In a Nutshell: Remote freelance workers are accustomed to getting paid by the task rather than for their time, and Refrens is a free platform that can help them find more jobs. Freelancers set up a profile, and Refrens connects them with clients worldwide who need their services. Refrens also works as a management platform, generating purchase orders and invoices and tracking clients, expenses, and payments. Refrens takes care of the important details so freelancers can concentrate on their work.
More workers in a host of industries choose to become remote freelancers and get paid by the task rather than for their time. While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that transformation, gig work was already increasing in popularity because tech companies had made it practical.
For example, in the startup world, founders like to hire freelancers to fill part-time marketing and PR roles because it saves them money and produces better results. It makes sense to hire workers with focused expertise in Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok rather than one full-time employee who focuses on it all. The startup gets the best return on investment for each social platform it wants to leverage.
But gig workers understand the disconnect between their potential and what it takes to get there. It’s one thing to be great at their job, but managing clients, invoices, expenses, and marketing are tasks that take up time they could spend finding clients and earning money.
Refrens is a free platform that helps freelancers market themselves, find more clients, and keep track of the details.
It allows them to showcase their best work while offering tools for generating quotes, invoices, and purchase orders. The platform even lets users follow up with clients about payments.
“There was a gap between how workers were pitching their services and how my startup clients perceived them, and general problems around collecting payments, getting references, and much more,” said Naman Sarawagi, Refrens Co-Founder.
As remote freelance work becomes more mainstream and profitable, Refrens is a platform where gig workers can become as autonomous as the companies they work for.
A Business Management Platform for Gig Workers
Sarawagi co-founded Refrens because he said he saw all the challenges firsthand as a consultant for startups that wanted to work with freelancers. He realized someone needed to develop a solution.
The Refrens team understood that the platform wouldn’t be useful if it didn’t have a directory of businesses that were hiring. So the platform concentrated on getting companies on board, and now more than 10,000 vendors have hired freelancers through Refrens.
And it’s easy for freelancers to get started. Once they get their best work together to showcase, they can register with their Google account. Users can input their parameters for accepting jobs and start connecting with businesses.
Once freelancers get up and running, they can start using Refrens tools to manage their work more efficiently. A quotation generator helps users craft their profiles to make a good impression on potential clients. An invoice generator offers a template with multiple designs for personalization. And its purchase order generator lets freelancers quickly purchase goods and services from vendors.
And all of those transactions reside within the same system, unifying the expense management process. Software on the platform looks similar to a bank account interface and completes all the necessary calculations and expense categorizations.
“It’s become a full-blown bookkeeping or accounting system,” Sarawagi said.
Integrated Card Payments Enable Efficient Workflows
Refrens also works the same way for everyone, making it a powerful tool for the growing community of freelancers worldwide.
Sarawagi and the team have adapted the platform to work with all major global currencies in the countries where businesses are ready to hire. And Refrens is prepared to take all relevant taxation types into account, reducing the need for manual accounting work.
Refrens includes functionality that ensures payments arrive on time and makes cross-border payments as quick and cheap as possible. That solves some common challenges on the payments front for freelancers.
Refrens also supports email tracking. After a freelancer sends an invoice via email, the system sends a notification when someone opens it. That can be a great time to give the client a nudge. Clients also have a snooze button to remind them to send payment at a convenient time.
Refrens lets users set a timer on invoices, so if a client pays within a specific time frame, they can receive a percentage discount.
“It’s a carrot or stick approach to ensuring clients pay on time,” Sarawagi said.
For cross-border payments, the platform provides payment gateway services in India, where Refrens is based. The country is also where tens of thousands of freelancers supply a global market. Similar functionality is in the works for workers based outside India. Still, for now, Refrens supports almost 100 currencies and a variety of FOREX, digital payment, and international card services in its home country.
“For cards and wire transfers, we’re cheapest for both parties,” Sarawagi said. “For the client, it’s as good as moving money to a local bank account.”
Refrens: Showcase Marketable Skills Around the World
Refrens community features enable freelancers to connect and exchange information about clients and strategies. If a business gains a reputation for paying promptly, for example, or not paying on time, other freelancers will learn about it and act accordingly.
“It’s almost like a credit score for vendors,” Sarawagi said.
The platform is backed by industry-standard security and comes with live chat and email support. That means data and funds remain secure, and users have recourse if problems arise. A dashboard for monitoring client interactions works on mobile and desktop for accessibility.
Top categories for gig workers on Refrens include graphic design, web and software development, content creation, social media marketing, logo design, tax services, and SEO optimization. As the freelance market evolves and expands, Sarawagi said he expects the community on Refrens to reflect those changes.
“Even popular creators on platforms like YouTube and Instagram use Refrens to send out invoices to their sponsors,” Sarawagi said.
Although Refrens started in India, it’s growing faster internationally than at home. And from the beginning, it was designed to support a global client base. Now, the company is set up as an ideal networking and management portal for getting work done with a minimum of administrative overhead. And it helps workers and employers around the world embrace the gig economy.
As freelancers seek to build more professional client relationships and interactions, Refrens is poised to continue helping gig workers focus on productivity and effectiveness. Refrens is there to help users realize more of their potential while automating and simplifying many of the critical details that go into growing a freelance business.
“We’re striving to become the default platform for a freelancer’s identity,” Sarawagi said.