If you’ve hired online, you know that not all hiring platforms are alike. What makes FreeeUp different from all these other platforms is a combination of factors. In this post we explore these factors which make up the core of FreeeUp as a marketplace. We also explore how they came to be and why they make it the better marketplace for hiring digital freelance professionals.
Online Hiring Frustration
FreeeUp founders Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan started FreeeUp because they were so frustrated by their experiences hiring freelancers from online marketplaces. So many things kept going wrong even after years of hiring hundreds of different freelancers. They had done everything they could from their end to improve their hiring process so that they could avoid making bad hires. Still, it just wasn’t working.
They also realized through this process that many other eCommerce business owners were dealing with the same frustrations.
Nathan and Connor were spending precious hours every day searching for and interviewing different people because they just couldn’t get the right fit for different roles. They were wasting even more hours and dollars bringing people on who would then just disappear or quit after a short time. Those that stayed on were more often than not so poor at communicating within their roles and had such poor attitudes that the level of productivity all around wasn’t even worth measuring.
They were wasting time and money that they needed to be spending on business growth. It was hurting their business.
And they knew that there had to be a better way. There just wasn’t one currently available. So they decided to create the solution – the marketplace that they had always wished was there to meet their eCommerce hiring needs.
Launching The Solution
The FreeeUp Marketplace was founded in 2015 with the core goals of allowing only pre-vetted freelancers onto the platform and giving business owners hands-on hiring assistance. They would also make the hiring process fast and accurate, eliminating the waste they suffered for years trying to scale their $25 million Amazon business.
Nathan, heading up operations as the CEO, and Connor, running behind the scenes as CMO, focused the first year on building the marketplace to help fellow Amazon sellers. They pooled the best freelancers from around the world with Amazon experience and made them available to hundreds of Amazon sellers who needed help to grow their businesses. They became the best marketplace in this niche that same year, and to this day maintain this reputation within the Amazon seller community.
First Year Expansion and Beyond
With their hiring formula and passionate focus, Nathan and Connor expanded FreeeUp in 2016 to offer help for all types of eCommerce businesses. Freelancers who worked with various eCommerce platforms were added to the marketplace. With this expansion came the need for even more top freelancers to help with related business tasks. So FreeeUp opened its doors to various digital marketing freelancers, designers and web developers.
By the end of its second year, more than 800 freelancers were working through FreeeUp, which by this time had a client base of over 5,000. In 2018, Nathan and Connor worked to become the go-to marketplace for businesses and entrepreneurs seeking a better solution to hiring freelancers online.
Now entering its fifth year of operations, the FreeeUp Marketplace boasts freelancers with over 85 different skill sets available for businesses from any industry.
What Makes FreeeUp Different
The core idea that makes FreeeUp different from all the other hiring marketplaces out there is that it was born out of the shortcomings of all these other sources. FreeeUp was specifically structured and continues to be developed to target the various limitations of online hiring to give business owners the best hiring experience possible. It’s all about freeing up business owners’ time to focus on what they really need to be doing to grow their businesses.
Here are the core factors that make FreeeUp different in all the best ways:
1. Hands-on Help
While working on their first business, Nathan and Connor tried all of the top hiring marketplaces available at that time. They went through these platforms’ different processes for recruitment, interviews, and hiring. These processes lacked optimization, resulting in hit-and-mostly-miss results.
They learned though painful experience one vital aspect of the hiring process:
Hands-on assistance from the marketplace is key to finding the right freelance talent.
Nathan and Connor immediately applied this concept to the core structure of the FreeeUp Marketplace. As co-founders, they had a lot on their plates, but this did not stop them from making themselves available to business owners for whatever they might need at every stage of the hiring process and even after as they worked with different freelancers.
And both Nathan and Connor are still just an email, chat, or call away to this day.
Moreover, the hands-on experience does not only apply to business owners. The co-founders are equally ready to extend a helping hand to freelancers on the marketplace. Their emails and Skype IDs are openly shared, and they still make time to say howdy and check in to see how everyone’s doing. They have also prepared other avenues to extend help. The FreeeUp blog, for instance, offers very insightful tips for both businesses and freelancers to help them learn and grow. And there are free hiring resources available on the website.
As the business grew, Nathan and Connor of course had to hire assistants to help them deal with the ever-growing number of clients and freelancers. Many of the more common issues are now managed by these assistants, who have worked personally with the co-founders to learn the unique FreeeUp method of providing what clients and freelancers need to succeed. But they both still make themselves available when they are needed. And they are both absolutely hands on with the assistants they’ve hired to help care for all marketplace users.
Back in 2015, Nathan and Connor desperately needed a hiring platform where they could be confident that they could find reliable freelancers. The quality of freelancers that they were hiring on various platforms was just so far below par that they were tearing their hair out. They longed for a place where they could source freelancers who had already been vetted before being offered to clients.
It just didn’t exist. So the partners decided to build a marketplace that did.
From day one, FreeeUp has pre-vetted every freelancer who wants to sign up to work.
Before anyone can even meet a client or see their request, they must go through the FreeeUp pre-vetting process, which consists of written and oral sets of interviews. FreeeUp aims to be the best, and this means maintaining a high level of quality – both in terms of the marketplace’s internal workings, and also the freelancers who work through the marketplace.
