Fiverr is a website where people offer a service for $5. Any service. You can get a caricature of your cat for $5, a tarot reading or a report on your family history going back four generations. You can hire someone to pretend to be your girlfriend on Facebook for a week or hire a man to leap through a ring of fire shouting any slogan you choose. Plus a million other things. It can even help you become a copywriter.
I can’t draw, read tarots, nor have I an understanding of genealogy. My real girlfriend would be furious and confused if I hired myself out as a Facebook girlfriend to a stranger. I’m also scared of fire. Despite that, I’ve gained work for my portfolio and a small second income through selling my services (called ‘gigs’) on Fiverr for some time now. I’ve also encountered some interesting and downright bizarre characters, more of which to follow. Here are my thoughts on how Fiverr can help you build your copywriting career.
1. Build your confidence
You can be who you want on Fiverr. There are no links to personal websites allowed. Usernames, not real names, are used. You can set up a gig offering to write an article or a blog post of 300 words for $5, and people will come along and pay you to do that. I set up just such a gig, and so far I’ve written articles on Houston’s school system, how to brew beer at home, and various city guides. On one particular occasion a gentleman had me write the copy for a device he was selling called a ‘personal bioprotector’ which was a small green thingy the user placed on their person to prevent damaging signals from electrical equipment interfering with their thoughts. Essentially, a tinfoil hat in a box.
You could set up a gig offering to write press releases, or rewrite copy. People will buy your gig because they can afford to risk $5 on an unknown quantity and if your work is your best, you’ve got yourself an example to take to another market.
2. Start your portfolio
You write scintillating copy that makes your mother swoon. Cool. Great. But wait. Prospective clients want to see a portfolio. Fiverr can help you with that. I set up a gig offering to write web copy. I’ve written direct sales emails for a used caravan showroom, written leaflet copy for a Marillion covers band (Similarillion) and written dozens of product descriptions for phone handsets. I place this work right up front when I’m looking for new freelance work as it is quantifiable proof of my writing skills. Even if you only sell one of these gigs a week, that’s still one new piece of work to hone your style on and then place in your portfolio.
3. Learn how to market yourself
A good tip for finding buyers is to check out Fiverr’s buyer requests. If you write, say, press releases, key in those words on the search bar and dozens of requests for press releases will pop up. Click a button and get your gig in front of the buyer’s face. Fiverr only lets you send off an automatically generated and generic reply to these requests, but a workaround I’ve found for this is to go into your Fiverr inbox and find the automatically generated email, then send a follow up in your own words explaining why you should be the one to do this work.
4. Earn cash
Money trickles in through Fiverr rather than gushes. Even the man who sells the gig ‘I Will Reveal to you a foolproof way to make a bestselling gig for $5’ only has a dozen or so sales. My bushel of Fiverr gigs covers my food bill. I tend to view my Fiverr work more as an investment in the future. For instance, I’ll take on a low paid gig and give the buyer more for their money if I sense they may have future work for me. Some low paid web copy I did through Fiverr led me to my first paying freelance job and the developer in question still emails me to this day asking me for copy. I hope it will be an ongoing thing. That initial low paying work has now transformed into better paying work outside of Fiverr.
5. Get testimonials
When a buyer is happy with your service they leave that warm praise that makes your little heart glow. Good, eh? Don’t be shy, stick it all around your website. Let other people know how happy you’ve made previous clients.
Fiverr won’t make you rich. You’ll likely find you’re doing a lot of work for little return. If you’re like me and you want to become a copywriter, it is a good playground to test the waters and get yourself a little work for your portfolio. If you’re serious, you’ll likely outgrow Fiverr as you develop your skills, but it isn’t a bad place to start.