10 Freelance Marketplace Business Success Stories [2024]

Updated: June 23rd, 2024
Start A Freelance Marketplace Business

A freelancing marketplace is a platform that helps companies find and hire independent professionals for temporary jobs or special projects. How freelancing platforms work is simple.

When a client posts a job on the freelancing platform, interested freelancers will send proposals requesting the client's consideration for the task. The client will hire a favorite candidate and create a contract, which includes funding the escrow account so that all parties feel secure.

Upon completion of the task, the freelancer submits to the client via the freelancing platform and requests payment release by the client. Once the client is satisfied, the next step is the release of escrowed funds to the freelancers.

At this point, the contract may remain open, or both parties can decide to close the contract.

The corporate world has changed more in the past few years. Today's generation of workers prefer working remotely, and most have given up the idea of a full-time job in a corporate office. According to experts, more than 50% of the US workforce will shift to freelancing in the next few years. Therefore, freelancing platforms like Upwork will register more users over the coming years.

As the freelancing economy continues growing, we must keep our fingers on the pulse of this current trend.

Are you looking for a futuristic business idea you can embrace today? How about starting a freelancer marketplace? Building a freelancer marketplace is not as difficult as it may seem.

To start, choose a business niche and decide on the marketplace business model. Then, come up with a list of requirements, and create a visual identity and user interface for your freelance marketplace. As soon as the graphic design is at hand and your product is in action, begin the rapid prototyping process. Finally, test and launch the platform.

In this list, you'll find real-world freelance marketplace business success stories and very profitable examples of starting a freelance marketplace business that makes money.

1. ThirstySprout ($2.4M/year)

David Stepania, the Founder of ThirstySprout, came up with the idea for his business while taking a break on a Hawaiian beach. With a background in startups and a realization that building an extraordinary startup required an extraordinary technical team, David decided to solve the problem of connecting startups with top technical talent they could trust. ThirstySprout was born out of this desire for growth and success, and it has since grown to a team of over 40 people with $2.5 million in gross revenue last year.

How much money it makes: $2.4M/year
How much did it cost to start: $500
How many people on the team: 0

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Starting A $2.5M/Year Top-Tier Technical Talent Marketplace From Scratch

ThirstySprout, a talent acquisition platform, connects remote technical talent with high-growth startups and enterprises, boasting a team of 40-60 remote contractors and $2.5 million in gross revenue last year, with plans to double that in the next year or two.

Read by 2,916 founders

2. Distro ($1.68M/year)

Chad Ingram, the founder and CEO of Distro, came up with the idea for his business after facing challenges with hiring and retaining software developers in his previous ventures. Seeing the need for a better alternative in the competitive labor market, Chad created Distro as a marketplace for companies to find, hire, and pay remote development teams. Within 8 months of launching, Distro has already surpassed $2 million in annual recurring revenue and is focused on scaling its marketing and product implementation.

How much money it makes: $1.68M/year
How much did it cost to start: $250K
How many people on the team: 5

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Distro: From MVP To $2M ARR In 8 Months

Distro, a marketplace for companies to find and hire software developers, has reached $2 million in ARR in just 8 months, and is profitable, giving founders hope to grow through capital efficiency focussing on product and sales by aggressively targeting a $3.5 million ARR by December 2022 alongside building a scalable marketing system and product implementation.

Read by 2,881 founders

3. Flexiple ($1.2M/year)

Suvansh Bansal, co-founder of Flexiple, came up with the idea for the freelancing platform while realizing that existing platforms focused too heavily on reviews and ratings, rather than the actual skill and expertise of freelancers. Recognizing the need for a platform that prioritizes quality interactions, Bansal and his co-founders decided to build Flexiple with a focus on providing the best freelance developers and designers in their community.

How much money it makes: $1.2M/year
How many people on the team: 9

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How I Started A $80K/Month Business Connecting Freelancers With Companies

Flexiple is a customer-funded profitable business, generating $80K in gross monthly revenues on an average over the last 6-months, driven by their focus on connecting high-quality freelancers with companies looking for reliable and remote talent, while continuously iterating on their business model and expanding into complementary areas like tech hiring and content marketing.

Read by 16,222 founders

4. Design Match ($384K/year)

Danielle, the founder of Design Match, came up with the idea while working as a product designer for startups around the world. As her workload grew, she started matching clients with designers in her network, and realized this could be a great business. She launched Design Match with a website and quickly generated $20,000 in MRR within the first month, validating her idea and spurring the company's growth.

