This article is an interview with Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, the founders and owners of EcomBalance, about the EcomBalance launch. Nathan and Connor have worked together for the past 10 years. With their first business, they sold over $25 million on the Amazon marketplace. With their second business, FreeUp, they scaled to $12 million in yearly sales and had the company acquired in 2019. With their third business, Outsource School, they taught thousands how to effectively outsource. And now, they’re on a mission to help eCommerce businesses better understand and master their bookkeeping and finances with EcomBalance.
Read along as Nathan and Connor share their inspiration for starting EcomBalance and what they hope for it to become.
Q: First off, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Connor: I’m originally from Albany, NY. From a young age, I was always interested in entrepreneurship. I always knew I never wanted to work for anyone and that I wanted to build something bigger than myself. In college, I studied Economics, Business, and Mathematics. In my Junior year, Nate and I met in a Business Law class. He was starting to sell on the new Amazon Marketplace (circa 2009) and was looking for some help. I reached out asking him for a job and we quickly became inseparable working on the business. So much so that it led to us teaming up and becoming business partners. Over the past 10 years, we’ve been building businesses together. My expertise lies in marketing, software development, and traffic generation through content marketing, SEO, partnerships, and building teams. Outside of work, I’m an avid runner, reader, writer, investor, and husband. Topics I love learning about are cryptocurrency, psychadelics for medicinal purposes, longevity, the stock market, angel investing, real estate, and home remodeling.
Nathan: I’m originally from Longmeadow, Massachusetts and now living in Denver, Colorado. I’m a builder and a problem solver. I love building businesses that address a real need and make a real difference for customers. When it comes to entrepreneurship, I’m passionate about sales, operations, team building, and figuring out the best possible ways to scale. When I’m not working, I love working out, reading, hanging with my wife and dogs, and spending time with family.
Q: Why are you two launching EcomBalance?
Nathan: We’re ready to tackle a big problem and disrupt the bookkeeping and accounting industry. It’s an industry we feel to be a bit old and not catered to modern companies, especially those in the eCommerce and digital realm. We see it as a massive opportunity where we can exert our skills in building a company where the customer comes first and then there’s software behind it to make the experience even better.
Connor: We want to scale a business larger than we’ve ever built. It was a blast building FreeUp to the point where we got it and we’re ready now to tackle something even larger. We want to build a $25 million or $50 million dollar company that is fueled by intelligent people, strong systems, and a never ending commitment to our customer’s happiness. We want to help thousands of businesses understand and manage their finances better.
Q: How did you come up with the idea?
Connor: So, the actual story is Nate and I were meeting for lunch at a local shop in Denver (where we live). We had been brainstorming for months trying to figure out that next idea. One topic that we continued to flirt around was finances. Before that meeting, we had talked about developing a business addressing issues within the personal finance realm, but it never felt right. We were passionate about finances and we always have been with our own businesses. Sitting across from each other, one of us threw out the idea of a bookkeeping business. Hmm, what would that look like? We started going through our criteria for what makes a business opportunity intriguing to us and it started to click. We both left that meeting feeling an extra little pep in our step and it all snowballed from there.
Nathan: 2 years of brainstorming…lol…In reality, it was looking at all sorts of different industries and trying to find a business model that fit criteria we look for in large opportunities…recurring revenue, high customer LTV, stickiness, massive market, already existing leaders in the space with funding, etc.
Q: What made you want to focus on the eCommerce industry specifically?
Nathan: We love the space. We were in it selling on Amazon. We were in it growing FreeUp. And we 100% believe in its future growth. We want to continue to be a part of it as it evolves over the next 5-10 years.
Connor: It’s a challenge. Most bookkeepers and accountants don’t understand eCommerce companies. They’re different and have their own challenges. We love that and see a real problem in the current market. We want to fill that and make finances simpler and more customized for all eCommerce and digital businesses.
Q: Neither of you are bookkeepers or accountants, how do you plan to fill that void in the business?
Connor: Great hiring from the start. We’ve already hired on our first Bookkeeper/Accountant who we’re hoping will grow into the CFO of the company. She has past experience running her own Bookkeeping business as well as selling online. She’s also coming off being the CFO then CEO of a retail company here in Denver so we have a lot of confidence in her ability to help us get this company off of the ground and provide a high level service to all of our customers.
