How I used Fiverr to grow my freelance creative business
Freelancing is a challenging path.
I’ve been there before, and know how it feels like to have a million things to do. I used to think, “How can I manage so many things, while still delivering excellent quality work to my clients”?
Well, the short answer is – I started using Fiverr to grow my freelance business, saving me over $1,000 a month.
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can hire real living talents to do work for you for as low as $5 (it’s actually $6 if you include the processing fee).
You may be wondering why people would work for just $5, and whether the quality would be of standard. My answer is yes – $5 is a considerable amount of people in developing countries, and it is definitely worth it.
I’m not the only one who feels this way, check out these other articles:
New York Times Small Biz Writeup:
How Small Businesses Use Fiverr, TaskRabbit and Other Services
How did I use Fiverr?
“Okay, but how do I start using Fiverr to grow my freelance business?”
That’s an excellent question. Fiverr is great for outsourcing and automating tasks that you do not wish to do. When I first started my business, there were a lot of things I needed to tackle. I was occupied with all the small things and lost track of the big picture. As a business, the two most important things I had to do was to get more business and deliver excellent work.
A year into my business, I hired a full-time designer that cost me $2,000 a month to help me with some design work. I was hoping that he would be able to help me deliver great work to my clients so that I can focus on getting more business. However, things did not work out that way.
On hindsight, there are a couple of reasons why:
Firstly, when you are just getting started, you may not always have things for him to do to make it worth your money. There were certain occasions where he took his time to do his job as there was a lack of work.
Secondly, most people are specialized in certain skills and are not all-rounders, hence they can only do a handful of tasks. It would be really strange to ask my designer to write articles, or do marketing, as I would not be utilizing his core talents effectively.
Lastly, and most importantly, you probably can’t afford to keep him if you are not hitting at least three times what you’re paying him. After just 2 months, I let him go as I realized that the math just did not add up and it was unsustainable.
Here is where Fiverr comes in. You are able to find all kinds of talent here. This is a list of gigs that you are able to use for your business. If you are currently doing some of these things yourself, consider using Fiverr for them.
Basic Design Work:
- Business cards
- Graphic design
- Video editing
- Video introductions
- Explainer videos
- Data entry
- Excel tasks
- Customer service
- WordPress, Wix, Squarespace
- Google Analytics
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Web content writing
This list is not exhaustive. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if there are more things that we should add.
What should I be careful about?
Alright, now that you have identified what to outsource, what next?
When you begin outsourcing work, there are some things you have to be wary about.
Logo design if you are from the creative industry
I know I mentioned that you can use Fiverr for your logo, and honestly, you could. But if you’re from the creative industry, it is probably not going to end up to your liking as the output tends to look generic.
In fact, if you are from a creative industry, you should use your skills to create your own logo instead, and devise your own story behind your logo. Fiverr or other online freelance designers may not be able to help you create a logo or brand identity that has a compelling story behind it, as you are the best person to do so.
You can still try though, but for it to be worth it, I’d recommend spending $25 – $100 instead of just the bare minimum of $5 as you usually get better talents. Even though I spent $50 on someone, I still got poor results, so remember to be cautious.
Content Writing for articles
I’m sure that there are some fantastic writers on Fiverr. As a writer myself, I know the amount of time required to research and write even the simplest articles. That is why I wasn’t surprised when most of the writing gigs I ordered at $5 came back to be of no value. I definitely wouldn’t put those under my name or under my company’s name. I had to re-write the whole thing and blew $5 for nothing.
When I started to increase spending to $10 and above, I began to see an improvement in quality.
If you are really looking to outsource some content writing, here are some tips:
- Find a couple of reference articles of what you are looking for, so they can understand your topic
- Explain to them as clearly as possible what your article’s tone and purpose is
- Ask them to combine the points from these similar articles into one, and paraphrase it
These methods resulted in the best articles I’ve received so far. They are not 100% original content as they were copied from elsewhere, but they are still readable and able to add value to your readers.
Also, just like in real life, if you constantly work with a writer, after awhile, he or she will begin to understand your style and write it closer to the way you want it. Remember that on the other side, they are humans too who want to deliver good quality work that you enjoy, and that they need time to understand your style and preference.
Because they are cheaper than hiring a local writer who charges $50 – $200 per article, it is still worth the try. Who knows? You might find a writer that is perfect for you.
General rule of thumb
You shouldn’t outsource anything that you are not able to clearly explain to the freelancer with instructions.
In order for the freelancers on Fiverr to earn a living out of their gigs, they behave more like order-takers. Most of them will follow a set of processes, and will not deliver anything overly creative, or outside the style of what they already do. If a provider wants to make $2000 a month from their gigs, they’ll have to perform 500 $5 tasks (Fiverr takes 25% cut). That’s a lot of work so they cannot afford to go the extra mile for everyone.
If you don’t understand the task that you want them to do and try to get good work for peanuts, it’s likely you won’t get quality work.. Hence, the first tasks that you should outsource to Fiverr are the ones that you are currently doing already.
