Defining the vision
In order to figure out what a wholistic Stride experience looked like, we conducted user research with Stride users to understand their current needs and pains around finances. We also tried to understand the market, and where our users were being underserved or not served at all.
Alongside the qualitative calls and the competitive analysis, we also started putting some concepts in front of users to understand what they wanted and what they would pay for.
We unearthed 3 insights from these early rounds of research:
1) Users consistently struggled to understand how much money they're making
Freelancers and gig workers are essentially businesses of one. They earn from multiple sources and clients, each with its unique cadence and pay cycles. They have a lot of upfront expenses. Most of our users didn't have accountants or business partners who could manage a profit and loss statement for them. This meant that many of them were constantly asking, "Am I making any money? Should I even be doing this career?"
2) Users didn't save regularly for taxes
Freelances and gig workers don't get their taxes withhold, which means they owe $1000+ to the IRS at the end of each year. It's a big sum, it's unexpected and many of our users didn't save regularly for it. A lot of them were caught off guard and some even said they had to take a loan to pay their taxes.
3) Current products not suited for the gig economy workers
There were a lot of finance products in the market that served the needs of small businesses and high skilled contractors and consultants. But a lot of these products did not meet the needs of Stride's target audience of gig workers (people who drive for Uber, deliver on Postmates etc.)
These insights helped us articulate our problem statement: