While freelancing isn’t particularly platform-dependent, as most freelancers find their gigs through multiple sources—social media, referrals, job sites, and many unexpected places too.
So, if you want to make your freelance job marketplace every freelancer’s go-to place for gigs, you need to ensure it offers everything they’re ever going to need. We’re talking about having gigs from trusted businesses, data security, a robust payroll system, and so much more.
Let’s dig into each of these factors one by one and understand how to develop a highly niche and profitable freelance job marketplace that’s always brimming with visitors.
Some prerequisites to consider
Before we jump onto creating a freelance job marketplace for you, it’s best to have the answers to the following questions:
- Do you understand the freelance market well enough to venture into this business?
- Have you tried freelancing or been on the hiring side before?
- Are you aware of the industry standards for freelance rates?
- Do you have an idea about the potential niches you want to base your marketplace on?
- Have you got a foot in the door to the world of freelancing—referrals, networks, mentees, etc you can start your business with?
- Does your current or past work experience in any way help you with the responsibilities you’ll take on once you start your business?
- Have you tried this idea at a smaller scale first—connecting freelancers with their potential clients?
Take your time to answer these questions and be as thorough as your can. It will help you assess your current understanding of the industry and provide you with a roadmap to proceed next.
Six steps to developing a highly niched and profitable freelance marketplace
Identify a profitable niche
There are many generic freelance marketplaces out there with tons of job openings for seasoned writers around the globe. Going niche will help you stand apart from the rest and attract traffic from a specific industry.
- You can source unique jobs and gigs that no other platform would be focusing on.
- You can offer premium services to your niched freelancers as they usually earn more than generic freelancers.
- Going niche will reward you in the longer run, as most freelancers eventually pick a niche after gaining significant experience in the industry.
Remember, niching down isn’t a straightforward process. You’ll have to narrow it down to a couple of niches of your choice before you land on “the niche”.
Here are some tips for picking the right niche:
- Identify areas you’re passionate about that also have the potential to bring in the big bucks. Make sure the niches you shortlist are profitable and fun to work with
- Conduct thorough market research to identify potential niches with demand. Look for industries or topics that are growing, have an underserved audience, or lack adequate solutions
- Evaluate the level of competition in each niche. A highly saturated market may be challenging to break into, while an entirely untapped niche might indicate a lack of demand
- Test the waters before fully committing and going live. Launch pilot campaigns or a minimum viable product (MVP) to gather feedback and insights.
Work on your web app security
Conducting your business online comes with a number of security challenges. For starters, your users’ (both clients’ and freelancers’) data is at risk the moment you store them in your database. Secondly, your own company data becomes vulnerable to stealing, misusing, and many other online threats.
All of this holds true if you don’t improve your web app security and install a system to protect against unwanted attention from hackers.
Here’s how to do it:
- Identify the pathways to vulnerabilities, i.e., the possible areas through which someone can break into your application.
- Audit your application’s current security levels and identify the red flags.
- Educate your team on the importance of web security.
- Seek automated bot detection tools that detect and block malicious bot activities for you and minimise the risk of human errors.
- Always keep your systems and software up-to-date, and in the process, don’t forget to keep backups.
- Encrypt all communications on your website by incorporating SSL certificates or 2FA.
Consider a crypto payroll system
Nobody likes a rigid payment structure, especially platforms that have to pay heavy taxes to send or receive payments. Take it up a notch for your freelancers and business partners, and introduce crypto payments in your freelance marketplace.
Here’s why you must consider crypto payments for your business:
- Crypto transactions are processed much faster than any other mode of transaction.
- It’s more cost-effective than most payment methods out there.
- Most crypto platforms use advanced encryption techniques, which makes them extra resilient to fraud and theft.
- As they’re mostly accepted globally, they’re not bound by currency conversions or additional taxes.
Pay employees with this crypto payroll platform called Toku, and you’ll be able to set up your payment system in no time and enable globally compliant payroll processing.
Adhere to data privacy compliance laws
Data privacy is a critical factor that you must consider from the beginning. It helps ensure that you’re not collecting irrelevant or personal data from your users and using them in any way without their consent.
To exercise this notion, there are two regulatory bodies that are at play—California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
While both CCPA and GDPR work toward the same goal, i.e., to regulate data privacy, there are some differences between the two:
- GDPR governs any organisation that operates inside or outside the EU, whereas CCPA governs those inside or outside of California.
- In GDPR, the companies outside the EU require a designated EU representative, whereas CCPA doesn’t require any representative of such kind.
- The penalties are much higher in GPPR (up to $21.6M USD) than in CCPA.
- Customers can opt out of processing data but not sales data in GDPR. However, in CCPA, they can opt out of all.
Build a specialised and user-friendly platform
Easy of use must be a top feature for any website, let alone a freelance marketplace. The more your users are able to find their way through your website, and the quicker the gig posting and applying process, the more they’ll come back to you.
Here are some factors you shouldn’t miss when it comes to UX and functionality:
- Don’t hide the important menu items—make sure they’re clearly visible on the website.
- Allow the freelancers to quickly apply for a gig by simply filling up a form or whatever the recruiter wants to use.
- Make it convenient for freelancers to view their applied jobs and check the status of each.
- Provide customised job recommendations for each freelancer based on the type of jobs they apply to.
- Allow both kinds of users (freelancers and business owners) to fill out their detailed profiles to help them choose the right fit faster and more conveniently.
- Show ratings for each freelancer based on the quality of their work and the number of projects delivered. This will help them land better-paying gigs, and recruiters find the best talents for their requirements.
Provide excellent user support
Customer experience is everything when you’re building a new business, and this is the area you must greatly focus on. Especially when you’re in the freelance market, you need top-notch support skills to retain users for the long haul.
Here are some best practices:
- Respond to customer inquiries, issues, and complaints promptly. Use various channels such as email, chat, or phone to provide multiple points of contact for customers.
- Make sure your team understands the freelance market as well as you do and is able to provide prompt and actionable solutions to users.
- Consider offering round-the-clock support, especially if your freelance marketplace operates globally and caters to users from different time zones. You can achieve this through a combination of chatbots and human support agents.
- Create a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQs section on your website.
- Be transparent about your platform’s policies, fees, and terms of service. Avoid hidden charges and provide clear information to customers from the outset.
- Introduce community forums or discussion boards where customers can interact with each other and share their experiences. Encourage positive and constructive discussions.
Remember, exceptional customer support fosters loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, which can significantly contribute to the success and growth of your freelance marketplace.
Build a successful freelance job marketplace
Building and running a freelance job marketplace requires deep knowledge and understanding of the freelance industry. Moreover, it requires a series of efforts from your end to make the platform a safe place for your users where they not only find unique and high-quality jobs but are also happy with the way the platform works.
Make your marketplace user-friendly while keeping the policies favourable to both freelancers and recruiters. Pay special attention to data privacy and security and provide a top-notch customer experience.
Soon, you’ll have built an impeccable freelance job marketplace that’s everyone’s go-to place for finding freelancers and freelance jobs.