Fiverr is a huge marketplace where sellers offer a wide variety of services or ‘gigs’ for as low as five bucks. Don't let the name Fiverr fool you though; it's possible to make much more than just five dollars per gig. The amount of money you make depends on how hard you're willing to work, what your skills are and potentially what software or systems you have access to.
The type of person who makes the most on Fiverr is deadline-driven and capable of providing excellent service to their customers. The only way you get ahead in Fiverr is by completing as many gigs as possible and getting great reviews on each gig. So, if you're willing to put in the effort, Fiverr will reward you with an almost endless stream of customers.
My Experience with Fiverr
I’ve had my Fiverr account since 2010 – yep, the year of its inception. I remember being excited at the Dublin Web Summit in 2013 (maybe 2014?) during a Fiverr presentation with the founders. Now Fiverr is a listed company on the New York Stock Exchange!
I dabbled in being a ‘seller’ (offering gigs) during the early days, but have primarily used it over the years for buying small, easy to define services.
As a freelancer, you’ll ideally want to use Fiverr for very specific services you can package as ‘gigs’ that can be purchased off-the-shelf. When I used the service as a seller, I was doing a lot of local SEO and had software that was expensive but fast to use, so my ‘gigs’ were SEO reports; something I could complete and close within 10-15mins.
Earning money with Fiverr: The Pros
Fiverr has a ton of traffic, and that means once you get noticed, you'll get lots of orders
You're going to be amazed by the number of customers Fiverr can deliver to your gigs. At times it seems like there's an endless number of people who want what you have to offer. You don't have to advertise off the platform to get a ton of work, however you do need to put some effort in to get reviews and be offering something desirable.
Fiverr has a great smartphone app that enables you to talk to your customers on the go
You're never far from your Fiverr customers if you have their app installed on your phone. You can send messages and respond to their emails on the road. It makes customer service a snap when you're away from the computer.
The methods for earning are almost unlimited
As long as you stick to the gig criteria, you can offer what you want to whomever you please. The only limitation is your imagination.
Yes, the most profitable gigs are business-related services, however you’ll find the weird and wonderful too; from gigs to creating caricatures or personal memes, recording silly voice-overs or playing tricks. There’s even someone who will juggle with razor-sharp knives whilst reading your message aloud! Don’t believe me? Check out fiverr.com/footbags
As your account grows and you climb up the seller level, you'll become more credible and be able to increase the amount you charge for your work; that gig you first charged $5 for to get started could turn into $20 as you grow your reputation.
You can start making money on Fiverr even if you have no experience
As long as you have an idea and are willing to work hard and start low, Fiverr is the perfect platform for beginner sellers. You don't need to be a professional photographer or a graphic designer. If you offer your services cheap enough and are honest, people will be forgiving as you hone your skills.
If you have something of value you can turn around quickly, it's easy to make money
My example was the SEO software I’d purchased. It cost hundreds of dollars at the time; something most people couldn’t afford for occasional use. However I could churn out a report in less than 10 mins and turn around a gig in 15. This made a $5 gig fairly profitable, even with fees.
The key to being successful on Fiverr and earning a reasonable income is being able to do something within a fairly predictable timeframe.
Earning money with Fiverr: The Cons
Customers can expect far too much for $5
You're going to stumble upon people whose expectations are way out of line for what they're going to get for five dollars. You have to manage these expectations by being explicit within your deal description.
Fiverr takes 20% of the money you earn (and charges the client 20% too!)
That's right, Fiverr takes 20% of the money you earn for providing services on their platform. You might find this to be a turn-off, but it's not a deal-breaker and is fairly standard for most platforms. However, they also charge the client 20% too (easy to see how they got NYSE listed lol). It sucks, but there's not much you can do about it.
Fiverr charges 20% on tips and the minimum is $5
As a Fiver seller, you may not realise that the buyer gets charged too. Not only that, but they get charged on tips and, Fiverr set a minimum of $5 as a tip. As a buyer, I often buy small gigs at $5-15 range and would like to leave a small tip of eg 20%, but this just is not possible on Fiverr for most gigs (I do occasionally buy larger gigs, but mainly my larger spends are on Upwork).
