We believe true freedom means

creating your own rules

As entrepreneurs, consultants and freelancers, taking control of our independent career starts with having complete control over where and how we sell our services online

Declaration of Independents

An open letter from the Jolly Founders to our community of entrepreneurs

We believe true freedom means creating your own rules.

At Jolly, we are constantly in awe of the people who use our product. It is truly an honor and a privilege to say that we only succeed when you succeed. You are the most inspirational group of people one could dream of serving, the most rewarding group for whom one might endeavor to build a great product.

Entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers—anyone building an independent career—must have tremendous courage to set out on their own. They definitely have a different way of seeing the world and their place in it.

One of our customers recently offered this advice to other entrepreneurs:

"I would encourage anyone who's listening to choose yourself. There are so many people out here who do not have the heart that you have, who don't have the intentions that you have. Why? Because they are not you. You have an incredible gift to offer the human family. And I would encourage you to go. Go with the light within you, and create a platform to receive people who want to learn what you have to teach. Choose yourself because you are a worthy cause, choose yourself because no one can do what you do better than you."

You are the brave ones. The ones who "go with the light within yourselves." The ones who not only recognize you have "an incredible gift to offer the human family," but who decide to spend your time on this planet creating and delivering that gift.

You know who you are. Here's to you! And here's to hoping Jolly can lighten your load just a little bit. We believe the gig economy of today needs to be replaced with a new and better Trust Economy.

In the gig economy, online marketplaces lock our reputation inside them. In the Trust Economy, we are free to own and use our reputation data however we wish—including working directly with anyone we want, without a middleman getting in the way. In the Trust Economy, we are 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.

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 the way we sell our services on the web. We will take control of our independent careers.

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 entrepreneurs 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 entrepreneur, with honor and dignity for independent professionals. 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 entrepreneurs 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 entrepreneur 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.

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...

Inspiration & Influences

Jolly helps connect independent workers and businesses, so we can build the Trust Economy together. We are tens of thousands of members strong, and growing. Here are a few of the movements and ideas that inspire our team:

We believe in Justice

We believe in the Power of the Group

We believe in Honor

We believe in Trustworthiness

We believe in Bravery

Jolly is headquartered in Austin, TX with remote team members around the world working together to build the Trust Economy. Jolly has been truly "co-created" alongside a team of over 30 independent workers and freelancers (programmers, designers, writers and more) with guidance and feedback from over half of our initial 40,000 beta users.

We're active participants in the Time Well Spent movement and advocates for Humane Technology (if you're in Austin, we coordinate Austin's Time Well Spent Meetup, so please join!). We value diversity and inclusivity, and we strive to reflect in our own product the beauty of the world around us. Together with our tens of thousands of users, we're creating a better future for entrepreneurs, consultants and freelancers who are ready to join the Trust Economy.

Shelby Stephens

Founder, CEO

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.”

Zach Fragapane

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.

Ronak Gothi

Senior Engineer


Douglas Ferguson


Lisa Hickey


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About Us

We believe true freedom means creating your own rules, and we believe it’s time to replace the gig economy with a new Trust Economy. We're constantly in awe of the people who use Jolly: you are the most inspirational group of people we could ever dream of serving. You are the brave ones. the ones who recognize you have a unique gift to offer the world and have the courage to make it real. Get to know our team and check out our podcast and our blog.