Eric is an experienced eCommerce entrepreneur who moved from corporate to freelance work and now operates a strong Amazon consultancy business. He was gracious enough to share his experiences throughout his career, from small projects to full-on eCommerce store builds and how he has found a satisfying success and freedom in that transition to location independence. Eric’s journey is a solid story of how anyone with guts and determination can climb out of the corporate world into a liberating life of freelancing.
What was your first experience with freelance work?
I had always worked on interesting side projects – whether it was producing motion graphics, developing apps, advising on marketing strategies, or launching my own eCommerce businesses such as WordPress stores, eBay shops or Shopify drop shipping operations. So, when I learned about Amazon and saw the opportunity, I jumped in to try to learn as much as I could about the platform. Next thing I knew, I was selling thousands of units per month and having fun learning the tricks of the trade. All of this while also enjoying making connections with like-minded entrepreneurs.
When freelancing and consulting became lucrative enough to replace my full-time job doing marketing at a technology company, I jumped at the chance.
Why did you join the FreeeUp Marketplace?
After selling my FBA business, I started noticing even more the number of new sellers entering the marketplace, and the number of entrepreneurs launching new eCommerce websites. Most importantly, I became keenly aware of how much disinformation was out there in the way of courses. People would charge thousands of dollars for tactics you can learn for free on YouTube!
Becoming a freelancer on FreeeUp and having access to really good clients who want to grow their business in a large way was attractive because I could steer them in the right direction. For established businesses who want to go to the new level, it’s a great chance to see what they have done and to adapt new strategies for them. And for new entrepreneurs who are eager to launch their first product, I teach them the same tricks and guide them in using the same processes that multi-million-dollar sellers use.
It’s very rewarding when clients start seeing actual cash flow. Working on multiple projects at once keeps each day interesting and unique, and this would not be possible in a corporate setting. In addition, having the flexibility to set my own schedule and spend more time with my family is really special.
How did your first months with FreeeUp go, and how has your freelancing business grown since then?
When I started freelancing through FreeeUp, I was also managing a few existing clients. I wanted to fill my day with as many productive hours as I could, so initially I took on a few clients. I also wanted to learn how it was all going to work on the marketplace. With the sheer volume of interesting clients that were coming on the platform each day, however, I started taking on more and more.
FreeeUp has an amazing assortment of freelancers to tap into as well. When I didn’t have a specific skillset or strength, I would connect with someone else on FreeeUp and have them show me the ropes. Then I would use this knowledge to go out and lock in even more clients. Pretty soon, the work started becoming so heavy that I started making more solid connections and building out a group so I could regularly outsource work to people who are even better than me. Now I act as both the lead on each account and the project manager, as well as overseeing all strategy and creative efforts. Meanwhile, since it is essential to continue to pitch new business and obtain more accounts to keep everyone as productive as possible, I continue to reach out and land new clients.
I learned early on in my time with FreeeUp that time management is absolutely critical when freelancing. It is easy to get distracted by the million other things that need to happen in life (and I have two small children under the age of 4!) Clients will come at you from every angle, so you need to be prepared for interviews and meetings, always take detailed notes, and communicate instructions quickly and clearly to the people you’re working with. It’s all about getting tasks done and keeping clients happy!
How is your freelance consulting business doing now?
We are extremely busy (thanks Nathan and Connor!) We have roughly 23 client accounts ranging from 7-figure Amazon sellers and global retailers to manufacturers and agencies who hire us for strategy building. It has been an exciting and lucrative opportunity that has taught me how to run a business and manage people working from all around the world – literally in almost every single major time zone. If it weren’t for Skype, Slack, and Google Docs, we would be lost.
I am a workaholic who answers Skype messages at 1am and then wakes up at 6am to check emails from the Philippines. FreeeUp is perfect for me as I love a good challenge and I’m always looking to grow as a professional. I am constantly learning just as much from my clients as they are from me. In my experience, it’s those relationships that build into long-lasting clients and friends in the long run. Their success is your success.
Do you have any advice for other freelancers who want to build and grow a freelancing business?
Stay hungry. Hungry for new business, for knowledge, and to meet new, interesting people. There are so many fascinating businesses out there – some that need a ton of help and others that just want a fresh perspective on a specific strategy. Don’t be afraid to try something new or take on a challenging client where you may have to study up on a technology or watch a class. The more tools you have in your toolbox the larger your canvas and more confident you’ll be in the long run. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a trusted advisor or colleague who has been through a situation before and is willing to shed some insight into how to solve a particular problem or to think it through with you.
What has FreeeUp allowed you to do in your life that you weren’t able to achieve before?
FreeeUp has changed my entire professional setup. I can work from wherever I want, whether that’s at my home office, in a Starbucks, or in my car taking calls. I can spend more time with my family (no more commute!) and focus on outside tasks in between client calls. While working remote has its benefits, you must also stay disciplined or you will not be maximizing your output. It’s easy to become lazy and decide “I’m going to go walk the dog again and get some sun!” If you make sure your clients come first, however, you will reap all of the benefits.
For Eric, moving from corporate to freelance work had certainly been a great career decision. After being with FreeeUp for only a short while, he was able to connect with so many clients that he could no longer handle the work, and got the opportunity to meet so many other freelance go-getters who helped him build the successful consultancy that gives him the freedom to use all his time productively – whether that’s work or quality time with his young family. His success is inspiring, but like he says, you need to stay hungry and keep challenging yourself to build a lucrative freelance career.
Julia Valdez is a professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper, the stage and the big screen. She spends most of her time doing freelance content and project management, community volunteer work with the Philippine Advocates for Resilient Communities, adventuring with the Greenhouse Christian Fellowship, and sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.