How to Really Make Money on Fiverr

Are you wondering how to start an online business on Fiverr that can help you pay your bills, develop your portfolio, and build up your brand online? While I’ve written several posts about Fiverr on Growing Your Biz, I know that a lot of people are wondering how to best tap into this popular microjobs platform (and any of its serious alternatives) and turn their efforts into a profitable business.

Building a successful business on FiverrIf you do some research on how to make money on Fiverr, you’ll find a lot of content out there that will show you how to optimize gigs and provide good customer service. (I highly recommend that new sellers check out the Fiverr Forum; many successful level 2, featured, and top rated sellers, have offered some great tips on how to be successful on Fiverr.) But, while many of these tips are extremely important, there are several essential points that just aren’t emphasized enough, and it is precisely these points that can make or break your Fiverr experience.

That said, the following is a list of 10 things I’ve learned about how to really make money on Fiverr from over two years as both an active buyer and seller:

To Make Money on Fiverr, Learn How to Create Fiverr Gigs That Sell

1. Keep in mind… you’re running a business. If you really want to make money on Fiverr over the long-term then you have to go in with the right mindset. If you think of your time and effort there as part of running a business, then it will change the whole experience. There’s a lot that goes into running a business. Just because you put up a gig on Fiverr, it doesn’t mean that the nitty gritty and hard work of running a business goes away. You still need to know how to market yourself, manage your time, deal with customers, and produce work that is both good and fulfills a customer need. What Fiverr does is give the seller potential exposure and an infrastructure to conduct transactions. These are not small things. But, they will only have value to you if you know how to properly leverage them.

So, the key take away here is to define your needs and goals with Fiverr right from the beginning because this will determine your over-all strategy. If you are looking for full-time or almost full-time income and want to build a long-term presence on the site, you’ll go in differently then if you are just looking to make a quick few extra bucks.

2. Prepare yourself for bad buyers. Who doesn’t want to be connected with buyers who appreciate your skill, hard work, and service? The reality is, though, that some buyers will be a pleasure to work for, while others can be a real pain in the you know where. The Fiverr forum is full of sellers sharing their stories of buyers who were inattentive, demanding, manipulating, or just plain crazy.

The best way to deal with this is to remember the first point above. If you consider your gigs on Fiverr to be a business, then this means that you should expect that sometimes, just like any other business, you’ll have difficult customers. Fiverr really has the best and most fair rating system around. Over the years, I’ve watched them spend a lot of time and energy tweaking it and making improvements along the way in response to comments and criticism from both buyers and sellers alike. I give them kudos for that. But even with this, you’ll still get those bad apples every now and then. So, be prepared to write off work on occasion. I know from experience it doesn’t feel nice to work and not get paid for it. But, remember this is just part of running a business. Crying over it just won’t help you.

3. Don’t be too focused on the competition; focus on building a brand instead. Unless you have a very specialized gig, be prepared to face a lot of competition. But again, this is all part of running a business. My best advice is to find a niche and start from there. Here’s a good example of what I mean. If you plan on offering writing services on Fiverr, you’ll probably find literally hundreds and hundreds of other sellers offering exactly the same gig you are. So, instead of offering to write a “Quality SEO Article,” try to narrow it down. Be a writer that focuses on business finance, LGBT issues, or nature articles. Also, if you’re not camera shy, create video. Let people see who you are, what your style is, and how you express yourself. Once you find a good niche, if you are providing quality work, then you’ll start to get repeat buyers. Not only will this help you generate more income, but keeping your gigs active will help them to appear higher in the search results.

4. Spend some time on the site studying what works. This is another mistake that I see many newbie sellers on Fiverr make. Before you activate even one gig, spend some time looking at the gigs that are already in the channel you’re planning on working in, and take notes! In particular, consider how successful sellers describe their gigs, what they are offering, how long the turnaround time is, and how many outstanding orders there are. You should also pay attention to the reviews buyers have left to gauge interest and to see which qualities of the gig seem to draw the most excitement. Another point to consider is that when you do this research, don’t just look at the top rated and featured sellers in the category. They already have an advantage because their gigs tend to appear at the top of category pages and search results. Instead, look for the “rising stars,” the sellers with the newish gigs that are attracting a lot of early attention.

