Maddyness UK spoke to Romanie Thomas, who founded Juggle Jobs to meet this very requirement.
What is Juggle Jobs?
We help SMEs to hire exceptional senior professionals on a self-employed or flexible basis. We’ve built a solid community of over 13,000 professionals across a range of functions – including finance, HR and marketing – to fulfil demand from customers who need delivery minded, self-managing, experienced people.
SMEs tend to hear about us through referrals and content. For example, we recently released a whitepaper on how to build high trust, high performance environments through flexible working, and we’re about to release a very topical piece on how companies can improve gender diversity in their business.
What was the catalyst for launching Juggle?
I was a headhunter, specialising in helping companies to find senior executives. It was this experience that led me to founding Juggle as I believe senior hiring is fundamentally broken.
I was frustrated that in the senior ranks, one’s interactions tend to be with men.
As an ambitious woman working in the 21st century, that felt completely wrong and there was little sight of progress either.
What does Juggle Jobs offer that other recruitment platforms are lacking?
We are flexible first. We don’t look at full-time PAYE, or working rhythms of the past, and that’s what most recruitment platforms focus on. Even though their technology is innovative, the work they facilitate isn’t.
We also focus on the senior ranks, which isn’t ‘gig’ work like you see with businesses such as Uber and Fiverr. These are long-term, high-quality relationships, but managed on a flexible basis.
When did the business launch and how has it evolved since then?
We launched in 2017. Like any startup, there have been ups and downs. At one point, it was slightly concerning that the gap between professionals and businesses was so large.
Professionals wanted flexibility as soon as we launched the business and it was obvious.
Companies, however – even the progressive ones – took so much longer to get there and really it’s been the pandemic that’s accelerated things. Now, companies recognise it’s a fantastic way to get the people they want.
Why did you decide to raise on Crowdcube?
We did it for two reasons. First, to anchor our professional community – they are why and how we’re building Juggle so they should have a say in what we build! Having that really strong engaged community really helps to do that.
Secondly, we used Crowdcube to help our brand. We’ve built a great scalable platform and now our focus is to make sure more SMEs know about us for their staffing needs. We funded in six days, which was amazing.
We’ll use the money to iterate on the platform we have, hiring super high-quality marketers and product people to shorten that iteration cycle. We’ll also start building the tools needed for self-employed professionals to truly thrive.
What challenges have you faced?
A lot of challenges exist in my own head. Am I good enough to do this? Imposter syndrome is a huge problem. Sometimes these negative thoughts can be leveraged in a positive way, but I’ve found them to be destructive in this founder role. I know what I’m doing wrong! What I need is to coach myself to have the self belief that we’re onto something, and most of the time I succeed with these little pep talks.
Ironically, hiring has been a real slog. Mis-hires are so costly, not just in terms of money, but time wasted and the cultural debt too. I really understand the hiring problem we’re trying to solve for companies.
What are your aspirations for Juggle Jobs in 2021 and beyond?
I want Juggle to be the go-to place for SMEs to hire self-employed senior professionals, and to make sure we’re really supporting these professionals on their flexible working journey. I feel so passionately that this is the future of employment and people shouldn’t have to choose between ambitious careers and fulfilling home lives. This is the way we can make that happen. The UK is very much our focus now but from 2022, we’ll look to the US and beyond.