freeeup referral programs


FreeeUp CMO Connor Gillivan talks about how referral programs grow your business on the Marketing For Owners podcast with Jon Butt.


Join Jon and Connor as they talk about referral programs in this episode, #668. Connor says that asking happy clients to join referral programs can help you scale your business.

Connor tells the story of how he met his soon-to-be business partner Nathan Hirsch, He was still studying business and economics at university back then. Nathan was playing with the idea of creating an Amazon Marketplace business. Connor joined up for this first entrepreneurial experience involving buying textbooks off students and selling them online. Connor also got into marketing during that time. He now functions as the Chief Marketing Officer of FreeeUp.

Connor, Nathan, and a third co-founder worked with dropship suppliers all over the US in the early days of their business, Portlight. They build that business up to to carry over 500,000 products. Part of their building process was creating software to make selling products on Amazon easier. Over the next 7 years, Portlight became a million-dollar business.


Connor’s next business with Nathan is FreeeUp. This remote hiring platform was born from the frustrations they experienced when hiring freelancers. Here, he has built referral programs that successfully leverage the business’s most loyal customers to supplement their regular revenue stream. Marketing through referral programs can be very successful, as Connor explains.

Designing Referral Programs

Referral programs are a marketing strategy that Connor had identified early on. He knew from the start that he could design them to be unique based on how FreeeUp worked. Most referral programs offer people a percentage of sales or a discount for every person they get to sign up through their link. Since FreeeUp is a remote hiring marketplace, Connor designed it to offer a better incentive for referrers.

Connor and Nathan wanted their referrers to feel more involved and valued, which they believed would make them more active in reaching out for potential signups. Instead of a one-off cut or coupon code, FreeeUp pays out a continuous 50¢ for every hour that is billed to a referral. As long as that referral is hiring remote workers, FreeeUp is paying them their fee. In addition, referrers can use their earnings as credits on remote worker bills or opt to have them sent to their bank accounts.

Tapping Loyal Clients

Tapping into loyal clients is a great way to boost a business, but most businesses don’t realize this soon enough. Connor suggests that business owners identify the top 10% of their customers who really love them as soon as possible. He says that these people are going to be that business’s biggest source of powerful word of mouth referrals. As a bonus, if you as a business owner can get them involved in the process of creating referral programs, they will also feel closer to it and will feel a greater desire to share it out to their communities.

Maintaining a relationship with loyal customers is also very important. FreeeUp has a Skype group chat where Connor and Nathan are constantly in touch with their high-use customers. They also have the Online Hiring Mastermind Facebook group where all their clients can join to engage in helpful and interesting conversations about online hiring. They also use the group to share the latest news about the service and receive feedback from their clients.

Learn more about how to build and market referral programs online and offline by accessing the full episode below. To find out more about hiring freelance workers using FreeeUp, visit the website and blog. You can also see details of their referral program there.

Get in Touch with Connor

Click here to listen to the full episode with show notes on, or here for just the MP3. You can also download the audio or listen to the show on

Don’t forget to check out Connor’s blog,, where he shares his knowledge about starting eCommerce businesses, growing as an entrepreneur, and navigating the startup world. Check out his best selling book as well, Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, available on the site and on Amazon. The book is filled with the secrets that he and FreeeUp CEO Nathan Hirsch learned over the past 7 years that they have been working together on their Amazon store Portlight, and gives the steps that entrepreneurs can take to scale their businesses to pull in over $1 million in sales.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *