may find really helpful.

    I am a huge fan of talk radio, and am also a business person constantly looking for
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    the Chicken Soup Series) on Conversations Live with Vicki St.Clair recently it was
    really inspiring. Conversations Live with Vicki St.Clair is hosted on Seattle’s KKNW
    every Monday, noon PT.

    On this segment, Janet Switzer introduced her new book called Instant Income: Strategies that bring in Cash for Small Businesses, Innovative Employees, and Occasional Entrepreneurs. The book and her radio interview shares some 20 years of marketing and advertising experience that’s invaluable. To learn all about her proven business tips for yourself, you can listen to the full podcast here:

    http://conversationslive.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=188&Itemid=29

    ENJOY!

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