Searching for good quality telecommuting or freelance jobs online can feel like trying to find a gem in a junkyard. FlexJobs founder Sara Sutton Fell was faced with that tough reality in 2007 when she was searching for flexible job opportunities that were in line with her career. “I was surprised how difficult it was to find those opportunities,” she said. “With the technology that we have to support mobility, I thought it should be much easier.”
Sutton Fell was no stranger to employment and the job search. She had co-founded JobDirect, a successful online job service company that was later sold to Korn/Ferry International, so she had a solid base in what types of jobs existed and how to search for employment. “I knew those jobs were available,” she said. The problem was that there were 60 or 70 scams for every real job, and the legitimate opportunities got buried beneath all of the junk.
As an experienced entrepreneur, Sutton Fell decided to do something about the problem. She created FlexJobs to save job seekers from having to sift through all the scams, too-good-to-be-true business opportunities, endless ads and repetitive postings. FlexJobs researchers scour online job resources including industry blogs, employer sites and reliable job boards to find professional, legitimate jobs that offer some kind of flexibility, whether it’s telecommuting, freelance, or part-time or flextime schedules.
“FlexJobs is helping solve one of the biggest pain points in the job search,” Sutton Fell said. By handling the time-consuming and often frustrating legwork, FlexJobs fulfills its mission of making the search for a telecommuting, part-time, freelance or flextime job better, easier, faster and safer. It’s helpful to employers as well, she explained, since it can be hard to connect with the serious job seekers who have the right skills and experience.
While FlexJobs is based in Boulder, team members work virtually from all over the United States. Although they are spread far and wide, the team works well together and enjoys a distinct culture that is not based on location but rather flexibility and an enthusiasm for helping people.
With over 15 years of experience in high-tech, Sutton Fell feels that getting more women interested and involved in tech needs to start with education. That includes getting the word out that technology is an opportunity and an option for women. “We need to tap more current women in tech to be role models,” she said. Those who may not have enough time to commit to mentoring can participate in activities and events which can help raise awareness for women and others in the community. As Sutton Fell pointed out, events provide an excellent platform for women to tell their stories and provide role models for future generations of young women.