The risks of building your entire business to depend on a marketplace platform like Upwork or Fiverr.
Many marketplace freelancers get 100% of their work from Upwork, or Fiverr, or Freelancer.com, or others. In addition to the fact that projects are typically short term, the clients can be sub-par, the pay can be crappy, and the fees are outrageous, there’s another glaring issue with reliance on these platforms: what if they go under? Your business goes with it.
Many freelancers go out on their own because they want to be their own boss, have autonomy over their work, and find more balance in their schedules. But the lack of security and consistency scares them. They flock to the marketplace platforms because of perceived security. They think they’ll always be able to find work on a marketplace platform. Ironically, the true security isn't in the work itself - it’s in the relationships you build. The same is true for multi-million dollar companies. Without clients funding the work, there is no work, there is no security. When you work through these marketplaces exclusively, you don’t own the relationship with your client - the platform does.
Never trust a third party that owns your business relationship. When a platform tells you you can’t email your client directly, something is wrong. It means they don’t want you fostering a relationship with that client. It means the platform is the owner of that relationship. It means your success is dependent upon theirs.
If the answer is yes, it’s time to diversify your revenue sources. It’s time to build relationships that exist outside of the marketplace ecosystem. As someone who’s sat on both sides of the freelancer-client table, trust me - your clients want a 1:1 relationship too.