There are nearly 60 million Americans who freelance today. They're driving, delivering, designing, building, and serving. But the freelance economy is governed by rules that freelancers didn't create. The rules were made by middlemen—temp staffing agencies, closed on-demand apps and marketplaces—who take a huge bite out of freelancers' paychecks.
Independent workers are the backbone of America: soon, more than half the working population in our country will be freelancing. For too long, freelancers and gig workers have been underpaid and unknown. It’s time to bring dignity and respect to the independent professional.
Freelancers have been deprived of a basic human right: the ability to build trust, establish a reputation, and serve people directly on our own terms.
But, freelancers are strong; we are many; and with a network of our own, we are powerful.
So today, we declare our career independence. Starting now, we will create our own rules. We will take control of our reputation data so we can build trust directly with the people we serve. We will take control of our independent careers.
Together, we can end the exploitation era of the gig economy. We are creating a new Trust Economy where freelancers are just that: free. Free to own and build our reputation. Free to grow our own professional network of colleagues and clients. And most importantly, free to serve each other directly.
Jolly is not a typical company. We are in the process of filing to become a certified Public Benefit Corporation, which means we are committed to using business as a force for good. We promise to work hard to create these positive changes in the world:
We will empower freelancers to aggregate all of their reputation data—from anywhere they have established it—into one place that they own and control, that they can use however they want, especially including as a means of building trust so they can serve people directly without a middleman.
We will help our users get better access to benefits like health insurance, paid vacation and sick days, and the other resources they need to thrive in an independent career.
We will create a community that connects and lifts up each freelancer, bringing honor and dignity to the independent professional. We will always make decisions that support our users’ values, and their ability to serve each other in ways they find meaningful and rewarding.
We will empower freelancers to serve people directly, eliminating the friction and unnecessary middlemen from their service relationships.
We will always work to maximize human potential, never forgetting that every freelancer is a human, with challenges, struggles, hopes, dreams, and of course, a unique way of creating value in this world through their talents and skills.
Co-founder & CEO
Co-founder & Head of Product
Some may call Shelby an idealist, but there’s a humble pragmatism that pervades everything he touches. Put simply: He wants to shift the collective understanding of what it means to work.
Shelby believes that many of us are stuck playing by rules created by people who don’t share our values. But we can change those rules! Before we embark on this journey, we must first invite in a fresh new perspective that prioritizes how we go about working and being of service, rather than focusing on what we want to achieve. That subtle shift aligns our work with our personal values, freeing us from systems that don’t enable us to live meaningful and rewarding lives.
With a background in physics and engineering, and a passion for music and the arts, Shelby began his career in strategic communications and software development. His consistent conviction to maximize human potential eventually led him to found Jolly. It’s just one intentional step of many that Shelby hopes will create a life that is an inflection point in the chart of human progress. Through Jolly, Shelby envisions a world of human awesomeness where we are able to find meaning by serving others in ways that are synchronistic with our personal values.
This is why he co-created Jolly and why he believes in breaking down barriers to usher in the age of the Trust Economy.
Thought of as gregarious and fun with positivity and creativity that is utterly infectious by his co-founder and dear friend Zach Fragapane. Zach shares, “Shelby truly is the embodiment of a 21st-century leader. He is driven by principles that are made obvious through his unwavering convictions in each decision he makes.”
Founder, Head of Product
Zach just might be the happiest revolutionary you have ever met, but that’s because he has a clear vision for building the infrastructure to break the rules and for welcoming a generation of workers (and people!) who feel abundantly more free.
Zach believes that happy people make the best rebels. It’s those joyous groups of nameless people who have changed the course of history, built our cities, and upheld innovation at every stage. For true innovation to occur, you must break the rules. And for Zach, he’s eager to create the framework within which individuals can come together as an enlightened collective who can find that spark of magic that’s inevitable when true and free connection can happen.
Before deciding to dedicate his time to Jolly, Zach worked extensively in SEO and project management. He sees his purpose within Jolly as a way to demonstrate that lasting change requires devoted communities and coordinated action. And he’s willing to put it all on the line in order to help other groups of people succeed.
This is why he co-created Jolly and why he believes in enabling people to work together in structures and environments that honor the individual while also promoting the collective.
Thought of as open-hearted, honest and with a sincere desire to be of service by his co-founder and dear friend Shelby Stephens, Zach is just the person you want designing software—a human with a huge heart and a conscience who considers all of the other people his creation will impact. He is a rare leader who is immensely intelligent, and who also knows how to have a two-sided dialogue that is peppered with inquiry, interest in the other, and copious laughs.