Nathan: Ya, so, while either of us are not bookkeepers or accountants, we have 10+ years of handling our own business bookkeeping and reports. We’ve always made sure to have good monthly books that we can look at, analyze, and make decisions off of. We want to bring that same consistency to eCommerce businesses and provide them with business analysis that can help them better understand their numbers so they can make smarter business decisions.
Q: What makes you think there’s an actual market for an eCommerce bookkeeping service?
Connor: Something Nate and I believe in is market validation before tackling a new business idea. You may think that an idea has demand, but there’s no guarantee until you test the market and speak with potential customers. We took the time to make sure that there is an actual market in the space and we’re confident in its future growth as well.
Nathan: Ya, exactly what Connor said. And we took 2 months to really prove there is a market. We spoke with 100+ eCommerce entrepreneurs and business owners of all sizes asking them about where they sell, what problems they run into, and how they’re currently solving their bookkeeping and accounting pain points. We learned a TON from those calls and it really validated our initial idea.
Q: With other players in the space, how will you differentiate yourselves?
Nathan: For us, the customer’s experience is everything. We heard from a lot of eCommerce business owners that we interviewed that they weren’t getting the attention they felt they deserved from their bookkeeper and/or accountant. We also heard a lot of business owners state that their bookkeeper and/or accountant didn’t understand eCommerce fully and they wish that they did. We want to make the experience as simple as possible so that the business owner receives their books 100% accurate at the end of each month so they can easily see how the business is actually doing and they can keep growing from there.
Connor: Ya, and one of the biggest ways we plan to stand out is by including analysis and customization as well. One of the biggest suggestions we received from eCommerce entrepreneurs we interviewed was the need for more analysis and personalized advice based off of the books each month. We’re going to offer customized reports that our customers can sign up for and the ability to get real business analysis each month if they wish for it. Our goal is to help our customers understand their books better and build out customized plans for each business based off of what they need the most.
Q: What’s the vision for EcomBalance 2 years down the line?
Connor: We’re on a mission to cater to thousands of eCommerce business owners over the next 2 years. We envision perfecting the bookkeeping service and then adding on other services such as tax filing and CFO services. In addition, we envision building out our own software where clients can easily view their reports and analysis and that helps us as a company to more efficiently handle the books for our customers. 2 years down the line, think of EcomBalance as a top bookkeeping and accounting service powered by custom software, technology, and a top-notch team.
Nathan: Ya, off of that, we want to keep the customer as the main focus. Even when we have thousands of customers, we want the customer to feel cared for and that they can easily get in touch and get answers from their bookkeeping and accounting team. That’s going to be a big focus as we scale this business…keeping the customer in mind and making sure their experience is top-notch. We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re just another number in the machine…that’s not how we build businesses.
Q: For your customers, what can they expect out of the EcomBalance launch?
Nathan: Simple. Reliable. Strong communication. Always on time. Ecommerce expertise. Customization. We’re going to go above and beyond for all of our customers to make sure they receive a personalized bookkeeping service that fits their business.
Connor: A new approach to bookkeeping and accounting. From our interviews, we heard that a lot of eCommerce business owners hire local bookkeepers and accountants that just don’t fully get the online and eCommerce world. We’re bringing a new approach that will cater to the online world, make bookkeeping super simple and more customized, and ensure that business owners actually understand their numbers at the end of each month.
Q: How can readers get in touch with you or get started with EcomBalance?
Connor: Getting started with EcomBalance is super simple. Fill out this sign up form and we’ll be in touch to bring you through our simple onboarding process. To get in touch with me personally, connect with me on social media or shoot me an email at [email protected]
Nathan: Agree with Connor here as well. Sign up for your first month free using the link he provided and feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or give us a call at (720) 278-7838 if you have any questions. And connect with me on social media or shoot me an email at [email protected] Thanks!
And for pricing on EcomBalance, check out their Pricing page where it breaks down the different plans and how you can customize your experience.
Also, if you have more questions for Nathan and Connor, feel free to comment below and they’ll be in touch!