Adam Goodall
Co-founder & Chief of Product
Posted 3 years ago

Can we build a business only using Freelancers?

We’ve made a decision to use freelancers to build Coconut (formerly Monizo). For any startup, this makes total sense because you get high quality people on a flexible basis, but for us especially it is a no-brainer.

Here are five reasons we’re using freelancers to build Coconut:

1. They understand the problem

Our community of freelancers has shared story after story about unexpected tax bills, difficulty planning for the future and managing cashflow. And then they tell us about their shoebox of receipts…

Banking products don’t give freelancers any value-add leaving many to simply freelance from their personal bank account and cobble together tools to manage their finances. Having faced the challenges Coconut solves, freelancers naturally understand the problem.

These are all things that freelancers and self-employed workers experience every day, and so why wouldn’t we go direct to them for help building Coconut?

2. Technology has made freelancers easy to find

There are some really cool ways to find freelancers these days. You can get a remote freelancer to do any job within a few minutes these days.

We regularly use job boards like Work in Startups (awesome if you’re a startup) and Indeed, as well as freelance specific platforms like UpWork and PeoplePerHour.

What these platforms sometimes lack is personal recommendations. LinkedIn is a good way to find this. I’m not the most prolific LinkedIn user in the world, but I have over 7,000 2nd connections currently freelancing in the UK alone that I could get a recommendation for.

3. Freelancers are flexible and low risk when you’re starting out

You only pay for what you use. You don’t have to have any infrastructure in place to support employees. They come with all their own equipment and software.

Obviously you need to be careful to manage access to systems, and ensure that you vet freelancers suitably. But overall, getting set up with a freelancer is really quick and especially perfect for startups.

4. Globally sourced talent

You can source from a global talent pool rather than a local one, meaning you can access some really great talent that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were just looking locally.

You can also buy small chunks of time from highly specialised people, like lawyers, accountants or just people who’ve been through it, rather than having to get someone on board officially.

We’ve been amazed by the quality of freelancers we’ve been able to get access to through the methods above. I think this is sometimes a barrier to some people as you do occasionally hear horror stories about working with contractors. But who doesn’t have employee horror stories too?

The trick is to decide on your criteria and find freelancers that fit, which is easier now considering how easy freelancers are to access, and use technologies to collaborate effectively with them (see point 5).

5. Working remotely

Remote working isn’t new, but there are some increasingly brilliant tech products out there to help you do it. We use tools like Slack, Trello and Google Docs to make working with freelancers across the globe feel as easy as working with them in your local office.

The guys over at remotive.io have this awesome list of tools to help you nail remote working. Also check out this book by the makers of Basecamp project management software, aptly titled “Remote”.

Hrule

We’re always looking for passionate freelancers to help us build Coconut. If you’re interested we’d love to hear from you, just send us an email.

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