I’m Juli Bacon, the founder of JB Consulting Systems, and I want to take you on a journey through our company’s 22-year history as a fully remote business. This story isn’t just about remote work; it’s about the philosophy of work-life integration and how it has shaped our organization.
A Quest for Work-Life Balance?
JB Consulting Systems, founded in 2001, has been a fully remote company since its inception. In fact, we were remote before remote was the word we used for it. My motivation to establish JB Consulting Systems as a remote company stemmed from my desire to spend more quality time with my four-year-old son and the impending arrival of my second child. After working for various companies where ownership didn’t think you were working if they couldn’t see you working, I wanted to do something different.
The catalyst for my entrepreneurial journey came when I found myself as the last person standing at a failed online auction company. I was pregnant with my 2nd child, and I wanted to be around for both of my children; more than I could be working outside of my home. I created my business plan including my recruiting model for my own team, and JB Consulting Systems was born.
Our business plan, which I initially referred to as “work-life balance” and now prefer to call “work-life integration,” was centered around offering employment to individuals who could provide top-notch services to our clients while working from home or any location they chose, all while having the autonomy to set their own schedules.
As we fast forward through two recessions and 22 years later, we’ve delivered a level of personalized service to our clients that’s often associated with boutique firms, and, most importantly, our employees have embraced the remote work model.
While the Great Recession did pose challenges and led to the departure of some team members, our subsequent growth saw us attracting new talent who wholeheartedly bought into our unique model. In fact, we just celebrated the 10-year anniversary of hiring my first employee post-recession, Apryl Ackley, who now serves as our Executive Coordinator and my personal assistant.
Many other team members have reached the six-year mark, and even those with the shortest tenure will soon mark their fifth year with us. What’s remarkable is that these individuals could have pursued full-time positions elsewhere, with larger salaries and more conventional benefits. However, they’ve chosen to stay with us, driven by the freedom to set their own work hours and maintain a healthy work-life integration.
Trust Over Micro-Management
It’s important to acknowledge that our remote work model isn’t suitable for micro-managers. Instead, we emphasize trust and open communication. We believe that this fosters an environment of accountability and self-responsibility. Our employees are empowered to work independently while also collaborating with their peers.
Due to our thorough hiring process, good referrals and some good luck, we have found great employees. I have a deep trust in my employees and their ability to own their schedules and clients. We hire people with experience in our subject matter, and we have trained current employees to learn new skills. I appreciate each and every one of my employees, and I don’t say it enough. I have respect for their ability to work in our model, their knowledge of their field, and the work and the way they treat our clients.
While we promote independent work, we also foster a culture of teamwork. I encourage employees to frequently exchange ideas and seek guidance from one another. I make it a point to be readily available to answer calls or texts during working hours.
Despite the geographical dispersion of our team across states such as Washington, Montana, South Carolina, and Missouri, we’ve managed to build a close-knit community. Technology has played a pivotal role in facilitating seamless communication, and we go the extra mile by flying employees in for an annual holiday party. This strengthens the bonds among our remote workforce.
The benefits of our work-life integration model are vast. It transcends remote work and enables individuals to harmonize their careers with their personal lives, allowing for personal pursuits, family time, and professional excellence.
Our journey at JB Consulting Systems is a testament to the viability and success of a fully remote work model that champions work-life integration. For those considering a shift to remote work or seeking a harmonious balance between their careers and personal lives, I hope our 22-year journey serves as both inspiration and guidance. If you have questions or want to learn how you can build a successful remote strategy for your business, contact us.