How I knew it was time to change…
Not long after I started freelancing, the inconsistency was draining me, to say the least. The honeymoon phase was over and my normal mantra of “work harder” wasn’t getting me anywhere.
I started freelancing to “work for myself,” but I now felt more trapped by my job than ever before. My dream job had turned into a nightmare.
Like most freelancers just starting, it became an everyday struggle to keep up with client needs, meetings, marketing my services, bidding, invoicing, negotiating and oh yeah, delivering the projects I was hired to do. Acquiring clients was inefficient and scattered; getting them to pay was even more so and my productivity was at an all-time low because of the vast amount of shallow work I had to do.
Despite my best efforts; the only thing I was consistently doing was falling behind.
Objectives such as learning, strategizing and setting the course of the business weren’t even on my distant horizon, and at this rate, I didn’t see when they would be.
It reminded me of a person who can’t swim and they get in the water, kicking and flailing their arms; water is going everywhere and they’re going nowhere and using all their energy. This was me. I needed to learn to swim or this was going to wear me out with nothing to show for it.
The high that came, when I landed my first few clients, was short-lived and the reality had sunk in that I now needed a pipeline of clients to come after this. One client was no longer a victory, I needed an army of clients. At the time, I didn’t have a strategy to get the clients I had, no less build a sales pipeline of ongoing clients.
Personal bills were piling up and I never had a bank account stuffed with cash reserves when I started, so while I was making money, I knew enough to know that this math wasn’t in my bank account’s favor. The house was losing. And now, I was the house.
Most importantly, my gut instinct told me this wasn’t how freelancing should be. This wasn’t sustainable, like the person getting tired in the pool, they cannot swim like that forever. They’ll be depleted of energy and soon so would I. I had work that was all over the map (in terms of scope), I was running out of time every day and I had an unremitting fear that one day a ball would drop and the integrity of my work would fall. This couldn’t happen.
The typical freelance process of bid, negotiate, work, invoice, and repeat, wasn’t working for me. There were too many unknowns in my plan or lack thereof. I needed to restructure my process so I could focus on giving my clients incredible value and substantial results. But knowing something isn’t right and knowing what to do are two different things, so I started researching.
I wanted a streamlined process so I could strategize my freelance career without worrying about the day-to-day operations.
I kept searching for different platforms, systems, and methods to freelance. I discovered a site called Fiverr.com.
A year and a half later, I write to you today…
Who I want to help: Freelancers tired of bidding and inconsistent workflow, anyone looking to break into the freelance world or anyone who is good at something and wants to make extra money on the side.
Why I wrote this article: When building my freelance career, most articles I read offered generic advice so I wanted to create something that anyone at any stage in their career could implement right away.
This is a step-by-step list of action steps and tactics to follow. The knowledge and skills can be applied today to see immediate results.
This article is an inside look at how I found Fiverr and turned it into a huge source of automatic income to go from struggling freelancer to thriving business owner.
On Fiverr you sell your services as ‘gigs.’ A ‘Gig’ can be whatever you want it to be, from writing a resume to providing consulting. While the services start at $5 they quickly go up as you show you’re a reliable seller. (I will go into detail on this later.)
When you create your own gig, you never worry about price negotiations and back-and-forth client discussions to define the scope of work. When you’re a one-man/woman business, eliminating this shallow work is life changing for your career. When time is your most valuable commodity as a small business or freelancer, the mundane tasks that burn through all your time can end your business.
How I Got Here:
Two weeks ago, I was going through my income from all the freelance sites I have used and Fiverr stood out and I realized from that one site alone that I had made over $100,000 in profit, in less than a year and a half, working only part-time on this site; selling my services, workbooks, and other downloadable products.
I didn’t have a big network to start… correction, I had no network to start. And while I had strong work ethic, I didn’t think this was possible with $5 services.
Just to be clear…
- I never spent a dollar in marketing; I didn’t do any marketing. Not once.
- I started selling on the website with very few skills to offer my clients. I didn’t finish college, not to say I couldn’t have learned elsewhere, I just didn’t.
- I had Microsoft office skills and business writing knowledge.
So, when I saw my profit the other day. I started to think about how I got there.
I was almost shocked at how fast and far I had come. I worked my butt off, yes; but as time went on Fiverr became an extremely steady and reliable form of income. (These are words not usually used to describe freelance.)
My First Attempt to Sell on Fiverr: My Fiverr success is not beginners luck, I actually failed miserably on my first attempt to sell using the Fiverr platform because I just posted various skills without a set strategy and it didn’t work. But a few weeks after closing my account I decided to try again. This time I planned a strategy and it worked instantly.