This is why the pre-vetting process is so strict, allowing only the top 1% of applicants into the network.
The exact contents of the FreeeUp pre-vetting process are kept secret, of course, to prevent fraudsters from trying to game the system. What I can say about it is that it makes FreeeUp different because it targets the following three essential areas that every freelancer must have evidence for to be considered a good hire.
Verified Skills – Every freelancer who hopes to join FreeeUp must present a demonstrated capacity in his or her offered skillset. A list of skills is not enough, as it is on most platforms. Freelancers must be able to prove that they have these skills and know how to use them to get positive results.
Specific Experience – Alongside skillsets is niche experience. Every freelancer applying to work through FreeeUp must have a suitable degree and amount of experience, which is a combination of time spent working with the skillset and projects successfully completed.
Communication and Attitude – Hard skills are not enough to make one a top freelancer. Attitude and communication are two of the most highly prized attributes at FreeeUp. Freelancers who want to be a part of FreeeUp must show that they can and do communicate at a very high level. Moreover, they must, without a doubt, have the right attitude to be part of a marketplace that takes pride in giving top service to clients.
A central aspect of this three-pronged approach to successfully pre-vetting freelancers is spotting the red flags that give even the most practiced con artist away. Then there are also the more common red flags that most people completely miss when reviewing candidate profiles and conducting interviews. Most people simply have not hired enough to quickly and easily recognize the clues that point to either a good or a bad hire. And they shouldn’t all have to go through what Nathan and Connor did to get the same results.
Having gone through the hiring process so many times, the partners have become experts, and they now use their knowledge and experience to make hiring better for everyone else through FreeeUp. Pre-vetting is a vital step of the hiring process that requires expertise that most people don’t have and would waste years trying to develop. This step is taken care of at FreeeUp before a client even submits a request for a freelancer.
3. Fast, Accurate Hiring
Nathan and Connor wasted a lot of their time as business owners trying to hire good people. Their experience has of course paid off by allowing them to build a marketplace that is uniquely fueled by game-changing knowledge. At the time, however, this drain on their most valuable resource was killing their business.
They needed a way to hire good people that didn’t rely on having to go through dozens and dozens of the wrong kind to find one right fit, spending hours on each freelancer at each stage of the hiring process. This prompted their focus on a fast-hire experience.
On FreeeUp, clients don’t have to sift through freelancer profiles.
In fact, when it was founded, freelancers working through the marketplace didn’t even have profiles at all on the platform. They were considered an unnecessary waste of time since the pre-vetting system at FreeeUp eliminated their purpose. Clients can now view freelancer profiles if they choose to, but they don’t need to spend time reading through backgrounds and viewing project results if they don’t want to.
Clients simply tell FreeeUp what they need and get introduced to the right match.
A major time-drain for business owners is trying to find the best freelancer for their needs. On other platforms, they have to consider each freelancer that matches their task descriptions in the slightest degree. This is because of a poor matching process that returns mixed results. And these platforms can’t or won’t improve this system because they want to leave all tasks open to any freelancer who might want them – except in cases where clients pay a premium to get only the best.
FreeeUp has developed a more accurate ticket matching process that takes care of both concerns. It eliminates the need for clients to scan each freelancer with applicable skills and experience while retaining freelancers’ freedom to apply for their desired tickets.
The marketplace doesn’t leave matching up to robots, and always considers both the clients’ and the freelancers’ best interests. The result is accurate matching that satisfies both sides and results in top performance.
4. No Turnover
Another huge problem for Nathan and Connor from their Amazon days was freelancers up and leaving whenever they felt like it. Part of this was hiring people with bad attitudes (e.g. unprofessional, not having a good work ethic, not being committed), and part of it was inexperience (from not knowing what they could actually handle to flat out lying about their true abilities), among other horrors.
Another part was just bad luck. People go through changes in life and can’t always stay on. But the partners knew that they could eliminate all but the true emergencies to drastically reduce turnover. They had suffered from unbearable turnover, and they wanted to make sure that others no longer had to.
With FreeeUp, if a freelancer ever quits (which rarely happens), they will be replaced ASAP at no extra cost.
Nathan and Connor understand that losing a pair of hands means lost opportunity. Business owners need every task completely covered all the time. This is why FreeeUp vets for commitment, among other specific traits. Anyone who raises red flags for quitting on clients without good reason is not going to be a fit for FreeeUp. In the event that a freelancer does have to stop working for a client, FreeeUp will immediately find and introduce a replacement.
But turnover isn’t just about losing time looking for a replacement. Even with pre-vetted freelancers, there’s onboarding that needs to happen to get a person ready to perform tasks at a high level for a specific business. This is why FreeeUp will cover the onboarding costs incurred in the event that a freelancer ups and quits.
FreeeUp is different from the other online hiring platforms because it is focused on solving the most common pain points of anyone who’s ever tried to hire freelancers through a website. And FreeeUp does this spectacularly because its founders have experienced all of these frustrations and their effects firsthand.
What makes FreeeUp different is that it’s not just another place to hire freelancers. It’s the solution to the business owner’s hiring problems.