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Learn How To Hire the Top 1% of VAs and Get More Done
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 drop shipping products on Amazon.com and 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 handpicked network of top talent freelancers in eCommerce, digital marketing, web development, and much more who have already been vetted for skill, attitude, and communication. FreeeUp interviews hundreds of freelancers each week and only allows the top 1% of applicants into the network. The company has been growing at rapid paces (500%+ YoY) and has quickly become a top destination to hire online for over 3,000 businesses around the world.
Nathan has built his personal brand to be synonymous with online hiring and entrepreneurship through 75+ guest appearances on top podcasts. Nathan has also become a regular speaker at industry conferences where he teaches other business owners how to hire freelancers and gain back more time in their growing businesses.
- The FreeEup.com marketplace is US Based.
- 40% of VA’s are US based, 40% are from the Philippines, and the balance are from around the world.
- Skill, attitude and communication of the focus when vetting VA’s for the marketplace.
- VA’s memorize 15 pages of communication best practices before being listed on the marketplace.
- No turnover guarantee – FreeEup.com will cover all replacement costs of VA’s if they quit, and find a new one for you.
- Find exert PPC Managers, writers, designers, and experts in a variety of fields.
- Optional buyout of VAs available.
- Timeclock software helps workers track their time and client can access/login.
- Feedback is encouraged from clients and VAs.
- FreeEup.com just hit 10,000 hours billed in one week.
- Nate practices what he preaches and works from home with outsourced VAs.
- Nate’s calendar is at the top of his website and he’s free to talk with anyone.
Nathan: Hey, when we click start time, it’d be cool if there’s actually a running timer so that we can actually see how many hours we’re billing down to like the minute and second so we know when to stop the time. So we added that, and then right after, we got all these messages from all the other workers, they “Oh my God, I love this. I always wish you guys had this.” So, we give people the ability to speak up and we take that feedback very seriously.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the Quiet Light podcast with Joe Valley and Mark Daoust. Since 2007, Quiet Light Brokerage has been helping thousands of online entrepreneurs realize their dream of buying and selling online businesses, and now, we’re bring all the knowledge our team has acquired straight to you. No matter your niche or industry, these lessons, tips, and strategies will help you build, grow, acquire or sell your online businesses better. And now, here’s Joe and Mark.
Joe: Hey, Mark. How you doing today?
Mark: I’m doing very well. How are you?
Joe: I’m doing fantastic. I just did an interview with Nate Hirsch from Freeeup.com. It’s actually with three e’s. It’s free e up.com, the e being eCommerce. Great interview and is kind of in line with the Beard Guys recommendation, Norm Farrar, talked about SOP’s and in that, he recommended Freeeup and I’ve worked with Nate before, and so, have first hand experience.
You’ve got some experience with hiring VA’s yourself, right? Has it always worked out well for you?
Mark: Well, they weren’t always VA’s, mostly developers through one of the well known job boards out there that I’m pretty sure everybody has used in the past. I actually wrote an article, which got buried on Search Engine Journal, awhile ago. They did publish it but it didn’t get a lot of attraction, on how to spot scammers on this particular job board, because frankly, I would say probably one out of every three, at least, of developers I’ve hired through job boards, scam you in some way. They fake their hours. They fake their screen shots. There’s software out there to be able to do this, and so they will purposely go slow with a project, or they’ll hire their brother just to go click around. Fraud in this space is super, super big. There’s tons of fraud out there.
Joe: Well, one of the thing that Nate does to avoid that fraud is they hire only the top 1% of VA’s. So, they’ll get 100 applicants and they’ll put them through a vetting process and they’ll choose one of them. 40% of … and you’re right, it’s not all just VA’s, but 40% of their contractors are US based. You will pay more for them, but you will get a really highly qualified contractor. Another 40% is from the Philippines, again, very well vetted, only the top 1%, and the rest are from the rest of the world. We talked about scammers briefly on the podcast, and he’s got some thoughts and feedback on that. But, it’s a great show, it’s a great business, and honestly it’s young, but the recommendations we get for people to go to Freeeup and higher their contractors through that is from really high quality people, so I thought it’d be a great podcast to have.
