outsource and scale

Hire Top Talent On A Temporary Or Part-Time Basis To Instantly Increase Business Productivity

This week we interview Nate Hirsch from FreeeUp.com, who teaches us how you can use freelancers to scale your company on a budget. Nathan Hirsch is a 28 year old serial entrepreneur who is an expert in hiring online and building eCommerce businesses. He co-founded his first eCommerce company out of his dorm room in 2009 built it to sell over $25 million worth of product over 5 years.

While scaling, Nathan discovered the power of outsourcing and ended up building a remote army of freelancers. In 2015, Nathan co-founded and became the CEO of FreeeUp, an online hiring marketplace that allows business owners fast access to a hand-picked network of top talent freelancers in eCommerce, digital marketing, web development, and much more who have already been vetted for skill, attitude, and communication.

Nate shares his story of entrepreneurship, delegation, and scaling a small business on a bootstrap budget. Using freelancers to supplement your team can provide some great benefits to local business owners. You can hire top quality individuals quickly, and instantly improve the talent on your team – often with higher skill sets and lower costs than if you were to hire local talent. Learn how FreeUp only accepts the top 1% of all freelancers into it’s pipeline, and how you can get started with a discount for being a Local SEO Tactics listener!

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  • How Nate Hirsch founded FreeeUp.com and grew it into a successful business that allows customers to hire top quality temporary freelancers
  • Nate got his first taste of scaled success by selling niche baby products on Amazon when he was attending college at 20 years old
  • As Nate tried to scale his business he encounter many struggles in how to hire talented people to join his team
  • Growing your business and delegating your duties as a business owner are very difficult
  • FreeeUp only allows the top 1% of all freelancers to join their network and perform work for FreeeUp.com customers
  • Freelancers are all vetted on many levels, including skill, attitude, and communication
  • Utilizing freelancers allows you to utilize top level talent for short term tasks or projects instead of hiring them and retaining them
  • In a job market where hiring local talent is very tough, using freelancers is a great way to get talented team members
  • It is important to set expectations on what type of talent you need and what type of talent you are hiring in a freelancer
  • Focusing on your own hiring process and refining them will make sure you continually bring talented people that fit your needs
  • You should delegate things that you are not good at or that you don’t want to do
  • Find specialists to execute these delegated duties for you so you can turn your weaknesses into strengths
  • Get $25 OFF from FreeeUp.com for all Local SEO Tactics listeners

Here is the transcription from Episode 35 Interview With Nate Hirsch From FreeeUp.com About How To Bootstrap and Scale Your Marketing With Freelancers;

Jesse: Alright everyone. Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, Jesse Dolan, Bob Brennan, as always. This week we have a special guest. We have Nathan Hirsch on from FreeeUp.com. Thanks for joining us Nate.

Nate Hirsch: Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

Jesse: Yeah. So we wanted to bring Nate on because we do a lot of topics on the show that you guys in the local service businesses can do to help get found on Google, to improve your search rankings and improve your websites, and as a local service business, a small business, you’re pretty damn busy doing a lot of stuff and you can’t just be Superman doing everything. So we wanted to bring Nate on, Nate’s got a great story kinda starting from $20 in his dorm room to building a multi-million dollar business and a great adventure along the way, so we’re gonna talk to Nate a little bit about that, about where he came from, where he’s going, and then get into where FreeeUp can actually help you guys out there to grow your business, to offload some of this stuff and kinda hopefully take some incredible journeys for what Nate’s done in growing things.

So with that Nate, we were saying right before we started recording here, I love in your bio that blurb you have about you’ve never had a real job besides being a high school intern at Aaron’s, but I kind of find that’s a little ironic being that you also have in there, you did a bootstrapping as a $20 student basically over the course of about nine years to about $10 million dollars on Amazon, so that’s kind of a real job in a sense too, right?

Nate Hirsch: Back then, people thought I was crazy. They definitely didn’t think it was a real job. This was back in 2008, 2009, so there were no gurus, there were no courses, no one really knew what Amazon was and it was kind of a crazy time.

Jesse: Right.

Nate Hirsch: So, I mean, going back, my parents were both teachers. I always grew up with the mentality that I was go out, get into a good college, work for four years, get a degree, maybe an internship, lead to a job, work for 50 years, retire. And that was gonna be my life. I saw in the town next to me, it was a very rich town, all the kids, their parents were doctors, lawyers, dentists, business owners, and we weren’t broke, but my parents were both teachers so we were okay in terms of being middle class. So during the summer, I was always forced to work these summer jobs, 40 hours a week, I worked at Aaron’s, I worked at a Firestone corporation while all my friends were outside playing and enjoying the summer and I hated every second of it. I was always watching the clock, I didn’t like listening to authority, I didn’t want to work for other people, but I learned so much about sales, about customer service, about managing people.

And when I got to college, I almost looked at it as like a ticking clock. If I didn’t figure out how to start a business by the time I graduated, I was going to be miserable of the next 50 years. So when I got to college I started hustling, trying every little thing to make money. I started buying and selling people’s textbooks, competing with the school bookstore. I created a little referral program. Before I knew it, I had lines out the door of people trying to sell me their textbooks to the point where I actually got a cease and desist letter from my school telling me to knock it off because I was stealing too much of their business. (laughs)

So that was kind of my first glimpse into being an entrepreneur and I mentioned selling books led me to Amazon. Amazon was pretty new. I just had to figure out what products to sell because I saw the potential, I thought it was so cool I could have this 24/7 store but I had to figure out what I could sell longterm because I knew I was gonna graduate at some point, books were not the answer for me.

