Episode 7 with Alexandra Fasulo
Structuring Your Time for Six Figures

Alex Fasulo is a top-rated Fiverr Pro seller earning 6-figures at only 25 years old. She offers press releases, blogging, website copy, email copy and pretty much anything else related to writing. She found out about Fiverr at the same time that she started her first full-time job right after college. Within months Fiverr took over as her main source of income and she's accumulated thousands of positive reviews and satisfied customers.

Structuring Your Time for Six Figures

Alex Fasulo is a top-rated Fiverr Pro seller earning 6-figures at only 25 years old. She offers press releases, blogging, website copy, email copy and pretty much anything else related to writing. She found out about Fiverr at the same time that she started her first full-time job right after college. Within months Fiverr took over as her main source of income and she's accumulated thousands of positive reviews and satisfied customers.

In this episode, Alex speaks to us about:

  • The actual strategies she used to scale her freelance earnings to six figures:

    How she went from earning $5 per gig to being a Fiverr Pro seller.

  • What a typical day looks like for a six figure freelancer:

    How Alex divides her day between fulfilment, customer service and marketing.

  • The importance of keeping an eye on competitors:

    To help you determine what you should be selling and how.

  • How you can slowly edge your way into the freelance world:

    Ensuring you don’t get overwhelmed in the beginning is crucial for a long-term freelance career.

  • Tips for using the Fiverr platform:

    Including making the best use of the buyer request platform.

Full transcript

Juan

You're listening to the Six-Figure Freelancer audio course, brought to you by And Co from Fiverr. We interviewed top professionals who share their exact formulas for success in starting, growing, and maintaining a six-figure freelance career. And I'm your host, Juan Felipe Campos. Okay, freelance masterminds, remember: on every episode of the Audio Course, there's a giveaway of digital goods or resources from our partners that other people don't have access to. To get your audio course resources, subscribe to the audio course on iTunes and then visit and.co/resources. Again, that's a n, d dot c o slash resources to access your digital goods.

Juan

Alex Fasulo is a top-rated Fiverr Pro seller earning 6-figures at only 25 years old. She offers press releases, blogging, website copy, email copy and pretty much anything else related to writing. She found out about Fiverr at the same time that she started her first full-time job right after college. Within MONTHS Fiverr took over as her main source of income and she's accumulated thousands of positive reviews and satisfied customers. Let's hear more from her on this episode of the Six Figure Freelancer Audio Course.

Juan

Alex, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Alex

Thank you for having me. I'm very excited.

Juan

Yeah, so we're going to cover a lot of content here about crushing it as a freelancer and getting to six figures. You certainly know something about it that most of us don't. Can you give us at a high level just an overview about what it is that you understand that most freelancers don't get about reaching those levels of income?

Alex

You know, this is probably not the sexiest answer ever, but for me it's truly just having a really intense work ethic and having put in a lot of time to get where I am today. So a lot of people would say, oh, it only took you three years, you know, in the grand scheme of things that's not very long, but when you're 25, that feels like forever. So to make what I make today, I definitely worked really hard for three years and it's amazing to finally be, you know, feeling the payoff for that. But I would say my secret, you know, my success, whatever is I get up early and I get right to work and I work a lot. And it took me a little while to learn this work ethic. Like it didn't just come to me right away, but with the popularity on Fiverr, I had to. I had no choice type of thing. And I work six, seven days a week and I get up at 6:30am to get started. So that's probably, people want an easier answer than that, but I just have to be honest.

Juan

When do you stop working?

Alex

So I just, if I have a normal day, I will stop in the late afternoon. I'm just one of those... My mind by the late afternoon has had enough. I have a little bit of juice left if I want to sign back on after dinner. I like have a resurgence, but generally I try and stop around 4pm. And I tried to unplug and go to dinner and be a normal person and not stare at my computer. So, but I get up at 6:30. I'm right to work at about 7:00 AM on my laptop. That's just how I like to do it. Um, it makes it with the workload, the volume that could come through. I know some people get overwhelmed with that on Fiverr when you don't know how to handle the volume. For me, it's way less stressful if I get started on that volume first thing in the day because you have 16 hours left to kind of cover yourself in case the timers are running out.

Alex

So getting up early, getting right to work. Yeah. And stopping around 4:00 PM or so if I have a really crazy day, I'll just work straight since to dinner time. But then I'm only human, so at one point I have to be like I'm done. And I don't have the push notifications turned on my phone so I can try and live a normal life when I step away from it. So, um, I don't have anything connected to my phone so when I walk away from my laptop I don't really know what's going on and I've learned that that's important because you know, you can take stuff personally or if someone's upset with something and that sort of thing, it'll ruin your dinner. So I walk away. That's my... You gotta have the balance there. So.

Juan

Totally. Okay. So if someone... Here's the thing, I talk to a lot of freelancers and I think it's pretty well understood across the freelance community that we have to work really hard, but I think what a lot of people struggle with is figuring out what to do with all that time and if you were to put people's activities on a pie chart, it's like totally whack. Like someone like you would look at it and be like, oh my gosh, no, but you're like, yeah, you're working a lot, but like 90 percent of the time you're just building out your own personal website, not even doing client work. Like if you were to create kind of a success six figure template for us, how would you recommend that we split up our time to actually generate that kind of income? Like what percentage goes to like, maybe marketing and branding, to outreach, to working in the business instead of on the business and vice versa.

Alex

Okay. So yeah, it's funny because I also do some stuff off of Fiverr and they would, there would definitely be different pie charts for each because the nice thing about Fiverr is it's kind of your own marketing department already. So if I were to do like a Fiverr pie chart as opposed to just like an everyday one, um, I would say I would do half of the chart would be doing the actual work and putting your time into the work because at the end of the day the quality of the work you turn around is what is going to grow your profile or not. You know, you can't get away with turning around a crap product every single day and hope that you're going to make a lot of money. So I would say half the day is spent purely for me writing, editing, proofreading, just getting in the zone. I would say about a lot of my time today is spent on customer service and answering messages that come to me on Fiverr.