5. Accept that success may take some time. If you are working in a competitive channel, then before you can really make money on Fiverr you will need to “nurture” your gigs till they start to generate some momentum in terms of new sales. What this means is that you may have to over-work a bit at the beginning to encourage those first buyers till you’ve built up a strong reputation of sales and reviews on the gig. This will take time, and it requires that you have long-term goals on Fiverr. So, back to the writing example. You could create a gig writing business finance articles, 500 words for $5. After you’ve made 30 sales, drop it down to 400 words, 50 sales 300 words. By the time you’ve reached 100 sales, you could even drop it down to 100 words for $5. I’ve done this myself. Not every buyer on the site is looking for the cheapest option.

6. Form partnerships with other sellers. Here is another technique that many newer sellers don’t take advantage of: teaming up with other sellers to create one gig with many add-ons or gig extras. For example, voice impressionists could team up with animators, app developers could team up with graphic designers to create an app icon, web developers could offer logo design. You get the idea? They could then just come up with an appropriate way to share the income from the sale. If you are looking to build up momentum on a new gig or one in which there is a lot of competition, this could be an option to explore. Just keep in mind that you should be selective in terms of who you partner up with and you should also give some consideration to cash flow since you may need to put up money in order to purchase your partner’s gig.

7. Know how to create and convey value without putting in more work. This goes back to point number 3 above, building your brand. The majority of the buyers on Fiverr are looking to get the most professional work they can for the least amount of money. It’s why they are on Fiverr in the first place and not other, more expensive freelance platforms. Even if they are paying you only $5 to design their logo or write their blog post, they’re still hoping you’re going to give them professional results. Remember this always. This means if you have a labor intensive gig, such as writing, editing, coding, and many design-related jobs, you’re are going to feel burnt out and under appreciated mighty quick if you don’t learn how to add value to the gig without having to expend much more effort. This added value can show up in some cleverly crafted “gig extras,” but it can also be created by clearly revealing your experience, skill, and knowledge within the gig description and introductory video.

8. Create a mix of gigs. While it’s good to have one or two main gigs that you know you’ll hold on to for a while, at the same time don’t be afraid to test new ideas, delete gigs, and start new ones. Once you have built up a reputation on Fiverr it helps- especially once you get to level two status. Some potential buyers will check out your profile page and be swayed to purchase from you simply because of your other successful gigs.

Something you should keep in mind is that brand new gigs show up closer to the top of the main category pages for the first couple of weeks. You want to get as many gigs as possible during that time to start building up momentum. Again, if you have long-term goals, consider it an investment. Another tip is to try to tap into seasonal demand. So, a writer could create a gig to write love letters leading up to Valentine’s Day, and a graphic designer could provide seasonal touch-ups to business logos, such as adding a Santa hat or snow flakes around Christmas time.

9. Promote your gigs off-site. As I’ve mentioned a few times through out this post, it’s getting harder and harder to get gigs to stand out on Fiverr. So, if you really want to give your sales a boost, you need to be doing some off-site promotion. The best ways to promote your gigs off-site will obviously depend on your gig and your target market, but some things to consider are:

  • Your own blog- you can create a blog around the type of work you do on Fiverr and make sure to promote your gigs to your readers.
  • Social media- make targeted updates and posts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest
  • Forums- lastly, you could promote your services are relevant forums

10. Keep track of how you are feeling. For me, one of the most daunting parts of selling on Fiverr was actually the gig countdown clock. Having multiple deadlines and demanding customers can weigh on you, and if you are not careful with your time and energy, you can easily burn out. If you are in need of a breather, simply extend the expected delivery date or suspend your gig for a little while. I know many sellers are afraid to do this because they feel it will hurt their rankings. Whether or not this is actually true, you’ll have a much harder time trying to recover from negative ratings and failed deliveries. I know for a fact, that many long time sellers regularly step away from Fiverr, and it’s definitely the healthiest way to go.

In short, in order to make money on Fiverr, you have to approach it like any other business. It will take some knowledge of your target market, hard work, and a bit of patience. But if you go about it with the right attitude, you can use the platform to earn some serious income.

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10 Responses to "How to Really Make Money on Fiverr"

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Great post… I know that among professional freelance writers there is the same negative sentiment towards Fiverr as there is among the design community. But the reality is that the people buying such services on Fiverr would never be their clients, anyway.

