Approx. $70 million
Mynul Khan and his wife are from the same region in Bangladesh, but didn’t meet until college in the U.S.
Mynul Khan is out to empower millions of people to be able to work independently, and he’s making good headway. His 7-year-old company, Field Nation, is working on tens of thousands of projects every month and was named one of the fastest-growing private companies in Minnesota last year by Inc. magazine. Sales are expected to top $70 million in 2015, up from only $3.7 million five years earlier.
Yet to Khan, 32, things are just getting started. “There’s no time to sit back and relax: Field Nation is in my mind almost all the time.”
Coming to America from Bangladesh, Khan had little other option but to succeed. He left behind his family and country, placing all his bets on the opportunities he would gain from earning a degree in computer science at St. Cloud State University and later, landing a job at Fujitsu in Dallas in 2004.
While at Fujitsu, he noticed the company often had difficulty outsourcing various one-time job contracts to local workers. Fujitsu’s outsourcing model went through multiple tiers, eventually giving most control to national service organizations who would take a sizable cut of the job’s total revenues. A business idea was born.
From a Fujitsu assignment, Khan crafted a basic website organized to be a direct-to-contractor communication portal, which he called TechnicianMarketplace.com. It eliminated the middleman by creating a platform for independent workers and businesses to communicate, eventually broadening beyond Fujitsu to encompass a variety of job fields. Two years later, he relinquished the site and set his focus on creating an even more robust model.
Field Nation was developed using many of TechnicianMarketplace.com’s building blocks, operating as a finer-tuned facilitator for coordinating these one-time contracts. With a clean, mobile-friendly platform, Field Nation has already attracted some 60,000 users to its platform—all leading toward eliminating the 9-to-5 workday.
For a Field Nation contractor, “you decide when to take the next project,” Khan explains. “Maybe you want to take a break; maybe you want to go for a vacation; maybe you want to work for only three days a week and spend more time with your kids. That kind of flexibility you can get through Field Nation.”
A 2014 report by the Freelancers Union found that 34 percent of America’s workforce are considered freelancers. That’s more than 53 million people, and Khan wants every one of them on his platform.
Khan keeps his service free to join, only taking money once a job has been completed. The structure is similar to eBay’s model, where Field Nation keeps a percentage of the freelancer’s fee (from 8 to 10 percent depending on the job). He hopes that this approach will help FieldNation become the Amazon of independent work—a platform for any person and any business.
Khan admits he never fully unplugs from Field Nation away from the office, yet at home he sticks to simple pastimes that are light on technology. He’s an avid reader when time permits, and a book collector with a blatant disregard for their digital counterparts. Printed tomes consume entire shelves in his home; two books he read most recently were about Eric Schmidt, Google’s ex-CEO, and Thomas Jefferson, two power figures separated by centuries.
He lists Andrew Zimmern as another of his motivators—so much that he recently followed the weird food hunter’s recommendation to try the chicken gizzards at My Sister’s Place restaurant in Grand Marais. (Perhaps surprisingly, he says he would go back for seconds.)
Though he’s a millionaire, he’s not interested in living large. “What’s the point?” he asks. “I don’t care about driving a nice car as long as my car runs, and people always tease me about that. My whole pride is all consumed around building the greatest company that I can possibly build, and nothing else really comes to my mind.”