MC: You launched Expert360 in 2013 when the gig economy was just taking off. What did you want the business to achieve?
BL: We wanted to give companies access to amazing, pre-vetted contractor and freelancer talent quickly, in particular for roles that were in demand such as strategy and digital roles. We knew that technology could transform the way in which we connected businesses and this talent together and could make the entire engagement smooth for the contractor too - from finding work to getting paid. That was our original idea and that is what we do today!
MC: How did you actually go about funding the business with your co-founder Emily Yue? In our Women In Business survey, 83 per cent of respondents personally invested in the business…
BL: We started in my living room and just did all the things. We had a clear vision for the problem that we were solving and the future of hiring talent … so we just went for it. We started with our own personal savings, until those ran out, and then we raised some capital. [In 2017, Expert360 raised $13 million Series B funding]. Now we have a team of 90 across five cities.
MC: As a start-up, how have you utilised technology?
BL: I’d say we’re early adopters of most tech. Some of the technologies we use on a day-to-day basis include Slack, Google drive, Salesforce, Jira, Asana and Gong. Some of the hiring products that we use in our own Expert360 operations for our clients include Textio, XRef and HackerRank.
MC: Our Women In Business survey found that small business owners struggled with the elusive work/life balance. How do you manage the juggle?
BL: I do not have “work/life” balance. That’s OK. I love what I do and I’m incredibly excited about the future and everything there is yet to do in our company and in the world. I spend my time how I want to. It’s difficult to know where work stops/starts. I think there’s a saying about that being a great thing.
MC: What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
BL: You’ve got to get up every morning with the same level of energy and hunger — almost uncomfortably so — to solve that problem and get your product or service into the hands of more people
Join us at the marie claire Small Business Brilliance series presented by Salesforce on Wednesday October 9 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney 8:30am-10:30am, and Tuesday October 22 at TwoTonMax in Melbourne 8:30am-10:30am, $50 per person (plus booking fee): eventbrite.com/o/marie-claire-19824407207