Terms like freelance, freelancing, freelancer, freelance market, and so on are buzzwords. This comes as no surprise because the freelancing industry keeps growing. By the end of 2023, the global freelance market will reach over US$450 billion. By the way, freelancing is working on a contract basis for various clients instead of working as an employee for a single client or company. Freelancing is steadily picking up momentum in Zimbabwe. Business prospects can be realized by starting an online freelancing marketplace in Zimbabwe.

What Does An Online Freelancing Marketplace Entail?

In freelancing, there are two major sets of players. There are those looking for freelance work or gigs they can take up. Then, some will look for freelancers to carry out their tasks or projects. An online freelancing marketplace would essentially be a platform that links up these people. Some of you may know many global freelancing marketplaces or platforms exist. Common examples are Upwork and Fiverr, amongst many others. That is the basic business idea. Due to some reasons that we shall explore later, this is something Zimbabwe now needs more of, i.e., online freelancing marketplaces for Zimbabwe.

Why Online Freelancing Marketplaces Are Necessary In Zimbabwe

Global online freelancing marketplaces are good. Some of you probably actively participate on such platforms. Getting paid as if you are in the US here can be phenomenal. Some get to enjoy that, but it is not particularly easy. To actively participate on global platforms comes with complications arising from payment dynamics. Frequently, PayPal is a common payment avenue on such global platforms. Yet Zimbabwe is excluded from the PayPal list of eligible countries. There are some workarounds for this hurdle, but it is hectic.

The bottom line is that many Zimbabweans cannot participate on global freelancing platforms due to payment constraints. There are also scenarios where Zimbabwe is excluded from eligible countries or regions to take up gigs. Another challenge may be that of differences in time zones. These are some of the hurdles that make sense why home-grown freelancing marketplaces would be necessary. Such a platform will make it easy for those with gigs to showcase and those equipped to take them up to interact. Plus, there will be the bonus of flexibility since local Zimbabwean payment options can be used.

Key Requirements To Start The Business

Company Registration

Company registration should come first; this will formalize your operations as you move along. For example, at some point, you will need your website to have an online payment gateway incorporated. For that to happen, you will need to be properly registered. A local Zimbabwean online payment gateway provider I know is Paynow Zimbabwe. One of the things they require is proof of company registration. Even the business bank account details they must verify have their roots in company registration. This is just an example to illustrate how inevitable company registration is.

Specialized Website

The heart of this business will be the actual online platform. This will be a specialized website. Thus, you will need to have a professional and intricate website developed. This should not be a hassle if you put together the money. You can develop the website for an average of US$500 or more. Many skilled web designers and developers in Zimbabwe can help you with this.

Preliminary Infrastructure

Then, you must get good quality computer hardware, mobile devices, and internet connectivity infrastructure. It is also important to ensure your web hosting provider is reliable. After all, an online freelancing marketplace must be up and running around the clock. You do not necessarily need physical offices right away. At the most basic, you can start this business even from home. These are the preliminary key requirements you will need. Other requirements may become apparent as you roll out the business.

Financial And Human Capital Needs

Starting an online freelancing marketplace may not necessarily need much money. Initially, most of the money needed will be for web design and development. Then, there may be a need to acquire computer hardware and software. Sometimes, you may also need to set up internet connectivity, e.g., Wi-Fi. Then, money will be needed for company registration and bank account opening. How much you need will depend on your circumstances. For example, some of you may already have some initial requirements. Otherwise, financial capital needs are not that colossal. The same applies to human capital needs. It is possible to start this business solo or maybe with another person.

Market Prospects

Zimbabwe needs this. Many online freelancing marketplaces should pop up in Zimbabwe. Many Zimbabweans in the diaspora get their gigs done by people from other countries. I am sure they would love to have fellow Zimbabweans doing their gigs. Many local Zimbabweans have gigs but have no idea where to find fellow locals with the skills. Yet the irony is that many skilled local Zimbabweans can take up the gigs. The market for this business idea is inexhaustible in Zimbabwe. It can certainly become a huge industry, especially considering our times.

Starting an online freelancing marketplace in Zimbabwe is worth it. You enjoy the benefit of learning from many who have gone before you. For instance, the global online freelancing platforms are invaluable case studies. The other great thing about this business is that you can adopt many business models. The business also has several options to pivot and or diversify. You should give it a shot.