Exploring Freelancing — How I Got Started on Fiverr

by | 26 September 2020 | Freelance | 3 comments

9 min read

Ever since this new decade has started, I had a feeling that this year is going to be the year I’ll finally become fully financially independent. Not in the sense of being able to afford whatever I want, whenever I want, but in the sense of being able to live in a place of my choice, while making enough money each month to sustain my lifestyle, without having to touch any of my savings.

It’s looking good so far.

Working on different online business projects, I recently discovered a great bridge opportunity that will give me some support until I’ve fully got the systems up and running to not have to trade my time for money anymore. Until then, this is a great way for me to remain financially stable and confident.

Coil Community Paving the Way

An illustration of a high five with the Coil community

First of all, I need to give a shout out to Sophie a fellow writer over at the Coil blogging platform. It was one of her articles that got me to dig deeper into that opportunity in the first place.

In her article, Sophie shared her own experience of setting up her profile and making her first sale on Fiverr, which is arguably the most popular platform for freelance services on the web.

I have known this platform for a long time, but never looked into it deeply and — quite frankly — always looked at it as a place where you can acquire cheap services for mostly digital tasks from people living in countries with very low living expenses, like India or the Philippines.

Especially, since its name comes from the fact that back in the days it was all about small services offered for — you guessed it — $ 5.

But I never really considered it as a place where I could offer my own services to make money.

Different Kinds of Freelance Platforms

Sophie’s article got me to take a closer look into this whole freelance platform game once more. Especially after she told me that she received some organic orders on Fiverr, which seemed quite difficult for me to imagine, after seeing how big the competition on there is.

Some freelancers have been on there for years and acquired hundreds and thousands of reviews. It definitely gave me this “how the hell am I gonna be visible here?” feeling.

At least I had an idea for what I wanted to offer, but I can’t even remember anymore how it came into my mind. It felt like a promising idea though.

After having started my own Amazon FBA business with my best friend in Germany two years ago, and having seen hundreds of product listings during my research on the Amazon platform in Germany, I knew that it was obviously a big struggle for foreign merchants to create proper localized product listings.

In many cases, you will find that they use machine translation, which very often creates a horrible readability. It also doesn’t consider what the actual search terms that customers are typing into Amazon are.

So I knew, that in theory there must be demand for proper product listings created by a German native speaker.

I also knew, that anything that involves selling on Amazon means that there are people and companies with money to spend involved. People who want to make money, know that it’s wise to spend money on things they need help with, in order to be able to make the real money.

Last but not least, I knew that offering a service that involves my ability to speak and write German as a native speaker will filter out any competition from the countries with very low living expenses, that I mentioned earlier.

It seemed like an idea worth pursuing.

Image showing the key difference between Upwork and Fiverr

But actually, I took a different route to begin with and created a profile on Upwork, which is another freelance platform that I had known already.

It works fundamentally different than Fiverr, because on Upwork you don’t create listings for your services, but instead people who need help on a project post job listings, for which you as a freelancer can send a proposal for.

Long story short, I had a really frustrating experience on Upwork, to say the least.

After creating my profile on the platform, I was a bit bummed out after realizing that at some point I might have to pay money, to receive so called “Connects”, which I could then use to send proposals to open job listings. But at least, there were some free Connects on my account to start with.

I found several open job listings, perfectly fitting my plan to offer my skill to write German product listings for Amazon. So I went ahead and started to send out a few proposals, until all my Connects were spent. Now it was time to wait for a reply.

I didn’t receive a single reply whatsoever from any of them. Nothing.

I realized that Upwork was not the right place for me.

So I went back to Fiverr, and began to set up my profile and German Amazon product listing Gigs there, hoping that maybe this will be the better approach for this kind of service. I was still skeptical if there was even any chance for my new listings to get any impressions, having no reviews and so on.

Boy, did I have wrong expectations!

Only one or two days after having set up my Gigs on Fiverr, I already received a handful of inquiries from people interested in my services. I must have been making a good first impression with the way I was presenting myself and my services on my profile.

I was also pricing my services quite low to begin with, as I knew I would need to acquire some good reviews first in order to be able to compete with established sellers.

But the proof of concept and demand was there. Only a few days after starting to offer my services on Fiverr, I had a couple of organic orders from real customers, without having made any promotion at all.

My mind was blown and I got really motivated to develop this opportunity further.

The Beauty of Productized Services

Illustration of a parcel representing a product

I quickly realized why Fiverr worked so much better for the purpose of selling my services related to Amazon listings:

The service that I am offering is completely standardized.

An Amazon listing always has the same structure and it always requires the same process in order to create a really good one. That makes this service perfect to be turned into a “productized service”, as I am calling it from now on.

For a productized service, I am able to set up a listing that will be ideally 100% clear to the potential buyer, so there will only be minor questions to be aligned on before ordering from me.

This is the perfect scenario for me, because I don’t want to spend time promoting my service in a significant way. I want customers who know exactly what they are looking for, to find exactly that when stumbling across my service listings, and then order it from me ideally without asking any further questions.

And this has been exactly what happened for me from the very first inquiry. People are coming to me, without me having to reach out in any way. I literally wake up to new orders and inquiries.

Another substantial key benefit of such standardized service formats is that I can hyperoptimize them.

From the very first inquiry on, I started to create templates for everything that I needed. I gathered and organized the tools that I would need to deliver a 100% perfect service for the customers, in the most efficient way possible. My workflow is now very clear, but I still keep improving it whenever I see the potential.

As a result, I was able to quickly grow my income per order and time spent significantly by adjusting two variables at once:

  1. After receiving my first positive reviews and getting more orders, I started to increase my prices.
  2. Over the same period of time my efficiency increased by a lot, because of the workflow becoming more and more like a routine.

All of this coming together also made my profile very attractive for the search algorithm of Fiverr to promote me higher and higher in the search rankings for the most important keywords, because of the following reasons:

  1. My profile is very clear to potential buyers, so there is a high likelihood to convert them into customers.
  2. I deliver quickly on any incoming order, as I have established an efficient workflow.
  3. I deliver a premium product, both in a technical (the way I do my keyword research) and visual (the way I present my deliverable) sense. But it’s not a lot of work for me to do that anymore, after creating one perfect template in the beginning.

The result of all this was a big increase in impressions, that I was able to track in my Fiverr dashboard, and which you can see for yourself in this video:

As you can see, I couldn’t have had a better start on Fiverr — and I say this after really not having had any expectations when starting this experiment.

I am very happy to have found this opportunity and another income stream for me to work with, especially now in this phase, where it’s all about reaching financial independence for the long term.

I’m looking forward to find out where this opportunity is leading me.

Did you make any experiences with Fiverr or other freelancing platforms? How did it go?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below this article.

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Adam

This is amazing Benny! I’ve had terrible experiences with Fiverr myself… I’d be doing okay for a little bit and then my gig would be reported by someone and I couldn’t get it back… this happened to me 3 times. I don’t know why my gigs were getting reported, my services were similar to others (I was writing blog posts advertising people’s products) but they weren’t a copy or anything. Fiverr would cancel my gigs but I couldn’t speak to anyone about it… so I ended up giving up. I’m so glad this is working for you. I’ve used fiverr… Read more »