Freelancers are eagles of industry, flying when they want and roosting where they please. They are liberated from the struggles of climbing corporate ladders and punching time cards. And Fiverr doers are a special breed of freelancers that stare convention in the eye until it turns tail with a whimper. Top sellers know how to boost productivity and what it takes to self-motivate and self-manage for success in the freelance wilderness.
I asked three top sellers about their secrets for staying productive in a world full of distractions.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible (Francis of Assisi)
Joel Young is a master voice, video, and animation talent who has worked for some of the world’s best-known brands. A self-described “promotions ninja” and “all-around creative guy,” he amazes his clients with unexpected service and results that draw them back time and again. Since joining Fiverr in 2013, he’s achieved top-seller status through quality, professionalism, and a dedication to a personal experience for each client.
Darshak (better known as San) is a sharp-dressed perfectionist who takes pride in making logos and banners that look almost as good as he does in a suit. He has already created more than 10,000 logos for Fiverr customers. His sharp eye can also fix your existing graphics and give them a new, crisp, and professional edge. Over 11,000 clients agree – he boosts efficiency with shortcuts that don’t cut corners on quality.
Elena found a better work-life balance for herself while dealing with a health condition. She left an advertising agency for the flexibility of freelance design, accepting the challenge of being both manager and artist. She knows how to scavenge through a client’s jumbled ideas, find the best pieces, and lovingly craft them into marketing gems. That’s how she earned top-seller status within a mere two years of joining Fiverr and keeps clients coming back for more.
I tapped into their expert knowledge to find out what the real secrets are to becoming a top seller on Fiverr.
How To Maximize Productivity in a World of Distractions
Nico: As a top seller, you must receive a considerable number of orders. Managing your time becomes critical in order to improve productivity. Have you eliminated any habits that waste your time?
Joel: Early in my career, I spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone who contacted me that I was the right choice for their whiteboard video animation project. I later realized I was actually recruiting the wrong type of customer – one that would ultimately waste more time and cause me more headache than necessary. Now I try to assess my clients. Before sending customers offers, I make sure I’m the right fit for the project and style of work. This saves me a lot of time and leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction at the end of each project.
San: As the number of orders increased, I adjusted my schedule, did some planning, and focused on two things: customer satisfaction and timely responses. Sometimes I even respond to my buyers at midnight through the Fiverr app. I did sometimes play too many computer games, but the increase in orders really inspired me to make better decisions and to perfect my approach to selling.
Elena: I come from an advertising background, and in an advertising agency, your job is strictly the design itself. You have a traffic manager who talks to the client and picks and chooses the information that is relevant to you. I’d just take an order with all the information provided and work with that. I kind of like working under limitations, too, so that was my approach: You give me the information you deem relevant, and I give my understanding of your vision based on that. Now, no matter how small the project is and no matter how much creative freedom the customer is prepared to give me, I kindly direct them to the order’s requirements, and I ask them to answer all the questions there. If I have some additional ones, we go through them too. And some customers do get annoyed, don’t get me wrong. They expect me to just do what I want and see if it fits, but I try to communicate very clearly that we’ll be wasting time if we’re not on the same page from the very beginning. Usually people are understanding and appreciative of it. You do spend more time having these conversations, but it saves you from doing the same job twice in the end. And I struggled with this approach a lot initially because I’m trained to just get the job done, but it benefited me greatly in the end. I’d say investing my time in long conversations with the client made unsatisfactory results nonexistent.
Nico: Tennis great Martina Navratilova once said, “I concentrate on concentrating.” As a freelancer, you are able to work from anywhere, whether it’s a coffee shop, an airport, or your home office. What’s your secret to blocking out distractions and keeping focused on your assignments?
Joel: I only answer messages at certain times of the day. Rather than being open to responding all day, everyday, I purposefully block out specific times in the morning, afternoon, and evening to respond to customers. This way, when I’m in work mode, I only worry about completing projects and tackling my to-do list.
San: As a logo design freelancer, I aim to become a successful entrepreneur by giving my buyers the service they need. In the last year, Fiverr has influenced my life in numerous ways, and I think my dedication and determination are the biggest reasons for my success.
Elena: I initially had to leave my office job due to a health condition. I came to a point when it was not physically possible for me to work full days and especially not overtime. I got inspired by The Muse and the Beast by Yana Frank. She talks about struggling as an illustrator with a chronic condition that severely limits the time she’s able to work. I basically give myself a fixed amount of hours a day, which I plan out daily and divide. It’s roughly 75% for new orders, 15% for revisions, and 10% for messaging. I don’t mix these three – I don’t do revisions when I’m finishing something new, for instance, because it is extremely distracting to me. I also plan how many new orders I’m going to do each day based on the time allotted. And when I have everything planned out and prioritized, my concentration is extremely hard to break. When I know I have two hours to finish the job and that’s it, I will. I do work better under pressure and under strict limitations, though, so I understand that planning a fixed work day is not for everyone. I always encourage people to give it a try. From a biological standpoint, we’re all conditioned to operate in cycles with a certain rhythm, so eliminating chaos from your work process can help a lot.
Nico: Automation has proven to be another popular method for increasing productivity. What are your technology tips or preferred tools to boost work productivity?
Joel: The best way to automate your workflow as a Fiverr seller is to develop great, quick responses. I thoughtfully write responses that I can use for various scenarios to cut response times and to answer the questions I receive the most. Other than that, I try not to automate too much. The main reason my business has grown is because I’m able to offer my customers personal attention and customized service. That helps me to set myself apart from other sellers.
San: To boost efficiency, I have created certain shade and font combinations, so that every time I design a logo, I don’t have to look much for fonts and colors. I also use a digital sketchpad to draw some supporting graphics, and Google and Pinterest provide more ideas related to the styles and designs trending on the market.
Elena: I invested in a second powerful work computer. This way, when I’m working with some heavy files, and then some smaller urgent order comes along, I can just use the other computer for that without disturbing the natural workflow of the bigger project. Then I just return to it and start right where I’ve left off. I don’t have to open all the tabs and all the files all over again and try to remember what my thinking process was.
These Fiverr doers really made me realize the determination and dedication that needs to go into every work day. And they all had great insight into how to do what’s needed, what’s possible, and even what’s impossible. Simplify an intimidating mountain of work by separating the processes and focusing on one at a time. Switching focus, rather than splitting it, is the secret to tackling productivity. Schedule each day as it comes to tailor to its unique workload. And boldly investigate new efficiencies to improve your process from one day to the next. I hope this inspirational advice will help you soar with the top-selling freelancers of Fiverr.
What distracts you while you work? How do you bust bad habits and boost productivity? Share your advice in the comments below!