      And good luck with your gig if you decide to keep it up. You’re very talented 🙂

      Reply
  1. Susan this is a great article. I have been a seller on Fiverr for nearly 3 years now. This can be checked by seeing my profile on Fiverr here: https://www.fiverr.com/grafxquest

    I have encountered and gone through everything you talk about above. What is interesting is I have a 5 star rating. I am a level 2 seller. Been on here for nearly 3 years and have never had an unhappy guest. At least not exactly.

    Bad buyers yes. Early on in my career on Fiverr I had a buyer from the nether regions. He wanted way more then I offered for free. He requested multiple redos yet this buyer never would respond to multiple requests (Over ten at a time) to give me the information I needed. I do banners and ad creations. Imagine a buyer who wants a banner but wont give you sizes colors or any idea what they want for text and visuals except a link to their website. Then when you match the banner to the website they say nope not what I wanted. After 4 redo’s (which by the way I do not do anymore) he still rated me horribly and wanted his money back.

    Now interestingly enough if you are an honest seller and you are diligent and you treat them like a bad account which sometimes happens in the business world just like Susan says, then you can come out on top. Make sure you keep up with the account by staying professional and staying in contact with lots of communication; which is difficult with Fiverrs’ 1200 only message field. But if you have the documentation to back you up Fiver will assist you by removing the bad mark. I have only had to do this once. I was able to prove to Fiverr that I had 100% satisfaction except this one buyer, I had the documentation of messages back and forth and the jobs that I had submitted. I was turned down by Fiverr at first. They told me that he was entitled to his opinion.

    What did I do? Darn skippy I repeated the dispute process again with Fiverr and stated again why they should not let buyers take advantage of the sellers and that by not assisting me they were fully taking the side of the buyer which in my opinion was encouraging bad behavior and fraud. My work of over 300 sales at this point with 100% satisfaction should have been legitimate on its own to my reputation and work.

    They finally actually reviewed all of the messages and work given to the customer and reversed the rating. With a message back to look out because the buyer could actually go back in and re rate me again if they wish. Wow what? You can bet I would go through it again in a minute. Why? building a brand is very important to me and my reputation and following through is everything in my opinion. I want my guests to be 100% happy. But there will always be that one.

    How do I make my customers happy? I really outline what they will and will not get. I explain they need to give me precise details as to what they want. I then send them back a message that re-captions what I think I am reading in their requirements. I explain the reason is to ensure that I know exactly what they want and are asking and to have them clarify if I have it wrong. I then explain that after clarification they will get a text push, spelling error check, and tightening of the ad. But not a full redo and that a redo will be another gig.

    Because of excellent communication I rarely at this point have to retouch anything. And then I delver it and ASK are you 100% happy? This makes the difference and I have many repeat customers. Do I have a lot of business like some others no. Fiverr loves to covet their favorites which I have seen over 3 years. There is someone who does the same work as me and is always on the front page on Fiverr. Just like Susan stated there will always be others doing the same job as you. What do I do to offer more to my Guest? Between my Facebook and Twitter I have over 6000 followers and more daily. I state I will also share your URL with your new banner or ad with my followers. So some free advertising with your banner.

    Interestingly enough what I notice about that seller I mentioned above is that they NEVER show their portfolio (odd right?) and now with the new star rating system their ratings are starting to fall. However because they have been bumped to front page for the last three years by Fiverr nearly every week they get tons of business which means Fiverr gets tons of money and the amount of stars they have, even if it is negative, does not affect them adversely at this point because of the percentage of bad to the amount of jobs they get. And they continue to get tons more because they will be on the front page again this week.

    So how do you beat that? Well give your cards out and give professional communication to your guests. Be clear and follow through timely. Ask questions. Do not expect Fiverr to promote you because they wont. They have their favorites. Make sure your promote yourself through other measures. I have even taken out free ads on Craigs List to get exposure. The thing to remember is once you have them in the door keep them. Ask them to give your name to others. Ask them to come back. Send them a follow up message through Fiverr a month later thanking them again and asking if they have any work for you.

    I sincerely hope that I have helped anyone who trips over this message. My last parting words are thank you for your time, don’t expect Fiverr at this stage of the game to be your sole support and look for other outlets as well. And lastly I would love to form what Susan suggested above. I never thought of linking with other Fiverr users. Anyone looking to partner with a graphic artist that can do icons, ad, timelines, headers, ebook covers etc? I would love to talk to you. My deepest thanks to you and Susan. ~Lady T

    Reply
    1. Hi Lady T,

      Thank you for your value-packed response 🙂

      First off, being involved with Fiverr for three years means you’ve been through a lot of their transformations. Sticking it out and being able to maintain such a high rating for so long takes a tremendous amount of dedication and communication. That’s amazing!

