With the digital revolution that’s been influencing our lives for a while now, freelancing is becoming more and more of an attractive option each year, in comparison to a typical 9–5 lifestyle. With 36% of Americans freelancing full–time, it’s shaping up to be a viable and sustainable occupation. Thus it’s the perfect time for building platforms supporting it, such as Fiverr, Upwork or 99designs, and to consider using them.
This article is meant to clarify the process of how to make money on Fiverr and whether that’s a great avenue for your business. Remember that there are no universal answers and everyone has to decide for themselves on how to best utilise their talents and resources.
What Is Fiverr?
Fiverr is an online marketplace which allows freelancers to sell their services directly to interested parties. It is geared towards freelancers of varied specializations, from graphic design to social media management and web development. In practice, anyone can offer anything, even to send a message from a Cookie Monster. The potential for creative ideas is endless.
In practice, Fiverr is the fast food of services. An order can be placed quickly — even without contacting the seller — and it can be delivered just as fast. The prices might reflect that as well; although there are true professionals on that platform that charge adequately to their experience, most of users are amateurs, ready to do much for very little.
Fiverr is immensely popular. Since its inception in 2010 it has grown rapidly, with their market capitalization estimated to be at $10.8 billion. The pandemic didn’t hurt their interests at all — on the contrary, their revenue grew by 89%. At the moment, there are 3.4 million active users and 830,000 sellers with 50 million transactions per month on average.
Its name stems from the old requisite that each Fiverr Gig must start at $5 — which led to accusations that Fiverr is corrupting the creative industries, encouraging people to undervalue their work and to perceive the professional standards as pointless. Thankfully, Gig costs these days can be set according to your own principles, from $5 to $995.
Is Fiverr Free?
Technically, it is free. Both as a buyer and a seller you do not need to pay for setting up your account or to gain access to restricted parts of the website. But it is important to note that Fiverr charges you with service fees, which are deducted from each of your delivered orders by 20%. You’re also charged $1 every time you’re making a bank deposit. The good news is, these are all tax–deductible.
Is Fiverr Safe?
Fiverr is a legal platform that complies with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), thus giving you control over your personal data stored on Fiverr, be it accessing, altering or deleting it. Moreover, Fiverr is a certified Level 1 PCI–DSS service provider, so all your transactions are secured and encrypted.
If you don’t feel comfortable with sharing any of your personal data, you can conduct your business completely anonymously. You do not have to upload any of your pictures or to even sign your work with your full name — although that really helps.
When it comes to scamming, Fiverr is just like any other site. That means that as long as there are people looking to make money by any means necessary, there always will be some risks involved. Although being careful, looking out for any red flags and not divulging any personal information should keep you safe for the most part. And if you find yourself in a situation with a problematic client, cutting them off as soon as possible is your best bet. Unfortunately, Fiverr strongly favors the buyers, so going deep into any disputes won’t help you out.
How Does Fiverr Work?
Fiverr consists of freelancers (sellers) that offer their services and those who acquire them (buyers). Of course, one person can be both.
Each user may offer several Gigs. A Gig is a basic service with a predetermined price — such as, “I will design a logo for you” or “I will edit your article” — which can be further expanded by creating Gig Packages as well as offering Upgrades (available at checkout for anyone to pick) and Extras (unique type of upgrades which a seller may offer additionally). Thanks to that, a buyer can choose the level of complexity of their order to better fit their needs.
And if your customers are happy enough, they might even leave you tips. Unfortunately, Fiverr takes 20% of that as well.
If that is not flexible enough, a buyer can order — or a seller may offer — a Custom Order, prices of which might fall between $5,000–10,000.
How can a buyer be sure that their selected freelancer is trustworthy? Well, Fiverr has introduced a level system along with rates and star reviews. There are five levels in total: New Seller, Level One, Level Two, Top Rated Seller and Fiverr Pro. Each of them come with different requirements. Being upgraded through the first three levels is automatic — it’s based on the user’s performance for the last 60 days. Top Rated Salers and Fiverr Pro, on the other hand, are handpicked by Fiverr’s staff. Especially the latter is extremely difficult to achieve, since sellers are asked to present their professional background, higher education and portfolio consisting of projects done outside of Fiverr, among other things.
To make Fiverr look even more trustworthy, it currently offers Skill Tests that evaluate seller’s abilities — the test grade can be showcased. Furthermore, if the user decides their qualifications could use some polishing, they can learn from a variety of Fiverr courses.
