It can be tempting to want to jump straight in and start as a freelancer right away, but reading these helpful tips first will help you create a strong freelancing foundation on the Fiverr platform as well as help you navigate the freelance life successfully.
This list is designed to help you avoid the most common freelancing pitfalls while creating irresistible services to promote here on Fiverr. If you’re new to freelancing, this guide will give you a handy set of starting points as well as provide inspiration along with new marketing outlets to advertise your Fiverr services. If you’re a freelancing pro, you’ll want to check out the section on growing your freelance business as well as boosting your productivity and avoiding burnout.
Ready to take the giant step into freelancing? Check out first what makes a doer!
Getting Started: Is Freelancing Right for You?
While anyone can be a freelancer, some people are more cut out for the job than others. And keep in mind, it is a job, with requirements and responsibilities that you’ll need to handle just like a regular job. So, to help ensure you have the best possible start, follow these tips:
Write Down Your Goals
What do you want out of freelancing? Many people say “more freedom” or “the ability to be my own boss”. Those are admirable goals – write them down! But writing them down alone won’t make them happen. Keep asking yourself, “What will that bring me?” after you write your goal down. Think of it as making “sub-goals” that will get to the heart of what you’re really after as a freelancer.
Define Your Skills
Even if you know you do something well, it’s worth defining it in concrete terms. For example, “web designer” encompasses a wide range of skills – from graphic design to programming to project management. Defining your skills helps you “zero in” on what you’re truly good at, and what can really help you thrive in the freelance world.
Have a Clear Niche
Going back to our “web design” example, there are tons of web designers out there – both on Fiverr and beyond. The good news is that you don’t have to compete with all of them. Choosing your niche – that is, your specialty – can help you stand out among a sea of competitors. For example, you could decide to specialize in the WordPress platform, design website templates in Photoshop or focus on mobile-responsive websites. All of these are types of web design gigs that are making money right now on Fiverr – and you can be a part of it, or create your own special niche that you can dominate!
Figure Out What Makes You Worth Hiring
Once you’ve narrowed down your goals, your skills and your specialty, the question then becomes, “Why should the customer hire you?” What makes you worth hiring doesn’t necessarily have to be your background or the degrees you have, but other, intangible features – like your attention to detail, your ability to coordinate with a team, or your special skills or a combination of skills that set you apart from the competition.
Consult with Friends and Family
If you’re hitting a roadblock and struggling to define what makes you stand out as a freelance superstar, consider asking your friends and family – if they were looking to hire someone in your line of work, what would make them want to hire you? If they really know you, they’ll gush about your many positive qualities – qualities you can then springboard off of to start working successfully in the freelance world!
Check Out the Competition
No successful freelancer ever got there by working within a bubble. Great freelancers know that there’s plenty of competition, and they’d do well to keep a finger on the pulse of that competition, before they find their best source of income has dried up because someone else offered the same thing with the same features – only cheaper! Monitor what the competition is doing and feel free to make course corrections as needed. No freelancer’s offerings are ever set in stone.
Find a Trait that Differentiates You from Your Competition
This tip sounds a lot like “figure out what makes you worth hiring” – but in this case, it’s not so much centered around you, as it is your competitors. If your competition isn’t as attentive to answering customer support inquiries, or don’t specialize in a certain aspect, you can take note of their shortcomings and make those your differentiating factors.
Find Answers and Solutions to Your Target Customers’ Needs and Problems
Never forget that the reason your freelancing career exists in the first place is because your customer base has unanswered needs, questions and problems – problems that they’ll pay to solve. As a freelancer, the question then becomes – how can you better understand your customers’ problems and how can you solve those problems more thoroughly, efficiently and quickly than your competition? If you’re not sure how to answer that, research the relevant tools and technology you’ll need. You can use Quora.com, Facebook, industry forums and even Yahoo answers to do some basic market research.
Define What Value You’ll Provide to Your Clients
This is a tangible tip referencing a very intangible thing – value. You’re not just providing value in terms of the service that you offer, but in how well you do the job, as well as how well you follow up after the job is complete. Your attentiveness, focus, professionalism – all of these are values that your clients will come to enjoy and rely on you for. They’ll also provide the foundation for a strong and thriving freelance career.
Making the Leap into Freelancing
So you’ve decided that freelancing is the perfect move for you – great! But how do you get your new business off the ground? Are there any innate skills or qualities you should have? Anything that you should learn? When thinking about a freelancing career, there are still pitfalls to be wary of. Many freelancers who didn’t listen to the following tips found themselves scrambling to keep up with demand and still produce quality work on time.
Treat Yourself and Your Work as a Business
This is probably the most common mistake that new freelancers make – they forget that they are running a business and that they and their work should show it. This means little to no interruption, professional replies and conduct, and the ability to focus without distractions.
Learn Self Discipline
Self-discipline is a key quality of the most successful freelancers. Having the focus to set yourself to a task and see it through to completion is easier for some people than others, however it is also a trait that can be cultivated and nourished. Follow whatever steps you need in order to help yourself, such as minimizing distractions, making a to-do list, setting a timer for a set amount of attentive on-task work – whatever helps you! As you continue to work toward honing your self-discipline, you will find that it becomes easier each time!