      A couple of points that you mentioned are also worth highlighting…

      Though customer service often leaves it to the buyer and seller to work out a dispute, if you’ve been clear with the seller, you’ve laid out appropriate expectations, and you’ve clearly delivered on them, then there is a chance that cs will help you out and erase a negative review. Just try to leave the emotions out of your communication with them and focus on the facts.

      Also, your point about following up with buyers shortly after and even long after a sale is a very good tip. It’s a quick extra touch that can keep buyers coming back for more.

      I wish you continued success with your gigs!

      Reply
  2. Hi Susan. Incredible post detailing the ins and outs of Fiverr. I was a Fiverr seller for a few months and shared similar experiences to what you had. I’d initially used Fiverr as a lead generation tool to get bigger clients, but as someone mentioned above, the Fiverr clients aren’t the kind that will become big budget spenders. When I was doing it, I was providing copywriting gigs. I actually detailed my step by step guide on how I was able to develop my Fiverr business on my blog.

    http://businessgrowthdigitalmarketing.com/how-to-make-your-first-500-from-your-fiverr-copywriting-business/

    I stopped as I was earning much more from my private clients’ off Fiverr, but it was a great experience and I could see how people could succeed if they were committed to developing their services on Fiverr. Although, doing it as a freelancer on Fiverr required alot of published articles.

    You have provided some high quality tips that I wished I used in my initial Fiverr experience. The good thing is your tips are transferable, so I can use them in other areas of my business (Especially the focus on building the brand!)

    Thank you for the tips and the article. 🙂
    Dave recently posted..How to make your first $500 from your Fiverr copywriting business!My Profile

    Reply
  3. I’ve been a seller and buyer on fiverr since 2011. During the first two years business boomed, you could easily make four figures a month. At least in our case, we produce higher end HD video. Not the cheap $10 videos. Buyers know the difference!

    Anyhow, it’s important to hold the buyer by the hand, communicate who you are, show proof of what you have done as well as your history in business. nine times out of ten they will by from you. But, it also depends how the buyers thinks. If the thought of only spending $5 is in their mind there is no point to go any further if your service cost more. If they understand quality vs cheap then there’s a chance.

    This is one of the problems, people think cheap on fiverr. Those are the types of buyer they attract. Fiverr is a small part of our overall business and my corporate clients laugh at the fiverr platform. Needless to say, we’ve reduced the number of videos we produce on that platform mainly due to the increase in fraud. We do offer some very good value for the buck as you can see here http://fiverr.com/edume

    Hopefully, fiverr will clean up the problems in future. Right now, the biggest problem is making customers happy and having them return to buy more. I have found many buyer have had a bad experience and they are fed-up.

    I hope some of this helps! Best wishes to everyone.
    Andy recently posted..Entrepreneurship is The Longer Term Requirement of BusinessMy Profile

    Reply
  4. I’ve been a seller and buyer on fiverr since 2011. During the first two years business boomed, you could easily make four figures a month. At least in our case, we produce higher end HD video. Not the cheap $10 videos. Buyers know the difference!

    Anyhow, it’s important to hold the buyer by the hand, communicate who you are, show proof of what you have done as well as your history in business. nine times out of ten they will by from you. But, it also depends how the buyers thinks. If the thought of only spending $5 is in their mind there is no point to go any further if your service cost more. If they understand quality vs cheap then there’s a chance.

    This is one of the problems, people think cheap on fiverr. Those are the types of buyer they attract. Fiverr is a small part of our overall business and my corporate clients laugh at the fiverr platform. Needless to say, we’ve reduced the number of videos we produce on that platform mainly due to the increase in fraud. We do offer some very good value for the buck as you can see here http://fiverr.com/edume

    Hopefully, fiverr will clean up the problems in future. Right now, the biggest problem is making customers happy and having them return to buy more. I have found many buyer have had a bad experience and they are fed-up.

    I hope some of this helps! Best wishes to everyone.
    Andy recently posted..Entrepreneurship is The Longer Term Requirement of BusinessMy Profile

    Reply

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