How much money it makes: $384K/year
How much did it cost to start: $4K
How many people on the team: 3

How I Generated $350K In 8 Months Matching Startups With Designers

Design Match, run by nomadic entrepreneur Danielle, has made $350k following its launch after receiving organic leads from LinkedIn and focusing on search engine optimization through evergreen articles and other tools like Jasper, SurferSEO, and SalesFlow.

Read by 5,389 founders

Hi, I'm Manuel, the founder of Uplink, a network for IT freelancers in Germany. After working as a freelancer myself and being frustrated with traditional IT recruiters, I came up with the idea of creating a community and job placement platform that was simple, fair, and transparent. I started by reaching out to freelancers and companies directly and built the platform from there. We now have over 1,000 members and are seeing steady growth in our monthly revenue.

How much money it makes: $192K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100
How many people on the team: 2

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How I Started A $16K/Month Business Connecting Companies and Tech Freelancers

Uplink, a German network for IT freelancers, has surpassed 1,000 members and offers job placements for companies with a simple process that charges a commission of 10% to freelancers for the first six months of working with a client through the platform.

Read by 8,019 founders

6. Cottage Software ($120K/year)

In 2014, Neil Granberry and Hunter Hodnett reconnected and began discussing business ideas. They eventually settled on the concept of Cottage Software, a platform that turns Figma designs into coding competitions for developers. After launching an MVP built with no-code solutions, Cottage Software has achieved success, generating $25,000 per month in revenue as a tech-enabled agency.

How much money it makes: $120K/year
How much did it cost to start: $5K
How many people on the team: 0

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How Two College Friends Started A $25K/Month On-Demand Development Business

Cottage Software co-founder Neil Granberry shares how they built their software agency business, which helps designers and developers turn designs into code fast and affordably, through their platform powered by learning developers, bringing in $25,000+ per month in revenue as a tech-enabled agency of just two people, with plans to sell directly to web design and development agencies.

Read by 2,638 founders

7. Afluencer ($24K/year)

Brett Owens, the Founder and Chief Matchmaker at Afluencer, came up with the idea for his business while working on his previous company, LeadDyno. Many prospective LeadDyno customers expressed a need for influencers, which led Owens to start Afluencer and create a two-sided marketplace that connects brands with influencers. Since its launch, Afluencer has seen significant growth, with a 10% monthly increase in influencer and brand users, and a revenue growth of 100% year over year.

How much money it makes: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $500K
How many people on the team: 0

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I Created A Two-Sided Marketplace That Helps Brands Find Influencers

Afluencer is a two-sided marketplace that connects brands with influencers and helps influencers, creators, and ambassadors find paid gigs, with 6,500+ active influencer users and 1,000+ brand users yielding 100% YoY revenue growth.

Read by 3,480 founders

8. Merrative ($24K/year)

Harshala Chavan, the founder of Merrative, came up with the idea for her business after noticing a lack of dedicated spaces for people to discuss literature. After attending a book club meetup, where she had a great discussion with others who had read the same book, she wondered if she could bring this experience online at scale. She validated her concept through participating in BPlans and growing her Instagram page, which eventually led to the launch of Merrative as a community-led marketplace for publishing talent.

How much money it makes: $24K/year
How much did it cost to start: $100
How many people on the team: 0

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How I Bootstrapped A $2K/Month Online Community To Discuss Literature

Merrative, a community-driven marketplace for publishing talent, generates an average of $1,500 per month in marketplace transactions from their 5,000+ strong community of readers, writers, journalists, and scholars.

Read by 3,568 founders

9. Vettted ($1.2K/year)

In a video interview, Vasco explains that he came up with the idea for Vettted after working in the freelance marketplace industry since 2016. He noticed several issues with existing marketplaces, such as lack of transparency, high fees, and low-quality services. Inspired to create a better platform, Vasco decided to focus on digital marketing and provide a place where freelancers can keep 100% of their earnings.

How much money it makes: $1.2K/year
How much did it cost to start: $20K
How many people on the team: 0

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We Launched & Validated Our Startup With Only $20K

Vettted, a marketplace for pre-vetted marketers to outsource digital marketing efforts, has launched and has over 65 sellers and 287 users so far, with the goal of providing a platform for talent to keep 100% of their earnings.

Read by 3,826 founders