These days, it appears, there is a market for anything and everything. Apps like TaskRabbit connect users so that they can outsource simple jobs and errands to people who are willing to complete these tasks for a price. I recall a friend telling me how they hired someone to finish leftover household chores before their mother got back home since they were too busy studying for a test the next day. There is no end to the amount of tasks one can outsource. As a professional line sitter, you can now earn up to $1500 for standing in line in place of a customer for the latest iPhone. That sounds appealing — sign me up! An influx of the activities an individual has to juggle in the span of a day (as well as the rise in laziness) has led to a culture that has allowed for the emersion of a growing market for delegating activities people used to find time to complete on their own in the past.
63-year-old Nina Keneally, based in New York, is the founder of a rather unique business herself. NeedAMom provides exactly what its name indicates — a mom for $40 an hour. As listed on the website, the service is perfect for “when you need a mom … just not YOUR mom.” Basically, Nina will do everything a mom does, but without all the nagging, comparing and constant questioning (don’t worry Mom, that wasn’t a nudge at you, its all listed off of the company’s website). Don’t expect her to clean your house or do your laundry for you though; like a mother, she believes those tasks are best done by the child themselves.
Nina identified the market for such a company when she communicated with the millennials living near her in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They took to her as the resident Mother Goose, and often spoke about missing their parents. They often sought maternal advice from her. Like a smart businessperson, Nina decided to create an official business and start charging people for going grocery shopping with them, helping them cook and just bonding over a cup of coffee. One of her services that really grabbed my attention, however, was the fact that during the hour she is hired, she will book your doctor appointments for you. Honestly, which college student doesn’t have a racing heartbeat when they’re forced to call the dentist on their own? I can’t be the only one.
NeedAMom seems to be doing quite well for such a new business. While I understand that there is a demand for the services Nina is providing, I do think it’s a little weird to charge for being, essentially, a helpful neighbor. Then again, I’ve been told time and time again that there are no free lunches in life, and if Nina is filling a gap in the market that makes both her and her customers happy, then everyone is happy. In a world where prisoners can pay extra to get amenities such as a satellite television, a gym and yoga classes, I think Nina’s company gets a free pass.
All the freshmen (and sophomores, juniors and seniors) that are missing their mother and are ready to shell out $40 to get some quality mom-time with Nina will be disappointed as the company is active only in New York as of now. I, for one, will never stop being amazed by the ideas people come up with and turn into successful businesses.