Freelancing as an independent artist is an uphill battle. Despite wanting to focus on the craft, there are hundreds of hurdles to overcome that have nothing to do with the service being sold. That’s why in 2018, Cameron Bannister and her husband, Derik, started FreeByrd - a platform to facilitate specialists in building their brand, connecting with others in their industry, and empowering them to build their own experiences.
Everyone dreams of building a career around their passion, but when your dream becomes a business, sometimes you’re stuck doing things that are outside of your comfort zone. By starting FreeByrd, Cameron and team set out to move artists day to day activities back towards their art and away from the administrative tasks that can bog down creativity and wear people out.
Cameron spent over a decade as a renown hair stylist, traveling between major cities such as L.A. and Dallas. Over the course of her journey, she witnessed many of her fellow colleagues struggling to break out and grow, despite having significant talent in the field. Many of these skilled individuals only had a single source of income, and their partnerships were limited to big brands who wholly owned anything they produced.
“What I saw were these incredible people who were in their 40’s and 50’s still unable to save for retirement, and struggling to get by. They had dedicated their lives to something they were passionate about, and all they had to show for it was carpal tunnel.” said Cameron. “I wanted to help, and one way I saw to do that was by giving them a foundation to build on. With FreeByrd, artists are able to ‘break free’ and spread their wings. They can get help and grow their business the way they want.”
For many of these professionals, Cameron discovered, it was hard to be confident in one’s own talent. This lack of confidence yielded a situation where hard-working artists would underprice their own services. Realizing this, Cameron saw one of the most valuable things FreeByrd could offer is the ability to connect with other industry professionals. By interacting with others who have faced similar challenges, they’d have the opportunity to grow their own confidence.
The community has proven to be one of the most important parts of the platform. Now, FreeByrd is gearing up to offer educational classes and seminars, hosted by “mentors” -- artists and thought leaders in the cosmetology space, in the hope of expanding on that success. With the mentor-mentee aspect, the platform takes on an even bigger role. By becoming a mentor, FreeByrd opens up opportunities for additional revenue streams to their clients, who prior to using the platform wouldn’t have had the opportunity.
FreeByrd’s second focus is to take out a lot of the technical overhead, such as assisting in digital ticket sales, and building their online presence via websites, social media, and digital marketing. In order to achieve that, FreeByrd needed a platform of its own to build on, and that’s why they looked to Cycle.
Flocking To Cycle
With so many large-scale features in the pipeline, Cycle was the perfect place for FreeByrd to roost.
“Despite our initially small deployments, we’ve been rapidly scaling up as FreeByrd gains traction.” says Van Tucker, FreeByrd’s product manager. “Cycle has saved us from having to micromanage our infrastructure. We’ve been able to scale up without a second thought, and as FreeByrd continues to grow we know Cycle will be able to facilitate that.”
We don't have a DevOps engineer on staff, and thanks to Cycle we don't need one. We've saved thousands of dollars in labor costs alone. The migration to Cycle was easy, and we haven't had a second of downtime.- Van Tucker | Product Manager
When choosing the best place to build their platform, FreeByrd needed to straddle the line between efficiency and cost. Cycle brings both to the table, giving FreeByrd the ability to scale up and down as traffic demands, without worrying about the minutiae of infrastructure providers, software dependencies, or upgrades.
Like a Duck To Water
For FreeByrd, the move to Cycle was “surprisingly simple”. Within a couple hours they had containerized their initial site, and were online serving traffic. “Cycle is just easy,” says Van. “And with features like the instance console, remote access for our volumes, and automated monitoring, I don’t need to worry about our deployments at all.”. Van also noted that containers would remove the headaches of legacy costs, allowing FreeByrd to adjust their tech stack without having to make any adjustments to their pipelines -- a move that will save them hundreds of hours down the road.
Going forward, FreeByrd will be powering more of their APIs, databases, and platform with Cycle. Despite their small team, the Cycle platform empowers their developers to be just as agile in their deployments as a company ten times the size, for a fraction of the cost. Without the constant worry of infrastructure scale, FreeByrd is able to soar to new heights, and provide an unparalleled experience to their clients looking to expand and grow their own businesses.