What were your first steps to launch the company?
Between my full-time job at the start-up (where I was laid off when I was eight months pregnant) and starting FlexJobs, I worked as a consultant on email marketing and business strategy. I told a client of mine at the time about my idea for FlexJobs and he helped me formulate a plan and offered to invest. I worked with him to gather even more investors, and we officially launched in January of 2007, three months after my son was born.
What was that like for your family?
It was difficult getting ready for the launch. I discussed it a lot with my husband, and lucky for us he had a very stable job with good health insurance, which made it easier for me to take this risk.
When I launched my first company, I was 21 and I poured my heart and soul into it. All our team slept at the office and we worked 18 hour days. So I was apprehensive about whether or not I had what it took to do the same years later, when I was a mom. But I’d wake up in the middle of the night with ideas for FlexJobs. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was that passion that prompted me to do competitive research, look at the market and assess the opportunity. From that, I could see that this was totally worth pursuing.
Looking back now, would you say it was worth the stress?
At the end of the day, definitely. I was lucky: The investors were aware that I had just had a child, and because of the mission of FlexJobs, they knew I would be true to it by starting the company on a balanced timeline for myself.
Do you follow a flexible schedule for your workers at FlexJobs too, then?
I think our model of providing a flexible workforce for employees is much more sustainable than traditional work models in many ways. I started in a way that honors the company, customers and our team members, and we do the same for them. Everyone on our team works remotely from home offices, and almost all positions have schedule flexibility. There are only a few positions, like client services, which have set hours to make sure the phones are covered.
We all have lives outside of work, and I don’t make them choose between their lives or their work. You have more loyalty from employees if you work that way. It’s really a win-win.