Tell Us About FreeeUp
My name is Nathan Hirsch. I have been selling on Amazon for over 7 years, with my store reaching over $5,000,000 in sales, as well as hiring hundreds of remote workers to work in my store. I hired both US and non-US workers to remote workers and I consider myself a hiring expert. Also wrote an eBook on hiring remote workers, and did a lot of podcasts and webinars as well. I now run FreeeUp.com. FreeeUp.com is a hands-on way to hire remote workers. We pre-vet workers right away so that clients save on the HR and recruitment time and we make them available to our clients on a first come first serve basis.
We offer workers from $5-$50 an hour, both US and non-US. On the backend, the marketplace is very hands-on and makes sure that you have a strong hiring experience with all freelancers from the network.
Freelancers on the FreeeUp Marketplace are very reliable 99% of the time, but if you have any issues you can contact me or any of my assistants and we’ll get to the bottom of it.
In addition to that, if one of your workers quits for any reason, we’ll cover your training costs and get you a new worker right away. So, you’ll be protected on the back end while also being protected on the front end.
What made you choose this business and what is unique about it?
I chose this based on my past hiring experiences with remote workers. I was young and made a lot of mistakes, however, also made a lot of good decisions along the way.
Learned from my experiences and I created a lot of processes based on my past experiences. This was to make sure that our clients had a good experience with the process of hiring workers.
After all, I created this company to be what I wished was there when I was first doing the hiring.
There was so much going on that took up a lot of time, and mistakes were made that cost me money.
I wish FreeeUp existed when I was there and I base it on what I wanted when hiring workers. FreeeUp is unique to its competitors because we take a hands-on approach.
We aren’t a platform where you can search for workers and schedule interviews. We are a platform where you can request a skilled worker and we introduce you to the most reliable one within our network.
What do you wish you knew before starting Freeeup?
I wish that I knew how to diversify. That’s the biggest thing that I tell people is to make sure you diversify. That kind of goes in three ways. On the hiring side, make sure you don’t have one worker who can do everything.
Make sure you split it up so you’re not relying on one worker, that your business isn’t relying on one worker. Have the backup and the training processes in place. If one worker quits they’re very replaceable and not just one person running your whole company.
On the revenue side, make sure you have more than one source of revenue. I work with a lot of sellers that get suspended from Amazon, and their entire business is Amazon.
This is one example, but like anyone in stock would tell you, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have multiple revenue streams as you grow your business instead of just growing your Amazon business.
On the products side, make sure you’re not just offering one product or one service. Make sure you’re constantly diversifying; offering new products and services.
You never know when a service or a product will become outdated and no longer popular. That’s my biggest advice and that’s what I wish I knew when I started.
How do you use social media to market Freeeup?
Right now I have an awesome assistant, Naira, who handles Freeeup’s social media accounts. She handles everything from Facebook to YouTube to LinkedIn etc. She handles all of that.
We try to do a combination of really good content we find from other places, such as from people we admire in the industry, as well as our content such as podcasts and webinars.
That’s kind of how we run social media. We run Facebook ads, though we aren’t doing that right now as we are in the process of launching a new site and new software.
So before that, we’re doing a lot with ads to get our name out there. Freeeup is only 11 months old and we rely on ads to get that out there and grow.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
My biggest failure goes back to diversifying and ties into that. I was in college and my business was booming.
I was running this multi-million-dollar Amazon business that I had built from scratch with $20. It started with textbooks and moved on to drop shipping from different vendors.
I did 99% of my business from this one vendor I won’t name, and we were doing a great job.
We were breaking every single goal that we had. I had finally hired remote workers and in-staff workers to work on my business and get stuff done even when I wasn’t there.
I took my first vacation in over a year, bringing along a few of my friends who also worked for the company on a higher level. We went to Myrtle Beach, and after a few days, I got two calls. One was the manager of my company who informed us that our vendor had decided to drop us with one- week’s notice. The second one was from my bookkeeper saying that my identity had been stolen and that someone had filed a tax return to the government for $40,000, taken under my name.
So I went from a pretty big high as my business was booming. It was the most money I had ever made at that point.
I was a broke college student at the time, so it was the first time I had ever made money in my life. To have that all diminished where you lose your entire revenue stream, and to add insult to injury the whole stolen identity all hurt.
I made it out alive and the stolen identity thing got resolved, though it took a lot of time. The biggest thing was diversifying my business and starting all over, using different vendors and manufacturers.
By the time we were done, our business was stronger than it was before as we weren’t relying on one manufacturer anymore.
That’s the big lesson I learned at a young age and why I preach to my clients to always diversify.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting, what would it be?
Figure out if you’re committed to your business. I’ve talked to a lot of people who say they’re committed, but they’re not. Are you willing to work 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 hours a week on your business?