These simple adjustments got me to where I am today.
How to Make Life Changing Money Selling $5 Services (and Products)
Your “gigs” will initially sell for $5 each.
Don’t worry, the $5 limit is only temporary. There are different levels and as you go up, you can charge more at every seller level.
Ten happy clients gets you to Level 1 and from there you move up as you sell more. Each Level unlocking more features and higher price limits. I’ll help you fly through these first ten gigs with raving reviews so you can move on to the premium selling options.
These are the four tactics that took me from crickets on my first attempt on Fiverr to $125,000 in sales on my second try.
1. Combine your skill with a popular customer need or niche
2. Sweeten the deal; make it a no brainer
3. Do a $5 Order Like They’re Paying you $1,000
4. Be Available
Getting Started in 2 Steps
Step 1: Open your Fiverr Account and Create your Profile
First, start by opening your account on Fiverr.com. it is very simple to create a profile and browse other gigs. It will take you less than 30 minutes to set up and it’s free; Fiverr doesn’t take anything until you make a sale.
Step 2: Choose Skills to Offer Clients
Now you choose a few skills you are confident in and enjoy doing. It can be a simple list for now: writing, researching, graphic design, organizing files, bookkeeping, excel, word, language translation etc.
If you are questioning whether there is a market for some of your skills, see what others on the site are selling to get ideas.
By now you should have 4+ skills written down. These will be the foundation for your ‘gigs.’ But you can’t create a gig for just “writing,” this is not appealing. The biggest mistake I made when first launching my Fiverr page was creating very basic gigs that didn’t speak to any buyers.
So Step 3 includes the 4 tactics that will transform your skills into irresistible services.
Now You Can Utilize My 4 Tactics to Bulletproof your Fiverr Page
TACTIC 1: Combine Your Skill With a Popular Customer Need or Niche
The best system for quick growth is simple: it requires you to combine your capabilities (skills) with current market needs — making the most of what you already do well — this will transform your skills to deliver whatever the outside world needs. Market needs will change so it’s a good way to make sure you always stay relevant.
You need to paint a picture of your services for your buyer; so they can see how you will help them reach their goals.
This tactic is packaging your skills in a way that speaks to your prospective buyer. By packaging your gig properly, the client will be able to view your gig and instantly imagine how you can help them.
How you position yourself will help you get orders right when you launch. I got my first order in 2 hours.
- Your Skill: Editing
- Popular Client Need: WordPress Help
- Your Gig: I will Edit your Entire WordPress site.
- Your Skill: Writing
- Popular Client Need: Social Media Traffic
- Your Gig: I will Write Blogs and Posts to Help Drive Traffic to Your Social Media Sites
- Your Skill: Marketing Plan Writing
- Popular Client Need: Crowdfunding Campaign Help
- Your Gig: I will Write Your Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Attract Funders
BONUS TIP: Show You Can Help Clients Meet Their Goals
Everyone who hires a freelancer wants one thing: more sales.
The need comes in all shapes and sizes (traffic, page views, funding, etc.) but it always boils down to money.
If you can connect your service to their end goal, you are the making your ‘gig’ the clear choice and providing immense, long lasting value.
I will write your resume.
I will write a resume that helps find your dream job!
TACTIC 2: Sweeten the Deal; Make It a No Brainer
Take the gigs you’ve created and make them a no brainer for your potential client to choose you. You can sweeten the deal in two ways:
2. Turnaround Time
Those were the two I used with great success. My clients were blown away. Giving these incredible offers will bring in raving reviews to move up faster in Fiverr.
I will write a Fitness Blog for your Website
I will write 2 Fitness Blogs for your Website in 48 Hours!
I will write Website Copy for New Businesses.
I will write 5 Emails to Different Media Contacts to Promote your New Businesses!! In 48 hours or LESS!!
For $5, people will line up around the block for these gigs.
While this is not a sustainable business model, it will get you the momentum and positive feedback needed to quickly move to premium pricing. It also creates the framework for your future orders. When the time comes that you do charge $500+ per order, you’re ready because you’ve been delivering this caliber or service since day one. It’s like if you start kindergarten doing 5th-grade work, by the time you are a 5th grader… It’s going to be pretty easy.
I will help you once you move to a premium seller, but for now focus on filling these orders, as promised.
(Remember this post is only Part 1; Part 2 will address growth strategies)
TACTIC 3: Complete a $5 Order Like the Client is Paying You $1,000
Now that you’ve created the best possible ‘gigs’ it is time to plan your execution.
