“Flexible and remote work is here to stay,” says Ricky Willianto, Chief Exeutive Officer of Solos, in a TechNode Global Q&A. “Solos is giving freelancers the freedom to build service businesses that are sustainable and scalable.”

A winner of the ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2022: Startup Leader of the Year — Startup Trailblazers award, Solos is building a link-in-bio solution designed to empower freelancers to sell more easily and earn more.

“Solos helps freelancers tap into the most powerful social selling strategy, which is through word-of-mouth, to help them get new clients and projects,” Willianto shares.

Ricky Willianto, CEO of Solos

 What are the trends driving innovation in your industry?

  1. Growth of the hustle culture
    The new generation of workforce is interested in building multiple income streams on top of their full-time job. Solutions and technologies that allow people to build a side business easily (through freelancing, influencer marketing, etc) make it accessible for people to start their own side gigs and hustle easily.
  2. The widespread acceptance of remote working
    Through COVID, many companies are making remote working the new standard modus operandi. This results in a few things, people have more time at home; time they can use to work on other passion projects or side gigs. Secondarily, technology around remote work has improved significantly making it much easier for people to deliver work without having to meet in person.
  3. The adoption of contingent/ flexible workforce
    Remote working has also made geographical limitations obsolete when finding the right people for their projects. Companies suddenly have access to a global talent pool to find people who are better fitting to their project needs.

Would you agree that sustainability is important to building successful products and services today? Why so?

Sustainability matters in more than one way when it comes to building a successful company. At Solos, we are looking at sustainability in 4 ways, we define it as the 4P’s:

  1. Profit
    We want to build products and services that actually generate value to the ecosystem we are in. The easiest way to define this is by measuring the economic impact we are creating for the stakeholders involved in the business i.e. through profit.
  2. Purpose
    Successful products and services fuel people’s passion and purpose in life. In turn, that passion drives more creativity in our business, driving more value for our stakeholders. Having a business that is purposeful ensures long-term sustainability.
  3. People
    At its heart, all businesses are driven by people. We believe in building a company that encourages a sustainable way of working in the long run, this means continuous investments in upskilling your people, ensuring we have the right people for the right roles and ensuring that we are taking care of people that are even outside of our company i.e. our customers and ecosystem partners.
  4. Planet
    Ultimately, we want to run a business that cares about the planet.

Define impact. What role does this play in building products and services?

For Solos, we want to create products that create meaningful impact first and foremost to our users. Solos is all about empowering people to do things they love in a financially sustainable way. Our mission is to increase Asian freelancer income from $20 per day to $20 per hour.

We believe that Solos can drive economic impact by increasing access to work opportunities by making it easy for people to sell their services and skills online. For instance, right now Solos users are making 8-10x more per project compared to other competing freelancer solutions.

What are the three (3) key challenges in sustainable innovation? How is your company/team able to address these challenges?

  1. Having a clear goal in mind
    Innovation needs to be driven by specific needs. Having a clear idea of what problems you are trying to solve will really help you identify new innovations to solve them effectively.
  2. Understanding your customers
    While understanding a clear goal is great, knowing who you are solving it for will help you contextualize their problems better and help you identify the right solutions for them.
  3. Experimentation mindset and strategies
    Innovation is all about having an openness to fail and structure to iterate on your learnings. Having a culture of experimentation will help you move quickly and cost-effectively and will result in a more successful long-term innovation.

Please share any case studies, success stories, data, or industry insights that can highlight these.

Solos is a business that is born out of our experience working with freelancers for years. We spent close to four years studying freelancers, how they operate, and also the solutions available to them. That gave us enough context to determine the right problems we want to solve for them. We have also built close relationships with our target audience through our Discord and Whatsapp communities to ensure that we have a good and updated understanding of our users. This has helped us cut down the time it takes us to iterate on our idea and better drive results for our business.

This TechNode Global Q&A is part of the ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2022 series. Solos is a winner of the Startup Leader of the Year — Startup Trailblazers award.

ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2022 winners: Startup Leaders of the Year and Corporate Sustainability Champions