GE 313: How Matt Barrie Slowly & Steadily Grew Freelancer to $50M in Revenue and 35M Users Worldwide (podcast) With Matt Barrie

Hey everyone! Today, I share the mic with Matt Barrie, founder and CEO of Freelancer, a global online freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace.

Tune in to hear Matt’s approach to business in general and how he grew Freelancer to $50 million in revenue last year, how to deal with people who aren’t so receptive to feedback, and why he likes owning 100% of a company.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [00:40] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:56] There are about 35 million people using Freelancer across the globe.
  • [02:40] Freelancer is also associated with Escrow, a global payments business (sort of like PayPal).
    • [03:03] Escrow helps people buy things that are unique and expensive.
    • [03:18] Escrow is taking deposits for the first commercial space flight.
  • [04:35] Freelancer’s revenue for 2018 was $50 million.
  • [05:02] Matt thinks at his age, he is unemployable and it would therefore be better to create his own work.
  • [09:22] They have acquired 23 or 24 other companies.
  • [10:20] Matt started small and slowly increased the scope of Freelancer over time.
    • [11:48] They got a lot of their customers from luck and timing.
    • [12:22] In 1999, he acquired a payments business and had to hire 60 people, split his management team, and rebuild the technical stack.
    • [13:48] It’s easier to buy a competitor than to buy a completely separate business.
  • [14:30] Matt doesn’t like getting involved in businesses that have VCs involved.
    • [18:03] If your revenue growth is growing at 40% year over year, you would typically get a 10x valuation.
  • [19:46] Matt has put out a bunch of articles and videos on LinkedIn and YouTube. He says all the knowledge you need is on the Internet.
    • [20:20] Matt likes producing content, because it’s a great way to meet interesting people and learn new things in return.
  • [23:06] Matt has made some venture investments, but he considers them philanthropy and doesn’t necessarily expect a huge return.
  • [25:25] Matt prefers to own 100% of a business.
    • [25:40] To be able to consolidate revenue, you need to own 100% of the business.
  • [26:07] eBay went market by market around the world and would find local partners.
    • [26:30] They would split the business 50/50, but this meant that years later, they had to spend a lot to buy out their partners.
  • [29:45] When it comes to feedback, it’s either Matt or management delivering the news.
    • [30:10] While people are often receptive to feedback, there are times when it is received poorly and people become resentful.
  • [30:50] One new tool Matt thinks has added value to his life is F45, which is a computer-run Crossfit program.
  • [31:45] Matt recommends the book Propaganda .
  • [33:20] Matt also likes the podcast “Macro Voices”.

Resources From The Interview:

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