You have to wait two weeks before you get your money
There is a two-week waiting period between when a customer accepts your offer and when you can collect your money. The two weeks can feel like an eternity when you're starting out or down to your last dollar. However, in reality this is quite fast compared to other platforms and methods.
Five tips for Fiverr freelancers
1: Be fast
Most people want gigs delivered quickly. Until you get some excellent reviews, it’s best to offer and deliver ASAP. Once you've got positive reviews and a gig that stands out from the crowd, you can reduce the turnaround time and hopefully benefit from repeat custom.
This might ‘need for speed’ not be ideal for van life, however the good news is that you can set your account to ‘holiday mode’ and head offline for a few days!
2: Play the Fiverr algorithm
There are millions of visitors (buyers) on Fiverr, however to have your gig rise to the top, you need to play the Fiverr algorithm. This means (1) having a full and complete listing with relative tags and images; (2) getting purchases ASAP after your gig goes live; (3) getting reviews ASAP after your gig goes live.
3: Use the ‘requests’ section to your advantage
Browse the requests and see who you can help. 99% of responses I get to requests are pure crap; boilerplate, irrelevant “me me me” copy-paste rubbish. The good news is that makes it easy to stand out from the crowd- simply reading the request and responding properly!
If you have a new gig, you can use this to your advantage as if the buyer discusses with you, you can offer them the service they require via your new gig (it doesn't have to be a match for what they are requesting). Do a good job and that’ll get you a sale and a review!
4: Be specific with your gigs and your profile
As a first port of call, people tend to search for something specific eg if they want an article about divorcing with children, they’ll probably use ‘divorce’ as a keyword first. Then they might fall back to relationships, parenting or law. As a buyer, I always try to find someone who has a niche focus, than someone who doesn’t.
Same goes if you’re a designer or web developer – be specific. Don’t just offer website development services as your gig; offer gigs that are more specific such as WordPress plugin modifications, php script installation or css troubleshooting.
Apply the same theory to your overall profile; if I look at a developer profile, I expect technical gigs. Not a mish-mash of logo design, backlinks, random articles and set up a WordPress website. That's a big red flag to me; the freelancer is out to make a random buck either re-selling other services or doing a shit job. You may get some newbie clients by promoting allsorts of random gigs, however it probably won’t be the best strategy long-term.
5: Ask for reviews
Same applies for other sites; don’t be afraid to ask for a review. Clients generally don’t leave reviews for two reasons; (1) they are busy / forget or (2) they did not think the service was great, but do not want to leave an average or poor review. You’ll have to decide which!
Bonus Tip: Get top-rated ASAP
If you've done everything above, you should be well on your way through the Levels (which give you higher ratings, gig extras and other benefits) to becoming a Top-Rated seller – amongst other things, you'll need 100 sales and average greater than 4.7/5 in past two months. You'll also need to have been active for at least 6 months to get this rank. When you do, Fiverr will promote you and payments will be released within 7 days.
Key differences between Fiverr and Upwork
There are a number of different types of freelancing sites these days. Fiverr and Upwork are two of the most popular, and they each have different ways of working.
Fiverr is a ‘gig’ site; primarily you post pre-packaged services and clients buy them ‘as is’. Fiverr does have a section for gig requests, but it’s not great. As a freelancer, Fiverr is prefect for repeatable gigs or stuff you find easy to churn out with defined (and ideally, minimal) time and effort.
Upwork is a straight up freelancing site; you present your skills and resume, then clients either contact you directly with a job offer, or they post jobs for which you can apply. There is a lot more flexibility and jobs tend to be bigger on Upwork (plus the fees are a lot lower if working with the same client repeatedly).
Fiverr is a competitive marketplace to work in and is best suited for fast turnaround jobs that can be time-boxed. If you're able to provide great customer service, get great reviews and complete as many gigs as possible, you can become a very successful seller. You can also sell really weird gigs – the only limit is your imagination.
Can you earn enough money at Fiverr to travel comfortably in your van without worry? Well, if you have a profitable skill that can turn around value and not take up too much time, the answer is probably yes. If you have little to no skills, you're going to have a difficult time earning enough money to survive on using Fiverr alone, but you could make a few quid on the side and learn a lot.