Mark: Yeah, and one thing I want to do to bring this back for people that might be thinking, “Well, what does this have to do with buying and selling online businesses?” Especially on the buying side. If you’re looking to buy a business, you’re going to need some help after you buy the business. You’re gonna have to hire a contractor at some point. Whether it’s on the technical side or another part of the business, you’re going to want to buy a contractor to help out. If you’ve never done this before, it’s not easy to do, and there’s a lot of fools gold out there.
For example, if you put out a job, just for making a change to a word press site, you’re going to get a range of bids. Some of them are going to look really expensive and then you’re going to see a couple that come in like, 10 or 15 bucks. You’ll think, “Oh, absolutely. I only want to pay 10 or 15 bucks.” But you what you learn later on, after doing this so many times, is that those 10 to 15 dollar jobs are usually either poorly done or they’re an hourly basis and they take so long that it costs you more than if you were to hire somebody that costs a little bit more up front. So, you talked about Freeeup and how they’re a little bit more expensive, but when you hire that top 1% or 2%, you actually spend less overall.
Joe: They may be more expensive if you hire the US based VA’s and contractors, for sure, but you know that people in the Philippines are exactly the same, and you know what, if you pay an extra dollar an hour or two dollars an hour, instead of three, you’re paying five, it’s still cheaper than a situation that I have right now on the sell side.
You just talked about the buy side, but on the sell side, it’s really important to get good quality remote contractors in place for the transferability of the business, and also for the total value of the business. I had a listing that’s launching in a couple of weeks where, honestly, I did the interview with him before Christmas, and my advice to him was to fire his brother, just before the holiday’s, and hire a VA because he’s paying $30 and hour to his brother for 20 hours a week of customer service work. Most of that is automated with just sending canned responses, and canned responses in a live chat, so he’s spending $600 a week, $2,400 a month, to have somebody do that where he could do it outsourced and pay an excessive amount. You could pay $10 an hour to a VA in the Philippines, or even really, $5 would be a very well paid VA. I think we did the math on the value of his business and it would’ve saved him, or increased the value of his business, by something like $30,000-$35,000 if he made that one choice. He’s choosing not to do it. He could’ve fired his brother, given him a one year bonus, and still made out in the higher valuation of the company.
So, doing those things well in advance of selling is great. Setting up SOP’s in place, great. Doing it with VA’s and outsourced contractors, really, really important to the transferability of the business and the overall value.
Mark: You really recommended that he fire his brother before Christmas?
Joe: I’m such a Grinch, aren’t I? He didn’t do it.
Mark: You’re a real Scrooge McDuck.
Joe: I’m not [inaudible 00:06:06]. Like, look man, I know you love him, but fire him and give him a bonus. Give him $20,000 and fire him.
Mark: Alright, well if anyone wants to listen to Scrooge McDuck over here in view on how to hire.
This is the number one paying point when I talk to entrepreneur’s by the way. This is the number one pain point I hear: How do you hire good people? Let’s listen to this and see how do you hire good people? I recommend to anyone listening, if you haven’t listened to the Norm Farrar episode as well, these two are going to go hand in hand, very, very well. So, let’s get into this one and see what he has to say.
Joe: Nathan, welcome to the Quiet Light Podcast.
Nathan: Hey, Joe. Thanks so much for having me.
Joe: Good to have you here, man.
I think you and I first connected when I was doing my own project and looking for some virtual assistant or independent contractor to do my work. The service was fantastic and each time I talk to somebody that’s an expert in virtual assistance and outsourcing contractors, Freeeup comes up in conversation, so, I’m glad we’ve got you here on the show. As I’ve mentioned before, Quiet Light does not do formal introductions, so if you could, give the people listening and watching a little background on yourself and Freeeup and how you started the company.
