Vetting people is hard, and it’s even harder in the virtual hiring process. You might be combing through all these websites, going through profile after profile, hoping to stumble upon somebody qualified – but this drill can cost you a lot of your precious time and money. Fortunately there’s already a marketplace that can save your limited resources. Founded by serial entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch, FreeeUp connects businesses with pre-vetted freelancers in ecommerce, digital marketing, and more. Nathan took the online hiring tactics available in order to filter potential candidates, and zeroed in on attitude and communication skills. FreeeUp spends a lot of time building separate tests for Amazon, for web developers, for bookkeepers, before they introduce freelancers to the client base and set their expectations in terms of attitude. This revolutionary vetting process has ensured that FreeeUp offers companies only the top 1% freelancers in the virtual workspace, which means only the top 1% potential hires for your team!
Nathan Hirsch is a serial entrepreneur and an expert in remote hiring and ecommerce. In fact, he started his first ecommerce business out of his college dorm room and has sold over $30,000,000 online. He is now the co-founder and the CEO of FreeeUp.com, which is a marketplace that connects businesses with pre-vetted freelancers in various fields. Nathan regularly appears on leading podcasts such as Entrepreneur on Fire, which is one of my favorites, and often speaks at live events about online hiring tactics.
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Remote Hiring Tactics With Nathan Hirsch
The guest that I have on, I know the kind of value that he creates. I have been on the journey with him for a while. His name is Nathan Hirsch. He is a serial entrepreneur and he is an expert in remote hiring and e-commerce. He started his first e-commerce business out of his college dorm room and he has sold over $30 million online. He is now the Co-Founder and the CEO of FreeeUp.com, which is a marketplace that connects businesses with pre-vetted freelancers in e-commerce, digital marketing, and even more. He regularly appears on leading podcasts such as Entrepreneur on Fire, which is one of my favorite, and he speaks at live events about online hiring tactics. Nathan, welcome.
Thanks a lot for having me, Terri.
I am glad to have you. I love what you do in the world. First, I have to go back to this. Here you are in a college dorm room and what made you go, “I’m going to start to this e-commerce business.” What the heck?
I needed extra side money. I was paying my way through college, trying to make a buck here, a buck there on the side. I started buying and selling people’s textbooks. I had some experience selling library books. I thought I can buy books at the end of the semester using some money I made working a summer job, hold on to them until the beginning of next semester, and flip them for a profit. I did this for a few semesters. As I was selling these books back, I learned a lot about Amazon. I was selling to different online bookstores. You don’t do that very long without learning about Amazon. This was back in 2008 or 2009, so Amazon was mostly just a bookstore. They were just getting into other things. I became addicted to it and obsessed. I loved the idea that I could have my own store online. I didn’t have to build it or hire a developer. I wanted to build this big store but I didn’t know how. I started experimenting away from books. I first started off doing sporting equipment, DVDs, computer games, and stuff I was familiar with as a simple college guy. I failed over and over. I couldn’t get anything to sell. It wasn’t until I branched out of my comfort zone and started experimenting with baby products and toys that my business started to take off and that I built this huge business.
I love stories like this. They show me that the entrepreneurial spirit and dream is really there. How did you get into FreeeUp? How did that at all come to be?
I built this business as a 21-year old. Hiring is tough. You go out and tell them, “I’m going to be hiring 35-year olds with ten years of marketing experience.” They don’t want to work for me. I was pretty limited to hiring college students around me, which has its pros but also a lot of cons as well. As I grew this business and I started getting introduced to the remote hiring world and getting access to the talent around the world, instead of the talent just in my city and the city around me, I became addicted to that and I saw how powerful it was to have, I called it my VA army, people that could take things off my plate and do them. I was always very good at finding talented people. At the end of the day I could do it, but it just took up so much time. I could spend two weeks going through 100 people to get someone to do a five-hour project for me. It wasn’t efficient. I kept looking and looking for a faster way. When I couldn’t find one three years ago, I built it myself.
I can remember this is going back many years ago. Here I was, I had one virtual assistant. She’s been with me for years and she got sick. Unfortunately, she got cancer and she couldn’t work. Here I was going, “I’ll go to all of these websites and I’ll try to find somebody.” I went through person after person, spent a lot of time, and a lot of money. It just wasn’t working. I remember thinking to myself, “If only somebody out there had already found the people,” and here, that’s what you’ve done. That’s just amazing. It can save people so much time, energy, and money. How do you actually pre-vet people? I’m so curious. Don’t give away your whole secret sauce, but what’s the part of them?
Vetting people is hard. I took the hiring process that I was continuing to develop over the year three, four, five, six, seven, eight of my first business and applied it to FreeeUp. The cool thing about that is we’re always trying to improve it. We’re always looking at ways to make it better and to decrease the likelihood that someone gets through it that probably shouldn’t have. Our process is all focused on skill, attitude, and communication. For skill, we spend a lot of time building separate questions, tests for Amazon experts, for web developers, for bookkeepers, whatever it is. You don’t have to be at a ten out of ten, but if you say you’re seven out of ten, we need to know that you’re a seven out of ten. If you said you were a three, we need to know that you’re three before we introduce you to the client base and set their expectations.
