🚀 The MVMP  Launchpad

Bring your MVP to market faster by learning how to build your online marketplace using the same No Code tools I used to build Unicorn Factory.


👋 My Journey

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.

unicorn factory hero image

🦄 How to Start an Online Marketplace

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:

  1. Identify industries where suppliers have difficulties promoting themselves and customers have difficulties finding the right suppliers.
  2. Figure out what information customers need in order to find the right suppliers.
  3. Create a local prototype of a directory that organises the information that customers need to find the right service or supplier for their needs.
  4. Collect feedback on how easy it is for customers to find the right service or supplier with your prototype.
  5. Use that feedback to make improvements. Repeat step 4 & 5 until rich.

🎯 The Challenges

That all sounds pretty straightforward but in reality launching your own marketplace comes with a lot of challenges:

Building your prototype

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.

Manging ongoing costs

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.

Picking a feasible business model

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.

🚀 The MVMP Launchpad

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:

  1. Strategy - We will kick things off by talking marketing, brand and product strategy. At the end of the strategy session you will have clear game plan, a bit of homework to do and a timeline for when we hit different milestones.
  2. Design - Our team will take your branding and design ideas, and develop a mockup of key pages of your site for you to review.
  3. Build - Once the designs are signed off, we will start building your site in Webflow. This process can take us 2-4 weeks depending on the individual workflows and use cases. Once completed, you will have mobile responsive marketplace website.
  4. Integrate - After the build, we will start integrating the necessary third party services to your site. These will allow you to do things like make your directory searchable or charge users a monthly membership fee.
  5. Automate - Once everything is built and integrated, we will start automating key workflows like the supplier onboarding process and the client messaging system.
  6. Launch & Learn - Once your platform is setup, the workflows are automated and you have your first suppliers onboarded, we will launch the platform. That will be the official start of our six session one-on-one training program, where I will teach you how to use the tools, so that you can make changes to your platform whenever you want. I will also be sharing marketing, sales and business tips that will allow to get traction faster.

⚡️Who is this for?

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:

💰Niche Consultants & Coaches

  • You are already consulting in a niche. You see building a marketplace as a fantastic way to add additional value to your existing clients and as a great to attract new leads for your business.
  • Your biggest challenge is that you don't have the technical experience to build your own platform without hiring developers.
  • You see this an opportunity to create additional revenue streams for your consulting business, but more importantly, as a way to become more of an authority in your niche.
  • Why we want to work with you? As someone who is already well established in a niche, you will be able to build momentum quickly. Having connections and relationships in your niche, will increase the likelihood of your success.

🚀 Entrepreneurs

  • You have spotted an opportunity in an industry where and want to move quickly before others enter the picture.
  • Your biggest challenge is the need to move fast and iterate quickly, which is why you don't like the idea of hiring developers and not having control over their availability to make changes. You might have also had negative experience with developers in the past.
  • Your want to work smart not hard, you want your platform to make more money than it costs you and you want to work on a business that you can scale in the future.
  • Why we want to work with you? Entrepreneurs understand that the key to success with any business does not solely depend on the product. They know how to get traction and they know how to make sales.

🌟 Community Organisers

  • You are the person in your community that knows everyone, you organise a lot of events and you connect people within your community.
  • Your biggest challenge is monetising the services you provide and the value you bring to your community.
  • Your main motivation is increasing your impact and bringing more people into your community.
  • Why we want to work with you? Building a community and building an online marketplace require the same skills. We want to help you build a system around how you nurture and grow your community online in a sustainable way (and yes, that involves making money).

🔥The Deliverables

🏗 No Code Marketplace

We will turn your brand idea and vision into a fully functioning platform that you can edit and build on yourself.

  • Searchable No Code Directory - We will build you a mobile responsive No Code marketplace with a homepage, category pages, dynamic profile pages, an about page, a signup page and a basic user portal.
  • Airtable Database - We will build you a visual database in Airtable which houses all the data and information for your platform.
  • Zapier Workflows - We will automate key workflows for your platform, including the supplier signup process, the client messaging system and some use case specific workflows that we will discuss in our strategy session.
  • Database Backup Automation- We will create a database synching workflow that will ensure that all of the information inside your tools is the same.
  • User Portal with Payment Options- We will use Memberstack to create a supplier user portal that allows you to charge users for being on your site.
  • Custom Brand and Design - The branding and web design of the platform is chosen by you. We will cover this in the strategy session.

📷 Six One-on-one Zoom Sessions with Connor

Once the platform is launched, Connor will teach you how the tools work and share strategies on getting traction and making sales.

  1. Webflow Session - I will teach you how to make changes to your website inside of Webflow. At the end of our session, you will be able to update content on your website, change the layout and make changes to the CMS.
  2. Airtable Session - I will teach you how Airtable works and how information flows between your different tools. At the end of our session, you will understand how can control workflows from your database and safely make changes without breaking the workflows.
  3. Zapier Session - I will teach you how Zapier works and how you can setup new workflows or modify existing workflows. Understanding this will be key to adding new features to your platform.
  4. Business Strategy - I will share business strategies specific to marketplaces. At the end of our session, you will have a pricing plan and you will have a strategy for finding and onboarding suppliers.
  5. Sales Strategy - I will a framework for converting potential suppliers into paying customers.
  6. Marketing Strategy - I will show you how to build awareness for your platform and drive traffic to your website.

✍️ Ready to take action?

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.

Schedule CALL

🎓 MVMP Alumni

🌱 Chive Charities (New Zealand)

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.

chive screenshot