FLEXINGIT: CONNECTING CONSULTANTS WORLDWIDE
Chandrika Pasricha is the ambitious founder and CEO of FlexingIt, the largest platform connecting organizations and management professionals for short term projects and consulting assignments. She started her journey as a respected consultant at McKinsey & Co. Later, she became a freelancer and today she is a proud entrepreneur empowering fellow management freelancers.
How did you get the idea for your business?
I am a professional business consultant. After my MBA, I worked for McKinsey & Co. for 14 years. My expertise is focused on the health care and pharmaceutical industries, which required me to work in both India and the United States.
The idea for FlexingIt came from my own experience. After coming back to India, after a professional experience in the United States, I decided to work as a freelance management consultant. I had the opportunity to work on issues that I genuinely care about, like public health and nutrition. I felt that I had more control over my work and over my schedule. I could see myself working as an independent consultant for the rest of my career!
The biggest problem, as a freelancer, is to find assignments. Most available HR solutions like LinkedIn or Indeed only focus on job aspects, or how to find a profile for a 9-to-5 job. For me, I wanted a more structured platform to connect consultants to high quality opportunities.
As you can see, that is the concept of FlexingIt: deliver flexible opportunities to companies and professionals who take flexible work as a choice.
How FlexingIt is different from other platforms?
FlexingIt differentiates from other platforms in 5 ways. First, We focus on management freelancers. While there are many marketplaces for geeks who want to do small tasks, there is no website for freelancers with managerial skills such as Finance, Marketing or Human Resources.
Besides that, we only target high value projects and experienced freelancers with at least 8 to 10 years of experience. That leads us to our third differentiating point of high quality and selective services. The freelancers need to be approved by us before applying for any project, and vice versa. We demand high quality on both sides. And that’s how we attract talents and more than 2000 clients, including big companies as Unilever, GE or high-growth startups and non-profit organizations. Quality is also ensured by a strong feedback mechanism on both sides.
Forth, we integrate technologies in our platform to make sure it is easy to use. Most organizations have short deadlines when looking for freelancers. They don’t want to spend 3 months until find the right candidate. So, we have a matching algorithm that can filter all profiles and shortlist down to 15 suggestions.
Finally, we are building an ecosystem for independent workers with communications and benchmarking tools. For example, we have a tool to determine industry average compensation considering tasks, skills and experience required. This product has been a success and strongly supported by both organizations and candidates.
What were your challenges launching FlexingIt?
For us, challenges come every day. Yet, throughout time, there are three major lessons that I remember the most.
First, to attract clients, you need to sell the concept, not yourself. It’s the value proposition that matters. Before talking about any solution, make sure you’ve already clarified the value it will bring about. For us, it is our contribution to freelancing economy, in which high quality talents can freely work on project basis.
Second, ensure good quality. Only good quality can make customers come back. Always look for feedback. That’s how we are able to attract a high quality pool of more than 50,000 consultants. We are indeed the largest platform for independent consultants. As we built our platform, there are many short, small projects on the way. To maintain quality, the key is to do one thing correctly before moving on to another.
Third, when you build your team, look for people who have a passion for your ideas. Let’s get fewer but higher quality team members with genuine capability and interest in your concept.
How did you get your first international clients?
Consultancy is all about projects and clients. And it could be anywhere in the world. Entering new markets, we want to make sure the case is well studied before finding partners. I always find my first international lead within my network, for example LinkedIn or MBA classmates.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
I think that any company should always think and plan before taking actions. Entering new markets also means adding or modifying products, catering new customers, adjusting value proposition, and all that need to be done with a sense of authority. There are multiple things to do, so make sure to spend time thinking and preparing yourself. Also get a local partner!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Me and my team have personally learnt a lot of important things.
For the last 2 months, we’ve been investing in establishing an operating manual that specifies what’s our value proposition and how we are going to deliver it to customers. As we have more and more users and clients, it needs extra effort to ensure service quality. The important thing is to have a model that can scale according to growing number of users.
Another point is the value of communications amongst teams. You always need to communicate, to share ideas and progress, thus making sure everybody is on the same page.
As a business, it is vital that all of your efforts poured into product development, marketing campaign or other revenue generating activities stay aligned with your value proposition.