In early 2019, I launched Unicorn Factory to New Zealand businesses and freelancers. Today it is New Zealand's largest freelancer marketplace, where over the last twelve months, I helped over 1500 Kiwi businesses find and hire over 550 local freelancers.
It costs me around $500 per month to run the platform, I don't have any employees and it requires about 4-5 hours of my time each week. This year, Unicorn Factory is expanding internationally with the launch of Unicorn Factory Canada.
And I did all of this without knowing how to code, without hiring developers and without needing to quit my freelance work to bring it to life. More importantly, it has allowed me to have a huge impact on freelancers and local businesses in New Zealand.
Through starting Unicorn Factory and working with other marketplace startups, I have learnt that building a successful online marketplace comes down to five key points:
That all sounds pretty straightforward but in reality launching your own marketplace comes with a lot of challenges:
Building a prototype can be expensive. It would typically involve hiring good developers and being clear on what needs to built. Without tech experience it can be very difficult to find the right talent for your project, and hiring the wrong person will cost you time and money.
An alternative to hiring someone to build the platform for you, is to learn how to build it yourself. It can take years to learn how to code or how to use No Code tools on your own.
If you are relying on others to build and run your platform, you are signing up to significant ongoing costs before knowing if your business will make money. That is one of the most common reasons why marketplaces (or any business) fail - they run out of money.
There are a lot of different ways to monetise a marketplace, but the right one for you will depend on your niche and how much traction you have. Picking the wrong business model will make it very hard for you to run your marketplace sustainably.
I created the Minimum Viable Marketplace Launchpad for anyone who has wanted to start an online business but has struggled with any of the above. I will build the first version of your marketplace and then over the course of six one-on-one Zoom sessions, teach you how you can build on your MVP and build momentum quickly.
The program breaks down into six components:
This program was created for people serious about creating an online marketplace and who want to be able to control the platform themselves. The most common groups of people we work with are:
We will turn your brand idea and vision into a fully functioning platform that you can edit and build on yourself.
Once the platform is launched, Connor will teach you how the tools work and share strategies on getting traction and making sales.
If you are interested in launching your marketplace, then schedule a call with me. On our call, we will discuss the feasibility of your marketplace and determine if we are a good fit for each other.
When scheduling your call you will be asked to complete a quick survey.
Chive Charities is an online directory that makes it easier for Kiwis to find and support their favourite charities in New Zealand.
Founders Alice and Stephen, who have involved in the charities space for years, came to me in June 2020 with the idea for Chive. Over the course of six weeks we designed, built and launched the platform.
They have since gone on to sign up over 100 charities in New Zealand. They have added several new features to Chive by themselves, using the knowledge they gained through our one-on-one sessions. Finally, they successfully validated their pricing strategy in under two months and are now on track for a huge 2021.