Freelancers on Fiverr on how they landed clients and earned 6 figures

  • Fiverr is an online marketplace for freelancing services, where freelancers can create a profile, post a gig, and set their own rates.
  • Top sellers on the platform shared with Business Insider their best practices for finding clients and landing business.
  • You can learn a lot from Fiverr’s blog resources and courses while earning badges that help you gain credibility on the platform. 
  • Offer up popular gigs in your specific industry, and build a reliable profile by being responsive and collecting positive reviews.
  • Fiverr pros recommended directing outside customers onto the platform for better protection and efficiency when it comes to fraud, payments, and other administrative tasks. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Since its debut on the digital scene in February 2010, Fiverr, the online marketplace for freelance services, has reported it’s been responsible for helping its global community of freelancers earn one billion dollars through its platform.  

This financial milestone is not only indicative of today’s vast gig economy, but also representative of how online freelancing has empowered and enabled independent contractors to offer their virtual services in exchange for financial freedom. 

These days, Fiverr, which initially got its name from the $5 fixed asking price for all its gigs, attracts thousands of skilled freelancers who set their own rates in 400 gig categories across eight verticals in 160 countries. 

It’s free to create a profile and a gig on Fiverr. Sellers, or freelancers, pay 20% of their sales price to the site. But with a gig selling every four seconds, how can you stand out and build a lucrative business on the platform?

Business Insider talked to top sellers to learn how they did it.

Take advantage of Fiverr’s resources and support networks 

Fiverr’s free, on-demand video course, “Online Freelancing Essentials: Be a Successful Fiverr Seller,” should be every seller’s first stop, according to Trisha Diamond, director of customer success at Fiverr.

The course, which is made up of a series of brief explainer videos based on the experience of top sellers, offers guidance and direction on everything from creating your profile and writing a gig description to determining pricing and packaging to converting customers to managing orders and growing your business. 

Arali West

Arali West.

Arali West

Arali West, a brand identity designer who joined the platform last year and has already earned close to $300,000, recommended taking advantage of the Learn from Fiverr program.

“It’s not only a great way to gain knowledge and skills, but you also earn a badge that sits on your profile and helps with your rankings,” West said, noting that customers will often reference it during the early stages of their communication. 

In addition to online courses, there are also a series of free marketing, branding, and productivity guides ranging from evergreen topics such as “How to Turn Your Skills Into a Business” and “Branding 101” to more timely advice such as “How to Prepare Your Business For COVID-19.”

Diamond also suggested joining the Fiverr Community Forum and Virtual Community Events and taking a look at The Fiverr Blog and the sites’ official podcast, “Nine Twenty Nine.”

Study what sells

“When I joined Fiverr back in 2012, the first thing I did was look and see what services people were offering,” said Fiverr Pro Ryan Heenan, whose California-based agency Sparks Daisy has sold 12,500 gigs and earned a million dollars selling creative marketing services such as custom jingles and animated explainer videos. “I researched what the most popular music gigs were called. Were they called writing music? Jingles? Songs? Compositions?” 

Ryan Heenan

Ryan Heenan.

Ryan Heenan

He suggested figuring out how you can add value by offering something different or better than what’s out there. “I highly recommend taking the time to explore what types of gigs are selling and then instead of copying what other people are doing, find a way to make it your own and own it,” he said. “I stood out by offering animated jingles and ukulele jingles rather than just jingles.”

Carrie French first learned about Fiverr in 2013 while still in college studying to be a music teacher. After reading an article about the platform in Seventeen Magazine, she decided to give it a try, offering copywriting services in the hopes she could use the money to pay for school before moving on to a full-time teaching position. Between her husband’s part-time job and her Fiverr work, the couple managed to cover their living expenses and pay for their college education, including French’s master’s degree, taking on only $7,000 in combined student debt. 

“I studied what types of copywriting services sellers were offering and what they were charging and went from there, allowing me to test the waters for what was in demand,” she said. Her first gig, she said, was writing a 600-word blog for $5. Today, her gigs start at $125. 

Instead of pursuing teaching after graduating, French became a full-time Fiverr seller, offering gigs such as writing product descriptions and SEO website content as well as offering her own copywriting ecourse. To date, she’s earned nearly $450,000 and typically works two to three hours a day, seven days a week. 

