Chalk this one up as one of my more random side hustle experiments.
I began my “career” as a seller on Fiverr last summer after hearing the incredible story of AnarchoFighter, the Top-Rated Fiverr seller who earned enough cash on the platform in a year to buy a house.
And even with that motivation and first-hand look at the possibilities, it took a couple months before I got over the inertia and finally took action!
My Fiverr Gigs
Initially I was cautious to put anything up for sale that would require my direct time involvement to deliver. After all, working for $4 (after Fiverr’s 20% cut) is not exactly a great way to get ahead in life.
So I started out with a couple books, and actually had some strong results out of the gate, with one title even surprisingly outselling Amazon during the same period.
As I got more comfortable with the platform, I decided to test out a new gig: mini 5-minute screen recording website audits (search for user nloper).
The concept was simple. People would send me a link to their website and I would give my opinion on ways they could improve them.
Nothing too crazy. The videos took a few minutes to prep, and ran 5-7 minutes in length, plus another couple minutes to upload and deliver.
If I was cruising through them back-to-back, I could generate an effective hourly rate of around $24 an hour. Not amazing, but hey, it was an experiment.
I ended up doing a few dozen of these website audits over the last few months. Orders would trickle in and I would deliver.
Feedback from customers was good, it didn’t take a ton of time, and it was actually pretty fun.
I was earning $200-$400 per month with this little side hustle experiment.
Getting Featured on the Homepage
I woke up one morning last month and was surprised to find a dozen new orders in my inbox!
Hmm, the gig must have been recommended by someone with a big audience or featured somewhere prominent. The first place I checked was the Fiverr.com homepage and sure enough, there I was:
Now of course Fiverr doesn’t publish what it takes to get featured on the homepage, so consider what follows to be my direct observation and opinion.
According to Alexa, Fiverr is the 64th most popular site in the US, and the 131st most popular site globally.
So landing on the homepage is great exposure if you can get it.
With more than 3 million gigs competing for attention, it’s not easy to stand out. (However, compared with the number of sites indexed in Google for example, competition is relatively low.)
Sellers aren’t paying for placement; I’m sure an algorithm is partially responsible for deciding who gets on the homepage and who gets a featured listing, but I believe there is at least some manual approval process.
Here’s the criteria I think they use:
1. A unique offering with a (relatively) broad appeal.
On the homepage, Fiverr needs to showcase the breadth of services people can find on the site.
This is their first impression and they have to display a wide variety of offerings that appeal to mass segments of visitors.
2. Something that people might be surprised to get for $5.
A high-value offering is a must because it contributes directly to factor #3.
Note: Fiverr is no longer the $5 marketplace. The platform has consistently introduced ways for sellers to provide more value, including gig extras (upsells), custom offers, and 3-tier package pricing. The recent introduction of Fiverr Pro allows for even more premium positioning on the site for experienced sellers.
3. A proven high-converting offer.
Fiverr tracks a rolling 30-day conversion rate of each gig — meaning the percentage of people who view your offering who end up actually buying it.
A typical conversion rate on Fiverr might be between 5% and 10%. After my initial flood of orders and the homepage placement, my site audit gig was converting as high as 22%! (As you can see, it has since come down quite a bit.)
It stands to reason that Fiverr wants to feature the high-converting gigs because they don’t make any money until someone buys something.
Their homepage is undoubtedly a big “money page” for them, so they want to highlight the gigs that have a proven track record of converting browsers into buyers.
4. A higher average order value.
Similar to the conversion rate factor, a higher average order value makes your gig more likely to land on the homepage.
Even though Fiverr is known as the $5 marketplace, sellers are encouraged to offer relevant upsells, or gig extras, to boost their earnings — and Fiverr’s. (The company still takes a 20% cut on the extras.)
All else being equal, my guess is they are more likely to feature a gig with a $10 average order than one that never sells any extras. After all, Fiverr will make 2x as much.
Update: With Fiverr’s new custom offer tool, you can now make sales up to $10,000 on the platform. I caught up with AnarchoFighter, who was the first seller to take a buyer from $5 to 5-figures.
