Serial Entrepreneur Nathan Hirsch talks about transparency in the ecommerce arena. From starting an Amazon business from his college dorm room to co-owning Freee Up, a solution for remote hiring, Nathan knows a thing or two about entrepreneurship. Listen in as he talks about the importance of transparency in today’s business world.

Show Notes

Hello everyone this is Tonya Dawn Recla, and this is the In the Clear Podcast. And you all are in for a treat. This gentleman is a firecracker. But it’s so refreshing to hear neighbors talk as he’s really cracked the code in the e-commerce industry. I know if you’ve been in business for more than a day, and one of the biggest headaches is how do you how do you get folks to fulfill some tasks that you need in interviewing process and in you get on fiber and that’s a crapshoot. And so, I’ve really tried to be to talk to him and how he’s shaped and molded within that space. So, Nathan, welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me.

I am really excited. I get excited to talk to people but with what you’re doing in the e-commerce sphere and the remote hiring and stuff like that. First of all, it’s so in alignment with our transparency mantras and everything, but it’s so necessary right now. The industry’s really icky. How did you even stumble into all of this?

Yes, it’s pretty crazy. And I agree, I was really excited when I talked to you because I do think we’re very much in line, and a lot of our clients have had the same experience across the board.

So, I got into e-commerce when I was 20. I started Amazon business out of my college dorm room. It radically expanded beyond my expectations, where to the point where I was running a multimillion dollar business out of my college dorm room. I was hiring employees before I could legally drink. I’ve hired in the past seven years, I’ve hired hundreds of remote workers, both in house and remote workers. I’ve written an e-book on remote workers. I teach a lot of podcasts and webinars on it because like you said, it’s hard. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s very much like hiring a new business for the first time or a contractor to work on your house or any of that stuff. You don’t know what’s legit, what’s not legit, what quality you’re going to get, what or why you’re going to get and all that stuff.  

So, when I was first hiring, I made some great hires. People that are still with me seven eight years later, and I also made some terrible hires people I fired or people that I kept on too long and it sucked money out of the company. And I should have hired them faster and I learned from those experiences and I wanted to create a better way a company that I wish I had when I first learned about the UpWorks and the Fiverr’s of the world, I was posting jobs and spending half my time going through applicants and trying to make good decision based on limited information. So, I created FreeeUp to be the hands-on way to hire remote workers, where we do the pre-vetting for you, we get hundreds of applicants a week. We have a great interview process that’s based on my seven years of hiring, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and we struck communication, which is half the battle because it doesn’t matter how skilled the people that you hire are if they can’t communicate. It’s never going to work out. So, we test them on communication. We have very strict communication guidelines and then we make these already pre-vetted the top 1 percent workers available to our clients on a first come, first serve basis, to really make a safe and trusting marketplace for freelancers and remote workers.

That’s fantastic. And for those of you who already run into Google to look this up it’s FreeeUp.com.

The third E represents E-commerce.

Perfect. Awesome. It is so nice and refreshing to hear you talking in this way. I can’t tell you how many sites I have tried to navigate and try to find somebody. And it is just gets in the pit of your stomach, like it might not work. One of the things we are teaching, we tell people do play the “What If” game? What if it doesn’t work out. And for specialty, small to mid-sized business, in a momentum and time or every day and it’s not even that costly. You could stomach the loss of the Five Hundred Thousand, Five thousand dollars it’s the loss of momentum and needing to have that done, and needing to have it done well, and there’s nothing more frustrating than folks who don’t come through on those projects.

I agree. I’m someone who preaches this valuing your time at a very high level. And people that waste my time anything that waste my time I try to eliminate to the best of my ability. And like you said just that momentum time is something that you never get back. If you waste three months on someone that isn’t going to work out you’re never getting that three months back. It’s different if you’re five years in your company or if you’re a corporate, and even that hurts. But never mind a startup that really needs that initial time to just get off the ground. A lot of times you can’t make it back out from a really bad hire like that. So, I try to protect my clients. However, I can by pre-vetting and saving on the whole other nightmare.

And it is a nightmare. That’s a great way to describe it. We get all of those for stories because of the work that we do, and a lot of folks, unfortunately, come to us after the fact. What can they do? And what my husband will tell them is, you lost five grand on a bad hire, you might as well crack a beer and chalk it up to experience because it’s actually with the artist and the small businesses, most of them don’t have any money. Like let’s say it is a purely fraudulent scam concept, they never litigate. All the time or the money to litigate, and for most of them, it’s like the biggest risk is in that too. And so, I appreciate the fact that you’re addressing all those things that screen and we see it come up because of the miscommunication pieces. So, we’ve been training people for the last five years in business, how to ask questions. What should we be asking? In fact, for the members that come into the Clear Business Directory, my husband interviews them for the podcast and that’s when the questions he asked is, what should people be asking you before they hire you? And I love the fact he took a lot of that off the table. How do you manage things, communication wise, on the other end of the spectrum with your clients? How does that work?

Yes, so we have very high expectations for our workers. We’re essentially putting them through our process. I was a client myself, so I know what clients want to hear, what they don’t want to hear, what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable, and our guidelines are based on that. And we’re expecting our workers to communicate at the highest possible level. So, when I pass over our client to a worker they know they know our processing, know our system, they know our software, and they’re good to go, and hit the ground running. And really, the only time I want to hear back from the clients is if it’s a compliment or they’re requesting a new worker, or they need help with something that has nothing to do with that worker because any I we just don’t have time for client kickback or any bad experience.  