Nathan: Awesome, first of all, I appreciate it so much. I know a lot of people have started spreading the word about Freeeup and you’ve heard it a few times. Whenever you start a company, you never really know what the experience is going to be like. We’re really grateful that people like it and they tell other people and it’s really grown since we started a few years ago.
So, my name’s Nate. I’ve been selling online for over a year’s … I started my first company when I was 20 years old. I was a broke college student looking for extra beer money on the side. I was really just trying to just figure out how to make a quick buck while I was in college. My parents were both teachers. I had a bunch of internships working 9 to 5, working retail. I hated it. I knew that if I ever graduated college and got a real job, I would not be happy. I would look at a clock all day and it didn’t feel filling for me.
So, that was half of it but then I’m also a realistic person. I knew that starting a business was hard and a lot of businesses fail, so it was a lot of trail and error. I started buying and selling textbooks. People … I noticed the school bookstore was ripping me off, so I would buy textbooks from my friends and the end of the semester, resell them at the beginning of the next semester, and as I was selling these books to different online vendors, I came across Amazon.com one day and that really changed the entire projectry of my life because I became obsessed with it. I became addicted. Amazon, at the time, was selling a lot of books and they were just getting into other products.
So, I got in at the very early stages and I started trying to list everything from computers and DVDs and sporting equipment, stuff that I was really familiar with, and I just failed over and over again. The only thing I could make money on was books and textbooks. Knowing that I was graduating in a few years and thinking that we’d stop using textbooks anyway, I knew that wasn’t a long term plan. I just kept experimenting and one day I realized that I was really good at selling baby products. So, as a 20 year old single college guy in college, I was selling baby products out of my college dorm room. There was this huge demand. I mean, parents will pay anything for their kids. So, I started building relationships with these different vendors, dropped shipping on Amazon because I didn’t have a warehouse. I didn’t have a place to store inventory. I didn’t even have money to buy inventory up front, so I created drop shipping, years before I even knew it was called drop shipping. Just a concept that I didn’t have to actually touch any of the inventory that was going out to my customers.
So, out of nowhere, that business exploded. I as running a multimillion dollar business out of my college dorm room, making every good and bad decision that a young entrepreneur makes. One of my first hires, I got lucky, was my business partner, Connor. He’s been working with me for eight years, but along the ways I’ve made some not so good hires as well and I hired a lot of college students who weren’t as committed to the business, didn’t actually see the big vision that I wanted. They were just concerned about the paycheck.
Thorough this, as the business grew and I graduated and I opened up an office. I moved to Florida to save a ton of money on taxes and just overall expenses, I learned about Odesk. It’s now called Upwork. I realized that I could hire remotely for a lot of tasks and give all my full time employee’s, assistants, and give their assistant’s assistants, so that they would focus on high level stuff. If I was paying them $50,000 a year, I felt like I was getting more of my money’s worth when they weren’t doing data entry and small tasks.
So, I became obsessed with this and again, you go through the good and the bad whenever you try something new, and I eventually came up with this really good process of hiring people. When I talked to other sellers, other people at eCommerce, they were going through that same thing that I was going through, where you post a job, it would take forever to interview the hundreds of people that applied. Then if you did make a good hire and you invested a lot of time and energy into them only to have the quit, you would just start right back over again. I always wanted there to be a faster way. When I couldn’t find that, I built it. That’s really how the concept of the Freeeup marketplace started, where we get hundreds of applicants every week. We vet them for skill, attitude, communication. Take the 1% in and make them available to clients so that they can access the top talent right away instead of having to work through that long process. We protect them on the back end as well, but that’s how I went from being a broke college student to owning two companies.
Joe: Well, let’s talk about the spelling for those that are listening and not watching and can see it on the black board behind you, but it’s Freeeup with three e’s, meaning Free eCommerce up. Is that correct?
