In 2022, we are witnessing the rise of independent creators who earn significant revenue from social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and etc. The entertainment industry isn’t the only industry affected by this paradigm shift, according to John Paller (Founder, Opolis) 53% percent of recent college graduates have elected to work independently in lieu of traditional working arrangements. While the perks of self-employment are well publicized, there are still corporate employment benefits that are not as easily accessible to independent workers; let alone creatives earning in the entertainment industry. Projections indicate that by 2028 there will be 90 million self employed individuals in the US alone; yet the infrastructure for this population of workers is still outdated.
That said, we are introducing Opolis to our members in the creative and entertainment industry, an initiative that is building the “bridge to the future” of employment and fueled by the passion of introducing “self sovereign employment on the mass scale.” We sat down with John Paller, Founder of Opolis to explain how the cooperative functions and how he he able to integrate his expertise in cryptocurrency (John is the founder of ETH Denver, the largest and longest running ETH event in the world) and his extensive background in staffing to create this initiative.
“I grew a passion for what I would frame as the democratization of employment. When I first started, I had no idea what it meant because I was still operating from this subjugated paradigm where we could make it better for employees. But then, I really had my aha moment when I just said: what if we just empower people to employ themselves? Forget this parent/child hierarchical relationship. Why not create mutualism in employment? – John Paller, Founder Opolis
Opolis is a co-op that acts upon the shared vision between fellow members of a more egalitarian global employment framework. According to Paller, Opolis is truly “built by independent workers, for independent workers” and in summary “simplifies being self-employed.” Opolis offers access to “everything just like you’re an employee, but you’re employing yourself.”
We aim to be a public utility infrastructure for employment and the support of the self sovereign worker. Any information, compliance, toolsets, that are beneficial to the independent sovereign worker, the professional athlete, the influencer, the real estate agent, the graphic designer, whatever type of person you are; the tool sets that we create are rather agnostic. Most of these people have the same problems, right? I can’t access health care. What states do I recognize this or that in? Where we’re at today, most of our toolsets are aimed at payroll, and the actual formal employer of record designation.
Payroll & Benefits
Since members are employing themselves, they are able to receive W2 statements every year and a pay stub twice a month. This payroll employer of record recognition helps “provide people with a sense of normalcy” and helps members apply for everything from workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and most importantly with rental and mortgage applications.
Another one of the most glaring issues that independent creatives face is how to access healthcare. During our interview, John discussed health care options for Opolis members.
“One of the biggest features that we offer, which is huge, is that we offer access to group health care benefits without giving up your independence. You can plug in. We’re self-insured, we have Cigna Network doctors all over the country. Its robust insurance, there’s four different options based on price and richness of the plans. It’s really kick ass stuff. The beautiful thing is, a lot of times you get a bunch of HR bureaucrats building these plans around cost management. We’re trying to do cost optimization, but maximize benefits. Why? Because we’re built by independent workers, for independent workers. I’m a member just like everyone else, and do you think I want crappy health care insurance?”
Opolis employs Member Success Stewards who do their best to help members “set it and forget it” and who are there every step of the way to “hand hold during evaluation process, on boarding, and ongoing overall experience of someone’s employment experience.” With the rise of influencers nationwide, this helps explain the gray area independent workers tend to face when dealing with state residency and state revenue recognition.
“What we do is simplify a lot of employee compliance. When you talk about revenue recognition, there are certain state guidelines around. We can help with understanding those issues. We are working on tool sets to simplify some of those business issues. Not the individual issues, not the payroll issues, but the business issues. We have a lot of experience in that stuff because we’ve seen everything in that life. The big staffing company I built was operating in 40 states so we had all sorts of compliance issues. The goal is to equip the earners or their representatives with the information necessary to simplify this game of being independently employed”
One of the most interesting features about Opolis is that members can elect to receive their paychecks in cryptocurrency. Since independent creatives are technically employed by themselves, they have the ability to pay themselves in crypto. How does this work? First, in compliance with FLSA standards, members must sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of taking wages in crypto. Next, members must take their state’s standard minimum wage in fiat and can receive the remaining income in crypto as a reported asset determined by the realtime rate of remittance. According to John, this feature “normalizes the notion of using digital currencies by plugging it into a complianrkwoce system to make sure everyone is playing above board.” Opolis can also help members who are paid in crypto convert their paychecks to fiat.
Since Opolis is a co-op where users share profits, the company has several interesting initiatives that have earning potential for members. Their $WORK payroll mining feature follows a stakeholder model that distributes tokens based on company milestones. Additionally, existing members can earn from a generous incentive program for referral fees. These features give business managers and creative independents a chance to build extra passive.
Whether you’re a professional athlete, business manager, social media influencer, real estate agent, or any independent worker or creative, Opolis is the future of self employment. Find out more about them on their website: https://opolis.co/.