5. Excellent feedback.
The final criteria that makes my top 5 factors to get on the Fiverr homepage is a history of excellent feedback. You probably need to shoot as close to 100% positive reviews as you can, and on top of that, have a high percentage of customers leaving positive feedback vs. none at all.
Volume-wise, it doesn’t need to be anything unattainable. I had between 60 and 70 positive ratings when I was featured.
If Fiverr is only making a buck or two per order, their business is built on loyal, repeat customers. They’re not going to jeopardize their reputation by featuring gigs with questionable feedback on their homepage.
Below I’ll share a couple tips on how I ensure positive feedback and stop negatives in their tracks.
Other Expected Factors:
Your seller “Level.”
Fiverr sellers are rated newbie (no Level), Level 1, Level 2, and Top-Rated Seller. It is very rare for sellers lower than Level 2 to be featured on the homepage.
Quick Reference Guide to Fiverr Levels:
Level 1 – Your account is active for at least 30 days and you’ve made 10 sales.
Level 2 – You’ve made 50 orders in a 60 day period.
Top-Rated Seller – manually selected by Fiverr staff based on seniority, sales, feedback, and community leadership.
Learn more about the Fiverr levels here.
An actual service.
Based on what I see, straight-up digital deliveries are rarely featured. Instead Fiverr prefers to highlight gigs that require some sort of individualized input to deliver.
In other words, a pdf guide to Subject XYZ might be an excellent gig to offer, but probably won’t get you featured on the homepage.
The Hustle Factor
As the orders flooded my inbox at a record pace, I started to stress about having enough time to deliver them all.
To give myself some breathing room, I logged in and adjusted the promised delivery time from 3 days to 6 days.
Delivering all the orders and maintaining a high quality definitely took some time. It took a few days of hustling to dig myself out of the backlog.
It probably wasn’t the best hourly rate in the world, but it was fun. Especially when people ordered the gig extras, I got to put on my creative thinking cap and brainstorm how I would market each business.
Plus you never know who you’ll meet on Fiverr. I’ve made some interesting new connections for sure, including entrepreneurs from all around the world.
(Earlier this year, I was actually on an NBC-affiliate radio show after the co-host bought one of my gigs.)
And I got a cool case study blog post out of the deal.
The global reach of Fiverr is pretty awesome. Fiverr shows a map in your seller dashboard where you can see all the countries you’ve sold to, a metric they call “World Domination.” I’m currently at 19%!
After the dust settled, I was eager to dive into the numbers and share this side hustle experiment with Side Hustle Nation.
(I was not on the homepage for the full 10 days; I was on almost continually the first few days, and then more intermittently toward the end of this streak.)
- In total, the exposure generated 80 orders in 10 days, for a total of $1150 in revenue. After Fiverr’s cut, I cleared $920.
- The average order value was $14.37.
- The majority of revenue came from a minority of the customers; 25% of the customers generated 70% of the income. Not quite 80/20, but close!
- 32% of customers ordered at least one “gig extra.” I’m not sure what the Fiverr sitewide average is, but I felt like that was a pretty healthy percentage.
How to Set Yourself Up For Fiverr Success
Ready to get started as a Fiverr seller? Got a gig in mind? Here are my tips to set your account up for success from day one.
1. Short Gig Title
Clear and concise gig titles perform better. It’s difficult to fully convey the value of your gig in just a few words, so you should test out a couple different variations to see which one generates more interest or search volume.
Pro Tip: use the Google Keyword Planner to see which words tend to get searched more.
Perhaps I should have tested the word “review” instead of the word “audit” for my gig, but I’ve found many Fiverr buyers are looking to buy fake reviews so I didn’t want to attract the wrong customers. Still, probably worth testing.
2. Detailed Description
Buyers should know exactly what they’re getting before they buy. This is your opportunity to sell your services and let customers know why they should do business with you.
If you’re getting a lot of questions asking for clarification or details, your description probably isn’t doing its job.
You can also use the description to promote and explain your gig extras in more detail.
Descriptions are limited to 1200 characters, which really isn’t very much so you have to be concise. Fiverr does allow you some freedom in formatting with bold font or italic font, larger font sizes, bulleted or numbered lists, and text highlighting.
Take advantage of some of these features to enhance your description.