Nathan: Yep. I mean, that’s the whole basis. My background’s in eCommerce. We have plenty of clients that have nothing to do with eCommerce, but that was always the core, was to help eCommerce sellers.
Joe: Okay, so you mentioned 1%. You are putting a number of freelancers, contractors, through a process, and you’re selecting the top 1% and those are the ones that are available to people looking to hire contractors on your site?
Nathan: Absolutely. It’s first come first serve. It’s free to sign up. There’s no monthly fee. There’s no minimum. You get any agreement with us at any time. It’s really in our best interest to put our money where our mouth is, giving you workers that actually help you that you get onboard quickly that actually help you grow your business. We’re not really interested in getting you someone that you hire for an hour and realize it’s a bad fit and go somewhere else. It doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help the freelancer. It definitely doesn’t help us. So, we’re really in it to make sure that you have a good experience from the start by really spending a lot of time vetting these people.
Joe: Well, you know, you got an endorsement from someone that’s a friend of mine, you know him as well, Norm Farrar. He was on a previous podcast. Norm has something like 30 virtual assistants. He used to use other services and the one that he talked about was Freeeup, so that’s a really huge endorsement. He does north of 10 million dollars in annual sales, so for those listening, you’ve got a strong endorsement from Norm Farrar, the Beard Guy, and go to listen to his podcast as well.
You mentioned there, Nate, protect. You protect the client, so those people that are hiring your services. Tell us about that a little bit.
Nathan: Sure, so the whole goal is to create a fair and safe marketplace. While we want clients and workers to handle disputes on their own, we have a lot of best practices in place to prevent disputes to begin with, from getting approval in writing and strong communication skills, the workers have to respond within one business day at the absolute latest. So, we try to have those expectations so if something ever does go wrong, and I’m fortunate enough that … I mean, we bill 10,000 hours a week and I very rarely deal with issues, but it is real life. These are real people. Even the best freelancers in the world isn’t the best fit for every single client in the world. So, if those issues do come up, you have 24/7 support, ready to jump in and help. Me and my team, we’ve done this a million times. We know how to quickly get to the bottom of something and how to resolve it so that both parties are happy.
Even beyond that, we have a no turnover guarantee, so, if a worker quits for any reason … and we have incredibly low turnover. We cover all replacement costs and get you a new worker right away so that you know that you’re protected. You know that if you’ve invested time into onboarding someone, or money into onboarding someone, you never have to pay for that with what’s.
Joe: That’s a pretty strong guarantee. I got to tell you, when I do presentations … I’m going to eCommerceFuel next week. Often, when we do presentations, we put the work out there to more than one VA or contractor, just in case one of them doesn’t get the work done. So, we’ll pay for it twice to get it done. We should, without a doubt, start using your services more often. We have in the past, but more often and only. So that’s a pretty strong service.
Where are the VA’s and contractors and should … I keep saying VA’s or contractors and contractors. Are they VA’s under your service or are they contractors? How would you label them? Let’s talk about that, first.
Nathan: Sure, so really the only difference is employer contractor. These are contractors, not employees, and then everything else is really just … I mean, you could have a virtual system that’s an employee or a contractor. You could have a freelancer usually a contractor. We call them workers. It’s a lot of different terms that mean really the same thing. The bottom line is these are contractors that are running their own business offering their services through our marketplace. We do have clients that will actually buy the contractors out, or make them employees of their own company, but we don’t offer actual employees. We’re about 40% US, 40% Philippines, and 20% scattered around the world.
Joe: Yeah, I was going to ask that. What level? So thank you for answering that question already. 40% US, 40% Philippines, and the rest around the world.
What process do you put them through that another company, like Upwork, does not? Tell me about that.
