With as blessed as I feel being a part of Fiverr, I thought it important to share my personal experience with all of you, in the hopes that by being transparent and sharing what’s happening to me (and my family because of it) you will stay the course, gain more hope and determination to succeed in whatever gig you’re offering.
Takes a deep breath
4 Years ago, I was homeless.
Yeah, not great, but the hard part was, I have a darling wife, 12 kids (11 still at home) and an aged father-in-law to care for. It’s a bit difficult to be a provider when you’re under a bridge or on someone else’s floor.
I have a handful of teenagers and we all worked together at odd jobs, then got jobs at local factories and pooled our resources. 3 Years ago, we found someone willing to take a chance on my family and rent a home to us. We were together, warm, without a stitch of furniture, but we didn’t care. We had a home!
In 36 months we have paid rent on time and we are on excellent terms with our landlord. Better yet, we have never taken a penny from food stamps or other government assistance. My kids and I donate time with local farmers and we make our own bread, cheese, and traded for other things we need.
Slowly but surely, our circumstances improved. We all got raises, though we lived within our means…and for jobs well done, we even received gifts, including furniture (when you’re as big as I am, a couch is a Godsend!!).
I’m a freelance/fiction writer and professional illustrator with badly damaged hands from a car wreck 25 years ago. So when I wanted to start publishing books again, I was told about Fiverr and became a buyer. That’s how I learned about this amazing community. When my health started failing, I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the extreme financial burden a this huge household.
So I looked at Fiverr again…this time as a seller. My original idea was to do a job here and there, hopefully over a year to save up enough to buy a new MacBook Pro to replace my 10 year Mac…that was it. Buy better tools and build my business.
Never did I think this idea would take off, but that was okay. I looked through the illustration section, chose some gigs that I thought I could provide as well and started asking questions. There are many good people here. Yeah, there are some turkeys too–but I don’t run across them often. People gave me some suggestions and I made my first gig.
That was roughly 4 months ago.
I made my first $5 (okay $4 after fees) in less than an hour. The second $4 an hour after that.
For some reason, people were finding me and all I had to do was do what I love: DRAW.
Had not done it professionally since my comic book days, but it felt good–even though my fingers don’t work like they used to. I went the extra mile, delivered my very best at every turn and always told potential clients what I could NOT do, before they tried to give me money. This taught me some important lessons with Fiverr and myself in general:
You have to give your best. If this is only about money, chances are not likely you’ll make the money.
Be honest. I don’t mean simply telling the truth, but also being up front with clients, and if you feel a job is worth more then tell them that. Explain why. They might back away or say no, BUT a happy seller can far out-produce a stressed or depressed seller in the same category.
Value time and effort. This goes for both you AND the client. You ARE an important part of this critical equation and if you don’t value yourself as a professional, why should anyone else?
Don’t compete, unless it’s with yourself. Comparison is a trap. Have you figured that out yet? There are AMAZING artists on Fiverr. Mind blowing in fact. They have nothing to do with me. Not a single thing. My gig picture shows the type of work I do (still need to do a video) and when it ‘hits’ someone, they contact me. We have a conversation and they ask questions to see if this will be a good fit. 9 out of 10 discover I fit like a custom Italian glove.
It’s that simple.
- Start small, then expand.
The last point is the most important for your business to grow. I started doing gigs for $5. There are still services (though) limited that I do for $5, and i did them in 24 hours or less…but I didn’t stay there for long. As soon as my schedule filled up, I extended it to 3 days, then 5, then 7, 10 and now 12 days on average, with Children’s Book illustrations being 20 days.
The prices for what I offer also went up. Why? Because I offer my best and even now, I’m offering prices at a fraction of what I did professionally back in the day. I have not only learned my worth, I have learned the power of the word, “NO”. You do NOT have to take a job…and that gives me emotional freedom and stability. If it doesn’t sound fun, then maybe I’ll bid high because I CAN do it. Then it might be worth the time and effort. That single word (‘no’) has made me more money in the long run. My average gig price went from $5 to $7, to $10, $18, $29, $34 to now $49…but I get regular $150 and now $1000 gigs.
In the last 4 months that I’ve been a seller, I have generated $8508.20 in profits (my money AFTER Fiverr and Paypal transfer fees)…and it’s still growing.
Still haven’t bought that computer (laughs), but there is food on my table, rents paid early, no collectors at my door and the future is looking very very bright with all the return clients I’m gaining.
Don’t give up. Even if you haven’t made a cent yet…don’t give up. Read, fine tune and MAKE SURE you are doing something you absolutely LOVE.
That’s the main key to all of this.
Wishing you ALL THE BEST,
Author, Illustrator,…and Fiverr Junkie =)