My name is Nathan Hirsch and I’m the CEO of FreeeUp.com, a freelance marketplace that I founded in 2015 with my business partner, Connor Gillivan. My entrepreneurial streak began while in college when I saw an opportunity to start selling products online and I jumped right into it. Within a year, I was selling over $1 million in products from my college house and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.
At a high level, FreeeUp recruits, interviews, and vets thousands of freelancers from all over the world every single week. Then we only allow the top 1% of applicants into the network. Business owners can sign up for free, request the exact freelancer they need, and we simply provide them the exact talent they’re looking for.. Our software then handles all weekly billing, hours tracking, and other aspects of managing the freelancers.
It’s now been three years since we started FreeeUp and it’s grown rapidly - we’ve amassed over 8,000 clients on the platform.
Connor and I worked together on our first business with a lot of success, but also with a ton of frustrations when it came to the process of hiring online. We found ourselves spending far too much time and money on finding good talent instead of staying focused on building the business. We wanted a better solution, so we decided to build it.
In the first year of starting FreeeUp, we were actually offering three different services to clients: (1) e-commerce consulting: they could hire me for an hourly rate for consulting on growing their eCommerce or Amazon business (2) a course on safely selling on Amazon, and (3) the ability to hire freelancers that had past experience working on the Amazon Marketplace.
Our first paying customers started with the eCommerce consulting and Amazon course, then transitioned into using the freelancers for Amazon after developing trust in our company and our past expertise in eCommerce and Amazon.
At first we really just stayed focused on understanding the market and how they would react to the idea of a marketplace for highly vetted eCommerce and Amazon talent.
Very early on, my business partner and I decided to start the FreeeUp Referral Program to tap into our first, most loyal customers. We started paying current clients $0.50 for every hour billed to anyone they referred forever.
Implementing that referral program and sharing it with our first set of clients led to more word-of-mouth growth than we could have ever imagined. Today, it continues to drive hundreds of word-of-mouth signups and in 2017, we paid out over $100,000 in referral earnings to people helping us grow the company.
In 2017, our goal was to “be everywhere.” We started the year wanting to use every marketing channel possible to get in front of our target audience. And it proved to be successful.
Today, we have new customers coming in from many different channels. From social media to podcast interviews, influencer relationships, organic traffic, paid advertising on Facebook: there are hundreds of new customers signing up to FreeeUp every single week because of our marketing efforts.
One of the key differentiators that we continue to focus on is our customer service-oriented business model. Customers can still book a meeting with me or my business partner at any time, and we have an amazing internal team that is responsible for customer outreach and engagement.
With FreeeUp, we don’t have an official “free trial” or “demo,” but we do often offer special coupon codes when being interviewed on podcasts, webinars, and Facebook Live streams. It may be $25 off your first invoice or $1/hour off the first freelancer’s rate you hire forever.
When partnering with other communities, we do our best to give them an offer that they can use to really experience what the FreeeUp Marketplace is all about. We’re not just another platform where you can search and browse freelancer profiles. We’re a customer service driven marketplace characterized by the time and effort we put into vetting freelancers, only allowing the top 1% of applicants in, and making sure that clients are happy with who they’re hiring.
Personalizing the customer experience is a HUGE focus for us a company. Clients can set up a phone call with me or my business partner at any time, they can utilize the Live Chat feature, they can Skype us, they can email us, they can text us...we really try to offer all channels, as every person has their own preferences.
On top of that, we take special notice to reach out to clients every once in a while. It’s important for us to keep developing strong relationships with business owners just as we were when we first started the company.
I’m a big proponent of learning by doing and surrounding yourself with other smart entrepreneurs and thinkers that have been through similar situations in the past. I’m a faculty member of CEO Space, an organization that brings together business leaders from all over the country. I also am active in the Orlando entrepreneur community engaging regularly with other founders to see what they’re having success with and what they are struggling with.
Stay focused on where you add the most value to the business. Don’t spend your time on repetitive, mundane tasks. Learn to delegate to others. The smarter the people around you, the better you will be, and the faster your business will grow.
To really reach scale, follow this method meticulously:
Head over to FreeeUp.com to learn more about the marketplace. For more information about the types of skills you can hire from FreeeUp and estimated pricing, check out FreeeUp.com/pricing.
If you’d like to chat with me directly, toss a time into my calendar that works best for you: https://calendly.com/freeeup-nathan or send an email to Nathan@FreeeUp.com.
Be sure to also check FreeeUp out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram for fresh, daily content on hiring and building businesses.