Nathan: Sure, so we’re really focusing on three things. Skill, attitude and communication. So, a lot of people, they go on Upwork and they find someone with 10 years of Amazon experience and they hire them and yes, that person’s really smart, but then for some reason, it doesn’t work out. That person disappears. The work doesn’t get done the proper way. Whatever it is, and they’re like why did that happen when I just hired someone that has all this success? It really comes down to that attitude and communication, which is what everyone forgets to vet for. So, for attitude, we’re looking for people that care a lot more about the paycheck. They care about the big picture. They care about Freeeup. They care about their clients. They’re very passionate about what they do. If they’re a graphic designer, they love doing graphic design more than anything else. I always relate it to bookkeeping. I hate doing QuickBooks. I’m sure you do as well.
Joe: I’m right there with you.
Nathan: But, if I hire someone to do my QuickBooks, they have to love doing QuickBooks as much as I love being an entrepreneur. It really creates this really cool community of freelancers that love what they’re doing. They’re nice. They’re caring. They’re not just in it for themselves, and that leads to an incredible experience. That’s when you get the real honest people who tell you what they can and can not do.
Yes, we vet them for skill, and skill is very important. We have different questions that we’ve spent a lot of time creating when it comes to an Amazon expert versus developer, but communication is that key piece. Even if someone as a good attitude, even if they have incredibly strong skills, if you can’t communicate with them at a high level, it’s never going to work out. I mean, communication, yes they have to speak the same language, but at the same time, they have to be able to give updates, have to be able to hit deadlines, have to be able to communicate if their house is burning down. If they’ve got a family emergency, you want someone that will at least send a text message and not just disappear. We don’t want our clients chasing someone across the Philippines, or even across the US. It’s just not realistic. So, we have 15 pages of communication best practices that workers have to memorize and get tested on, because we know that communication is the key to clients having a good experience on the marketplace.
Joe: Wow, 15 pages. Memorizing that amount, that’s pretty impressive.
Tell us about the payment process. Is it still all electronic. Somebody uses your services, hires them on the spot and all the money flows through Freeeup?
Nathan: Yeah. It’s super easy. We keep either your bank account or credit card on file. You get a discount if you use bank account. Our billing periods are Wednesday to Tuesday. Wednesday’s your day to review everything inside your account, make sure it’s good. Let us know if it’s not, and then Thursday, we automatically bill you. Even after that, you have a week to dispute any invoice before the freelancer gets paid. So, it’s a very automatic, straightforward process.
Joe: It sounds like you have a lot of repeat customers, repeat clients using the Freeeup services if you’ve got a weekly billing process. Is that right?
Nathan: Absolutely. I mean, we have clients that have had the same virtual assistants in the Philippines for 2+ years. We have clients who have used us for one time projects here and there. It’s really all ranges. We have no minimums. You can hire an Amazon expert to just review your business for few hours and give you some tips and pointers, point you in the right direction, and you can hire a 20 hour a week virtual assistant to help you upload files every day. There’s really no minimums, no maximums.
Joe: And you’ve got people that will do, say, copyrighting review or power point presentations, all shapes and sizes of expertise?
Nathan: Yeah. Everything from PPC campaigns, to graphic design work, to book keeping, to web development, advertising, listening, writing, blogs, all that stuff. I mean, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Amazon’s policies in terms of conditions, we do it.
Joe: You’ve mentioned Amazon a few times, but it’s any services? Nobody has to be doing anything on Amazon, for instance, they could be just doing a power point presentation, correct?
Nathan: Yeah, any business. I mean, we do a lot with eCommerce, whether it’s Amazon or Shopify, or Walmart, eBay, but we have plenty of clients that have nothing to do with eCommerce, whether they’re business coaches, real estate agents, whatever it is. Even a lot of brick and mortar stores, there are jobs that you can hire remote for.
Joe: Excellent. You mentioned a couple of things in there that I don’t think I would clearly see if I was to go to a competitor’s site.
1. You said, “You can hire the VA out.” If they choose to, they could hire them directly and, a buy out in sense. How does that work?
