Declaration of Independents

An open letter from the Jolly Founders to our community of independent workers

We believe true freedom means creating your own rules.

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.

So, join us!

Shelby Stephens

Co-founder & CEO

Zach Fragapane

Co-founder & Head of Product

What is the Trust Economy?

The Trust Economy is a labor market which, like the gig economy, is characterized by freelance work instead of employment, but unlike the gig economy, is governed by a new set of rules which are more humane and equitable. These new rules empower independent workers to take ownership and control of their reputation, their network, and ultimately, of their own independent career. The Trust Economy is built on three core principles...

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