With attitude, we interview them one-on-one. We look for people that are passionate about what they do. They’re not just in it for the pay check. They’re in it to actually help the business. They want to be involved. They want to grow with the community. They have a smile every day. They don’t let personal issues interfere with work. With communication, which is the key to everything and what holds it all together, we have fifteen pages of communication best practices that freelancers memorize and get tested on before they get into the marketplace. We don’t want our clients chasing someone across the US or the Philippines for an update on their project. We want someone who can hit deadlines and hit estimates. I made that guidelines and those best practices when I’m stuck in an airport. Those are based on the eight plus years of hiring experiences and the various different communications that I came across.
As someone who has worked with a lot of different people virtually, I totally love this because I have found people who were very skilled, but their attitude is lacking. I have found people that have great attitude but don’t have the skills. I have also made a serious mistake of hiring someone that just wasn’t available to communicate. We weren’t sure if the project is being done or did things move forward? All three of those things have been areas literally that I had to learn through trial and error and making a lot of expensive mistakes on who to get the right people. I’m just sitting here saying, “People are so fortunate to know that you can use FreeeUp.com and you can find experts that are pre-vetted. They have the attitudes, skills, and communication you want.” What kind of people can we hire online through FreeeUp?
We started off mostly being for Amazon sellers. It was always my background. I had this Rolodex already. I have freelancers that I work with. That was the foundation, but it’s really expanded well beyond that. People in the Amazon community called the e-commerce community so we’re getting Shopify, eBay and Walmart sellers. Then they started telling other business owners, real estate agents, marketing agencies, and software companies. We have such a wide range and wide range of skill sets. I believe we have over 100 skill sets on the website from app and website development to graphic designers and bookkeepers and copywriters to customer service and Excel and everything in between. It’s expanded to where we offer a lot of skills, but if you come to us and you need something that we don’t have, we can also recruit for you and build it into our process to start getting those skills for the demand that’s out there.
That’s phenomenal, the fact if it’s something different or unique, you’re willing to go out and find that. There are a lot of coaches, consultants, speakers, trainers, and authors. What kind of folks do they typically hire?
I would start with emails. People in those positions tend to get a lot of emails. A lot of coaches that I work with, entrepreneurs, like that, they hire someone to organize their emails. I do the same thing. I have someone that checks in like three different times throughout the day. One of which is at night and he organizes all my emails for when I wake up. He’ll respond to all the easy ones, he’ll lead the hard ones and let me know about them, and that’s a great way to get that extra hour of your day back right from the beginning of the day.
Another one is the content and the graphic designing. There are very few entrepreneurs that are good at all the things that come into marketing your business. Having freelancers that are on call, “I need this infographic done, this flyer, for a conference coming up.” Having someone who can write blog articles for you or a LinkedIn post is such an effective way to grow your business. You don’t need to have someone full-time anymore.
When you get to the higher level stuff, who doesn’t want to have an expert on call? Hiring social media experts. Someone to run your Twitter, your Instagram, your market run Facebook ads, drive traffic to whatever product you’re selling, or your book. Those are probably the most common, but I’ve seen people that will hire bookkeepers. They will hire personal VA that they teach to do whatever their systems and processes are. There are so many creative things that you can do when you get access to the remote hiring world.
I have somebody who manages my email as well. I can’t imagine if I woke up every day and to have an inbox that was cramped. It’s amazing how much more productive you are when you can free that up and get that off your mind. Nathan, how can people find out more? How can they get more info? Where do they need to go?
They can go to FreeeUp.com. Right at the top is my calendar. You can book a time with me. I would love to talk to you about your business and how I can help. You can create a free account. Get a free $25 credit for signing up, and mentioning this podcast. You can also check out the FreeeUp blog and YouTube channel for more hiring tips.
Thank you so much. There are lots of free tips there. I have gone there. I have downloaded. I recommend you do the same. It’s FreeeUp.com. Nathan, I want to thank you for being here at Heartrepreneur Radio. I want to thank you because what you’re doing is of such service to anyone that has a business particularly online. I know a lot of folks that are looking for help. They’re looking for copywriters, they’re looking for people to help them with their blogs, they’re looking for email support, they’re looking for researchers, they’re looking for customer service. I had a lot of people that asked whether or not they could come on and they could talk about their services and I said “No. I wanted Nathan to come on because I understand the way that FreeeUp vets and the processes they use and it’s unlike anything else I’ve found.” Nathan, thank you for the service that you’re providing. For people out there, it’s FreeeUp.com. Go over there. You’ll be glad that you did.
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About Nathan Hirsch
Nathan Hirsch is a serial entrepreneur and expert in remote hiring and eCommerce. He has been selling online for over 7 years and has sold well over $25 million worth of product through his eCommerce business. He is now the co-founder and CEO of FreeeUp.com, the hands-on hiring marketplace connecting hundreds of online business owners with reliable, pre-vetted remote workers. FreeeUp is redefining how businesses are able to hire remote freelancers online. He can be found on leading podcasts, such as Entrepreneur on Fire, Eventual Millionaire, and many more, speaking about online hiring tactics. He currently lives in Orlando, Florida.