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700: With $3,000,000 in Projects Completed, Will He Take Down Upwork and Toptal?

Connor Gillivan. He’s a 27-year old serial entrepreneur and published author. He started his first company out of his college dorm room and built it to sell over $20M in products on After he became an expert on hiring online, he co-founded Freeeup, an online hiring marketplace focused on connecting the top 1% freelancers with business owners. He’s the author of Free Up Your Business: 50 Secrets to Bootstrap Million Dollar Companies.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Shoe Dog
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Jira
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5-6
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I wished I knew to stay focused on what I do best”


Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:47 – Nathan introduces Connor to the show
  • 01:32 – Connor makes 20% to 30% of the gross margin of a product on Amazon
    • 01:38 – Net profits end up being from 5%-15%
  • 02:04 – It was 6 years ago when Connor started his business
  • 02:15 – Connor earned on the first year of the business
  • 02:51 – Connor has scaled up his first company
  • 03:00 – The company still operates with $1-2M in revenue per year
  • 03:08 – The team is composed of freelancers who are based around the world
  • 03:27 – The 3 founders, including Connor, are getting their pay quarterly
  • 03:40 – Connor now spends his time on his second business FreeeUp
  • 03:52 – Connor’s first company is Portlight
    • 04:05 – Average price point was  $75-100
  • 04:25 – FreeeUp was launched in 2015
  • 04:29 – Connor and his co-founder learned about hiring freelancers through Odesk and Elance, which merged and is now called Upwork
  • 04:36 – They didn’t like the process of posting job ads and going through every applicant
  • 04:46 – FreeeUp has a better solution where the business owner doesn’t have to do the upfront work
  • 04:58 – FreeeUp finds the top 1%  candidates for the business owners
  • 05:18 – Toptal is more focused on top developers and designers
  • 05:23 – FreeeUp’s freelancers are specialized on e-commerce business operations
    • 05:35 – There’s no upfront free
  • 05:43 – FreeeUp has a standard markup that they charge on their clients for hourly rates
  • 06:06 – The minimum charge is $2 and 20% for the higher price
  • 06:55 – There are over 500 freelancers on FreeeUp
  • 07:28 – FreeeUp’s system can measure the amount they’re paying their freelancers
  • 07:37 – The biggest metric is the hours billed to the client
  • 08:01 – Average billing per hour is $10
  • 08:18 – FreeeUp is keeping $60K-80K in revenue per month
  • 09:11 – FreeeUp has around 1500 signups on the platform
  • 09:16 – FreeeUp bills between 300-500 people who are utilizing their workers
  • 09:45 – 2000-2500 people have been billed since FreeeUp started
  • 09:58 – FreeeUp has a referral program where clients can refer other people who would want to use FreeeUp and they receive $0.50 for every hour that has been billed
  • 10:28 – FreeeUp is more hands on with their client
  • 10:56 – Most clients start slow and when they see FreeeUp’s benefits, they’ll use it more
  • 11:10 – Team size is 20-25 part-time people
  • 11:51 – Connor is currently in Orlando, FL
  • 12:11 – Both of Connor’s businesses are bootstrapped
  • 12:21 – Total transaction volume for 2016 is a bit over a million
  • 12:33 – 2016 average revenue
  • 12:44 – 2017 projected transaction volume is $3-4M
  • 13:20 – Connor puts his money back into his businesses to scale them
  • 13:47 – Connor splits the 20% from FreeeUp
  • 14:32 – Since April, FreeeUp has grown 1000%
  • 15:20 – FreeeUp started winning in the ecommerce industry
  • 15:58 – FreeeUp now offers digital marketing as well and try to find different areas that will interest more clients
  • 17:10 – The Famous Five


3 Key Points:

  • There are more business owners relying on outsourcing for their needs and share with others just how beneficial outsourcing is.
  • Ensure you have backup funds for your company.
  • Focus on what you do best.


Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox  – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

This post first appeared on Why You Should Turn Down A $14m Acquisition Offer With Derek Blueford, please read the originial post: here

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700: With $3,000,000 in Projects Completed, Will He Take Down Upwork and Toptal?


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