Today, we are talking to one of the members of The Clear Business Directory. I am super excited to be talking to Nathan Hirsch today. He’s the CEO of FreeeUp.com. I do have to brag a bit because Nathan’s got a service that provides outsourced workers for small business owners. In full transparency, we utilize their services for our business and been extremely pleased with the services that their workers provide. More importantly, one of the reasons why we chose to go with FreeeUp was because they actually vet all of their workers. With that, Nathan, welcome to the show.
Hey. Thanks so much for having me. Thank you for the kind words. I’m happy you guys have enjoyed the experience so far.
It’s been absolutely amazing. For lack of a better word, it’s been life changing as far as being able to grow our business and what we’re doing. Can you tell the listeners a little bit more about FreeeUp and where you got the idea and so forth?
Whenever you start a company, you never know what the client feedback’s going to be like. You have certain things in mind and you think it’ll go well and you have the client’s best interest in mind. It’s nice to hear directly from clients and see such positive reactions as we’ve had. I’ve been selling online for over eight years. I’ve sold over $20 million online. I started my first company when I was 20 years old in college. I hired my first employee before I could legally drink. I have a lot of hiring experience. Like many entrepreneurs, I made some really great hires, people who have been with me eight years later, like my business partner, Connor. I made some really bad hires and I learned a lot along the way.
FreeeUp: My life just turned into the CEO that was the HR manager. I didn’t like that. I always wished there was a better way.
One thing I quickly realized as I was growing this company and my business was expanding and I was adding more and more people to the team and more roles popped up and more needs, is my focus shifted from sales and marketing and creating processes and all those stuff I really like doing to all the stuff I didn’t really like doing, which was HR and sitting in interviews and multiple rounds of interviews and onboarding new workers. My life just turned into the CEO that was the HR manager. I really didn’t like that. I always wished there was a better way.
I would go on all these different sites, Upwork, Monster, and although there are different variations, they’re very similar. They’re all job boards. You post a job, you get a lot of applicants, you interview them, you pick who you want to hire and you hope it works out. I’ve had plenty of situations where I’ve hired someone with a really great resume and they were terrible. I’ve had alternate situations where I hire someone with very little experience or maybe their profile isn’t topnotch and they end up being awesome. It was just very frustrating and it took up a lot of my time. I wanted a better way.
At FreeeUp, the whole concept, flips around. We get hundreds of applicants every week. We have a great interview process that I created myself based on eight years of hiring. We take the top 1% of workers and we add them to our network and we make them available to our clients on a first come first serve basis. The cool thing about us is not only do we have both US and non-US workers from $5 to $50 an hour ready to go whenever you need them, but we’re also hands-on to make sure you have a good experience with them. We’re insured against turnovers. Our workers rarely quit, but if they do, we cover all retraining cost. We get you a new worker right away and we make sure you never take a step backwards. We really turned it from a big hassle, the HR hassle, into a much more positive experience.
Again, I can’t say more than just the fact that the service you provide is absolutely phenomenal. The training that you provide for your workers, especially in the communication department of effective communication between us as the client and the worker as the “employee” has been extremely seamless, extremely easy and efficient. Again, I can’t speak highly enough about what you offer. We’re super excited to have you a part of The Clear Business Directory because I know there are so many small business owners out there that are looking for solutions. While there might be other potentials out there, in my experience, I haven’t come across other companies that provide similar services like yours that vet their employees the way you do or provide the training and level of communication training that you provide your workers.
If you think of why do you have a bad experience with freelancers, and the most common thing of workers disappearing or having to train people more than once or not communicating updates, it just always comes back to that one thing, communication. We flipped it. If everyone hates communication and the way that freelancers communicate, let’s stress that. Let’s make that the biggest part of the company, the thing that gets thrown into their minds from when they’re right in the interview process, to when we do the new worker orientation, to all our policies that are strictly enforced. All make it so that no matter what you do, no matter whether your PPC campaign runs effectively or not and all the other things that you can’t control, the one thing you can control is how you communicate to the client.