Fiverr as an ever growing platform keeps offering more and more each year. If a buyer needs a project that requires the joint effort of more than one person, for example a graphic designer, content writer and mobile app developer, they can do so through a Fiverr Studio. Fiverr is also in the middle of the beta stage of their Subscription program, which will aid freelancers in creating long–term business relationships.
Who Can Sell Gigs On Fiverr?
If there is something that people are willing to pay for, you can sell it. Education and experience doesn’t matter, since it’s attracting both professionals and amateurs from all over the world, and there is a demand for both. Fiverr in particular is of great interest to creators from countries with developing economies, where even the infamous $5 is a good deal. It’s also notable to young graduates looking for their first freelance jobs and to build a portfolio.
If you have a productized service, stable internet connection and access to payment methods listed on the website, you can create a Gig and start selling.
Is Fiverr For You?
Along with several controversies floating around Fiverr, there are also some spectacular stories of great successes. And with their inspiring message that tells you that just about anyone can achieve their six figure dreams, Fiverr seems like a straightforward way of making it come true.
The truth is, it hardly ever happens. With 3.4 million active users, only 3.7% of them earn more than $500 per month. And those amazing 1% of high–income earners actually reveal that their earnings are, well. Not as high as imagined.
And the price of that might be steep. Fiverr itself in their controversial campaign glorifies sacrifice of sleep and nutrition in the name of endless work. And although some voices speak up that the general tone of the campaign was more about empowering young, brave creatives, the Fiverr’s algorithms beg to differ. They actually encourage new sellers to be active at all times and reward those who answer buyer’s questions as soon as possible. Day or night, weekend or not.
And when it comes to those who really do make money on Fiverr, their stories of overnight success can be downright suspicious. Alex Fasulo, a famous Fiverr user with a six figure income, has divulged that she actually has a team of writers she outsources to — after years of claiming that she does everything on her own.
Does it mean that it’s impossible to make money on Fiverr? Not at all. There are two strategies that make earning money possible, but you have to be rational about it.
Strategy #1: Fiverr as a Side Gig
If you’re looking for a quick income to help you out in a tight spot or to raise money for some well–deserved vacations, Fiverr might be it. This means treating Fiverr as a source of extra, irregular income that might help your budget from time to time, but your livelihood is not dependent on it. Especially since on Fiverr you have to wait 14 days to get your payment.
Of course, all the tips presented below might still be valuable for you, as long as you’ll rein in your expectations.
Strategy #2: Fiverr as a Long Game
If you want to beat the odds and join that 1% of high–income earners, or even just those 3.7% who earn more than $500 a month, you need to get serious. Although Fiverr promises quick cash in no time at all, the truth is, with such a high amount of competition, it may take up to a few weeks or even months to get your first order. After that, it’s all about building your reputation, levelling up as a seller through the site’s system and marketing.
Yes — marketing.
Even though setting up your account and creating your first Fiverr Gig is easy, it’s hard to get noticed. Many top sellers, who are often a part of Fiverr Pro, were already well–known before coming to the site. They have their own blogs, podcasts, courses and newsletters. They already have their own client base and formed strong, long–lasting business relationships.
If you don’t have that, chances are you’ll need a long time to catch up.
If that didn’t scare you off and you think you have what it takes to make money on Fiverr — patience, persistence and consistency — then keep on reading.
How To Make Money On Fiverr: General Tips
Check Out Your Competition
As Tony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues.”
You do not have to be the next Steve Jobs to become successful. It is enough to scrutinize your competition’s actions, analyze them and follow in their footsteps. So unless you have a mindblowing idea that will change the world, your best bet is to do what already works for other people.
It’s important to ask questions such as: why does this particular seller stand out?
Why are they better than the others? How do they present their Gigs and what packages do they offer? If they have an online presence beyond Fiverr, have they spoken about their experience? Do they offer any valuable tips? All that and more can help you understand their process of building and maintaining their business.
This can also reveal the workings of Fiverr itself. Although most points are universal when it comes to freelancing, it has its own particularities, such as algorithms or policies, knowing about which might further aid you in your endeavor.
And if you really want to delve into how other people make money on Fiverr, you can become a buyer yourself. This way you’ll be able to experience the whole process, from how to choose a freelancer from thousands of users to how good communication looks like, and learn from that. And if anything in that experience will rub you the wrong way, you’ll know what to avoid.
