Starting an Amazon business has become more appealing over time to many retailers now that the company has grown into the largest Internet-based retailer in the world. According to 2015 reports from Forrester research, Amazon was responsible for a full 60% of all US internet retail sales.
This massive influence of Amazon on eCommerce — combined with the growth of eCommerce as a whole — has encouraged more entrepreneurs to enter the market as Amazon Sellers. However, it’s not always easy for Amazon business entrepreneurs to find qualified workers locally. Instead, they turn to hiring remote employees and remote contract workers to take care of the increased workload that comes from growth.
Payability interviewed Nathan Hirsch, founder and CEO of Freeeup, for more details about his experience scaling his own Amazon business with remote workers. Hirsch has leveraged his own experience to build Freeeup, which specializes in hiring and managing qualified remote workers for Amazon businesses.
Building an Amazon Marketplace Brand
When Hirsch was 19 years old, his frustration with high college textbook prices alerted him to a major business opportunity: selling used books on Amazon. College bookstores were still living in a pre-Amazon world. Their business model included charging high prices to incoming students and then liquidating used books at low prices at the end of each semester.
“My business started small — selling books found at garage sales, dumps and surplus stores — and quickly expanded to capitalize on the used textbook market,” Hirsch said. “Because I was selling on Amazon Marketplace, I could beat their prices on both the buyback and the selling price, which made my company a more attractive option for students.”
Nathan’s experience selling used books on Amazon directly translated into reselling other products as Amazon began to transition from being primarily a bookstore to selling products in many different categories. As he branched out into other categories, it created some new challenges which was bandwidth. The workload of running a multi-million dollar online retail business from his dorm room became too much for just one man to handle. Hirsch began to look for help running his business.
”I had started to hire some of my college friends who, while not necessarily remote workers, were not with me at all times,” he said. “As we grew, we saw the need to hire workers for smaller tasks that we didn’t have an expertise in so that we could continue to grow the business.”
Hirsch felt the costs of hiring multiple full-time workers locally could have thrown a wrench into the company’s growth, so he turned to seeking remote workers to grow his business in a cost-effective way.
Hiring Remote Workers to Scale in eCommerce
At the time, the world of remote work was still nascent. Hirsch became “obsessed” with building an “oDesk army” to run his Amazon business operations. In his first year, he hired 50 remote employees — and learned some important lessons along the way.
“It was at this point that I began, almost by force, to learn how to properly recruit, interview and hire remote workers,” he said. “I had to teach myself how to communicate, interview and filter through the hundreds of applicants that we would receive to find the absolute best fit for our business. I learned how to test someone’s skill set, motivate the remote worker to hit specific task related goals, and fully immerse the remote workers into our company culture and team structure.”
Through trial and error, Hirsch created a tested procedure for managing remote workers:
- Assign teammates in local offices “clouds” of remote assistants.This allowed their employees to focus on big-picture tasks without being overwhelmed and demotivated by tedious data entry tasks.
- Develop procedures for remote workers to f reduce time spent on training/oversight and enhance productivity.
- Give specific, recurring tasks like customer care and managing inventory to more experienced and trusted workers who could eventually handle the work independent from routine oversight.
This process enabled Hirsch to scale his Amazon business to a far greater degree than would have been possible otherwise. Many routine tasks that took hours each day were handled at a lower cost by remote employees from around the globe.
The Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers & Using FreeeUp
The benefits of hiring an army of remote workers can be enormous. Not only does it save money on payroll, but it helps you find workers with flexible schedules. A remote worker army also allows you to scale your business up and down based on your workload — perfect for highly seasonal businesses.
“I found that hiring remote workers basically allowed me to create more time in each day,” Hirsch said. “I became passionate about remote hiring and wanted to teach it to others. That passion led me to founding FreeeUp.com so that all business owners can capitalize on the power of efficient online hiring.”
Hirsch experienced these benefits of hiring remote workers while running his own Amazon business, and he has now applied these lessons to surround himself with qualified remote workers at FreeeUp. Now, he has his own team of 15 virtual assistants that help him daily with recruiting and hiring, human resources, marketing, data entry, Google PPC and other lead generation activities. Doing all of this on his own or with permanent local employees would be expensive and time-consuming. Like Hirsch, most business owners simply don’t have the time.
“I encourage all business owners to tap into the power of hiring remote workers,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch created Freeeup to solve problems business owners face such as wasting time sorting through pitches, hiring bad employees or spending a ton of inefficient time on menial tasks. The platform acts as an outside HR department for eCommerce companies interested in hiring and managing remote workers. Freeeup filters out bad hires and pre-qualifies workers to ensure that companies can access high-quality remote workers on-demand without needing to manually screen through dozens or hundreds of applicants.
“FreeeUp has built an interview process and a set of communications guidelines that our network of workers follow rigorously to ensure that our client experience is as positive as possible,” Hirsch said.“We receive hundreds of worker applications every week and spend the time to make sure that the worker provides the best work ethic and skill sets needed for our clients. Our clients love the service because they have an endless pool of productive workers with a variety of skill sets that they can quickly add to their team. Most important, they know that the quality of each worker is the same.”
To hire your own set of remote workers for your Amazon business, visit FreeeUp.com.