September 16

Ep. 6 Freedom – From Side Hustle to a Scalable Business, with Fred Stutzman

Founder, Startup



Fred Stutzman is founder and CEO of Freedom, a platform that increases productivity and wellbeing by reducing digital distractions. Previously, he was co-founder of and a faculty member and researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill and Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a Ph.D. in Information Science, a graduate certificate in quantitative research, and a B.A. in Economics. Currently, he serves on the Board of Visitors at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science, and is an Adams Apprentice mentor at UNC’s Kenan Flagler School of Business.

Episode Summary

Fred Stutzman joins us today on Develomentor. Fred is the founder and CEO of Freedom, an app that helps people stay focused by temporarily blocking apps from their devices. His first startup was called Claim ID, which was an online identity management service for the social web. In this episode we discuss turning a side hustle to a scalable business.

Fred built Freedom to help him focus on essential tasks in college and to avoid unnecessary distractions such as browsing on social media. Although Freedom was started as a side gig, Fred soon realized it could be scaled into a legitimate business. Today, Freedom has over 1 million users and is still growing.

In this episode you will also hear:

1. How academics can impact your entrepreneurial path
2. Why process management is critical to building a business
3. How a positive mindset can help scale a business
4. How routines and habits help with business and personal growth
5. Early startup mistakes and how to rectify them
6. How customer feedback impacts a business

Fred Stutzman converted Freedom from side hustle to a scalable business

Key Milestones

[00:47] Fred Stutzman’s backstory.
[04:00] How Fred’s networking influenced his entrepreneurial path 
[07:31] Why mentorship and support are necessary to grow a brand
[09:25] The challenges Fred faced becoming an entrepreneur
[12:17] The growth of Freedom  from a side gig to an 11 person company
[16:18] Why employee training and mentorship is vital for any business.
[18:49] Fred’s advise on the hiring process
[23:02] The future of Freedom – challenges expected when turning a side hustle to a scalable business
[26:25] The habits that help Fred Stutzman grow as a CEO.
[28:27] How reading shifted Fred Stutzman’s perspective
[30:22] Advice to startup CEO’s

Key Quotes

“If someone wants to grow professionally, they must work with good people.”

“How we get in front of more people…is to make a useful and scalable product.”

“We were inventing a new technology and building it in a multi-platform way… which was a nontrivial and it took us a couple of years to get it right.

Personal Website




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