Nathan: Yeah, so, there are risks involved for both sides. I try to stay as neutral as possible and just provide people with the information and let them make their own decisions. Let’s look at the client side. I mentioned our no turnover guarantee. You can buy someone out on the marketplace. It’s $5,000 for a US person and 25 for non-US, but once you buy it out, that buy out’s not refundable. If they quit on you the next day, in six months, whatever it is, we’re no longer responsible. Same thing on the worker’s side. There’s some risks. We have that automatic interview process. We make sure the worker’s get paid, even if the clients don’t pay for whatever reason, so if the worker’s get bought out, we’re no longer responsible if the client doesn’t pay them. We have nothing to do with it. So, the worker has to agree to it. We don’t force them to do it. We want the client to understand the risks. We have that payment, a document to sign, and it’s pretty straight forward.
The only other thing is, you’re not actually buying them out of the network. You’re just having the right to pay them outside the network, so they can’t drop any other Freeeup clients. They can wrap up any projects if it’s not ongoing work, but they stay in the marketplace if they want to, and continue with any other clients they have.
Joe: It sounds pretty unattractive for both parties, I got to be honest with ya. I don’t know why anyone that’s using your services, with all the built in conveniences, would want to hire a VA directly and take on that headache.
Nathan: Yeah, I mean, it happens here and there. It’s not something that happens a lot. Sometimes it makes sense for both parties when they have this incredible relationship and they’re both very confident that they’re going to work together for the next 10 years, and they’re comfortable taking that risk, but for the most part, if you keep them in the system and they every quit, we back you up. Plus, you have our 24/7 customer service behind it, so, I agree with you but on my side, I just provide facts and let people make their own decisions.
Joe: Yeah, at least you give them the option. That’s great.
The other thing you mentioned was texting and the communications, that “Hey look, my house is on fire.” And they send them a quick text. Does that go through the Freeeup process and systems so all the communications are tracked, or do you literally mean texting somebody on their cell phone?
Nathan: Sure, so we make sure that all workers have a cell phone, have internet, have the WhatsApp, have Viber, have an e-mail account so that they can always communicate. We also have … I practice what I preach. I have 15 assistants that work underneath me. When we onboard someone, they are given all my assistants contact information, so yes, they should contact the client, but let’s say they really can’t contact the client. Maybe it’s a Filipino worker and the client’s in the US and the client doesn’t have Viber on their phone, the workers know to contact one of my assistants who will then contact the client and inform them. We always want to keep the communication directly between the client and worker, but then we have that backup where my assistants are there, just in case.
Joe: I think I’ve heard of most communication tools. Are you saying, Viber?
Nathan: Yeah, Viber and WhatsApp. It’s a free tool-
Joe: I know WhatsApp, but Viber is spelled … Is that different than WhatsApp?
Nathan: It’s a different company but it’s the exact same thing. Very similar.
Joe: How do you spell it?
Joe: Alright, good. I’ll just make it as a link in the show notes. That’s great, thank you.
So, location wise, 40% of your folks are in the US. Do you find that your clients find that to be a great convenience?
Nathan: It really depends. I mean, I have plenty of clients that they’re okay paying top dollar. Obviously, US people cost more. Maybe they’ve never hired someone outside the US before and, for whatever reason, now they don’t want to start. They don’t want to take that risk. They don’t want to go through that learning period that we all go through when we talk to someone from another culture. But, we have lots of clients who are like, you know what? Let’s go non-US. They’ve got [inaudible 00:23:45]. Maybe it’s something that I’m comfortable doing both and they create kind of like that hybrid where, hey, they have a US person and a non-US person, and they interact and work together. It really depends on where you are in your business and how comfortable you are. Again, on my side, I just provide people options and let them make the decisions.
Joe: Good, good.
So, in terms of software that Freeeup provides, or the platform, is there anything special or unique about it that helps the clients track their projects?
Nathan: Yeah, I mean, we spent two years plus, building our Freeeup time clock software and we have a lot more plans coming along. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty easy to use. The workers, they start their time, end their time. They leave notes every time they work so clients can log in. They can check and see what the workers are working on. They can see all the hours billed. It totals up how much they’re spending per day, per week, per month, and on the other side of it, you can do payments through there. You can contact support through there. We try to make it as easy to use.
