Sara Sutton Fell is the owner of FlexJobs which she founded in 2007.
FlexJobs gives job-seekers a way to find legitimate, hand-screened jobs quickly, easily, and safely.
A member of the Better Business Bureau, FlexJobs screens out online scams and anonymous employers in order to deliver users the best of the best flexible schedule and telecommuting job opportunities in an easy to search, ad-free website.
FlexJobs is also a free resource for employers to source, screen, and recruit top-notch candidates for telecommuting and flexible jobs.
Sara is a work at home mom with two children.
Check out her take on being a WAHM entrepreneur below.
What made you start your business?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was looking into flexible work positions and quickly became frustrated with all the scams out there! I had previously started and sold a job seeking site, JobsDirect. Using that experience combined with my passion to find flexible work, I decided to start FlexJobs, listing only hand-screened legitimate work from home, part time and flexible positions.
How did you finance your business in the early days?
I had two angel investors, and I contributed some funding as well.
What is your average workday like?
Preferably, I start the day by dropping my sons off at preschool. I then head to a designated office space above my garage. Managing a staff of 20+ employees, I am often in meetings.
What has been your biggest challenge as a WAHM Entrepreneur?
Definitely starting a family and a business at the same time presented some difficult mental challenges. Am I doing all I can as a new mom? Am I doing all I can to effectively run a business? Questioning myself coupled with no sleep… I definitely had some emotionally difficult days. Now that I have two children, I do find the balance of business owner, wife and mother tricky at times. All three areas can intersect and that has definitely presented some challenges along the way.
What has been your biggest success as a WAHM Entrepreneur?
Honestly, there are so many! We receive a fun success story nearly every day and that is definitely a highlight of my job. Knowing that by starting this business I played a part in allowing someone to work flexibly is a great feeling. Oh! I could go on, but you can read many of the successes here.
How do you stay motivated when working from home?
- Set a schedule. Keeping the balance between work and home life is better achieved if I follow through with a set schedule.
- Being present. It can be easy to get distracted but I stay focused on what I’m working on in the moment.
- Communication is key. Working with a staff virtually is fantastic and to maintain our productivity as a team, we use IM, a group discussion board, phone in company meetings and email.
How do you balance your work and family?
For me, it’s important to be proactive in actually adding “family time” to my schedule! There will always be “just one more email” or phone call, but I stick to the time blocks I have scheduled to stay focused on family time. I definitely don’t want to raise my sons to be checking their iPhones when we spend time together when they are adults!
What has been your most successful marketing tactic for your business?
Staying adaptable! Times are always changing, especially online. If people are searching for jobs on Pinterest — and believe it or not, they do! — I want to make sure they know FlexJobs is there to help! That’s just one example in many I can give where it’s an important marketing tactic to stay current with the times and up to date on trends.
What is your favorite productivity tip or tool?
I depend on Pivotal Tracker! It’s great for “wish list” projects, tracking current projects and communicating with staff on where we are within goals and projects.
Who do you admire most and why?
My mother! It’s hard to say why without rambling for hours, but to state it as simply as possible: she has taught me more than anyone else about the kind of person I want to be. She is generous in spirit, nurturing, supportive, incredibly strong, and has a truly amazing degree of empathy. My mother both knows how to relax and enjoy life, but also is the person you want with you when there’s a tough time or emergency.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
That I’ve been to Siberia. Seriously! I took the Transiberian train from Moscow to Irkutsk to volunteer in a national forest near Lake Baikal for a month when I was 18. It was quite an adventure!
Where do you see your business at two years from now?
Helping even more people find telecommuting, part-time and flexible schedule, and freelance jobs, and letting people know that this type of work does exist!
What advice do you have for aspiring WHAM entrepreneurs?
The key for entrepreneurs is to be passionate about their business. If you really and truly believe in your services or product, it makes it easy to be motivated to overcome any challenges that come along the way.