When Sara Sutton Fell began her search in 2006 for a flexible, professional job that would allow her to grow in her career and be a good mother, she came to a realization that would change her life:
Flexible work was hard to come by.
So she set out to change that. In January of 2007 she officially launched FlexJobs, a 25,000-member strong site that promises to “find the best telecommuting jobs, part-time professional jobs and other flexible jobs in over 100 career categories, all hand-screened and legitimate,” according to the site.
FlexJobs offers work in multiple areas, from account management and recruiting positions to legal work and retail. To date, the company has helped over 300,000 people in their job searches and is the only job site to receive an Online Trust Award for Excellence in Consumer Trust. Fell herself was honored last year by Workforce Management as a “2011 Game Changer” in the employment field.
Something of a serial entrepreneur, Fell founded another company called Job Direct, a job site for entry-level job and internship opportunities, that she and her co-founder sold in 2000.
But she was 21 then, whereas she was in her 30′s and pregnant this time around. How does a new mom–especially one craving time with her family–find the hours to launch a new business, and a successful one at that?
We chatted with Fell to find out what makes her tick, and what her advice is for other entrepreneurial spirits out there, whether moms yet or not.
How did you know you were onto a good idea with FlexJobs?
Both times I’ve started companies, I’ve done so in response to challenges I felt in my own life, when I saw a window of opportunity.
When I started FlexJobs, I was in my early 30′s, professionally driven and pregnant with my first son. I had been VP of Operations and Sales for a start-up online beauty company. It wasn’t a job I’d want to keep after my son was born, so I started to look for viable options that offered flexibility. I was pretty open to anything–part time, consulting, telecommuting, freelance, but it was very difficult to find legitimate professional opportunities. There seemed to be 60 scam jobs for every real one. Especially for moms, who are so busy, the cards are stacked against you because don’t have as much time to look. I kept thinking, “Why isn’t this easier?”
And there was my window of opportunity.