“Picking what you’re good at while also leveraging what’s trending is a winning combination,” Diamond said, adding that in an effort to adapt to today’s environment companies are looking to freelancers to help them digitize their businesses as they move online.

Be super responsive to clients

Each seller’s profile lists their average response time, which can be a contributing factor for a buyer, especially one looking for a fast turnaround. 

According to Diamond, it’s especially important to shorten the timespan between a prospect contacting you and you delivering on the order.

“Speed is of the essence at a time when businesses need to communicate regular changes as the world around them is changing so quickly,” Diamond said. “In addition to helping to build a strong reputation, responding promptly can also increase your opportunity to receive future business down the line, too.” She cited slow replies and poor communication among the most common mistakes new sellers make. 

“You are always on call, and the person who messages back first usually gets the job,” said French, who uses the Fiverr app for messaging on the go and also suggested pre-programming standard answers using the quick response feature on the platform, which allows sellers to use pre-written templates to reply to requests faster. French’s own response time is listed at three hours, as is Heenan’s, while West’s is currently one hour. 

Carrie French

Carrie French.

Carrie French

“I try to be really proactive about answering questions before people ask them,” French said. “I can easily direct them toward my description, package comparison chart, video, and FAQ on the gig page. I put in the effort early on to make the process as seamless as possible so that I don’t have to waste time answering basic questions for every individual client. Most people message me to confirm details and make sure we’re a good fit, but rarely does someone need my full explanation from the get-go. Of course, not every single question in answered there, but it’s a great start that cuts down on confusion.”

“You don’t want to compete on price otherwise your gigs will become commodities, but if you can deliver projects faster this is a great way to stand out as a beginner,” Hennan added.

Build your cred through reviews and a robust profile

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to customer satisfaction,” Diamond said, adding that she can’t stress enough the importance of getting positive customer feedback.

“Be personal, show your face,” she said. “Add an engaging profile photo and description to let people know they’re working with another human and not some bot. Let your personality shine. Make your profile stand out.”

Sellers also recommended getting actual customer feedback in the form of reviews to build up your profile. The platform automatically reminds customers to leave a review after their order has been completed, however, French said she checks in with the customer the next day to ensure they are satisfied with the final outcome, which may prompt them to leave a review within the 10-day window once an order is marked complete.

“I couldn’t have gotten a copywriting job at an agency when I started out,” French said. “I had no track record of a copywriting career before Fiverr. Doing the work will build your credibility, earn you reviews and ratings, and propel your forward.”

Heenan said that many customers sort and filter sellers by reviews, making it even more important to get glowing ones. According to Hennan, it’s a violation of Fiverr’s terms of service to solicit reviews, so his approach is to focus on specific elements throughout the communication and order process.

“I never want buyers to feel like they were dealing with a robot or someone who takes themselves too seriously,” he said. “A great way to create a personality for yourself is through the language in your gig profile, description, and videos. There are so many freelancers offering services you need to make yourself stand out in as many different places as possible. The last thing you want is a review that mentions nothing about your skills or services and says, ‘I hired them because of their low price,'” 

Consider moving outside customers onto Fiverr to streamline administrative tasks

Before joining Fiverr last year, West had already been freelancing for four years, predominantly doing design and photography work, and was looking for new opportunities. When she started on the platform, she made a point of asking her existing clients to commission any future work via Fiverr.

 “You might be thinking ‘Why should I direct my existing clients over to Fiverr when it will cost me,’ but it’s worth it,'” she said. “I wanted to focus on my work and not worry about back-end administrative tasks like invoicing. By having everyone go through Fiverr, I get the type of protection I wouldn’t necessarily have as a freelancer. Fiverr handles payments, resolutions, fraud protection, marketing, and administrative tasks so I can concentrate on the gig itself.” 

Jump in and be patient

One thing Heenan said he wishes he’d known when he started on the site was that it takes longer than you think to gain momentum.

“You’ve got to give it a chance, don’t write it off and give up,” he said. “It’s a unique marketplace with virtually no risk, so experiment and see what works. It takes time, but it’s worth it in the end.” 

Despite French winding up as a featured seller on the homepage within six weeks, prompting a surge in business, she still believes patience is one of the keys to success. 

“You cannot build a sustainable business overnight,” she said. “I just wish people told me from the onset this could be a full-time job and not just a side hustle. From the beginning, be sure to present yourself as a full-time freelancer — it will pay off in the long run.”

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