The Go-Getter's Guideline: How to Build a Freelance Marketplace that Stacks Up Against Upwork

“The key to financial freedom and great wealth is a person’s ability
or skill to convert earned income into passive income and/or portfolio
income.”

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Due to Upwork, 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers by 2020. Actually, remote work is no longer a trend, but a no-denying reality we live in. So, it’s not surprising that a great number of clutch businessmen are obsessing over the idea to develop a freelance marketplace. That’s why you need a well-thought-out plan before investing in a new project. If you’re wondering how to create a power-packed freelance website with an unrivaled set of features, that will win customers and keep them for life - take notes, or better yet, bookmark this page, it seems to be insightful.

What is a freelance marketplace?

The freelance marketplace is a platform for entrepreneurs and companies, who are looking for talented individual contractors to hire for performing remote work. They typically make money charging both the employer and freelancer and covers the functionality of talent marketplace, payment processor, hiring platform and time tracker.

If you dare to stand out among the leading game-changers of the market, you have to know certainly what you’re planning for. The annual revenue of 5 best online freelance marketplaces reflects that the niche remains the most sought-after type:

How to Research a Viable Niche Market?

What is a niche market?

The niche market is a limited segment of the market, that is featured by specific needs, interests, and requirements. Simply put, there is a ton of subcategories within the market of women’s clothing, for example - maternity line, plus-size clothing, tall and petite design.

This subset focuses on selective products or services and faces less competition, than the general area. Niche market is clearly targeted and concentrates all marketing efforts on a small, but specific and well-defined audience.

Establishing a niche market empowers you to serve a population group that other businesses have overlooked. So you can think of a niche market as a narrowly defined group of potential customers that have specific needs, and you’re the only one who addresses all their requests and therefore - reap all the benefits.

Defining a target market is one of the best ways to validate your business idea. By means of this data-driven analysis, you can forethink all prospects and consider risks beforehand.

how to build a freelance marketplace like upwork

But let’s move from semantics to practice - here’s a list of useful tips for the market investigation:

  1. Don’t try to be an everything-for-everyone tool- the narrower focus you choose, the better quality you provide.

Remote job websites can vary depending on the type of work (one-time projects with fixed rates or ongoing hourly projects), engagement models, geographical preferences, and so on. In terms of the freelance services marketplace, there are different occupations your website can cater to: programming and web development, translation, content writing, graphic design, video editing, digital marketing. Select certain categories and develop your strategy bearing in mind a customer portrait. Everything about your start-up has to be designed for them: from navigation to thank you page.

  1. Trend monitoring always goes before concept development. Wanna be in high demand? Don’t be selfish - take into account users’ experience and their point of view. Love ‘em or lose ‘em, as Beverly and Sharon said.

Based on the overall stats, determine some in-demand skills or services and launch your website due to their needs and peculiarities. A better understanding of a buyer persona enables you to optimize the project in a way that suits customers best.

  1. "The Art of Marketing War" or know your competitor.

In today’s reality, each profitable (even potentially profitable) niche is replete with business sharks, as ambitious and enthusiastic, so your plan has to be heavily, we mean heavily vet to stack against. Perform competitor analysis, define 2-3 market leaders, investigate their company reputation to identify their strengths and weaknesses. For this purpose explore what customers dislike about your competitors and make sure your solution will prevent this pain and deliver high-flying experience.

freelance services marketplace

How to Choose the Software to Power your Business?

Marketplace development can be daunting, and it definitely will be, if you decide on an unreliable service lacking expertise. Once you finish the market research, it’s high time to set the stage for a smooth job board building.

Probably, that’s the most important part of the whole process, since a not-so-effective solution can roll back all the previous efforts. Even the smartest idea may be blown-away when turning it into reality recklessly, so make sure the software of your choice is reputable, thriving and best-in-class.

How to build a freelance marketplace like Upwork?

The following list of available solutions will be of benefit for those who have already threatened Google with a question “how to get the source code of a freelance marketplace like Upwork". There are three options for how you can develop a freelance website:

  1. SaaS solution for developing a freelance marketplace

There is a wide range of service providers, like WordPress job board plugin, SmartJobBoard, LinkedIn Jobs, and Betterteam. Building a freelance marketplace by means of SaaS platforms is a hassle-free way for non-technical users. These solutions provide automatic updates, so you don’t have to worry about fixing performance bugs and upgrading.

