Practical Founders Podcast

#84: Scaled and Sold a Marketplace of Pre-Vetted Freelancers – Nathan Hirsch

Nathan Hirsch, co-founder of FreeUp, shares his journey of building and selling the company and his other business adventures. FreeUp provides clients with pre-vetted virtual assistants (VAs) and freelancers in an online marketplace.  

Nathan discusses the importance of niching down and targeting specific industries, such as e-commerce, to attract clients. He also highlights the combination of software and people in FreeUp’s operations, with software handling recruitment and billing with people assisting with matching and customer service.

FreeUp achieved success through organic marketing strategies, niche focus, and great customer service. In four years, the business grew to $12 million in revenue before being acquired by The HOTH in 2019. 

He discusses the importance of operations and system building in running a successful business, especially with hiring talent and good bookkeeping, 

Freelance marketplace platform topics discussed on this podcast:

  • How building a successful company requires a combination of software and people to deliver high-quality services.
  • Why niche targeting and focusing on specific industries can help differentiate a business and attract the right clients.
  • How virtual assistants (VAs) play different roles, including followers, doers, and experts, and hiring the right type of VA is crucial for business success.
  • How they leveraged organic marketing strategies, including podcasts, SEO, content creation, social media, partnerships, and affiliates, to drive growth and success. 
  • Why lean finances and good bookkeeping are essential for making informed decisions and preparing a business for sale.

Best quote from Nathan Hirsch, co-founder of FreeUp

“I’m a big proponent of proving the market when you are trying to start a new business. Do whatever you have to do to prove there’s a market: market research, talking to your competitors, looking at and talking to your competitors, talking to your ideal clients. Go out and do that. 

“I assume that I don’t know the market until I’ve actually done research and have proven that there is a market. Don’t assume that you’re the ideal client for the market or that you know everything. Or that if you build it, they will come. Really go out there and make sure there’s an actual need and prove that you can sell it before you spend years and tons of money on a software project.”



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on March 8, 2024 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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