Again, one of the things I’m absolutely loving about your service. Experience that we’ve had has been topnotch. We look forward to continue working with your people as well. Nathan, I know you’ve been in business for a while now, and I know you’ve had some ups and downs. In your own personal business, in your own business life, is there one thing that you’ve learned over the past that people, whether they be in startup or even experienced business owners, something that they might be able to learn based off of your experience?
FreeeUp: The biggest thing that I learned is diversification. You can apply that to so many aspects of your business.
The biggest thing that I learned at a young age is diversification. You can apply that to so many aspects of your business. I’ll tell you a story on how I learned it early on by accident and not necessarily in a good way. When I was running my first company, we were doing really well. I was making more money than I ever had in my life. We finally hired a team that we really liked. They could run the business without me having to work 60 hours a week. I was a college student. I had a lot of other stuff going on. I finally had the business in a really good place. I decided to take a vacation to Myrtle Beach. Day one of the vacation, I got a call from my manager at the time, he was running the company, saying that our sole distributor had decided to no longer work with us. We built this entire company off this one supplier and just like that it was gone. It obviously ruined the vacation.
When we came back, we were like, “How did we even let this happen?” We’re just having so much success from this one supplier that we didn’t even think about expanding and trying other things and ultimately that came back and hurt us. We became more determined than ever to really diversify and never let that happen again. Within six months, we had an even stronger business model because instead of working with one supplier, we were working with 25 and then 50 and then 100. If one person dropped us, it wasn’t the end of the world.
I took that philosophy and I really applied it to other aspects of my company. When you’re hiring, instead of hiring that manager of the day that I used to call it, one person to have a checklist of everything, whether it’s bookkeeping, customer service, orders, and just go through. I would spend a month training them and it would go well and then they would quit and then I’d spend another month training someone else. Diversifying is just so much more effective. You have one person for orders, one person for emails, and you’re never just relying on one person for your entire business. I really try to preach that to my clients. I have a lot of clients that go, “Should I hire one person to do everything? Or should I break it up?” There’s pros and cons to both because you also have to fact in your time managing people. Diversifying on revenue streams, suppliers, hiring, it’s just a really good idea to make your business really strong.
It’s a great lesson to learn. It’s a hard lesson to learn if you find yourself in the midst of it as well. That little saying, “Putting all your eggs in one basket.”
It’s the life of an entrepreneur. You just go from those ultimate highs to those lows and you just got to build yourself back up and you just have to look at it as a lesson. What did I learn? How can I prevent that from happening again?
That’s something that really separates the true entrepreneurs. They are the ones who look at it for the lesson and go, “Crap. Time to start over. Let’s do it bigger and better this time,” and really learning those lessons. It’s honestly one of the reasons why a lot of people don’t become entrepreneurs, because those ups and downs, that rollercoaster ride can be very difficult. The beautiful thing is with the service that you offer, those rollercoaster rides can be mitigated.
That’s what’s cool about the community that we’ve built with FreeeUp. Instead of just being like, “We have workers, you can hire them when you need them,” we want to educate our clients as well. We have our online hiring mastermind group where we’re constantly throwing new information and processes and sharing documents that we used to train and onboard people and get their schedules and all that stuff to really help them. We have our blog where we’re constantly sharing processes that we use. I’m a big fan of practicing what I preach. I have a 20-person internal team, I’ve got 5 assistants that work underneath me, marketing team, bookkeeping team. They run together flawlessly because I’m practicing the same systems and philosophies that I’m telling my clients to use. It’s one of those things like, “This is how I built this team. I can provide you with the workers to skip that entire step of recruitment. But there is still a lot of effort on your part to really onboard them correctly, to motivate them and to get the most out of them. We can teach you how to do it.”
I know you’ve got a great system but along the way, I’m sure there’s been some lessons that you’d learned as far as miscommunication goes. Is there a time that you’ve had a miscommunication with a client and if so, how did it turn out?