Develop Psychological Triggers that Convert Leads into Customers
One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is just how insightful you become regarding people’s behaviors and psychology. It can be fascinating to uncover the true motivations behind turning leads into customers – and also a bit of a challenge. Taking the time to research and study human psychology, including emotional triggers and “hot buttons”, can help make turning leads into customers much easier and smoother.
Identify Key Messages that Help Tell Your Story
Everyone has a story, and you are no different. Your story is going to be both what differentiates and endears you to your customers. Key messages refer to the points you want to emphasize when sharing your story. What makes you – and by extension your services – worth paying attention to? What do you bring to the industry that can help your clients achieve their own goals? Zero in on those messages and make them a part of your profile description.
Stay Informed, Know What’s Trending in Your Niche
Don’t be out of the loop when it comes to industry trends and updates. Subscribe to magazines (online and offline), follow industry news sites and Twitter accounts, and generally keep abreast of what’s happening. Although your customers won’t know about the trends directly, they will often nevertheless be influenced by them in a roundabout way – much like Apple changed our expectations for what electronics and mobile devices should look like. Even if you’re not a mobile device guru, you can’t deny the impact that these trends had on the population as a whole. Stay informed.
Invest in Equipment, Technology and Training
The freelance launch period can be especially turbulent (see tip #17 below), but don’t forget to invest in equipment, technology and training that can make you better at the service you provide. It doesn’t have to be brand-new equipment or costly technology. See what successful Fiverr freelancers are doing and how they’re investing in technology and tools to improve their solopreneur success.
Decide if You Will Be Working from Home or Not
Working from home has its own set of benefits and challenges. As everyone’s lifestyle is different, you may find it quiet and comforting to work from home and focus. Alternatively, you may be at your wit’s end with interruptions from family. In the latter case, coworking (renting out a spot at an office designed for self-employed or small groups) can help you get into a more entrepreneurial mindset – without the distractions.
Have Extra Savings to Help Alleviate the Turbulence from the Launch Period
Every smart entrepreneur knows that you don’t just take the plunge into freelancing on a whim. You plan for it as best as you can – which includes having a “safety net” of savings during the rocky launch period. How much is enough? Experts say you should have at least three months’ worth of the necessities (money for rent/mortgage, food, utilities) saved up, but others advise as much as half a year. While that can seem like a staggering amount, it all depends on your lifestyle and how much you feel you can realistically save without having to resort to ramen noodles every night!
Study the Marketplace
Great entrepreneurs don’t just study the competition – they study the marketplace too. Look at what’s being offered on the Fiverr marketplace. Of the offers that are available, what’s selling the most and rated the highest among consumers? Studying the marketplace doesn’t just give you an idea of what your competitors are doing, but also – and perhaps more importantly – what customers are buying. How can you adapt the Fiverr marketplace offerings for your own target audience? In what way can you carve out your own niche among the competition?
Write Winning Gig Proposals
Gigs are how work gets done on Fiverr. You can think of a gig as a small slice of your overall service offering. There’s no limit to the number of gigs you can create, but we recommend that you don’t spread yourself thin when starting out. Don’t hesitate to offer a very specialized service, just as this Fiverr user did, and then branch out as you begin to build up a following on Fiverr. To do this successfully, you’ll want to write a compelling gig proposal outlining precisely what you have to offer. Not much of a writer? No problem! There are plenty of freelance writers on Fiverr who are standing by to help you!
Define a Pricing Strategy
Your pricing is one of many deciding factors a customer must examine before they ultimately choose you (or your competition) to do business with. What is your pricing strategy? How will you price your products so that they are affordable, yet help you avoid wasting time with “tire kickers”? This may be a bit of an experimental phase as you settle into the right pricing structure – but fortunately, you can easily adjust the prices of your Fiverr gigs so that your service price remains competitive and within the reach of most client budgets.
Be Clear about What You’re Going to Offer
Before you jump into preparing your gigs (or having them written for you), decide what is and is not going to be included. The clearer you are in your proposal, the less chance that there will be misunderstandings between you and your clients over what’s expected and what’s delivered. Take time before formulating your gigs to outline precisely what your customers can expect as a result – it will save everyone needless hassle, frustration and disappointment!
Be Quality Conscious
As a freelancer, quality is first and foremost. As the old adage says, “Be the project great or small, do it well or not at all.” Taking the time to ensure a quality result – no matter what you’re offering – will help make sure that you don’t just complete job successfully, but that you create the foundation for future potential work from that client. As you continue to refine and build your skill-set, never forget that quality is what separates the average freelancer from the truly great.
Save as Much Money as You Can
During the startup phase of your freelancing career, it can be challenging to stay on track and still make income comparable to what you did before you made the jump. This is why it’s so important to save as much as you can during the beginning – resist the urge to splurge on the latest technology, software or other items, but don’t needlessly struggle either. Find a solid balance so that you can continue to hone your skills and boost your income.