As I’ve transitioned into the world of online hiring platforms, I’ve had a number of companies to look up to as we’ve built the foundation for what has become FreeeUp. If you aren’t yet familiar with FreeeUp, it is an online hiring platform where we connect reliable, talented freelancers with online businesses looking to grow their own remote team.
Different from any other online hiring platform where you can post jobs, talk to applicants, and hire your favorite, you are not able to post a job on FreeeUp. Instead, you only have to submit a Worker Request ticket that gets passed along to our internal team. Once it hits our internal team, our hiring experts look into our network of pre-vetted workers and they introduce you to the best possible match for the job that you described.
We effectively remove the time that it would take a business owner to recruit, interview, and hire a new remote worker and slim it down to a process that takes less than 24 hours, and sometimes even minutes.
Research Into the Online Hiring Platform Industry
As we have built this new online hiring platform based off of the feedback from our first set of customers, I have started to dive deeper into the online hiring platform industry to learn about other players and how they have reached the size that they are today. Running quickly through a number of companies, you have Upwork.com (formerly oDesk.com and Elance.com), Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour.com, Fiverr.com, TopTal.com, and the list goes on.
As I’ve looked into each one, I search for their story, their founding, their founders, and how they have grown their hours billed to clients on the platform over longer periods of time. Funny enough, I ran across a resource on LinkedIn while searching through Google for information on these companies and it was a presentation that had been put together by former oDesk execs highlighting the growth of the company and how they had done it.
The 2010 oDesk Company Presentation
Access the entire presentation here: https://www.slideshare.net/bgoler/odesk-sales-growth-case-study
The presentation is from February of 2010 and it goes into a number of topics highlighting the growth of the company. It covers “What is oDesk” –> the current standing of their employee headcount, number of workers, etc. It goes over their digital marketing strategies and how they have accumulated both workers and users. And on the fourth page, it presents a graph that compares time to the number of hours billed per week.
The Graph of How oDesk Grew their Weekly Billed Hours
When I first looked at this graph, my initial thought was “Wow, that is the kind of growth trajectory I’m talking about!” Then I thought, “If this is what they were doing, who’s to say that we can’t experience the same growth throughout the longevity of FreeeUp?”
I was excited about the presentation and so I brought it to Nate’s attention in one of our weekly meetings to go over all teams within the business. We looked at it stunned that we were keeping up with the hours that oDesk was putting up in their first year in business, but then we forgot about it and continued growing the company.
FreeeUp Hits 5,000 Hours Billed in 2017 at Same Rate that oDesk Did in 2005
Come a few months later and we just hit a milestone earlier than we were expecting. In this past week, we billed over 5,000 hours to our network of clients for the first time. We had been talking about the 5,000 milestone since mid year of 2016 and we were determined to hit it. We had even promised our amazing internal team that we would fly out to the Philippines when we hit the 5,000 hour mark to visit all of them and celebrate.
Remembering the oDesk presentation and the graph of how they had grown their billed hours per week, I was inclined to find it and see where we stood on this pinnacle day. I quickly went to my Gmail account and search “oDesk.” I scrolled down and quickly found the email subject that said, “Interesting oDesk Presentations.” I had sent it to myself so that it would be easy to find in the future. On a day like this…
I opened the presentation, flipped to the graph, and was amazed to see that we had reached the 5,000 hours billed per week mark just slightly faster than oDesk had. We were still on pace with the young oDesk. It was time to set our focus on the next milestone of 10,000 hours which we’ve set our sights on achieving by the end of 2017. It was back to work.
A Reflection on the Past Year with FreeeUp
It’s been an amazing journey over the past year and a half to reach this point for the company. We have aspirations of turning the business into an online hiring platform where thousands of business owners and remote workers connect to create real impact within their industries.
If I was a betting man, I would wager that that particular goal (or WHY) was also the primary goal of the founders of oDesk who first created that chart to present to their team. From my years in business, I have learned that the best companies and the best ideas come out of a WHY that is focused on making a real impact within a given market. Not from the pursuit of money. And sure not from the pursuit of power. It is the pursuit of change that propels the most brilliant entrepreneurs to make a serious change on the way that a given industry operates.
I invite you to celebrate this milestone with me as we, FreeeUp, recognize 5,000 billed hours in 1 week’s period. It is a big step along the way to billing, let’s say 250,000 hours per week, and it is milestones like this that gives you confidence to propel towards the next.
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