The only downside to this method is that it will cost you. If you’re not ready for such an investment, you can read up on buyer’s experience from various forums and websites. Thanks to that, you’ll see what are their most frequent complaints, what they don’t like about sellers and how to deliver the best customer service possible. And if you know people who already use Fiverr as buyers — interview them.
Define Your Product (And Yourself)
“I can do anything for you as a graphic designer” won’t take you a long way. In fact, it won’t take you anywhere at all — you and thousands of other designers that are unclear about what they’re selling. You need to precisely state your services and differentiate yourself from your competition, especially from those who can do the same thing for lower prices. What do you have that they don’t? Experience working with famous clients? Education and courses? Or do you specialize in a niche?
For example, many people might be willing to write an article for a blog. But how many of them can say that they’re a content writer that deeply understands astrophysics or complicated medical practices?
You should also ensure that your services are wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The first thing people will notice about you are the Gig images, so choose them carefully. They cannot be random or taken from stock websites — preferably, they should be your own. With a well–matched font and a good description, you should strive to be eye–catching and memorable.
Sadly, how you should present your Gigs on Fiverr is not the only thing you should focus on. You should also brand yourself. In theory, you can sell without revealing any of your personal information, but in practice, people are more trusting when they can see a person behind a screen. This might require uploading photos of yourself on your profile or even creating an introductory video — it can boost your sales up to 220%, as research shows.
And the more professional they are, the better for you. Grainy pictures won’t cut it.
Make Yourself Easy To Find With SEO
If you want people to be able to find you, you need to take care of your SEO and copy. Anticipating what type of clients will want to use your services and what language they use will be helpful in coming up with relevant keywords that should be used in your profile, Gig descriptions and tags, and in the FAQ section.
You should also anticipate every question your buyer might have and add new ones if your current clients ask about the same things.
There are other factors that Fiverr’s algorithm takes into consideration. For example, the amount of time you spend on the website. The more active you are, the higher you will place in the search results. This is crucial mostly for new creators.
Another thing to remember is that speed matters. If someone contacts you, you have to answer as quickly as possible, even if it’s just to say hi. Unfortunately, it also applies to spammers and bots — you need to answer them just to make the algorithm happy.
Your delivery date should also be prompt — that’s why when starting on Fiverr, it’s good to start selling small Gigs that are easy to complete so that you can get positive reviews and swiftly level up as a Fiverr seller.
Positive reviews are also significant. They matter so much, that if your client is unsatisfied with the finished product, in the long run it’s actually better to cancel it (and don’t get your payment) than to let that bad review stain your profile. If you want to maintain your current level, you need to stay above 4.7 star rating.
Promotion Is The Key
You need people to know about you.
While good SEO practices can be helpful, on it’s own it might not be enough. Instead of waiting for people to find you, you might want to take on a more proactive approach instead. This means looking up buyers requests, promoting yourself on social media and showcasing your work outside Fiverr.
But you shouldn’t promote yourself just about anywhere and risk being called a spammer. First you need to know who your target audience is and where to find them, so that your services can be seen by people who actually need them. And while you’re at it, finding out their pain points might lead you to create a Fiverr Gig that answers their needs and solves their problems. This way, you’ll be delivering services that bring real value.
And if you already have a solution but people don’t even know that it exists, you need to work even harder to raise general awareness in the first place.
If you’re ready to spend some money, Fiverr provides paid Gigs promotion. And as of recently, it has launched a Seller Plus service, which lends a hand to freelancers who can use some help from a personal Seller Success Manager.
And when all of that comes into fruition and people do find you — how do you persuade them to hire you?
Convince Buyers To Choose You
To make money on Fiverr, your business persona needs to appear confident and trustworthy. No matter the experience, you need to come off as knowledgeable and sure of your skills. Do not use sentences like “I’m a beginner writer looking for extra work” or “I’m using this platform to gain experience”, even if that’s technically true.
Any experience that you already have — that you did as a student or while working in other sectors — might be good to showcase if you know how to frame it. It can stand as a proof of your interdisciplinary skills, your wide scope of abilities and proactive approach.
