3 Types of Freelance Marketplaces Explained

There are three major types of freelancing market places online. Others are just a variation of these three. Here is an explanation of these types of online freelancing market places:

1. Freelance Bidding Marketplaces

Examples are freelancer.com, guru.com and upwork.com. These are websites where buyers post their project requirements, budget, deadlines etc. Qualified freelancers read the project requirements and then place bids for the project. Freelancers and buyers can ask for more details before placing the bid or awarding the project. This kind of marketplace is called a reverse auction marketplace. Hence, a freelancer is competing for each project in his / her category of expertise with other freelancers globally. The freelancer is paid after the project is complete or in stages. There are two variations of this freelance marketplace model:-

  • Niche Freelance Marketplace. Examples are Codeable.io and Scripted.com. Niche marketplaces are meant for one particular skill / expertise. E.g. legal, finance, writing, transcription, business consulting etc. Like their ‘big brothers’, (freelancer.com, guru.com etc.), niche markets also match freelancers with clients and projects. They claim to list higher quality freelancers and so a better client experience. This higher quality (of freelancers) is ensured by allowing entry to those who pass the required criteria. For example – in writing service marketplace, the site evaluates a potential freelancer’s article before admitting him.Niche marketplaces have relatively less clients and freelancers and consequently fewer transactions. This implies that their marketing budget is lower, thus attracting fewer work. I am not telling you to avoid them. Rather you should try them AFTER you are comfortable on the regular freelance marketplace.
  • Freelance Contest Marketplace. Example 99designs.com. This is the second variation of online freelance marketplace. In these sites, buyers post contests e.g. buyer posts a Logo Design Contest for say $400 to get  designs from multiple designers. Registered freelancers then work without bidding on the project and submit the deliverables for the client to review and select from. If the buyer likes what s/he sees, one or more of the submissions is selected and the payment is done to the freelancer/s whose work is selected. A major advantage to the freelancer here is the high fees s/he can get for each job provided their submissions are selected. By same token, I would like to point out that you have to work harder so that your entries are selected. You should venture here only when your work is excellent and has a high chance of being accepted. So, first get into the regular freelancing marketplace, sharpen your skills and then get on these sites.

2. Digital Stock / Goods Marketplaces

One example is Envato.com. This is like your shopping mall but instead of physical goods, you can buy and sell digital goods like photos, music, software etc. When a buyer purchases your digital product (say, a photo), s/he pays for it and downloads it. You are therefore assured of payments even though you will get the money later once or twice a month. The other advantage is that this is a passive or semi-active way of making money. Passive income is if your digital product doesn’t require any after sales service (for say a photo or music file). You just upload the files and let the money come in. Semi-active is when you need to provide some after sales service like installation or trouble shooting.

3. Micro-jobs Marketplaces

Example is Fiverr.com. Micro Jobs or Micro Gigs are small jobs or services which will take not much time and can be done for a very small fee. A need was felt for small jobs like a quick graphic, installing software on the server or copywriting for website etc. These kinds of jobs don’t require much effort and time and can be done for a small cost of say $5. While the service buyers get their job done for the cost of a coffee, freelancers can earn money for putting in small effort and time. Fiverr.com saw this and filled the gap. But now, it is the seller community which is coming up with different services to sell. You just need to go to Fiverr.com to see it in action and in the process, you may also be entertained. A service offered on Fiverr is called a Gig. Gigs on Fiverr are offered for a fixed, base price of $5. Whenever you see the ‘I will __ for $5’, that means that the seller is offering their Gig for the fixed price of $5.

You would have noticed that I mentioned ‘a base price of $5’. This implies that you can upsell or cross-sell other services. Let me give an example. Suppose you want to sell eBook cover designs for $5. When you upsell (term for selling enhanced variations of the services), you could also offer the eBook cover to look like a 3D graphic – for an additional $5! You can further charge the buyers $10 for 24 hour turnaround (deliver the files in a day). When you cross-sell (marketing term for selling related product / service in addition to the one selected), you could offer the buyer a Facebook timeline graphic / header with the book cover featured for an additional $10. This will also help the buyer market their eBook. Thus, the buyer may purchase not only the base service, but also the additional ones, which will add up your earnings.

Registration on fiverr.com is free. Users cannot offer or accept payments using any method other than placing an order through Fiverr.com.

Fiverr seller can be promoted to higher levels based on their activity, performance and reputation.

  • Level One Sellers. A freelancer can attain this level if you have been active on Fiverr for 60 days and have completed at least 10 orders with excellent ratings. At this level, you get additional features for selling that enable you to offer more advanced services and generate higher income.
  • Level Two Sellers. You will be promoted to this level when you complete more than 50 orders in 120 days with excellent ratings. This level gets you advanced sales tools to expand your services and increase your sales. You’ll also receive priority support.
  • Top Rated Seller. One can attain this level if your sales are more than 100 in 180 days. As a Top Rated Seller, you get access to more sales tools, as also receive VIP support.

Know more about these levels at https://www.fiverr.com/levels

I hope you have been able to grasp the differences between the freelance marketplaces and take your next steps. If you have any questions, do ask in the comment section below.