So I started experimenting. I tried outdoor products, DVDs, video games, computers, products I’m pretty familiar with and I just failed over and over and over again and the only thing that I could get to sell were these damned books. And it wasn’t until I branched out of my comfort zone and came across this deal on a baby product, that I found a niche that I could sell a lot of soaps. So if you can imagine me as a 20 year old, single college guy selling baby products on Amazon, that was me. My computer was just tabs and tabs of baby products. People who would look over my shoulder thought I was crazy.

But I would just spend nine hours a day just researching it and listing these products and this business scaled, it’s growing, I finally feel like, “Okay. I should probably start paying taxes”, so I meet with an accountant for the first time and the first question he asked me is, “When are you going to hire your first person?” And I kinda shrugged him off, I’m kinda like, “Why would I do that? The money’s going into my pocket. I don’t wanna pay someone else. I can work seven days a week. No one can do it as well as I can, blah, blah, blah.” Excuses. And he just laughed in my face and he pretty much said, “You’re gonna learn this lesson on your own.”

Well sure enough, my first busy season comes around and I’m not prepared for busy season. I have no idea what busy season is and I get destroyed. And I’m working 20 hours a day, balancing school, balancing my business, my social life goes down the tube, and I make it out to January somehow and I think to myself, “I can never let this happen again.” And I make a quick hire, this guy in my business law class, Conor, who ends up being awesome and I eventually make him my business partner. So I’m thinking hiring’s easy. You put up a job, you take some resumes, you hire someone. Well I proceed to make bad hire after bad hire after bad hire and I quickly realized that hiring college kids, not reliable. No 30 year old expert wants to work for me. I’m 21.

So I turn to the remote hiring world where I have a lot of success but it also just takes so much time to post a job on Upwork, Fiverr, and I wanted a better way, a faster marketplace, some way to get access to talent quickly, and that’s when I came up with the idea of FreeeUp. So that’s how I went from a broke college kid to starting two companies.

Jesse: Pretty good, right?

Bob: Yeah. That’s crazy.

Jesse: To follow that. Well, I think you’re speaking of kinda that Superman mentality like I was saying like, “I can do this, I can do this better than anyone, why do I need help?” That delegation part is way more challenging than people give it credit for. You feel like you can and should do everything. It’s definitely pretty tricky. We can obviously speak to that as well. For the local business owner … So that talents at FreeeUp.com, it’s global, right? You’re not just talking here in the US, you’re not just talking in the Philippines or India, it’s all across the world, correct?

Nate Hirsch: Yeah, we’re about 40% US, 40% Philippines, and 20% scattered. Not necessarily by design. I mean, we get thousands of applicants every week and we’re letting in the best of the best regardless of where they’re located.

Jesse: And that was something I was gonna ask too. You say on your website it’s the top 1% so what is your vetting process? If somebody’s out there pretty nervous about again, “Hey I’m Superman”, or “Superwoman. I can do all this better than anybody. How can I, or why should I trust somebody else?” You’re in that top 1%, you guys aren’t just letting any Joe Schmo come in here and do this kind of stuff. What’s the vetting process like for you?

Nate Hirsch: Yeah, so we really do let in one out of every 100 applicants. We vet them on not only skill, but for attitude and communication as well. So when we’re talking about skill, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you’re a 3 out of 10, a 7 out of 10, a 10 out of 10, as long as you’re placed accordingly, but most importantly, you’re honest about what you can and you cannot do. That’s really the key to keeping clients happy is freelancers only taking tickets or freelancing requests if they can do it at a very high level. So for skill we’re looking for … We have different skill tests that we came up with. If you’re an Amazon expert you get asked questions, if you’re a graphic designer, we look through your portfolio, if you’re a developer we have dev tests that you take. So the skills different, the attitude and the communication is the same regardless of your skill set.

So for attitude, we’re doing one-on-one interviews. We’re looking for people who are passionate about what they do. They’re not just in it for the paycheck. If I hate bookkeeping, which I’m sure you guys hate bookkeeping too, if I hire a bookkeeper, they have to love bookkeeping as much as I love being an entrepreneur. Those are the type of people that we look for. People who want to be part of the community, people who care about their clients, that’s what we want.

For communication … Communication’s everything. Even if you two are sitting right next to each other, communication’s important, nevermind when we’re working with someone across the world. So for us, we have 15 pages of communication best practices that freelancers have to memorize and get tested on before they get on the platform and I wrote those myself based on my own bad communication experiences. So that’s what takes to get in. In terms of the mentality, if you think of it just logically, how many $5 million a year solo business owners are there?

Not that many.

If you want to get to the next level, you have to hire, it’s the only way up. At some point, you’re gonna that wall, hit that ceiling, and yes, there’s gonna be risk. Any part of business has risk, even if you hire your best friend to sit right next to you, there’s always a chance they do something stupid to jeopardize your business in some way, but the risk is a lot smaller than people think. I’ve been doing this for eight years, I’ve never had an issue. We’ve billed 13,000 hours a week, never had an issue. I’m sure if we bill enough hours eventually something will happen because that’s life, but these freelancers care a lot more about getting more clients and staying in our network and building their track record and their revenue streams than they do about jeopardizing your business in any way.

Jesse: So for these freelancers, what’s the typical duration on when somebody contracts them? Is it ongoing or does it work with a predefined amount of time, like per job or per projects? Or both even?

Nate Hirsch: Yeah, we have clients that have hired three full-time customer service reps in the Philippines and they’ve had them for the past three years and then we have a client who hires someone for a graphic design project and hired them one time and never talked to them again or maybe they keep a PCP expert in their back pocket and they go to them here and there. You can kinda use it part-time, full-time, one time, keep them in your Rolodex, whatever makes sense and that’s kind of the beauty of the gig economy that we live in right now. Before you had to hire experts for $150,000 a year or you had to commit to a certain amount of hours. There’s so much flexibility to hire people that fit your needs.

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