Start today and within a week have your first client. Within two first payout.
This is not a get rich quick scheme, it's legit work, just a quick and free life-hack way to get started.
It works for any digital skill or service from graphic design, to beat making, to story writing and content creation.
I've been working with computer graphics as a hobby for many years. I wouldn't call myself talented, nor I would say academically educated in design, however it's something I always enjoyed and done as needed for my own little projects and for friends and family occasionally.
And as much as I don't want to go too much into details on my personal background, it's important to know, that I've tried many different professions from labor, through hospitality, service, market research, gardening, and many many more and all the time I felt like I would prefer something easier on my body, something I can do from wherever I want and whenever I want. Comfortably. Smoked if I want. My way basically.
I wanted to start my own business, but investment required to start is usually pretty high and the risk of failure meant loosing most of it. It didn't stop me from trying thought, I had a shop in London for a few months (cost me total of 10k pounds then I closed down xD) and I had some attempts at self-hosted online business (online store, droppshipping etc). It didn't work that well for me.
Many times I thought about trying freelancing, but I didn't have a good portfolio and I realized that on a competitive freelancing market I need to be able to showcase my work. But which work... I had to showcase my original, great looking designs, graphics that would make people think "I want my graphics to look like that!". Needles to say I didn't have any designs like that.
One day as I was starting a new hobby (making music beats) in a video tutorial I got an invaluable advice aimed towards making beats, but it turned out to be have much wider application. The artist in the video was discussing industry trends and production of beats and he said:
"I was surprised to learn that myself, when I got into the "inner circles" of showbiz, but professionals.. they use templates. They don't want to be reinventing the car every-time they want to make a car, after all one brand of cars isn't that much different from another. Same with music, there things that work and things that don't, so instead of wasting time figuring this out, it's much more efficient to use a template with a great solution."
And that made me really open my eyes on how all digital industries work.
I pulled up a quick google search "Adobe Photoshop Free Template for Commercial Use" and I was amazed to see how much free stuff is really out there. I instantly found templates for banners, social media designs, posts, adverts, even huge ad sets for google with like 20 different sizes of ads in one file. All optimized for really easy 1 click edits. That was shocking.
I felt like I was given a generous digital donation.
I realized that with all these, it will take me two days of really easy edits to make a full portfolio.
Preparing to start
I wasn't afraid to go back a year or two and pick the best performers from the past periods. They still look amazing today, quality work doesn't age quickly. But at the same time, it's old enough that none really uses them so much nor remembers the original creator.
I had 40 templates. Ready to adjust.
Choosing the marketplace
I opened Fiverrs FAQ and guides and started reading to see if the platform will suit me. It was pretty appealing. If I was to join Fiverr as a new freelancer I would be able to post my offer in form of listing (like on ebay) for free and if an interested buyer purchased a graphic I would receive the order details, each listing can have three packages, each with slightly different features and price. I found out I can post 7 offers and each offer can contain max three graphics as portfolio - I can compete with that!
I wasn't going to offer 7 services thought, I came up with 4:
Social Media Content Design, Adverts Design, Print Design and genral Any Graphic Design.
I knew I will only need 12 graphics to post my listings now. I also was promised ability to send requests to posted jobs for free, 10 times a day. And in theory that was great.*
Creating the portfolio
I chose 12 bestest out of the best 40 I found, I opened each design one by one, and change (with one click!) the text to include my username and the name of the platform (instead of the original information), I've done quick recolor on some of the elements (they are all nicely separated, so it was supper easy to do) and I replaced some backgrounds with free images from unsplash (a great website for free commercially licenced photos).
Couple of hours later I had a real portfolio at hand. And I wasted no time thinking which part of the design goes where, it was all done for me.
Posting gigs, finding clients
With everything prepared, I was ready to post my first gig (that's how the listings on fiverr are called, perhaps I should've mentioned it earlier )
I wrote a short explanatory description. I made my three packages for each gig. I had basic feature a simple design within a day with limited revisions. Standard is delivered within two days and comes with completely unique original (xd) design and premium comes with the psd source file and a blowjob (jk, just the source file).
