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Founders Everywhere: Rachel Renock
Rachel Renock is the co-founder & CEO of Wethos, the all-in-one software platform for small studios and entrepreneurs to elevate the freelance journey.
Welcome to Founders Everywhere, where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at Everywhere Ventures, a global pre-seed fund supported by a community of 500 founders and operators.
The landscape of work has undergone a significant transformation and freelancing is on the rise. In the US alone, there are 70 million freelancers or independents, but 95% of them are making less than six figures (which doesn’t go as far these days.) Wethos is an all-in-one platform built for freelance entrepreneurs who run their own design, development, brand, and content studios and want to get paid what they deserve for their creativity. Their community of 80,000+ freelancers, side hustlers, solopreneurs, and independents offers a space to come together, exchange advice, and seek collaborative opportunities. Aside from the platform, they also have an open Slack community freelancers can join.
Rachel Renock, the CEO and co-founder of Wethos, began her professional journey in the field of advertising, where she worked as an art director creating content for various campaigns including commercials and digital marketing initiatives for well-known brands such as CoverGirl and Hershey's. Her path changed course, when seven years ago she and her co-founder Claire Humphreys left the ad agency to start their own freelance studio. The business grew really fast, and they did $1.4 million in revenue in 18 months and that's when they found out how hard it was to scale a service based business. They recognized the need for a new operating system and created Wethos to address the issues they personally faced. They decided to share the platform with others to make other freelancers' lives easier and more profitable.
What’s Wethos Northstar?
Our Northstar is our project win rate. Of all the proposals that are created every month on our platform, what percentage of those do we win? Over the last 18 months, we have gone from about 10% of those being won to about 40%, which shows our tools and resources are really working. That really ladders into the overarching company mission, which is to put more money into the pockets of independents everywhere.
What sets Wethos apart?
It’s twofold. One is that we know our customer because we are our customer, and that's what makes our product unlike any other. We approached the problems the way we did because we experienced them first hand. Second, there's a lot of software that exists today for the “one-person shop,” which I personally believe is a myth. I think most agencies are just three freelancers under a trench coat. Our ability to help people scale up into multiplayer mode, pitch bigger projects, take on bigger paychecks, and compete with larger agencies is really the key to unlocking tons of economic value, both for the platform as well as the users. This focus on scalability and collaboration is deeply ingrained in our platform's DNA, and I believe that will ultimately be what sets us apart.
What have been some of the greatest challenges founding Wethos?
Well, besides a crazy election, a pandemic, a bank failure, and a lot of black swan events, it’s been a tough market. There are a lot of freelancers out there starting businesses. They're entrepreneurs, they're founders, but culturally we still treat freelancers as employees, not as business owners. Because of that fact, they have a hard time seeing themselves that way and that leads to a lot of challenges in reaching them from a distribution standpoint. We serve a wide range of business stages from a couple $1000 a year to some of our largest customers doing a million a year. A big unlock for us was our focus around money and how much people should charge. Providing pricing transparency and helping freelancers determine their worth has really made the product relevant to this diverse audience.
Tell us about some milestones Wethos has crushed.
We just launched Wethos Pro, our subscription tier that gives you access to hundreds of templates, pre-written proposals that have prices based on how other people are charging. It also gives you the ability to build out your own library of templates of services and scopes. It not only gives you access to your network, but you can actually get bubbled to the top to get discovered by others. You can sign up with this link for a free 30-day free trial of Pro.
What’s on the horizon for Wethos?
From a longer term roadmap standpoint, we’re excited to help people get access to capital. A big part of our platform is payments and banking. We distribute embedded bank accounts as part of the payments stack and that gives us a lot of data to be able to underwrite people later. So getting an advance payment on your invoice or helping you set aside money for a 401k and matching. Doing things that help give more independence, that feeling of having a safety net, and having more access to financial capital to be able to actually grow their businesses. Another big goal of ours over time is we really want to build up this huge database of how work gets done, and for how much.
Do you have advice for other founders?
Just keep going. I think that the vast majority of this comes down to being crazy enough to keep going when 90% of people would have already quit.
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