Caring For Our Kids

‘Mom-Preneurs’: Giving you One Less Thing to worry about

Rebecca Hammett, founder of One Less Thing, loves connecting people and businesses with talented, affordable college students (photo: courtesy jody stella)

Life is busy and wouldn’t we all like one less thing to do? However, if you are like me, sometimes it can be hard to ask for help or admit we can’t do it all. But what if you could get help and feel like you were helping someone at the same time?

Rebecca Hammett, a Cow Hollow mother of three, has recently launched the answer to your prayers with her new website,

onelessthingsf.com, launched in January after months of fine-tuning. College students are always looking to earn extra money, and Hammett’s idea here is you can hire students that she has personally vetted for minimum wage to help you with anything from tutoring, catering help, car detailing, or even social media for your small business. For me, what is equally fascinating is not only the idea, but also Rebecca’s journey to get to this point.

NOW OR NEVER

Hammett had been in sales for 17 years, and while she had a successful career, she was always full of ideas for something she could do on her own. “I realized as a working mom I needed help with more things than just babysitting — there weren’t enough hours in a week to get it all done,” says Hammett. In 2009 she had what she calls her “aha” moment. After much anxiety over offering to host Thanksgiving dinner, she decided to hire a college student to help her prepare, serve and clean up. “She was happy to be part of a family atmosphere, and it was great for me because I was able to enjoy the day and family without a lot of stress,” Hammett says. This got Hammett thinking, why don’t more people do this? Three years later, in October 2012 she turned 40, quit her job, and decided it was now or never. “It was finally time to do something I was truly passionate about, and that is when I decided to start One Less Thing.”

JUST LIKE CHILDBIRTH

Hammett best describes starting her business like having a baby: “The emotions are the same — you are excited, start planning, then as it gets closer, you are nervous and anxious until finally you just want it to launch and get it out,” she says. “The parallels don’t stop there once it is birthed or launched — you have a lot of sleepless nights, but it’s yours, and you get to share it with the world and watch it grow.”

Just like raising children, starting your own business is destined to have some challenges or roadblocks. “My biggest challenge was I had no tech background and had to really learn a lot about web design and how websites work,” Hammett says. She did have some help from a web developer but also ended up hiring some of the students she had met to help. “The video for the website, some of the marketing materials and social media were all done by talented students I met,” she says. According to her the best thing about her “baby” is meeting students and being able to work from home so she is able to be a part of her own children’s daily lives.

WIN-WIN

One Less Thing makes it easy to connect with college students or recent graduates who will work for an affordable hourly rate and have amazing skills to offer. For the students, they are able to choose jobs that fit their schedules and connect with people or businesses that need help, making this a win-win for everyone.

I also like that they are able to make money by possibly doing something they love and are good at, something not limited to just babysitting. “You may be more willing to hire a college student to do a job you wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring professional help for, liking making a dinner, organizing a closet, or matching your pile of unmatched socks,” says Hammett. Another way that makes One Less Thing unique is you can post a job or search student profiles for free, and you only pay the reasonable fees once you find what you’re looking for and want a student’s contact information.

The website is easy to use — each student profile has a rate range, personal video, list of skills, and weekly schedule. With summer quickly approaching this may be a great time to check it out, whether you are looking for someone to pet/house sit while you are on vacation, do some extra tutoring or coaching with your kids, or if your business is looking for some short-term help. For Hammett, she has finally found an idea she is passionate about, and says her goal is to get it to work well in San Francisco and then slowly expand to the greater Bay Area.

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Liz Farrell is the mother of three young children. She was a former television producer in Washingon, D.C., and in San Francisco. E-mail: liz@marinatimes.com

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