3. Video and Images
Fiverr has released the statistic that gigs with a video description sell 220% more than those without. Because of that, a video is pretty much a requirement.
My video isn’t the highest quality material in the world; it’s just me talking into my webcam. I’d like to create a new video with better production quality to see if it has any impact on sales.
If you don’t have a video, make sure to at least take advantage of all 3 image slots with descriptive, high-resolution pictures of what you offer. Make sure the dimensions fit; currently 682 x 459.
4. Targeted Upsells
The upsells, or gig extras, is where Fiverr gets interesting. The more you Level Up, the more opportunity you have to add more and higher cost upsells.
The trick I’ve found is to offer a few different options that might be pertinent to your gig customers.
You can change these extras and their pricing at any time, so there’s no harm in testing different offers. Remember, the more you earn, the more Fiverr earns, meaning it’s in their best interest to have you succeed and make sales.
5. Ask for Feedback
From the front-end, Fiverr’s feedback system appears to use the familiar 5-star rating system. But as you dig deeper, you’ll find their feedback system is really just pass/fail; buyers can only rate a gig Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.
Given that most people won’t leave feedback unless prompted, I’ve added a P.S. script to each of my delivery templates that asks buyers to leave a “thumbs up” if they found the gig valuable.
With that in place, nearly 80% of my customers have left a positive rating. (The other 20% didn’t leave a “thumbs down” — they just neglected to enter a rating at all.)
6. Offer a Guarantee
I also make sure to include a 100% money back guarantee on my gigs. I feel like that helps persuade buyers who are on the fence about ordering.
I’ve only had to implement it one time so far, when one buyer was not happy with my site review.
It’s amazing what people expect for $5…
After he gave me the thumbs down — out of the blue with no warning — I mentioned that all my gigs have a 100% money back guarantee, and offered to cancel the order.
When he accepted the cancellation, he got his refund and his negative rating disappeared.
However, this is something to be careful with, because the cancellation stats are publicly visible and can be a red flag both to buyers and to Fiverr. I imagine if too many buyers are backing out, they probably won’t feature your gig.
Your First Few Orders
On any new platform, finding your first customer can be tough. Nobody wants to take the risk on someone without any prior sales or feedback.
To overcome this, AnarchoFighter recommends asking 10 friends to buy your gig. If you give them each the $5, it will cost you a total of $10 to seed your profile with 10 positive ratings and give you some practice delivering your service.
($50 out and $40 in after Fiverr’s 20% cut leaves you with a net expense of $10.)
Pro Tip: If you sign up for Fiverr’s poorly-publicized affiliate program, you can actually earn money on the deal if your friends are new to Fiverr.
At press time, you could earn $12.75 per new customer who places their first order. Boom!
What Fiverr is Good For
Fiverr, as an established marketplace of buyers, is an excellent place to validate your ideas, products, and services.
You can quickly see if people are interested in your offer, and get immediate feedback. You might be selling for less than you’d ultimately like to, but you’re building your sales skills (sales copywriting, video pitch), and building a portfolio of (hopefully) positive feedback.
Plus, if you set your gigs up well, you can earn a healthy side hustle income.
What Fiverr is Not so Good For
You don’t want to get in the trap of racing to the bottom on price and spinning your wheels for $4 over the long haul.
Instead, you can use Fiverr as your proving ground — and then take your offering up-market.
As one of the most popular sites in the world, you’ll have access to a huge volume of potential customers. Use it as a networking opportunity; you never know who’s viewing your stuff.
One thing I need to get better at is post-order follow-up.
You don’t get the buyer’s email address (and communicating with buyers via email is against the site’s terms of service), but you do get their Fiverr username and have the ability to message them on the Fiverr platform after the sale.
You can use this feature to follow-up, make sure they’re happy, encourage them to leave positive feedback, see if they have any questions, or promote your gig extras or other service offerings.
Some of the most valuable “intelligence” comes from these after-the-sale discussions. Customers will ask if you can help with problem ABC or if you offer service XYZ.
And if even if you don’t, you now know there’s a proven demand for it.
By now I hope you’re asking yourself, “What can I sell for $5?”
If you do get your gig set-up, feel free to drop it in the comments below, especially if it might be helpful to an audience of aspiring and part-time entrepreneurs.