sharing economy gig worker

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Payment: It’s often the biggest snag facing sharing economy platforms, gig economy work, and freelancers.

And that was true even before COVID-19 came along and gummed up so many of the business world’s traditional payroll and payment mechanisms.

Shareable sponsor Tipalti can help by improving the process for paying contractors quickly and equitably.  

Today, Tipalti is making a difference for some of the most innovative platforms of the sharing economy: 

  1. Skillshare: Teaching talent — and paying for it

Skillshare platform website

The teaching platform Skillshare enables skilled practitioners — such as artists, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs — to create courses for millions of members all over the world. 

Its model depends on timely payments of professional-level fees to teachers who are respected in their fields. 

Tipalti got the work of managing those payments out of the way, enabling the Skillshare team to focus on supporting their teachers. 

“It’s very important for Skillshare to have a platform like Tipalti. Providing people with a system where they can get paid on time, however they want, is a huge benefit of our platform,” said Leslie Pesante, the company’s head of finance. 

  1. Flytographer: Vacation photography connections worldwide

Flytographer platform website

Canadian startup Flytographer connects photographers all over the world with people who want to book a photoshoot while on vacation or on other family trips.

Flytographer photographers capture family gatherings, engagement and wedding events, and more. Local photographers can also give clients travel and tourism tips. 

For photographers, Flytographer removes the burdens of finding clients, marketing, and billing, which can be a major time suck for creatives. 

Flytographer operates in 300 destinations worldwide, so it’s critical that the company provides a smooth payment process no matter where a photographer is based. 

Flytographer uses Tipalti to automate their payment process so that photographers have a digital, self-serve hub where they can update all their payment details themselves. This creates efficiencies by relieving Flytographer’s back-office staff of having to manage each photographer’s payment details individually. 

“Photographers don’t have to do any of the customer acquisition, marketing, or vetting. They get served up shoots and can opt in or opt out, all online. And once they provide a great photoshoot experience for the customers on location, we can pay them quickly,” said Flytographer CEO Nicole Smith. 

  1. Swing Education: The best way to substitute

Swing platform website

Traditionally, substitute teachers have very little control over their work. They are paid less than full-time teachers, and they are often called into work with a phone call early in the morning, usually with no warning. 

Swing Education is working to change that.  

The platform connects K-12 teachers to schools that need substitutes, and also provides them with better pay and complete flexibility over when and where they sub. 

During the pandemic, Swing Education has also helped teachers find families that are struggling with distance learning, and looking for support for at-home learning pods. 

Swing Education pays weekly, which means that they need a payment solution that’s quick and automated. 

That’s where Tipalti came in. 

“Because of Tipalti, I’m no longer worried about our Accounting and Finance operations—I’m confident that our substitute teachers will get paid on time and be completely satisfied with the process,” said Melanie Reeves, the company’s director of finance. 

  1. United Language Group: Found in translation  

United Language Group platform website

United Language Group employs thousands of linguists and translators around the globe to facilitate truly international commerce and cultural exchange. 

ULG’s translators are paid in a variety of currencies and methods — and prior to using Tipalti, it took up to two weeks for ULG to get their translators paid. Managing each translators’ payment preferences and personal information alone took hours of back-office time. 

After switching to Tipalti, ULG’s payments are processed in just a day, and translators can update their personal information themselves. 

  1. SmartShoot: Global photo solutions

SmartShoot platform website

Photographers around the world who work strictly for businesses are turning to SmartShoot to connect with new corporate clients. 

In order to keep photographers focused on the work they love — creating great content for global brands — Smartshoot needed to pay them equitably, fairly, and quickly. 

Tipalti made this all possible, wherever their photographers are located. 

Supporting sharing economy providers

Especially during a pandemic, contractors of all kinds, all over the world, rely on sharing platforms to find work. 

But this often leaves them vulnerable to poor infrastructure or unscrupulous businesses. 

Tipalti’s automated and intuitive system gives contractors the tools that they need to advocate for themselves and get paid on time. 

It also allows the companies that employ them to continue attracting talented workers. 

Although finance and payables are mostly invisible, when they go wrong, they’re impossible to ignore.

Great payment tools like Tipalti are key components of the future of work — during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Casey O'Brien


Casey O'Brien |

Casey O'Brien is a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area of California. Casey focuses most of her reporting on big problems and how we can solve them: she writes