The current economic climate of slow growth and uncertainty is increasing the openness to non-traditional modes of employment. In an environment of job cuts and budget freezes, employers are looking for consultants, contractors and part-time resources to help fill key roles to deliver results. From the companies’ side there’s a growing realisation that skills and mind-set matter more than contractual arrangements. A lot of people these days are turning to freelancing so as to work flexibly while building a portfolio of careers. The desire to do a portfolio of work and have a better work-life balance is motivating these individuals.
One such platform that is helping bring suppliers and buyers together is Flexing It, an online marketplace for “short-term & flexible skills”. It’s a platform that connects professionals and organisations on projects, consulting assignments and other types of short-term, part-time and flexible work structures. The interface - Flexing It - went live in October 2012 and already has close to 800 professionals and 85+ organisations registered. 60% of the professionals registered on the site have 10 or more years of experience, and are well represented across functions and industries. Organisations using the platform include start-ups, industry leaders and organisations in the social space.
Chandrika Pasricha is the founder and CEO of Flexing It. Prior to this, she had been a management consultant for over 15 years, and spent a bulk of that time at McKinsey in both India and the United States. Over the past few years, she operated as an independent consultant, serving clients in the areas of healthcare and development sector. Staying true to their premise, Chandrika continues to ‘flex it’, and consults for a couple of days a week even as her team gives shape to the platform. Her team comprises Pritha Singh, an ex-banker and an IAS aspirant, who manages the operations, Varun Dua, Aniket Thakkar, Devendra Rane and the team from Glitterbug provide the technological support, the content team providing content for the site, and Mobina Kakajiwala an experienced HR professional.
The concept of Flexing It was derived from Chandrika’s personal experiences of looking to craft atypical yet meaningful roles, often with more than one organisation at a time. The idea of establishing had been brewing in her mind and would get firmed up every time an ex-client called to seek quality people for assignments, and when friends and colleagues expressed their desire to work independently but were concerned about utilisation.
There are two core beliefs underlying the premise of Flexing It: one, there is a large and growing number of professionals who want to adopt a more creative route to craft their careers and portfolio of work; and two, that organisations are realising that a formal employment contract does not guarantee commitment and delivery. This realisation motivated Chandrika to startup.
At present, the interface is free to use, for both, companies and professionals. Soon, the team plans to introduce a membership model where the parties involved need to pay a nominal fee for a ‘transaction’. As for their marketing plans, Flexing It is relying heavily on personal networks and social media.
Chandrika’s entrepreneurial journey has been shaping up quite well. Some unexpected feedback that came her way was that some ex-colleagues misinterpreted the name of her company and thought Flexing It offered aerobics and personal training classes!