As for pricing, SaaS services usually require a one-time investment, after that, you’ll be charged on a monthly or yearly basis, depending on your subscription plan.

By the way, SaaS platforms have both benefits and drawbacks.

Pros of using SaaS solution for building up a freelance marketplace:
  • User-friendliness. You don’t need to worry about the technical side of the project since no programming skills are required. Functionality updates, coding, hosting and anything else that should be covered by experts with in-depth specific knowledge, is performed by a third-party vendor.

  • Reasonable price. If you have a tough budget, leverage SaaS development over custom options. It’s considerably limited in terms of available features, service quality, and support, but the pricing is more affordable. Although, you can consider a different way: using a SaaS solution to create a prototype of a perspective app and turning to development agency after that. This method is the most cost-effective since you’ll get professional service with a personal touch for minimal price.

  • Technical assistance. Although SaaS services have the gentler learning curve ever, they usually hold a dedicated support team as well. So you won’t smack into comprehensive functionality, bugs, and crashes. There are numerous channels for providing tech help, like live chat, email, phone calls, tickets system.

Apiko helps customers create applications, that are based on Sharetribe Frex, React Native, Reaction Commerce technologies.

Cons of using SaaS solution for building up a freelance marketplace:
  • First of all, make sure if an intended tool has a good-enough feature set to bring your vision to life. Sadly, SaaS solutions are not completely customizable, so you have to define if it meets your business requirements beforehand to avoid workflow interruptions.

  • Besides, one more drawback is a lack of control. If going with SaaS solutions to build up a freelance job marketplace

  • Bear in mind that access management and the privacy of sensitive private information will be provided on behalf of cloud and hosted services. Just a heads-up, since that's a major concern for most customers.

  1. Open-source software

The most controversial method is an open-source solution, like Drupal, WordPress or Joomla. These website builders will definitely bother you with hosting, coding, upgrades or other things, so if that makes you break out in a cold sweat, then take advantage of custom development.

Otherwise, if you’re totally okay with the technical side of software installation and system customization – open-source software is exactly what you need.

When you decided on building a freelance website based on the open-source platform you need, first of all, purchase a hosting and be sure that it’s compatible with your preferred platform.

As for the benefits of open-source solutions, they involve flexibility and a wide range of options. Undoubtedly, you can customize almost everything in the system, whenever and as many times as you like. There are various themes, widgets, templates, and features you can add to your site and choose how it should work.

When it comes to drawbacks, “free” is a tricky word in terms of software development. Open-source solutions promote themselves as affordable options, however, it’s not so good as it seems to be. The most beautiful and the neatest themes may be quite pricey, as well as other premium functions and features.

  1. Application development company

Aside from a manual custom job board development, that’s to be completed by yourself, there is one more dependable method to use. To avoid any hassle of creating the marketplace for freelance services being non-technical, there’s a wide range of professional development partners. They provide a vast variety of services, like out-staffing. If you launch a low-budget project - hiring an IT expert will be the best option, depending on the benefit-expense ratio. These experts know exactly how to build a job board, let alone freelance marketplace script writing.

If you’re going to create a full-scale application, that needs specific functionality whenever possible, opt for turning to a development company. It provides a high-quality, full-cycle development service, profound expertise, and personal data protection. It‘s a custom project, since, you have more flexibility to incorporate differentiated features. Let’s discuss your business plan and further actions together.

Key Features of a Freelance Marketplace to Stand Out

What is the element a freelance marketplace needs to function smoothly?

How to Develop a Freelance Marketplace: Let’s Recap

Getting acquainted with an unknown niche (especially if it seems to be quite complicated) is always a time-consuming process. Let alone cases relating to considerable investments. However, software development is a starting point of your business venture, and all the next steps will be based and will depend on its quality.

If you get up and fall asleep, keeping in mind the “existential” question - how to create a platform like Upwork, this guideline should be helpful.

For further consultations, feel more than welcome to contact our account managers. They will help you analyze an idea or business prospects and give you a detailed estimate. Moreover, if you’re interested in developing a freelance marketplace, discover our portfolio with recent projects to get an impression of the quality we provide.