Originally published on May 4, 2017, updated November 5, 2019
FreeeUp is a virtual work platform dedicated to helping eCommerce merchants and other business owners find reliable remote freelancers. The company does the recruiting and hiring, allowing sellers to hit the ground running when it comes to delegating tasks. Finding an experienced freelancer who understands the Amazon landscape isn't easy, so FreeeUp was founded to help make the process smoother for business owners.
I recently had a conversation with Connor Gillivan, Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of FreeeUp, about how the company works and how he got involved.
Liz: How did you get started in eCommerce?
Connor: I have been an entrepreneur for the greater part of my life. I started my first business in high school doing landscaping and built it to over 20 regular weekly customers. In college, I was always on the hunt for the next opportunity. I fell into the opportunity when I met my current business partner, Nathan Hirsch. He was starting a business selling books on the Amazon marketplace and I dove right into it.
As we finished college and started our professional careers, we worked hard to build Portlight into a 60-person organization generating over $20 million on Amazon.com. We expanded out of books and ended up working with over 1,000 drop ship manufacturers around the country. As the CEO of the company, I spent hours upon hours studying the eCommerce industry making sure we were pushing the company down the right paths.
Liz: What inspired the two of you to co-found FreeeUp?
Connor: Nate and I decided to found FreeeUp after having a poor experience recruiting and hiring remote freelancers through online hiring platforms. We were sick of the time that it took to post jobs, interview applicants and make the final hire. Even once we hired the person, there was no guarantee that they would stay with the company. While running Portlight, we hired over 100 remote freelancers as we figured out the best way to recruit, interview and test these online workers. Once we figured out a method to the madness, we discussed this solution being attractive to other eCommerce business owners. There wasn’t currently a platform specifically created for the eCommerce industry, and we wanted to change the way online hiring occurred.
Liz: What are the biggest challenges you see eCommerce business owners facing?
Connor: The biggest challenge that eCommerce business owners face while starting, growing and leading their company is time. eCommerce businesses are extremely intricate and require many moving pieces to build profitability: order fulfillment, customer service, inventory management, marketplace management, advertising, social media management, etc. To get to a place where you are running a successful eCommerce business, you must have other experts pushing the company forward in areas that you do not specialize in. If eCommerce business owners fail to recognize that and attempt to handle everything themselves, they will eventually drown.
Liz: How can a freelancer help an Amazon business owner become successful?
Connor: Freelancers help Amazon business owners to free up their time so they can stay focused on the growth of the business. Instead of fulfilling orders each day, the business owner can hire a freelancer who specializes in order fulfillment to handle it. That is 1-2 hours off their plate that they can use to focus on other tasks. Freelancers can also add an expertise to the business that didn’t exist before. An eCommerce business owner could hire a Facebook Ads expert freelancer to drive more traffic to their online store. In this way, the freelancer helps the company to grow where the business owner maybe does not have expertise.
Liz: What attributes should business owners look for when hiring freelancers to support their work?
Connor: The most important attribute that business owners should seek out is communication. No matter how smart a freelancer, if they cannot communicate, they will not be a good fit. We tried and failed many times hiring smart freelancers who could not communicate. To test and make sure the freelancer is good at communication, create your own communication guidelines that you test the freelancer on before hiring them. Outside of communication, the freelancer should have 1-2 years of experience in the work that you are hiring them for. Check their online profiles for past client reviews and make sure they have had relevant experience along with positive reviews.
Liz: Can you share some of your favorite advice for Amazon sellers?
Connor: When running an Amazon business, make sure that you have someone on your team that understands your seller metrics at a very high level and can manage them on a daily basis. The fastest way to get suspended from selling on Amazon is to not keep your metrics within their expectations. We have found success by having a freelancer that specializes in Amazon metrics and customer service. They keep a close eye on both areas of the business at all times and have the ability to manage others to help them achieve our metrics goals.
Liz: Is there anything else you’d like to tell the eComEngine audience?
Connor: I’m excited to share that I have been writing and will be publishing a book through the FreeeUp platform on April 26th titled Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies. The book offers 50 actionable pieces of advice for business owners to better run their companies from our seven years of working together and building two seven-figure businesses within the eCommerce industry.
Let me know what you think of my conversation with Connor, and feel free to add your two cents below! Do you work with freelancers to help keep your business running smoothly? And speaking of freeing up your time, have you tried RestockPro yet? It allows you to get away from the spreadsheets and keep your inventory data in an easy-to-use format. You can also grant access to trusted freelancers to help you keep everything straight.
Originally published on May 4, 2017, updated November 5, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.