Photo: Mary Ingrassia
Like most millennials just out of college, two years ago Mary Ingrassia, 26, was struggling to make a living as a freelance graphic designer. The New York Institute of Tech graduate knew she had talent, but finding a way to monetise her graphic design and videomaking skills proved to be harder than she had expected.
Enter Fiverr.com, an online marketplace, where creative types sell wares and services for a small fee (usually $5 to $10).
After advertising her speed-colouring logo videos—used for marketing businesses or as personal greetings—with little success, Ingrassia decided it was time to think out of the box.
Using only a camera phone and her playful bird, Pickle, Ingrassia shot a series of YouTube advertisements featuring Pickle dancing around a Fiverr logo that turned her business into an overnight success story.
Fiverr customers clicked with Ingrassia’s vivid designs, and loved the idea of using Pickle in their ads. Soon, Ingrassia was featured on Fiverr’s homepage and was fielding more orders than she could handle.
“I expected nothing, but the orders started pouring in,” Ingrassia said. “Over the past year, it’s grown to five to fifteen orders per day, with people spending different amounts (between $10 and $20). To date, I’ve made $10,000 and the money just keeps growing.”
We asked Ingrassia to share some tips for aspiring freelancers looking to eke out a business:
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. “Think about whether you’d buy what you’re selling,” she said. “If I saw this, would I say it looks cool? I may see the appeal to it, but not everyone else will.”
Focus on what sets you apart. In an online marketplace as saturated as Fiverr, it pays to stand out. “Even when I create a new gig, I think about how the video might be promoted and why they’d want to use my logo over somebody else’s,” Ingrassia said. “You have to put your own spin on something.”
Stay attuned to key trends. “It’s important to adapt yourself to what’s going on right now,” said Ingrassia, who knew she was in business when she realised her videos could go viral on Facebook and Twitter.
Check out the video Ingrassia made exclusively for Your Money below:
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