Seven years ago, Jennifer Shealey worked as a project administrator for a tiling company, but it wasn’t a job she was passionate about.
“Things weren’t right,” said Shealey, now 42. “I wanted to grow up, and as an LGBTQ minority woman, I was often overlooked for promotions and leadership positions. At times, I felt the need to dumb down to be heard.”
Shealey was also earning a master’s degree in management and hoped to quit her job and work from home instead. So, Shealey searched the internet for other opportunities and found freelancing platform Fiverr in 2014.
“It hit me, and I was like, ‘Wow, could this be something I could quit this lousy job I had [for]?'” she says.
Shealey created a Fiverr account and along with it started offering digital marketing services, like designing social media ads, to entrepreneurs. (Before receiving her master’s degree, Shealey earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic design.)
Then in 2015, Shealey unexpectedly lost her full-time job. At first, Shealey had to work two part-time jobs plus her Fiverr gigs to stay afloat.
But after a few years, “I was making more with Fiverr than with those two jobs combined,” she says. That’s when Shealey turned her side job into her full-time gig away from home in Melbourne, Florida.
“I lost my job and was all into Fiverr,” she says. “It was actually a blessing in disguise.”
Since Shealey started on the platform, she’s made over $366,000 in sales and “over the past two years I’ve hit six figures, so I don’t find myself slowing down,” she says. .
Here are some lessons Shealey learned along the way.
Figure out what you like to do and just start
Working in an industry he wasn’t interested in, “a very valuable lesson I’ve learned on this journey is to stay true to your passion and your goals,” Shealey said.
Now working in marketing and graphic design, “the money comes in because it’s my passion,” she said.
And once you’ve found your passion, Shealey recommends “just getting started.”
“I think that’s what trips people up, mostly because we’re constantly on social media and looking for that perfection and you don’t need perfection,” she said. “You just need heart and a vision.”
If there are naysayers stopping you from getting started, “kick them out,” she said. “You have to get rid of the weeds or you won’t grow.”
A freelance platform can help get your business off the ground
Using a freelancer platform was particularly helpful, Shealey says.
“When you have a platform like Fiverr or any of those kinds of platforms that help freelancers, you can basically get online,” she says. “They have everything in place – I don’t have to worry about my online website and all that. I don’t have to deal with all that stuff. I just run my own ship .”
Fiverr, for example, helps market your business because it’s a well-known platform and draws customers to her site, she says, which is a big boost for those who don’t have still on.
“You don’t have to know anyone. I didn’t know anyone. I just logged in and created a username,” Shealey says.
Now Shealey is one of the highest rated sellers on the platform.
Start small and adjust your pricing structure along the way
When she started offering marketing services on Fiverr, Shealey designed Facebook ads for her clients and charged as little as $5.
“Some people might find it silly at first, like, ‘Why would you do that?’ Well, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get your name out there,” she said.
Shealey offered low rates to begin with, but over the past seven years she has gradually increased her prices. Now his work costs between $20 and $125, depending on the type of ad and the amount of work involved, among other things.
“I could probably double that and still be fine, but I try to be mindful of the market and where people are in the market because I like helping ordinary people,” she says. “That’s how I structure my pricing.”
During the pandemic, Shealey’s business grew as entrepreneurs moved their stores online.
“Professionally, in terms of money, I’m working a lot more than in 2020. I’m quite shocked. But I’m taking the opportunity because I don’t know what the future holds at this stage” , she said, “Right now people are trying to build their business, so I’m making services available to them.”
It can take time to be successful on Fiverr or any freelancer platform, Shealey says, but be patient.
“I just wouldn’t give up. I didn’t see a huge return in the first three years and I was busy working other part-time jobs. But I wouldn’t lose heart,” says- she.
In 2020, Shealey made over $106,000 in sales, and this year so far, she’s made over $45,000 in sales.
“All I wanted was to pay my rent, have food in my mouth, and pay my bills. And that’s powerful,” Shealey said. “Now I don’t have to think about all that. I can think about my future.”
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