Ratings and Reviews
You should look out for reviews and feedback before engaging them. Normally, the better ones will have a score of 96% to 100%. You can also take a look at their negative reviews to see what happened and the attitude of the seller.
Before making an order, don’t forget to reach out to him to ask him or her some questions and request for past samples as well. Also, tell them exactly what you are looking for. Make your instructions as clear and as detailed as possible. Feel free to write an essay even if you think it will help him to understand what you need.
What do I actually use?
To make things even easier for you to get started, here is a list of Fiverr gigs that I consistently use for my design business, either for myself or for my freelance projects. Hopefully you’ll find some that you can start using right away to save money and time!
As my business is in creating videos, my videos naturally require a lot of voiceovers. Booking a recording studio and a voiceover actor can cost me $400 – $3000 for a single recording session. That is quite pricey.
$300+ for a voiceover can amount to quite a lot over several projects
A 24 hours delivery on Fiverr for 250 words (about 2 minutes) would cost less than $50.
That is some crazy savings that you get, though the voice quality may be slightly lousier. Frankly, it still sounds good enough for most people.
If my project has the budget and it is for a high production commercial, I will use Voicebunny or even an actual recording studio as I am able to get higher quality sounding voices exactly the way I want it. But it is nice to know that even for low budget projects, Fiverr still gets the job done at an affordable rate.
- Business cards: I Will Design Professional Business Card
Designing a business card can take some time if you are not creatively trained. Sometimes my clients are startups that need a video, but they don’t even have a business card. As a small token, I will order this gig for them and they really appreciate it.
If I were to engage a designer on Elance to do it, he would probably charge $100 – $200.
- Illustrations: I Will Draw Cute Children Illustration
In my line of work, sometimes my clients prefer cute illustrations, which I am not skilled at. Thankfully Fiverr has a variety of different illustration styles, so I use them from time to time.
Illustrators on Fiverr are also able to do Facebook headers, blog post images, website headers, icons, and infographics.
Cute and detailed, hand drawn illustrations!
Sometimes I just have too many articles that I want to write. Fiverr to helps me to lay the groundwork. I pay $10 for each article, and they get it done in just a few days, then I check for grammar and make sure that it is to my liking. This saves me a ton of time!
Ever since I started doing SEO, it has greatly helped my business. I figured if I could do it for myself, I could also offer it as a service. Hence, this year, I started offering SEO services and there are just so many tasks to do. Thankfully Fiverr helps me with a lot of the groundwork.
Be very careful when buying SEO backlinks though, as many of them are spammy and will not help your website that much. They help to boost your credibility but I would not recommend using your keywords for it, just naked anchor tags.
For example, my website is www.gram.com.sg and I provide corporate video production and animation services. www.gram.com.sg or just simply gram is considered a naked or brand anchor tags and it is safer to use.
If you constantly use your keywords for your anchors on the spammy website, it will be harder for you to rank those keywords. Your main keywords should only be used on proper, high domain and page rank websites.
Other SEO activities that you can outsource include keyword research, optimizing images, local citations, improving page speed, on-site optimization, using amazon CDN, and many more!
Remember to use naked or brand anchor tags instead of your main keywords!
You have no idea how much time and money WordPress gigs have saved me. I am not a WordPress or tech person and I run into so many problems all the time. This gig has always helped fixed those problems for me.
If you are a new freelancer, you can also use Fiverr to create a simple but attractive looking WordPress theme for you!
If I use Fiverr, will my clients find out and get angry? Why can’t they use Fiverr themselves?
If your client knows that you use Fiverr and gets upset, you are either providing no extra value, or he is not the right client for you.
You have to understand that clients come to you for convenience and expertise. Unlike most of the gigs on Fiverr, you are a professional freelancer, or rather, a freelance consultant, not an order taker. What’s an order taker? Someone that simply takes orders without adding additional value to the equation.
If a client wants a logo, and you collect the bare minimum information from him and offer him no recommendations, charge him $500 for it, and then you Fiverr it for $50, you are no better than an order taker. He deserves to be mad at you because he could have done it himself.
If on the other hand, he wants a logo and based on your experience and knowledge, you ask the right questions to help you recommend him the type of logos that best suits his needs, then you Fiverr it, and give clear instructions and samples to the Fiverr designer, then you have added value to the process.
Now, I am not saying that you should do specifically that, to be a logo designer that just recommends logos and outsources it to Fiverr. I am trying to explain the importance of being a consultant, to give value added solutions, provide recommendations, ask the right questions, and save your client’s time.
These things are worth money, and they are what your clients are paying you for as well.
Start to think of yourself as more of a freelance creative consultant, and learn how to use Fiverr to service your clients better.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I hope that I was able to help you save money by recommending some of these Fiverr services. If you would like to help me continue writing articles that add value to you, click on the links in my articles instead. I get a couple of dollars if you buy from my links, and you save time searching for gigs, win-win. With the money that I get, it helps me to continue writing free articles like this on my weekends. Thank you!