The really cool thing, and I do this on both my companies, is we encourage feedback from the client side and the workers side. So, every week we’re getting emails, were getting site messages, “Hey, I just thought of a way to improve time clock.” We take that stuff very seriously and we implement it. For example, a worker came to me and they were like, “Hey, when we click start time, it’d be cool if there’s actually a running timer so that we can actually see how many hours we’re billing down to like the minute and second, so we know when to stop the time.” So, we added that and then right after, we got all these messages from all the workers saying, “Oh my God, I love this. I always wished you guys had this.” So, we give people the ability to speak up and we take that feedback very seriously when it comes to every part of our business, but specifically, the software.
Joe: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. One problem we’ve had at Quiet Light in hiring developers, is that on occasion, they will click start on their own internal time clock and then they’ll go have coffee. They’ll go for a run. They’ll go for a jog or something, whatever they do in whatever country they’re in, and they bill us for that. What safe guards and practices do you have in place to help clients like us, not get ripped off, if you will?
Nathan: Sure, so I’m not a big fan of the screen monitor. Personally, I just don’t have time to review all my VA free monitor. I want to build trust with someone where I don’t have to do that. You always have that option. You can use Time Doctor. You can use Hubstaff. Most of the VA’s are happy to do it if you are someone that cares about it, and a small percentage of my clients do. This is the way that we look at it. It is so hard to get into the Freeeup marketplace. We’re literally picking one out of every 100 applications. Once they’re in, just like clients like it, because they get access to fast talent, workers like it because we bring clients to that.
The thing that the freelancers hates most is having to go chase down clients all the time and grow their client list. They just want to do whatever the work is that they do. So, we have 15 pages of communication guidelines. We have 15 pages of those communication best practices, along with the terms and conditions of the marketplace, so if they do anything to jeopardize that, they not only get kicked out of the marketplace, but they also lose their entire client base from Freeeup. They care a lot more about making sure you’re happy not only with the work, but also with the billing, then they do about stealing an extra hour out of you every day because it’s just not worth it to them. If you do have any disputes, if you do have anything that you want to bring to our attention, we’re there. We’ll hear you. We’ll make sure that it’s resolved and that you’re happy. So, it doesn’t happen very often and if it does, we make it right with the client and we handle the worker accordingly.
Joe: That’s pretty huge. Let me just repeat it again, because it’s one out of every 100 applicants that you accept, so you’re really, cream of the crop. This issue that we at Quiet Light have dealt with in the past, really would virtually go away because of the work that you’re doing up front, right?
Nathan: That’s a goal. Spend more time growing your business rather than in HR. I remember when I was in my office and we were just interviewing people for in-house positions and I spent an entire day in a room just interviewing people. At the end of the day, I just threw something at a wall. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to focus on growing my business. I want to contact suppliers. I want to focus on getting more sales. I don’t want to interview more people. At that time, there wasn’t a solution and that’s really when the idea for Freeeup came.
Joe: Do you have any tools in place for the clients like Quiet Light and the eCommerce owner to help them streamline that process and put SOP’s in place?
Nathan: Yeah, so I’ll send you some documents and links. We call it the hiring packet. It’s combination of a bunch of things, from a scheduling doc so that you can get on the same page with someone who might be in a different time zone, to interview questions that you can ask to have a 10-15 minute interview instead of a one hour interview, to a one time project doc to make sure you guys are on the same page before they start. A client expectations doc to make sure the worker knows about your pet peeves, that they have all the passwords, the stuff that saves you time so that they don’t have to come to you after the fact. You can have them read a document, ask any questions, and get started. We’re all about efficiency and we also post a lot of great content to the Freeeup blog, which clients can use when they haven’t hired before or maybe they’ve had bad experiences to improve on their own internal processes, which is really what it’s all about.
