What the Heck Is dropshipping? with Portlight & Freeeup founder Nathan Hirsch

The Nitty Gritty:

  • What the heck is drop shipping
  • How outsourcing some aspects of your business helps you to focus on what you do best
  • Why it’s important to know what you’re looking for before hiring

On the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast this week I speak with Nathan Hirsch, author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies, serial entrepreneur and cofounder of drop shipping company Portlight and FreeeUp.com, a remote hiring workplace that helps business owners “hire the top 1% of freelancers.” Nathan started his first business in 2009 out of his dorm room to drop ship products on Amazon.com and by 2014 he had sold more than $20 million in products. Through his learning experiences growing and scaling Portlight and building remote teams in the eCommerce space, Nathan co-founded FreeeUp.com to help other businesses around the world hire their freelance talent online.

What is Drop Shipping?

A lot of people don’t spend time researching what’s coming up and what’s on the horizon.

— Nathan Hirsch

When Nathan was a college student looking to make beer money, he didn’t have to look any farther than the campus bookstore to find an opportunity for entrepreneurship. He started buying and re-selling people’s textbooks and ultimately learned he was really good at selling baby products, toys and home goods online. Although he didn’t refer to his business at the time as drop shipping, that’s essentially what he was doing—his business listed and optimized products on Amazon and handled any customer service issues while passing on the order info to the vendor or manufacturer so they could fulfill and ship it. This business model doesn’t require the drop-shipping entity to hold any inventory. Drop shippers realize profit from the difference between what the customer pays and what the item costs.

Faster and Foolproof Way to Hire

Business owners can go back to expanding and growing their business instead of using all of their time recruiting and finding workers.

— Nathan Hirsch

As any business owner knows, as you grow and need to hire help you can get 100 responses (and oftentimes more) to each job posting. Before you know it, you’re spending all your time on human resources functions rather than on the things you do best. Nathan always wanted a better way. FreeeUp.com was founded based on Nathan’s own experiences building a freelance army to help support his first business. Today, FreeeUp.com has instituted a referral program for both workers and clients that is on track to pay out $150,000 in referral bonuses this year. This referral program keeps the business growing and helps find the top 1% of freelancers. Nathan said creating a referral program is one of the better business decisions he has made.

Spend the Time Vetting Your Employees

FreeeUp.com vets a candidate’s skills, attitude and communication, and Nathan only hires his own employees from the FreeeUp.com network. They look for people who are honest about what they can and cannot do and have a track record of success. Attitude is also very important, because a bad attitude can spread like cancer. Employees need to be good communicators and be proactive with communication. On the flip side, an employer needs to be able to outline expectations to an employee so they understand what is expected.

Tune in to the full episode to hear all of Nathan’s insights about entrepreneurship and online hiring, diversifying clients and team members, finding the right team and the lessons he learned growing two businesses very quickly.

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