The power of niche gig marketplaces and the role of community leaders
Social media lets us all be members of many “tribes”. Back in our cave days, we’d sit around a single fire with our fellow cavepersons; now, we can belong to countless tribes simultaneously, playing a different role in each of them and warming up to several fires.
The tribes we belong to span almost every aspect of our life: social, neighborhood communities, fitness, diet, traveling, hobbies, politics, and whatnot.
Almost each of us is active at least in one professional network and often in more than one. We exchange knowledge and tools with our peers, network and meet new colleagues, discuss professional issues, recruit workers, and seek and find projects and jobs.
Even though we all take part in these communities, many of us are used to working with professionals through the massive marketplaces for gigs and freelancers, such as Upwork of Fiverr. I can open a company in New York and collaborate with designers from Japan and programmers from India. Globalization has made it all possible, but recent events have knocked our work habits slightly off course.
COVID19 has rocked the boat of world economy, causing many of our fellow community members to suffer great financial losses. Naturally, in times of distress, we tend to support people that we know and care about, so for my NY based company, I might consider using one of the designers in my community, rather than a complete stranger from one of the massive gig marketplaces.
I would probably find them in a social media group we’re both in or through a personal referral from a colleague or a friend. That's not really the best workflow in the world; the massive marketplaces I'm used to working with, though impersonal, are convenient, effective, and handy. How can we get the best of both worlds, combining the advantages of gig marketplaces with our community of professionals or local businesses we care about?
The role of a community leader
This is where community leaders become especially significant. As leaders of professional communities or a community of local businesses and service providers, they now have a simple tool to engage a marketplace for their community with various available business models.
Why should they do it? Why bother building a marketplace when everything happens on social media anyway?
The answer is value.
The professional network that a community leader manages is valuable for customers or recruiters, and the job and business opportunities they offer are valuable for the network members.
The marketplace is here. It’s happening already. Now is time to make it as efficient and organized as it is in gig marketplaces.
The world is moving toward subscription economy — from huge software companies such as Microsoft to media channels such as Netflix, through Passion Economy platforms like Patreon. Community leaders can be part of this ecosystem by creating their own subscription marketplace of professionals for their network.
It’s time to acknowledge the power of independent niche gig marketplaces and their significant role in creating a sustainable business model, empowering community leaders and enabling them to provide greater value to their members and the local professional ecosystem.
If you are a leader of a professional network, we invite you to start your own marketplace, free of charge.