Bonsai Wants To Be The Freelancer’s Best Friend – TechCrunch
Bonsai, part of Y Combinators Winter 2016 Charge, has developed a tool that helps freelancers with contract creation and invoicing. The two-person company counts itself as a system that takes care of contract creation, invoicing and payment processing for employees or anyone who does contract work behind a computer.
While the digital economy has made the freelance a more viable option for designers, developers, writers, and photographers, there are still some problems on the way to a successful and fulfilling career in freelance and project-based work.
Founders Matt Brown and Matt Nish, who were freelance throughout their studies, tell me that the story often looks the same for people who want to try freelancing. They will quit their job to pursue a niche passion in photography, writing, design, etc. They look forward to making their own schedules and being their own boss.
But then the harsh reality of contracts, intellectual property rights, invoicing and communication with customers sets in. Dealing with clients, sending out invoices, and tracking unapproved payments can be half the time of a freelancer, and one of the reasons freelancers fail is because they underestimate the time and effort it takes to run the business.
Brown says 50 percent of freelancers get paid late or not at all – which can be a real problem when rent and bills are due. He created Bonsai to guide freelancers through the necessary business processes with two products: a simple English contract template tool and a simple invoicing system for processing invoices that the freelancer can create and send himself. He says that bonsai users get paid about two weeks faster than in the past and receive three times fewer late payments than before with the tool.
The contract creation tool is designed to help freelancers create professional contracts with blank templates. Contracts can be difficult. Who Owns the Intellectual Property? How do I make sure I am not underpaid or overwhelmed for work? Should I ask for a deposit in advance? Bonsai steps in with helpful professional tips that appear throughout the contract creation process and obtains responses from lawyers in each country the service operates in.
The invoicing tool enables freelancers to create and send their own invoices and is integrated into Stripe, PayPal and Coinbase. The system also sends smart reminders to customers to ensure on-time payment.
There are many billing systems and marketplaces for freelancers, but what makes Bonsai Tool stand out is the element of guidance and the simplification of its service. It’s also worth noting that Bonsai allows freelancers to get paid by ACH, which is not available in many other freelance payment methods, resulting in much lower fees for high-income freelancers.