I've uploaded my three graphics and repeated the whole process four times, once for each listing.
That was done. In one day I had everything set up and I was ready for the first client.
The day was nearing an end and nobody has contacted me, but I didn't have very high expectations, at that point I was still playing around.
Next day when I logged in and opened my statistics, there were still no orders, but I noticed, that all my gigs had at least 30-40 impressions, around 10 views and 3-4 clicks. So that was great, people are actually browsing.
I noticed some gigs have more views than others. Specifically gigs which featured the name of the service in the portfolio graphic (e.g. banner design image would have huge "banner design" text on it as the main text) were doing pretty good. The trend continued over the next day and so I adjusted all the gigs to feature similar image in their respective portfolios.
It improved the number of views and clicks, but it still wasn't enough. I was starting to have some doubts... I noticed there are many online sellers with multiple reviews offering the same services as I do - I thought - why would anyone choose a new freelancer if there are 5 star rated people doing this job at the same price as me. I would choose them and not myself if I was buying... I'm not sure how my logic was flawed with that, but it was, because by the end of that day somehow I got my first order.
The order description came clear and simple. There wasn't much money to be made (15 usd) but it looked like 20-30 min of work with the templates, or 1h if I really want to polish it nicely.
I've done the order and sent the file and I got my first payment and a 5 start rating. I thought... Wow.. I can't believe I waited so many years, to start in two days... But then I thought - it could've been luck...
I left the account until another day, unfortunately there was no new orders.
Later on that day while looking around my profile, I noticed if I have the website opened but I'm not clicking or being otherwise active, it changes my status automatically to "away" and I stop appearing on the main feed.
I installed an auto-refresh addon and set it to three minutes. Thus ensuring I was displaying to potential buyers in the "online right now" list at all times. I left the thing running and I switched to playing some games.
It really boosted my statistics. Few hours of being online gave me a lot of exposure. I gain over 100 impressions 30+ views and 10+ clicks. And another order. This time it was standard package, 30 usd and two days time window to complete. Really chilled order. I nailed it again in 40 min, waited few hours so it looked like I worked a bit longer and sent the file.
Another 5 star review.
I noticed my money is on cool-down and I will have to wait two weeks before I get paid, but it was there on fiverr balance and I spent no money to make it.
At this point I knew that even if this is not going to be a regular income, it's a viable way of making money on the side.
Each day I kept on leaving the auto-refresh on with the Fiverr.com opened and check my laptop every few hours. Every day I had an order.
I also noticed the orders tended to come really late at night or early morning. I guess mid-day there are too many people online.
Two weeks later I had my first pay out, and then next one day after, and then almost each day since. The first two weeks are a bit upsetting, while waiting for the first pay, but once it's rolling daily, it feels great.
At this point I have 10% conversion rate on my best gigs (1 in 10 people who click it buys it), which is great, considering it's been going on for just couple of months. I also got much much better with designs, since I kept on working with professionally designed templates and by tinkering with them I learned some cool tricks. I also re-posted the same graphics and copied gig description to other platforms, so I increased my exposure even more without almost any extra work. It's worth mentioning had pretty negative experience thought with the bigger platforms - specifically upwork.com and freelancer.com as they take horrendous fees. So I left these platforms. I can recommend peopleperhour as an alternative platform to expand. It's very convenient but requires a lot of verification. If you want to start really quick focus only on Fiverr.
Today I am able to make money from any place in the world as long as I have my mobile phone and laptop on me. It's not huge amounts, but it's enough to be secured and not fear to loose stability by focusing on my own dreams and things I enjoy, rather than working slavish jobs and doing the "right thing in the system"!
And I have a real portfolio, composed of orders I made for clients on Fiverr. It is really best example of "Fake it until you make it"
This method will work for any digital product or service. Just remember this:
1. Choose your service to offer
2. Check for demand and competition on Fiverr (if there is competition, it's a good sign)
3. Find free templates for your product
4. Modify the templates
5. Post your gigs
6. Get auto-refresh addon for your browser
7. Wait for your first client!
If this helps in any way, do upvote me and follow me.
I will be posting more cool (and sometimes perhaps weird and a bit gray-area) stuff.