It’s called a side gig for a reason.
Maybe a big expense is coming up, or perhaps your 9-to-5 salary just isn’t cutting it, so you pick up a little work to earn some extra cash on the side.
But when’s the last time your means of supplemental income earned you over $2 million?
Well, it can all start with just five bucks.
Like many others on the freelance platform Fiverr, Charmaine Pocek started off marketing her services at just $5 a pop.
Pocek was working as a corporate recruiter at the time and had 15 years of experience under her belt, so she figured she could make some extra money by writing resumes. She and husband Sasa were saving up to adopt a child.
Eight years later, she’s made more than $2.4 million through the site, and she set records as the first U.S. — and the first female — Fiverr seller to break $1 million in earnings.
Not bad for something that was intended to be a side gig.
How She Did It
Pocek said she never would have guessed she’d end up making seven figures off the Fiverr platform.
“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “But it was still a lot of work for what you get back.”
These days, she charges anywhere from about $30 to $800 to write resumes and cover letters and optimize clients’ LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, she offers career consulting and interview prep packages.
Although Fiverr is popular with freelance writers and logo designers, you can market other creative talents on the site, which has more than 200 categories for sellers.
When prospective clients visit her Fiverr profile, they can choose to contact her for a custom order, which Pocek said has helped her business a lot.
“Whether you’re in sales or writing or customer service or engineering or computer programming… every resume is different,” Pocek said. “So it’s hard to put a set price on everything. It’s almost impossible. [Now I] can look at their resume… and really give them a customized quote.”
How Success With Fiverr Has Impacted Pocek’s Life
In addition to not expecting to net such profits from her freelance work, Pocek also didn’t think it would be more than a side gig.
But in 2014, she left her full-time job.
Pocek said she took about three or four months to think things over before ending her corporate recruiting work and focusing solely on freelancing through Fiverr.
Accept jobs you’re committed to completing. Although revisions might be time-consuming, to get promoted from one level to another, your order completion rate must be at or above 90%.
To this day, she’s still adjusting to not being around other people in an office environment, but she says she doesn’t miss the Houston commute.
One important trade-off?
“What I get in return is getting to see my daughter smile,” Pocek said.
The extra income Pocek brought in through Fiverr helped her and her husband adopt their daughter Karen, who is now 5.
“We were able to sign up with an [adoption] agency that we really trusted and wanted to use,” she said. “After we had the money, we signed up and were matched really, really quickly afterwards… Adoption just changed our lives.”
Pocek’s freelance career allows her to work from home and have the flexibility to plan her own schedule.
“We love to travel,” she said. “Another thing about Fiverr is you can go on a cruise and you can still work. You can still get your couple hours in there a day, working when you’re in the middle of the ocean. It’s allowed us to really have freedom to travel.”
Pocek’s (Two) Million-Dollar Advice to Fiverr Sellers
Pocek advises anyone who’s interested in freelancing via Fiverr to just go on and put themselves out there.
“Just start,” she said. “Don’t hesitate. Just go ahead and list your gig… There’s no risk, whatsoever, in listing anything. There’s no capital, no overhead and no risk.”
Pocek said it’s important to highlight your relevant qualifications and credentials on your Fiverr profile and to stay in communication with clients after taking on a job.
Informed clients are happier clients, but don’t waste time crafting emails for each communication. Use Fiverr’s Quick Responses feature to provide clients with updates on your progress.
“I do hard work and… value every customer,” she said.
Every now and then, she gets notes from clients after she helped with their resume and they’ve landed an interview.
“Those things make me keep doing [this work] and keep wanting to do it,” Pocek said.
Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer Tiffany Wendlen Connors contributed to this story.
- Set up a sellers account on Fiverr. Create a profile that includes your degrees, relevant credentials and work history.
- Create a gig to become a New Seller. Use clear, concise copy that’s free of complicated jargon to attract buyers to the appropriate package.
- Your advancement to upper levels depends on earnings, experience, completion rate, customer satisfaction and response time, so plan accordin