Anyone can do what’s expected of them but that won’t get you raving reviews and lifelong clients.
The setback with doing only what’s expected of you is that it doesn’t “wow” any of your clients. You will never stand out in the crowd doing the bare minimum. And freelancing is crowded.
For you to be irreplaceable to your clients, you need to do more than expected and you need to provide your client with more than what they order. You need work equally as hard on being remembered as you do being found, and that requires that you deliver your service with thought.
Blow them away with your professionalism, creativity, quality, and communication. How? Over deliver. Many people use the word over deliver but what does that really mean? So I used this question to help me brainstorm how I would over deliver. I would ask myself the following questions:
What can I do to deliver this $5 order like a $1,000 premium service?
Think about how you would deliver that service to a high paying client.
What can you add to WOW the client?
This is a list of things I would do with my clients for every order:
- Send notes for how to execute the work I provided
- Send them other options of how they can reach their goal with less effort
- Ask the proper questions when they order
- Check in with them mid-project to let them know how you’re doing
- Check back post project to ensure their satisfaction and check to see if they had questions (This is also a good time to ask for a testimonial)
I would also send templates, articles, e-books, anything I could find that would truly enhance your value to the client is an idea worth trying.
Do what most will not do.
BONUS TIP: Dig for The Customers’ Real Goal and Deliver Accordingly
Clients approach you because you’re capable of solving whatever issue their business has.
But what can you offer that surprises them? That excites and motivates them? Remember people will remember more how you made them feel, than the grammar of your article or you’re your perfect blog. You also need to provide spirit for that clients’ initiative. If you can execute this well, clients will do anything to work with you.
Every client has tasks that are moving them towards the larger goals. If you are hired for the task, what can you do to help move them closer to the actual goal?
- Situation: You are hired to write a website sales page
What client thinks they need you for: Get sales page done
What the client’s actual goal is: Increase Sales
What can you do to benefit your client, that they don’t know about yet: Help them find ways to get clients to the sales page, show them how to increase traffic, grow their following…. The list goes on.
Now you are instantly an asset.
TACTIC 4: Be Available
This one may seem simple but it’s critical to closing your first sales.
Potential clients will message you through Fiverr’s internal email and I have seen first-hand the difference it makes when you can immediately chat with a potential client who needs answers. I could close the sale 75% of the time, just by being available. (You can also get the messages sent to your phone with the app)
Being available via Fiverr’s messaging has helped me a lot, I could address client concerns or questions on the spot so they could move forward with the order.
This simple choice to keep the Fiverr inbox open when you would usually log off helps you get to top rated seller status in half the time. Then if you want to prioritize your inbox differently you can, but at first, being available is critical.
Last Note: Design Like a Pro
Design Images to Showcase Your Gigs
You don’t have to be a professional designer to make your Fiverr profile look nice. I used canva.com for all of my gig thumbnail pictures to ensure they all had the same look and feel, and also I made sure every gig picture was the same dimension. You’ll notice a lot of gigs have blurry thumbnail pictures and this isn’t how you want to present yourself.
But don’t put too much time into this step because your gigs will change as you tweak them along the way. Just make sure they are clean, clear and easy to read.
This is everything you need to get you started on a fast track to sales on the freelance site Fiverr. Many of these tactics translate to any platform you are using, even your own website. Even though my experience was with Fiverr, finding what feels right for you is important. You need to set yourself up for a prosperous freelance career so you can focus on your clients.
This article leads with the money I made on Fiverr, but I also did a lot.
And I credit this to all the features Fiverr offers to their sellers that make the job more fulfilling because you can focus on your clients and not the tedious tasks of running a business:
- If a client issue escalated, they handled it for me
If I needed to know what order was due next, their dashboard organized it all
If I needed to find a client document, it was all threaded together with the client’s order page that Fiverr creates for you
These features are life savers.
Since starting on Fiverr I’ve gotten married, bought and renovated a house, traveled the world and completed my first full Ironman and that’s just in my personal life, I also achieved milestones in my career. While my Fiverr income didn’t entirely pay for all these events, Fiverr played a key role in giving me something even more valuable: time and peace of mind.
Achievements… milestones… these are moments you cannot put a price on because it wasn’t the money that afforded me these things, it was time. Anyone who has trained for a race, planned a wedding or renovated a home, knows they take exorbitant amounts of time. Working with Fiverr allowed me to take off my accountant, bill collector, marketing and secretary hat and focus on my value and my clients.
I wish you all those things and more with your freelance career.