Workers use digital freelance marketplaces to make extra cash as side hustle, connect with people during pandemic crisis

Business

(WTNH) — The last year saw unemployment soar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People across the country flocked to food banks for the first time. But 2020 was not a bad year for everyone.

“For the year 2020, I made $378K on Fiverr,” said Alexandra Fasulo. “Which is crazy.”

It is really crazy when you know Fiverr got its name because the services offered on its digital freelance marketplace start at just five dollars. Fasulo started out a few years ago doing some ghostwriting as a side hustle. Then she decided to expand.

“Okay, if I’m only making $15 per order, but I do eight of these each day. I’m going to make over $100 a day,” Fasulo explained. “I’m still going to be able to pay my bills, so let’s do it, you know?”

There are lots of skills offered on Fiverr: Graphic design; Web development; Video editing; Jingle writing, ect.

“We created a platform where freelancers can sell services to businesses around the world,” explained Brent Messenger, Fiverr’s Vice President of Public Policy and Community Engagement.

“Anything that can be delivered digitally, you can find on Fiverr.”

It costs nothing to sign up and make a profile listing your skills. Fiverr handles the marketing, the money, and any disputes. It also takes 20% of the price.

We should be clear about one thing, however: very few people made a living on Fiverr. Most people do what Will Cayer does – make a little extra sitting in his Hamden backyard.  

“This year, I was able to pay off student loan debt. I was able to put a little away,” Cayer said. “I have a two-and-a-half-year-old that we’re starting to save for her college.”

Cayer works for a college counseling service full time. For the past two years, he has also offered his services on Fiverr.

“So, I’m able to help students with their college lists, college essays, resumes, interview preparation, all through the platform,” Cayer explained.

Making money from your backyard became very popular during the pandemic. So did hiring relatively cheap freelancers.

“So, we had traffic coming in from all across the business spectrum,” said Messenger. “From the mom-and-pop brick and mortar, all the way up to the large companies that were like, ‘We still need to do things.'”

“Anybody that’s looking to make a little extra money can use Fiverr to find that niche and to connect with people and find a way to make a little extra money on the side,” Cayer said.

The keyword there is “little”. Fasulo, the Fiverr millionaire, warns this is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

“I always want people to know this was a lot of hard work and anyone else can do it, but it took a long time and I work every day,” Fasulo warned.

She only started making the big money when she was invited to be part of the elite “Fiverr Pro”. Some similar sites include Freelancer.com, PeoplePerHour, and Upwork, where freelancers bid on jobs. Just remember, these sites do not withhold taxes, so freelancers need to report their own income to the IRS.

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