Jerry Nelson is an award-winning American freelance writer and photojournalist now living the expat life in Argentina. Over the course of his career, he has written for publications such as of CNN, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur—and now he is the subject of the second installment in our new series, Meet the Pros. Get to know Jerry in the blog post and video below, and then hire him for your content and reporting needs on Fiverr Pro.
A week ago I was sitting in my condo overlooking Rio de Plata in Buenos Aires. As I write this, I am in a one-bedroom apartment we rented for three days while in Washington DC.
This afternoon we go to Roanoke, VA to see my mother for several days and then we’re off to Clarksville, TN to take part in the Native Cultural Circle and celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary with some friends.
Finally, we head to Georgia where we’ll spend a week with my daughter before returning to Buenos Aires.
I love the nomadic lifestyle freelancing has afforded me. But I’m not bragging about me, I’m bragging about the platform that makes this kind of flexible career sustainable. Being a Fiverr Pro allows me to work with world-class clients while traveling the world.
Tell us a little about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from, what you do on Fiverr Pro.
Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I could’ve followed the same path that many of the people I graduated high school with followed. Stay in the area, marry my high school sweetheart, work for the same company until I got my gold watch at retirement and been blissfully unaware of the larger world around me.
Being a Fiverr Pro writer and content provider has allowed me to see — and go — beyond the horizon; to experience exotic lands that others my age — and from my hometown — only get to read about or watch on National Geographic.
What motivates you as an entrepreneur?
Social justice. My passion in life is social justice. Fiverr Pro makes it possible for me to write about — and for — social justice issues at reduced prices or do it for free.
Is Fiverr Pro your full-time Gig, or just a side hustle?
When I became a Fiverr Pro in June 2017, 100% of my clients were ones I brought with me. After an initial slow start, I started picking up clients through Fiverr and as I saw the rate of Fiverr clients consistently increase, I shifted my focus from marketing my website to advertising my Fiverr Pro profile. When the ratio hit 50/50, I shut down my website completely and focused on Fiverr Pro.
Now, 95% of my client work is through Fiverr and the other 5% are two long-term clients for whom I’ve been writing for years.
How have your skills grown since joining Fiverr Pro?
Although my writing skill haven’t grown, I do see a greater assertiveness in dealing with clients who want to negotiate or complain about my rates.
Before Fiverr Pro I was often too quick to accept low-paying, uninteresting gigs out of desperation. If you don’t know when your next client will show up you tend, or at least I do, to grasp at crumbs.
Now, if someone wants to negotiate or complain, I feel strong in telling them, “My work is good, fast and inexpensive. You get to pick which two you want.”
Tell us about some of your favorite projects.
I’ve had several interesting clients through Fiverr Pro.
There’s the American expat in Beijing who is a marketing director for DHgate, the largest Chinese importer/exporter. Then there’s the man who is kind of like a modern-day Indiana Jones, but instead of traveling the world fighting Nazis and looking for treasure, he travels the world looking for pearls which he then retails at wholesale prices.
At the moment I’m working on a piece about a guy who got bored with his 9-to-5 job, packed it in and moved to Mexico where he met his wife and started a business selling “scents” — perfume which mimics the aroma of rural Mexico.
What impact has Fiverr had on your life?
Fiverr Pro has had a tremendous impact on my life. I’m 61-years-old and many people my age are worried about retirement. They struggle to pay the bills and dread the thought of being on the horns of a dilemma: either work to make ends meet until they die, or try to figure out how to live on social security.
The American writer Mark Twain once said, “If you find work you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Fiverr Pro has positioned me so I never have to worry about working to survive.
Has it changed the way you think about your profession or career?
Fiverr Pro has increased my sense of professionalism. Occasionally, over the years, I’ve looked at — and tried — content mills. When you’re pumping out words at 5 cents each, you don’t feel very professional and are almost ashamed to call yourself a ‘writer.’
With Fiverr Pro it’s different. Fiverr Pro puts world-class clients in front of me and it makes me dig deeper to provide my absolute best. I no longer feel at times as though I’m a hack — selling words for pennies. I’m a professional writer, I can command professional rates and I can expect clients to treat me accordingly.
Johnny Unitas, a former quarterback with the Baltimore Orioles, once said: “There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceitness is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.”
FiverrPro helps me believe I can get the job done.
Have a question for Jerry? Ask him in the comments below—and then check back on Monday for episode 1.3 of Meet the Pros!