Inflight Magazine is our irregular newsletter where we share the latest product thinking, updates from the products we’ve built, and tips for happy product teams (like ours).
In Issue #6 we sat down with Molly Johnson-Jones, CEO and Co-Founder of Flexa Careers, to hear her approach to calling the shots.
In the world of product and tech, risk is everything. We're constantly weighing up the cost of investing in innovation with the fear that we'll fall behind and the competition will beat us to it.
So how do leaders feel the fear and do it anyway?
I’m one of the co-founders at Flexa Careers. We are a global search engine for verified flexible companies. People can search for companies and roles that are completely flexible – turning the hiring process on its head.
I went into investment banking after University, but left because I have an auto-immune disease and my job offered no flexibility. My co-founder and I started building the company in October 2019 and launched Flexa in February 2020.
Starting a company is a massive risk. By taking the leap and founding a business you throw away job security, structure, your ability to get a mortgage... We de-risked slightly by choosing not to go full-time on Flexa until around 7 months in.
There’s always a risk that the business could fall apart, but we are hyper-aware of the metrics and we run the business cautiously. The biggest risk is starting the business, then the risk translates into having to be prudent and always having a plan B: we have plans for recession, we don’t overhire, and we avoid massive overheads that can’t always be sustained.
Managing risk for us also means building a working environment that we know people will be happy with. By prioritising creating a great place to work, we were able to hire 8 roles in 8 weeks with no costs. People absolutely come first. I don’t think you can run a brilliant startup without your people being happy.
A risk that’s not paid off so far has been hiring third-party marketing agencies. It’s really hard to find the right one. We’ve realised that in-house is better and each time we’ve hired, we’ve reinforced our processes. Learning what works and making sure not to repeat the things that don’t.
I’m a risk taker but my business partner is not. This is how and why we work.
With experience, I find it easier to make decisions. I’ve become more decisive simply because I have to be. You make decisions that you can reverse quickly, so you can spend more time thinking on decisions that cannot be reversed.
Big decisions at Flexa aren’t made by many as it can dilute the message. But I trust the judgement of our team and I want people to feel comfortable making decisions. Ultimately accountability sits with the senior leadership team but responsibility sits with my team.
This conversation with Molly is part of our Founders Series, where we chat with business leaders about their approach to calling the shots, all in the name of uncovering the processes and psychology behind decision-making.