The biggest thing is gray areas. If you leave gray areas whenever you’re communicating, whether it’s deadlines or expectations, stuff like that, it always leads to trouble. The most basic example of this is I’ve had clients who were like, “I need this due on Wednesday.” You think about that and you’re like, “That’s pretty basic.” To a worker, what does that mean? What time zone is Wednesday in? Is it due by 2 PM on Wednesday, by the end of the day, when something starts? I’m trying to teach my workers to eliminate that gray area. Don’t start a project unless you have all the facts, all the information you need. Because at the end, if it’s a “e said, she said,” to me, it’s the workers fault because they’re trained to get rid of the gray area right from the beginning.
At the beginning of FreeeUp, when we were first creating these communication guidelines, and I actually created them when I was stuck in an airport for 24 hours. I was really going through and just thinking of every past client experience. Even if the client wasn’t screaming and yelling, even if they’re being reasonable. If I could tell that they were upset, if I could tell that something went wrong and they didn’t get exactly what they wanted, I’m putting steps in place just to prevent it from the beginning.
That’s brilliant because you take that off the plate for everybody that uses your services. They know that they can rely on that effective communication that you instill in your workers. Nathan, is there any special insight, or anything special that you would like to share to your clients? If there’s one thing that you would like our listeners to know about you or FreeeUp that you want to share with them.
FreeeUp: One of my keys to success is to treat people well. When you find someone that you like working with, you want to keep them around.
One of my keys to success is to treat people well. When you find someone that you like working with, you want to keep them around. Turnover is expensive. Turnover sucks. It can cost you your company, set you back months at a time. One thing that you need to keep in mind is how you’re treating and how you’re communicating with people. I have clients all the time that I’ll send an email to a worker that maybe to them they’re being logical and straightforward, and I’m the same way. I’m not someone to talk about feelings all day. I tell people how it is. But those things can come across very differently to someone with a different culture or different background. You never really know who you’re dealing with on the other end and what their life experiences are like. Just being nice on that level. When you find someone you like, treating them well, whether it’s giving them raises or an end of the year bonus. If you’re a startup, you don’t have to go crazy. Anything that shows some kind of appreciation to make them stick around. I can promise you that replacing someone you really like, that you’ve invested a lot of training into, is way more expensive than just giving them a quick end of the year bonus. Even just having a conversation with them and thanking them.
Connor and I, at the beginning of every year, we do a performance evaluation. It’s not the kind of performance evaluation that we’re like, “You did really terrible here or here.” A lot of it is just showing appreciation for everything they did and contributed to the year before and showing them the worth that they did and how it actually affected the company. No one wants to be handed a spreadsheet and be like, “Do this,” and get it back and give them another one. They want to see how the work they did actually affected the company and how the people that own the company or higher up in the company actually appreciate them. That’s one of those tricks to getting low turnover. On the personal side, it makes you feel good and it’s just a good thing to do. On the business side, it’s just a good investment of your time and it’s a good way to save money long-term.
You can find Nathan’s profile inside The Clear Business Directory and take a look at his business, history, and his experience and know that he’s been cleared for frauds and scams. He has a process for his hiring his workers that is absolutely above everybody else that are bringing in outsourced workers. Nathan, is there any place you’d like to send our listeners to where they can learn more about you or get some additional information about Free Up?
If you go to FreeeUp.com, right there you could schedule a meeting with me. I’d love to talk to you about your business and how we can help. Definitely check out our new book that’s launching on April 26th, Fifty Keys to Starting Multimillion Dollar Companies Bootstrapping. That should be a good one. You can also check out the FreeeUp blog, the Online Hiring Mastermind group. We love feedback. We love hearing stories and how we can help you. If you mention this podcast or The Clear Directory, you get a dollar off your first worker forever. Make sure you mention them or use their link when you sign up. Or go to facebook.com/FreeeUpMarketplace/.
Nathan, thank you so much for being here on the show today. To all the listeners out there, before you hire anybody, make sure that business is in the clear.