Serious freelancers have sometimes overlooked Fiverr as an actual money-making source. It makes sense. The online marketplace was named after $5 or “Fiverr gigs” after all. And once Fiverr takes its 20% cut, freelancers are left with a measly $4 for a gig as varied as writing, animation, graphic design, programming, music, and more.
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The “people selling things for $5” concept didn’t appeal to those who seek full-time work online. What many job hunters don’t know is that Fiverr’s services can actually go up to thousands of dollars.
Since its launch in early 2010, Fiverr has become a life-changing platform for members who have initially used it to make extra cash, but have quit their jobs and turned their Fiverr gigs into full-time, annual six-figure-earning careers.
Here are their stories, and tips on how you can replicate their success, even if you’re late to the Fiverr game.
Charmaine Pocek worked as a corporate recruiter for almost 20 years when she discovered Fiverr in 2011. Charmaine offered to jazz up resume for $5 a pop (or higher for executive resumes) and made $10 to $15 per hour throughout her first year.
Armed with tons of feedback, a Level 2 Fiverr status and new certifications, Pocek decided to quit her day job and focus on Fiverr fulltime. By the end of 2012, Charmaine was making $30 to $50 per order from her gig offers like career counseling, setting-up LinkedIn profiles, writing cover letters, job interview training, and resume writing.
Charmaine worked 50-55 hours a week as a Fiverr full-timer and didn’t have real day-offs, but this earned her $180,000 for 2013, over $250k for 2014, $320,000 for 2015, and a whopping $445,000 in 2016.
Lessons You Could Learn from Pocek:
- Provide services that would lead to referrals – Charmaine went above and beyond customer service. She didn’t ask her clients for referrals, but received them anyway because they had positive experience dealing with Pocek.
- Price your skills appropriately – Pocek spent most of her career as a senior recruiter. She knew what she was doing, but still took up new certifications to back her pricing increase. Charmaine has a soft spot for new graduates and teachers (she fixes their resumes for $30 or less), but charges up to $800 for executives (whose job orders would take longer time to complete).
- Diversify – Charmaine didn’t earn over $1 million on Fiverr by simple sprucing up resumes. She learned what her clients needed, and offered gigs based on her market’s needs. Pocek also offered custom orders with flexible pricing dependent on a client’s request.
- Communicate with clients – Pocek takes advantage of Fiverr’s auto-reply feature and uses this to send quick messages to clients and acknowledge their orders (even if most her offers have 7-to-10-day turnaround times.
UK-born, US-based Redd Horrocks worked as a stage manager for a Las Vegas circus-production company when she visited Fiverr.com to hire someone to reformat a document. There, she discovered people offering voice-over gigs and got instantly hooked.
Horrocks got her first voice-acting order the same month she signed up. Orders slowly and surely arrived, earning Redd about $300 to $1000 monthly throughout 2013. But it was only in March 2014 when she showed off her skills via a new video posted on her Fiverr page when orders dramatically picked up. For that month alone, Horrocks earned $3,500.
When Horrocks’ side gig eventually earned more than her corporate job, she stayed home and went full-time on Fiverr by September 2014. Now, she earns an average $10,000 per month, delivers about 250 to 260 gigs a week and has become one of Fiverr’s Ambassadors.
Lessons You Could Learn from Horrocks:
- Provide samples of your work – Redd’s slow and steady Fiverr orders skyrocketed once she posted a video of an order she made for one Fiverr client. The video proved successful in bagging clients, since she was able to show off her British and American accents (and in turn, expanded her market).
- Treat all buyers as would-be repeat buyers – Redd’s Fiverr income mostly comes from repeat buyers. Horrocks advises to treat buyers wonderfully and be as professional with everyone “because you never know when your next client is going to become your best client.”
- Invest in your craft – When her Fiverr income allowed it, Horrocks built a professional studio in her home. She now offers custom orders for buyers who want to be remotely in the studio with her while recording.
- Leave time for client communication – Although Redd works over 30 hours a week recording her orders, she leaves an average of six hours to respond to buyer inquiries, emails and quote requests.
Berklee School of Music graduate and former Boston preschool teacher Ryan Heenan only joined Fiverr in March 2012. He began by offering drum loops, but quickly shifted to jingles and ukulele when his first gig didn’t attract any buyers. Two months later, Heenan has received the 60-order requirement to move pass Fiverr’s seller Level 2 ranking.
Ryan Heenan has since expanded his offerings to informational videos, animated commercials, PSAs with catchy soundtracks, ukulele jingles, and more. As of 2017, he had completed 8,018 projects with an average of $84 to $213 per order, done business with people from 123 countries, and maintained buyer portfolio with 40% repeat buyers.
What’s more impressive with Heenan’s success story is that he has built several brick-and-mortar businesses with his Fiverr income. He even wrote a book, entitled “The Top Rated Seller Formula: How I Became a Top Rated Seller in 3 Months on Fiverr,” as a guide for freelancers wanting to make it big with Fiverr.
Lessons You Could Learn from Heenan:
- Be time-efficient – Offer high-quality services that can be delivered quickly, preferably within two days.
- Be different – Heenan suggests that “if you can position yourself a little differently you can really standout, and in my case it was adding the video to the music.”
- Target the business world – While Heenan doesn’t discriminate buyers and accepts projects from individuals, all of his gig postings are aimed to capture the attention of corporate execs (who pay higher and tend to become repeat buyers). He has done marketing work for 3 Fortune 100 companies.
- Invest your Fiverr income – By 2017, Heenan has used his Fiverr income to open a gym and fitness business “Redefining Strength with Cori, ” built a freelance web design business, launched artisanal peanut butter company ‘Ingreatients,’ and open his own Analog Music Studios, where he teaches four afternoons a week.
Give Fiverr a Chance
If you’re one of the many people who criticized the 5-dollar-platform in the past, here’s why you should take a second look at Fiverr:
- Earn $10k per order – Once you’ve built a solid reputation on Fiverr, you can take advantage of the site’s custom-offer tool. This feature allows sellers to make up to $10,000 per order.
- Get connections from around the world – Fiverr.com is the world’s 429th most popular site globally. It can connect you to individuals and companies (without spending a dime). Fiverr even gives you a fun dashboard called “World Domination,” – a visual map that lets you see where all your buyers come from and how well you’ve “dominated” the world.
- Join Fiverr’s Affiliate Program – It’s not as popular and highly-publicized as other affiliate programs, but Fiverr does pay $12.75 commissions for every recruit who places an order.
Fiverr isn’t for everyone though. The online graphics design community has been very vocal about its anger towards Fiverr graphic designers bringing prices down dramatically. But it’s a great platform for those who wish to earn consistent side-hustle income. As for a long-term career, Fiverr lets you show off your skills, build a sizeable portfolio with publicly-viewable feedbacks from clients, and eventually take your “gigs” up-market as what these 3 top-earning Fiver members have done.