Sarah is the face behind the daily Book Club post. She is a 20 year old, homeschooler, in her final semester of university at Moody Distance Learning, studying leadership. Sarah homeschooled from Kindergarten through her university degree. With just a few months left till graduation with her Bachelor of Science, Sarah has managed to fund her education, plus a trip to Israel last summer, without debt, by working online. She serves as the virtual assistant to Joybilee Farm, as well as finding her own VA jobs, online and in the local community. I’ve learned a lot from Sarah’s persistence and creativity in finding ways to supplement her income, and finish her university without debt. In fact, Sarah has made it a challenge to find creative ways to earn small amounts of money, for consistent earnings.
One of the things that intrigues me about her objective, is that Sarah lives on a rural farm, 9 km from the nearest town. She doesn’t have cell service. She doesn’t even have high speed internet — yet she is earning her way through university, without debt. If Sarah can manage, we all should be able to add to our income in small ways, for big returns.
I asked Sarah to talk about one of her income streams, in order to enlighten my readers about using Fiverr as a way to supplement your homestead income. This is Sarah’s take on Fiverr:
What is Fiverr
Fiverr is an online platform that connects sellers of micro-services to buyers of the same. For a buyer, every service is offered for $5, a “fiverr.” From the seller’s perspective, they offer services for $4, or multiples of the same, the other dollar goes to Fiverr. Fiverr takes a 20% instant commission from every sale. Fiverr is designed to help the buyer find good service, with keyword or category searches, buyer feedback, and seller ratings.
The only difficulty is that there are no “buyer” ratings, which leaves sellers reliant on Google searches to check out their buyers. Why would a seller want to check out the buyer? To avoid scammers, who are likely to target new sellers.
Who is using Fiverr
It seems like nearly everyone in every age group is using Fiverr. I’ve seen sellers from teen guys and gals, to 60 year olds. Some of the Fiverr success articles speak of young couples, or students working their way through university, or out of debt. With the diversity of practitioners and the wide range of skills offered, Fiverr can be used to supplement your homestead income.
It is free to open your Fiverr account. You don’t pay until you sell something. That makes getting started in Fiverr easy.
I created my Fiverr account ten days before creating my first gig. A gig is the seller’s “job offer” of what they will do for $5 ($4 after commission). My first gig was a simple photo editing gig, which I figured would take about ten minutes to complete. After a few days I created my second gig, which offered a proofreading service, I then created a third gig offering book or product reviews. My first sales came a few days after creating the proofreading gig, and gave me the necessary sales and rating to become a level one seller after 30 days had passed.
Sales are difficult to get. Fiverr recommends adding video, and using all three picture slots on the gig offer. A seller can have 20 gigs on offer at a time. The platform recommends sharing your newly created gigs on social media.
A few things I have noticed from selling: One can get random messages from buyers asking for a service different from what you already offer. This is not necessarily a bad thing. A random message is how I got my first ten gigs. However, some unsolicited messages can be seeking “samples” also known as unpaid work, while others might ask for potentially questionable actions like reviewing a service one has never used. A message does not obligate you to respond, and can be marked as spam if necessary.
What Kind of Gigs can You do?
The gig offerings on Fiverr are diverse and sometimes crazy. Personally, I offer one article writing gig, two proofreading gigs, one beta-reading gig, and two slightly random gigs. My policy for gig creation is to find something I can do in 5-10 minutes, that already has multiple gigs about it and that I can up-sell. For example, proofreading and/or editing have many gigs, and also have a high search rating. The majority of gigs offer proofreading of between 50-4000 words. I am a fast and efficient reader, so I chose to offer proofreading of up to 2000 words for my gig. Most of the gigs I’ve done under this heading actually had fewer words than my specified number.
If you have a skill to offer that can be translated to a digital service, you are ready to explore Fiverr as a potential income generator. Other gigs on Fiverr include web design services, transcription services, video or written testimonials, reviews of books or products, photo editing, book cover creation, personalized video recordings, translations services, video voice overs, handmade jewellery, original mini-art, promotional products, and more.
How Does Fiverr Pay?
Fiverr mostly pays through PayPal. After the seller has delivered the order, and the buyer has marked the order as complete, there is a waiting period. Due to PayPal’s “contention” time, Fiverr delays 14 days before releasing the money to the seller. This is a long time at first, but consistent sales will create a consistent flow of cleared income.
If you don’t have a Paypal account you can be paid through a Fiverr Mastercard.
What kind of equipment do you need?
The bare minimum equipment is a computer and consistent internet access. Extra equipment depends on the gig you are offering. For a writing, proofreading, or review gig all you probably need is your computer, word processing program, and internet connection. If you offer video reviews, or photography, or photo-shopping you’d need the relevant cameras and programs.
For basic gig setup you need 3 relevant pictures, that you own, and a short 10-60 second video. If you cannot do a professional personal video, a slide video would also work (or there are lots of sellers on Fiverr who could help…). Written description needs to be relevant, and clear. I like listing what I will and will not do in point form. Not all buyers or sellers have English as their first language, so the written gig descriptions need to be clear and concise. Also, make sure the buyer instructions are clear.
The sooner you return a buyer’s inquiry the better. Make communication with active buyers a priority. Even a simple “just wanted to let you know that I’ve started working on your gig” will increase the likelihood of a positive review. In Fiverr reviews are king.
Beware of spammers. Like any internet platform Fiverr has problems with unscrupulous individuals who will take advantage of Fiverr’s cancellation policy to get free work. There are a few ways to avoid the scammers. First, if the order seems weird, or asks for “sample work” to be done, don’t do it. Second, do a Google search of “fiverr sellername” and have a look at the results. The Google search will show some reviews that they have given, and also if someone has put them on a list of suspect, spammy, or dishonest buyers.
My Fiverr gigs:
I’ve been on Fiverr for only a month and I’m a Level 1 seller. I help writers and bloggers make better copy, get more readers, and sell more books. You can connect with me on Fiverr here. (See update below).
Update August 11th, 2014: Sarah: I’ve been using Fiverr to supplement my income for 3 months now. I’ve deleted 2 gigs that weren’t active and increased the upsales on 3 gigs based on what services people were asking me for. I added a research gig this month, since some of my clients were asking for it. My average gig sale is $20, and takes me 30 – 45 min to complete. I read fast and write fast. I made $200 this week on Fiverr. I’m on my way to significantly increasing my income, after only 3 months testing Fiverr as a experimental strategy. Plus I’m gaining valuable writing, editing, and beta-reading experience that will enhance my skills post-graduation. If you are looking for a beta-reader, a proof reader, ghost writer, or fresh articles for your blog, I’d be honoured to serve you. You can connect with me on Fivver.com or check out my website.
These are resources that Sarah found helpful. They will help you get to know Fiverr better: