The New Workforce: Meet The Nashville Startup Looking To Power The Freelance Economy

There’s a massive cultural shift happening in the American workforce. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the “return to office” debate you’ve been having with your boss this year. 

Rather, it is all about who your boss actually is.  

The number of freelancers has continued to rise over the last several years. But the most recent projections suggest that half of all Americans are expected to be freelancers by 2027. Whether driven by the desire for more flexibility or autonomy…or by deep cuts within corporations and agencies…more people are becoming their own boss every day. 

But the rising popularity of freelancing doesn’t mean it is getting any easier for people to build up a freelancing career. Freelancers need to drum up their own business, figure out how much to charge, manage projects, keep on top of business expenses, and track down invoices. And, of course, that’s on top of actually getting their day-to-day work done. 

That’s where Wethos comes in. 

The SaaS platform is a one-stop-shop for freelancers looking to organize and grow their businesses. Freelancers come to the platform to get details on how to price out projects, invoice clients, keep track of payments, and build out budgets. On the payments integration side, Wethos users have an embedded business bank account that allows them to see real-time business transactions and keep track of invoices in a more streamlined manner.

New AI features that just rolled out make it easier for freelancers to build out project proposals and contracts in a matter of seconds.

Collaboration is also central to the Wethos platform, says co-founder Rachel Renock. Wethos has rolled out a peer-to-peer payment system to make it easier for freelancers to bring on other talent to a project and a new network function where freelancers can connect with others more easily.

“We believe the future freelance is collaborative. I believe that people can make more money if they have the tools to team up and that if we make teaming up easier and more accessible and less complicated. We don’t just focus on freelancers as one person shops, we are also thinking a lot about how they actually scale into bigger businesses and how do we actually make that process a lot easier,”  Renock told Hypepotamus. “Really, we want to be the infrastructure that can support the future of work.” 

 

THE WETHOS STORY 

There are a lot of forces driving individuals towards freelancing. Yes, the Great Resignation and the pandemic left many workers looking for more flexible work options. But long before 2020, many people in the creative agency space started exploring freelancing. 

Two such creatives who made that switch were Rachel Renock and Claire Humphreys. Renock built up her career as an art director and visual designer in the advertising space, working on big name brands like Covergirl and Hershey’s. She met Humphreys while they were both working in the agency world and the two left to start their own freelance studio in  2016 before ultimately launching Wethos.

“We wanted to do more meaningful work. We wanted more control over the things that we worked on. And we wanted to do stuff that aligned with our values. I think that is becoming increasingly relevant for freelancers,” Renock told Hypepotamus. 

Wethos was founded in New York but Renock moved down to Nashville to be closer to early investors in the platform. But the move was also strategic for Wethos for another reason, since Nashville’s music industry runs on freelance talent. 

“It’s everything from musicians to people who produce music videos to people who do sound engineering to people who put on shows and concerts and do lighting. There’s just a massive force of freelancers here. And they are asking: How do I make this a viable career? How do I make this less unpredictable in terms of my income? How do I make sure I’m charging enough?” Renock added. 

The Wethos platform is now narrowing in on 90,000 users.

The Wethos team has several different revenue streams, including on its pro SaaS subscriptions and on transactions made through the platform. In the coming months, Wethos will be launching a teams-based tier subscription to make it even easier for businesses to grow. 

Down the road, Renock sees Wethos growing into being a freelancer’s “copilot” to help freelancers get the contextual information they need to help grow their business. 

Yes, Wethos is a SaaS startup, but Renock says at the heart of it, the platform is ultimately a data company. 

“We have a structured set of data and we are building out the biggest and only database of how work gets done and for how much. And so that’s incredibly valuable.”