5 Ways To Find Small Company Flexwork That Fits Your Life
When it comes to finding flexible work that fits your life, good things come in small packages. That’s according to flexwork expert Kathryn Sollmann, author of Ambition Redefined: Why the Corner Office Doesn’t Work for Every Woman & What to Do Instead.
I asked Sollmann why small is so beautiful, and she said, “Big companies are slow to change—and many are struggling to institutionalize less traditional work structures for legions of global employees. Instead of trying to cut through miles of bureaucratic red tape to get the work flexibility you need, the better strategy is to focus on the burgeoning small employer market.”
Opportunities at small companies are vast, and their market share is substantial. The 29.6 million U.S. small businesses account for almost 48% of private-sector employees and 41% of payroll—and almost 62% of all net new jobs from 1993 to 2016.
These small businesses are led by individuals who often have opted out of the restrictive nature of corporate America. More nimble, smaller management teams have the leeway to operate as humans, and they are more likely to bend on how work is done.
How do you find these small companies when they are not household names?
- Pursue general “word-of-mouth” intelligence. Network to find professionals who left the large corporate world to launch small businesses of their own. Ask contacts if they know about rising companies that have top-ranked clients. Often suburban towns, for example, are the homes of semi-retired executives who need flexible help running smaller ventures. When Sollmann was a recruiter, she placed a woman at the office of a prominent, three-time CEO. As his “right hand,” this woman helps the ex-CEO manage personal investments, real estate holdings, and corporate board activity. It’s a flexible and interesting job with a 15-minute commute.
- Target small business owners who trained with leading companies. If you’re interested in fashion, for example, you could target small business owners who once worked for Ralph Lauren or Tory Burch. LinkedIn can lead you to former employees of all big-name companies, and some may have small businesses in your area.
- Mine Chamber of Commerce members in your target locations. Many entrepreneurs rely on their local business communities to spread the word about their smaller-scale ventures.
- Join local chapters of major industry organizations. Smaller companies join industry organizations to get greater exposure. When you join, you have access to the membership directory, which can give you key employer prospects.
- See who belongs to organizations supporting entrepreneurs. Many fledgling company members cannot afford full-time employees, and list part time or project opportunities on organization job boards. You can network with officers listed on member sites, too.
For women—and men—who shoulder or share two caregiving roles (for example, children and aging parents), flexible work is the most valuable employee benefit of all. The bonus of a small employer is often its proximity to home, making it easier to nurture both family and financial security.