I’m a realist. We get out enough workers each week that stuff happens here and there, and you address it. And from my side. It’s in my best interest to make every client happy with our service, and if there’s a hiccup over the course of a year, there’s always going to be one or two. You make it right. You credit the client or give them a new worker, or get something done for free for them, whatever it is. And we really don’t run into that many issues based on when you put it as a percentage for how many hours you bill. But what’s nice about our service, or what I’ve tried to build is that thing that you have someone to go to. Whereas, if you make a bad hire and you fire them it’s not like you’re going to go to that and be like, hey give me this money back or fix what you broke or whatever. That just doesn’t happen. Or if you hire someone from across the world you are never going to talk to that person again. But with us you have a company that’s going to back you up that has these policies already in place and were insurance against turnover. So, our workers rarely quit, but if they do we cover all retraining costs we get you a new worker right away only make sure you never take a step backwards for H.R. reasons. So, you could hire someone and six months later they quit. We’re covering the training for the new worker. So, you never have to cover training costs twice. And training is very expensive as you grow your company and it’s usually a sunk cost.

So, if I understand you correctly the and if this is in fact true, you are absolutely brilliant. So, the concept of you having direct communication with your client is minimal, and the client communication happens after they’re assigned the workers. Is that accurate?

They’re right on the website. There’s a calendar that you can book a time with me. I’m an open book. I love meeting with clients. I want to hear about the pros and cons your business concerns you’re having what you’re looking for and hiring and it’s me and my team’s job to get you the right workers for once I introduce you the worker. All the communication is between the client and the worker and our worker knows how to communicate at a very high level or they haven’t made it through the process. And we usually only hear back from the client if they’re requesting the next worker or if they have some complimentary feedback.

Perfect, so they are absolutely brilliant. And then my follow up question would be, how do you manage communication on the front end with the client because we see a lot of problems happening when people don’t really know what they need. We always use the website design industry, we pick on thema lot because a big part of the challenge is, not only is there a lot of fraud and scam in that arena, but it’s also that most clients don’t know how to communicate clearly. They don’t even know what they need. And so, they’re not asking the right questions, and they’re not making the right hire. How do you manage that piece of it?

Sure. So, you’re right. There’s really two types of clients that come to me. They’re the clients that have their business and processes in place and they just don’t have the manpower, and they need good reliable manpower. Those are clients that it’s not really my job to tell them how to run their business, I’m just there to fulfill their worker requests and get them the workers that they need. 

And then we have other clients who have a great idea of their business is growing really fast and they don’t know what the next step is, or they don’t know how to get organized. And it’s really impossible for me to do that on a 15 minute or half an hour phone call over the phone. But what we have available is experts, consultants, project managers that you can hire that can really go into your business, do their due diligence, understand your goals and expectations, and come up with a plan that may include just them or may include other cheaper, lower level workers, and creating process and systems and really help you get organized. And that’s for the business owner that doesn’t really know what they need. So, it’s really up to you.

I’m well aware that it’s a client’s business it’s their baby. They’re going to want so on how they want it done. They want to come in and be like Nathan this is what I need get it for me. Great. Boom. I’m going to supply them with those workers quickly. And they’re like Nathan, I want your advice on why your consultant’s advice, I’m all about that as well. I love helping people so we really cater to both kinds of clients.

That’s perfect. Well very cool. It sounds like you’ve thought a lot of this through. And I know a lot of business owners are going to be really excited if they hear about this. What advice can you offer folks in the e-commerce industry that help them. Like let’s say they’ve identified everything you have. What can you help them to get them going along the same trajectory?

Yeah, the biggest thing is diversification. I can’t tell you how many businesses rely on one source of revenue or even on the flip side one worker or one employee. A lot of business owners think that is the easiest or the best way to go about it is to hire one manager to do everything, which is actually the worst way because your entire business is reliant on this one person. So, what I try to preach is diversifying getting on different marketplaces finding different revenue streams, but also your workforce and your processes and your systems. Think about if your entire company would go down if one person left or one person took three weeks off or whatever it is and really break down those processes get multiple people and get assistance and that can cover, cross-train, and really protect yourself at all in all aspects of your business. Assuming that anything could go wrong at any time and that’s the biggest advice that I try to give and the best way that I can protect my clients long term.

Brilliant absolutely perfect and I know everybody is going to want to find out more about you we sent them over to the Web site. Is there anywhere else you want to send them or direct them to.

Yeah, we’re everywhere. You can check out the free app to FreeeUp.com on Skype. All the social media. We have our own free blog where we post a lot about hiring and building a company culture and the e-commerce industry. Anyone that signs up and mentioned this podcast gets 5 percent off their first worker. And we’re really there to help people so right on the Web site you can book a free call with me just see all your needs and see if FreeeUp is a fit. We’re really all about meeting our client’s expectations and helping you grow your business by saving you H.R. time.

Awesome. Brilliant. And kudos to you. Nathan, it sounds like he really cracked the code on that and I for one am excited to get a little bit better. Thank you.

Definitely I’m looking forward to providing you workers, as well.

Absolutely. Thank you to everyone out there of course we appreciate you listening and it’s all next time. Make sure your business is In the Clear.