Welcome to the gig economy. Today, more than one in three employed Americans are working as freelancers.
The jobs they do take many forms--independent consultant, small business salesperson, journalist, freelance IT pro. But one thing many gig workers have in common is that they rely on a single smartphone to handle personal communications and business development. That gets messy.
Enter Mast, one of a growing number of companies catering to independent workers. The startup, which was co-founded by Peter Lurie, who helped launch Virgin Mobile in 2000, is launching an app-based service that gives users a separate work number on the same mobile device used for personal communications.
Workarounds to the two number conundrum already exist in the form of dual SIM solutions and VOIP services. Here's a great a dual SIM workaround for the iPhone 6S. I use a Skype number for work. But that can be clunky to integrate on the fly. One problem I have is that I forward incoming Skype calls to my personal mobile number so I can answer the business line on the go. But that means when I call sources back I have to remember to do it through Skype. Frequently, out of laziness or forgetfulness, I end up returning calls from my personal number instead.
Mast says its service allows workers to seamlessly return calls from a work number that their clients use and recognize, not from their personal number. Mast also allocates costs to the business, making it easy to track and record expenses. That could make it a great tool for anyone getting reimbursed by a client.
Designed for people who hustle all day, working two-plus jobs, balancing family and friends, meetings, and yoga classes. The idea is to streamline communication across your work and personal life.
- Early adopter promotion -- The first 250 people who sign up for the service will pay $20/month instead of $50--saving $720 over two years, more than the cost of an iPhone 6s--and get nationwide unlimited domestic talk and text and 1GB of high-speed data. Extra data is only $10 per GB, and the beauty is that you only have to pay for it as and when you need it.
- Choose which number is active -- For example, you can automatically send client calls to voicemail while you're out with friends. And you can opt not to be disturbed by chit-chat when you need to focus on work.
- Maintain a professional image: Record a professional voicemail greeting for work and a casual one for your personal number.
- Interface: Manage your account with a simple app or website, backed by white-glove customer service, and avoid the hassles of dealing with one of the big carriers.