The more professional you will appear, the higher chance you’ll get the job. Not only do you need proof to support that visage, you also need to look the part. No matter what kind of work you do, you cannot neglect how you present yourself. Avoid any grammatical errors, unflattering photos with damning backgrounds or being too informal while speaking to potential clients.
The way you talk about yourself and your services matter as well. Point out the value of hiring you beyond swift delivery. Write what kind of results people may expect from working with you — higher sales, increased conversion or visibility.
Unfortunately, the one thing you cannot do on Fiverr is to post links to other websites — this can result in a ban, so make sure to write any relevant information on Fiverr itself.
Communication is one of the most undervalued skills that are crucial in business, especially for freelancers. Good communication ensures that everyone is on the same page, the expectations and requirements are understood and agreed upon, and everyone knows what’s happening at all times.
To avoid any misunderstandings, you have to clearly state what services you provide, what they entail in detail and what their extent is, how many revisions you’re willing to provide and what exactly is the buyer paying for, so that nobody can accuse you of scamming.
For example, for a book illustrator it would be best to inform your client in what format you’ll send your files, in which resolution, with how many variations. Being as specific as you can be might save everyone’s time and nerves.
If you don’t know something, don’t let your guts dictate your project. Ask questions. Even about things you’re “mostly sure about”. Not only will you exactly know what to do, but you’ll also come across as a heavily invested person that delivers specialized care.
If your client gives you vague directions — for example, ends their sentences with “you know what I mean”, “you know the one”, “I’m sure you know what I’m talking about” — ask for clarification. Especially if you’re working with people raised in different cultures from all over the world, in which things that are obvious might be obscure to you.
Buyers also have an option to order Gigs without contacting the seller. This might be dangerous on many levels, since you don’t know if the buyer actually understood your service. This might result in the client giving you an average or even a bad rate, which cannot be changed later on. And Fiverr’s support will not interfere in case of misunderstandings, unless one of the users is abusive.
And if someone offers to make a deal outside of Fiverr, block that person immediately. You can get banned for that.
Customer Is Always Right (And Other Things About Ratings)
No matter what you do, you’ll always be at disadvantage.
Your visibility depends on your ratings, and your ratings heavily depend on reviews. Alas, you have no control over your star reviews. Even if someone gives you a bad rate by an accident, there is no way of fixing that.
And remember that to maintain your level you’ve been working so hard, you need an average rating of 4.7. That means that even nice but not excellent rates, such as 4.0, might actually lead to your demotion.
Because of this, every single mistake counts. Some of your client’s complaints might be even unreasonable — your buyer might decide that your communication is abysmal since you didn’t answer on the weekend or that you didn’t include something they thought was obvious. Regrettably, there’s no point of arguing that you have stated your rules in the FAQ. And even if your client admits they’re in the wrong, the review stands forever.
Your clients might be rude or entitled, but unless they’re downright abusive you can’t do anything about it. The best way to deal with them is not to engage them at all, but it might be hard to do at the start, when you need all the orders you can get.
That’s why precise communication is so important.
How To Make Money On Fiverr: Key Takeaways
- Research your competition. Learn from mistakes other people made and note the right choices.
- Precisely describe your Fiverr Gig and adjust whenever you gather new information.
- Use good copy practices and SEO to conquer Fiverr’s algorithm.
- Promote yourself in and outside of Fiverr.
- Create a strong, professional business persona to instill trust and confidence.
- Clearly communicate with your buyers to avoid miscommunication.
- Avoid conflicts even if you’re the one that has been wronged. Do not engage buyers that raise red flags.
How To Make Money On Fiverr: Other Uses
Even if you ultimately decide that Fiverr is not the right site for you, you can consider other ways to benefit from it.
- Fiverr can serve you as a portfolio, showcasing your past projects and clients on your profile. It also shows your sense of entrepreneurship.
- It may help you create a strong client base that would follow you off the site to your social media and personal website.
- You can find other creators you can collaborate with.
- It’s a good place to learn about the market and the freelance world itself, if you’re on the fence whether it’ll suit you.
How To Make Money On Fiverr: The Conclusion
Before you make an account and create your profile to make money with Fiverr, consider all the implications that come with it. Ever since internet’s made transactions fairly straightforward, people have been seeking out ways of getting rich fast. Unfortunately, Fiverr is not it. It requires hard work like any other marketplace, and it also requires the same amount of attention to be put on marketing, promotion and customer service. And it also needs an overwhelming amount of patience.