Fueling the Growth of Independent Service-Based Businesses

We started HoneyBook eight years ago to solve a problem. We had noticed the trend towards self-employment growing but saw that independent service-based businesses were not set up to succeed in a digital age. At the time, there was no platform that intuitively understood their unique needs as business owners.

May 5, 2021

Unlike an online or physical store, a service-based business owner is selling themselves. Their skills and expertise are the product and the time that it takes to deliver the service is their inventory. In order to grow, they need to create more inventory — they need a platform to help them save time, get organized, and provide their clients with an exceptional experience. We launched HoneyBook in 2013 to solve these pains and empower independent service-based businesses with the tools to be successful in doing what they love.

Since then we’ve witnessed the steady rise of the independent workforce as every year more people choose to leave the corporate world to pursue their passion. In conjunction with this growth has been the rapid adoption of digital platforms. With technology as their ally, independent business owners today can accomplish nearly anything on their own.

HoneyBook partners with service-based business owners who use the platform every day to communicate with their clients, manage projects, and get paid while providing top-tier service every step of the way. At more than 30 million Americans, service-based businesses are the largest demographic within the freelance workforce.

Rapid Digitization

These independent business owners were also among those hardest hit by the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically overnight, businesses that were used to meeting with clients and proving their services in person were forced to move all of their operations online. For some, like those in the event industry, the ensuing restrictions on travel and group gatherings brought their businesses to a standstill.

We too feared the worst, and our teams quickly pivoted to develop the tools business owners needed at this critical time. As it turned out, aside from the pandemic-specific resources we provided, what they needed most was a platform that made it easy to run their business seamlessly online.

The pandemic necessitated the digitization of small businesses and accelerated the adoption of digital platforms. This drove exponential growth at HoneyBook and new subscribers more than doubled in the past 12 months.

A New Wave of Entrepreneurship

At the same time, sweeping corporate layoffs pushed record numbers of people out of the traditional workforce. Those entrepreneurially-minded individuals took this as an opportunity to leave the 9-to-5 world for good and turn their passion into a full-time business. More new business applications were filed in the U.S. in 2020 than at any other time since 2005.

And though the pandemic threatened the survival of many businesses, it also presented opportunities for others. Those whose work was unaffected by COVID-19 restrictions saw an uptick in demand for their services. New HoneyBook subscribers in industries like graphic and web designers, business coaches, and consultants grew more than four times in 12 months.

The Rise of Independent Service-Based Businesses

Above all, this past year has impressed upon us the strength of the independent workforce: the backbone of the American economy. Despite the challenging and unpredictable circumstances of the past year, service-based business owners demonstrated resolve and resilience. They pivoted their businesses, taught themselves new skills, and chose community over competition.

We’re immensely proud to be serving this inspiring workforce and to have played a role in helping many move their operations online, recover and begin to grow again. In fact, HoneyBook members booked more than $1 billion in business on the platform in the last nine months alone. A sign that the service-based business sector has the potential to reach new heights as our economy bounces back.

Looking Ahead

We’re excited to announce our $155M Series D to continue powering the rise of the independent service-based business economy. Our mission is unchanged and this investment will help us realize it even faster, by advancing product development and expanding internal resources so that we can continue meeting the unique needs of this diverse and growing workforce.

I’d like to thank our HoneyBook members, partners, team, and the community for making all of this possible. Together we will realize our vision of creating a future where any committed person can turn their passion and skills into a successful business.

Join us in this next chapter of growth! HoneyBook is hiring across departments in San Francisco and Tel Aviv.