Are you willing to sacrifice time with friends, family, girlfriends, or boyfriends and are you willing to make that commitment? Especially if you’re getting into e-commerce.
Can you sacrifice yourself for the busy season? Are you going to do whatever it takes to make the income at the end of the year that you need to invest in the company?
Are you willing to do the grunt work, such as hiring, sales pitches, and phone calls; the stuff that isn’t as much fun as growing the company? What I like to do is build the processes and the systems in place.
But you don’t get to that point without putting the grunt work into the beginning, and you can’t always hire someone if you don’t have the money to invest, or hire an expert to get you where you want to be.
What unique selling points do you offer that your competition doesn’t?
My unique selling points are two things.
On the front end, we get hundreds of applicants every week. We filter them and interview them using a process I created myself. There is a 15-page communication guideline all workers on the FreeeUp Marketplace have to memorize and are tested on.
We know how important communication is when you’re hiring remote workers. Communication is everything. It makes a difference between a good worker and a bad worker. That’s something that on the front end we do differently than everyone else.
We’re actively vetting these workers for you, we’re throwing into their brains that they have to communicate and that they have to follow the ways that I want to communicate, and how I know my clients want to be communicated with.
On the back end, we’re also the insurance policy for our clients. We can’t guarantee that 100% of the workers in the marketplace you’re going to love. That’s impossible.
We are probably in the high 90s on that. But at the same time, we’re there to protect you if you have a bad experience with workers in the marketplace.
We want Freeeup to be the Amazon of customer service when it comes to hiring workers.
We’re there if you need anything, we’re there to support you and consult you. If anything goes wrong, we’ll compensate you get you a new worker, and make sure you can move right along with your business.
We want you to be able to grow fast and never be held back for recruitment HR or worker reasons.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Back when I first started, every busy season and every holiday, I was working.
I’d be with my family on Black Friday right after Thanksgiving, and when dinner was over, I’d go right to work on a full stomach with a little bit of alcohol inside me. I’ve done that every year for the past 7 years. I can’t remember the last time I took a nap after Thanksgiving.
The biggest thing when you’re in eCommerce is the fourth quarter. I worked those 50, 60, and 70-hour weeks before, especially with starting two companies.
I’ve jeopardized some relationships along the way. Especially more in the beginning when I didn’t understand how to balance work and personal life.
I don’t think there’s a business owner out there who hasn’t made mistakes or learned from them. Those are sacrifices that I made over time.
What is your favorite book and why? How has it helped with Freeeup?
I’m gonna go with the ‘Everything Store” by Jeff Bezos. It gets you into his mind and what he was trying to do. I work with a lot of Amazon sellers and I always recommend reading it.
You want to know what goes on behind the scenes. Amazon, once upon a time as many of us still remember, was just selling books. That’s when I started with Amazon when they were going from selling books to selling everything.
It was fascinating for me because I kind of lived through that period, where I was on the side of the seller who could sell their stuff on Amazon. Back then I was one of two or three people selling.
I was there from the books to the toys and now it’s like, selling jewelry and everything and it’s crazy to see how far it’s come and what a job Jeff has done.
What is your future goal for Freeeup?
FreeeUp will be the number one solution to hiring workers for outsourcing.
I want to set the gold standard for freelancing. Freelancing is all over the place, and that’s one of the reasons that scares people.
For instance, one of the reasons people love McDonald’s’ is because no matter where they go if they go to one, two, or three McDonalds, you’ll always get that same experience. Although you can’t do that 100% with workers, whether you’re an employee or a contractor, you’re always gonna be a little bit different.
At least the communication reliability and the expectations can be the same. I think that’s one thing I want to be different. I want to set that across the board and make it so everyone else follows suit about how awesome workers in the marketplace are.
That’s the future goal for the company, and I want to be well-known in the industry. We’re 10 months in and a lot of people are recognizing our service.
It’s truly been a fun ride and I’m only more excited I know my current goal right now is to bill 2,000 hours per week. We’re pretty close to that. My first goal was to break 1,000 hours per week, which we broke not that long ago. So, we’ve been growing that per week and growing at a pretty rapid pace.
What have been your most satisfying moments in business?
The point right after a busy season is when you survive and look at your bank account and see how much you’ve made. You look at your team and how all the sacrifices people have made, the time they’ve put into the company, and the problems you’ve had to solve.
That’s one of the things that I’ll remember, that first week in January. On New Year’s I’ll go out with my friends in New York City after a busy season and just party and have no care in the world because you know you just worked the past several months trying to survive a busy season.
Now it’s time to do the fun part with the stuff that I enjoy, which is game planning for the next year, setting up processes, doing the hiring and the contracting, and all that. That’s the most rewarding part for me is that time after the busy season.