Joe: Yeah, excellent. I think one of the challenges that a lot of people have is, how do they write a description of what job they’re hiring for to make sure they get the most qualified candidate. Some of your documentation helps with that and the blog helps with that?
Nathan: Yeah, even our worker request button helps with that. So, whenever you want to a request a worker, you click request a worker. It asks you ten questions so that we know exactly what you want, and it really pinpoints it so that we can get you what your perfect worker looks like. So, that whole thing just streamlines it. A lot of times, when you make a job posting, you can leave stuff out, maybe it’s too vague or maybe you’re asking for the world, and by going through our process, it really simplifies it so you can get exactly what you want.
Joe: I’m wondering, at this point, why I’ve used any other service, to be honest with you. It sounds like you’ve solved most of the problems that exist in using some of the other services that really then unqualified candidates go to and try to get their careers started.
Nathan: Yeah, I mean, you have to remember, I’ve used every service out there and, don’t get me wrong, there’s pros and cons to using every service. What I tried to do is take all the things I really like about all the other marketplace and remove, tweak or change all the things I didn’t like, to make that really hands on marketplace that both the clients and the freelancers come back to.
Joe: When did you first launch Freeeup.com?
Nathan: About two and half years ago.
Joe: Two and half years ago. Things are going strong. It’s growing regular basis? Doing well?
Nathan: Yeah, we just hit 10,000 hours billed in one week. We did around 5 million dollars in the year two, and yeah, we’re looking to double that going into year three.
Joe: That’s incredible. 10,000 hours in one week. Are you working from an office in your house right now? Or do you have an office that you go to with stuff that comes to you?
Nathan: It’s funny. The worse business decision I’ve ever made, was getting an office, because I took a company that was entirely remote that had no reason to have an office, and just added overhead expenses. So, I learned that lesson pretty quick, got rid of that, made my Amazon business remote again, and Freeeup, when I started it we had no office, no overhead. The entire business is remote. My business partner’s in Colorado. He used to live in Florida. He moved out there, so, I’m in my home office right now and the entire business is remote.
Joe: I wouldn’t be shocked if from this podcast, you get somebody calling you to try to buy your business. It sounds that good.
Not for sale though, right?
Nathan: It’s not for sale. I mean, I’m like any business person. I’m open to listening. I’m open to talking, but I’m having a blast right now with Freeeup. It’s a lot of fun. The cool thing is, I get to meet people from all around the world. I mean, I went to bachelor party in Mexico and I spent one of the nights partying with a few workers that lived in Mexico. I’m going to the Philippines in March. Like you, I get to go to conferences and meet all these clients that I’ve helped their businesses and given back and meet them in person. It’s a lot of fun.
Joe: It sounds great, man. It sounds great. Do you have any last minute thoughts for anybody listening in terms of Freeeup and what the benefits of using this service are?
Nathan: Yeah, so one of the things that I’ve made sure to keep with Freeeup is, may calendar has been on top of the website since we’ve started. Anytime you want to talk to me, go right on Freeeup.com, my calendar’s at the top. Book a 15, 30, one hour meeting with me. I’d love to talk with about your business, answer any questions that you have, and point you in the right direction. We really want this business to be as hands on and actually help people grow their business and grow quickly with remote workers. I’m incredibly easy to contact, whether it’s email, site, calendar, Viber, WhatsApp. You know, you message me. I respond pretty quick, so that’s really what it’s all about.
Joe: Wow, that’s impressive. The owner of the business’ calendar is right there on the website for anybody to contact. That’s fantastic.
Nathan, listen man. This is it. I appreciate your time. It’s great information. Hopefully lots of folks will use your services. Thanks for being on the show.
Nathan: Thanks Joe.
Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to another episode of the Quiet Light podcast. For more resources from this episode, head over to quietlight.com. If you’re enjoying the show, please leave a rating and review in iTunes. This helps share the messages from the show with more business owners like you.