Alex

And when you get to the pro seller level, you're charging a lot. So people have a lot of questions before they want to pay you. Understandable. So every time when I wake up in the morning, some days I spend almost a full hour before I even get to work because I am answering every one, I call it my customer service time and I put a lot of time, I'd say like, I'd put 20 percent of my day into customer service, answering potential clients, making sure current clients are happy, asking them if they want anymore edits, that type of thing because it is reviews at the end of the day. So that does matter. All right. What's that? So what am I up to? Seventy percent. I'm a writer, not a mathematician. Oh my god.

Juan

So what do you do with the other 30?

Alex

Oh, okay. I would say with the other 30, if this is just a general day, I would say, you know, like, I mean, I guess that's like the only two I guess.

Juan

Do you spend time nurturing and then actually fulfilling?

Alex

Yes. Okay. Let me change my percentages. I would say like 60 percent working, 30 percent customer service, keeping people happy, and 10 percent, I am a very big proponent on doing your homework and stalking the competition. And I sift around and check out other people in my categories all the time, kind of obsessively. It's probably a little weird if these people knew how much I was stalking them. But I'm a firm believer in doing your homework and if you don't want to fall behind the competition, you have to know what the competition is doing. So a lot of the gigs I offer, I never even thought to offer. I got the idea from seeing other people doing it. Obviously I didn't copy the wording or anything, you know, I, I just was, I took their idea, which, you know, say what you will, it's definitely one way to keep moving forward. So I would say I spend about 10 percent of my day checking out what other people are doing. So I'm always wanting to know what new add ons I could offer to make my gig better or what new gigs I could be opening, that type of thing. Um, so yeah, that's how I break it down. Now with Fiverr, I don't have to put any time into marketing and branding. So for like my own business, it's half the day is marketing and branding, you know, getting all those people to know who you are. With Fiverr, that's the beauty of it. There's a third that's like dropped out of the pie chart.

Juan

Okay. So the difference would be 60 percent working, 30 percent nurturing, customer support, sales and then 10 percent kind of stalking and like industry, like getting context. So that's when you're doing it on Fiverr. And then what's the breakdown for when you're just doing the other freelance work?

Alex

So when I'm doing the other freelance work, um, I'm definitely one of those weird serial entrepreneur people and my, you know, my mom and my sister is too. So when we get together it's, it's bad. But I spend the other time of my day, I have my own social media management business and then I helped my mom with her paint and stuff and my sister with her clothing brand. So I would say for all of those, when I'm working on those, like the pie chart would be honestly like 50 percent marketing and branding and advertising. Like just letting people know that you exist and you're offering this service and you know with doing things online today, it is so hard to break through the noise, you, the time you spend on search engine optimization, writing new content, social media marketing, all this stuff that I don't have to do on Fiverr. So that would be 50 percent of my day alone, just growing my own business and then I would say 20 percent actually doing the business, actually performing the service, probably 20 percent answering emails and customer service time nurturing leads, that type of thing. And then probably another again on 10 percent of checking out what other people are doing on Instagram in that type of thing, for inspo.

Juan

There's a really good book about this, The Originals, that kind of answers the question about innovation because everyone says they want to be first movers but you know, like are we really sure we want to be first movers? There's about an eight percent success rate for someone that's first in something. Whereas there is about a 40 percent success rate when you're second. And you know, we all really want to innovate and we want to be like the Steve Jobs of our industry and saying like, I don't care what the market says, I'm going to create an iPhone or an iPad or whatever, but what you're doing is very intelligent. It's basically just building and expanding on things that are already proven and already work and that's why all this context must be so key to your success is in understanding what's selling, how much is it selling for, who is it selling to, what are the kind of reviews that they're putting, what are the features of the products and services.

Juan

So that seems to be very key to your process and maybe something that most of us are not spending a lot of time doing is in that research and contextualizing ourselves. Okay, so that's the two different pie charts for how you actually spend your time as a freelancer and also waking up early, working super hard throughout the day. Let's say someone's listening at home, they're taking notes on that. Okay, got it. Got It, got it. Got It. How do I actually then take all that info and deploy it in my own career? What are the step by steps of actually crushing it on Fiverr? Is it just starting at a low, like I'm imagining like starting at a low ticket offer and then crushing it with that, getting a lot of good reviews or is there maybe some features or buttons or anything like that on the website that could help us scale that much faster?

Alex

Okay. Yeah, so I mean I, I'll speak from my experience, which obviously has at this point worked out. So uh, for me, I know I focused so much on the reviews in the beginning. I understood right away that everything is reviews when it comes to Fiverr or Yelp or any of these review-based sites. So I started out very low key. I only had one Gig, I charged $5 for editing and I did it for a full year and that's all I did. Like I just made sure I got five stars on everything for a year and I knew that that was important for my base to then grow from that. So at that point, after a year when I had grown my five star base, I had some credibility to my profile. Then I started to open more gigs and very quickly I had a pretty high volume of work because people will come my profile and see that I'm not just a new seller or that I'm not someone with no reviews that they have to take a chance on.

Alex

And that's something I explained to a lot of people because they'll ask me all the time now and I'll say, you know, no one wants to hear this, but it is a lot of patience in the beginning, because you can't just expect someone who has never met you and you have no reviews or anything on your profile to just assume that you're the best, you know, they, they want some proof. So, uh, in Fiverr, you know, the, the proof is the review. So for me, I really focused on the reviews in the beginning more than anything else. Then when I started to take it more seriously as a potential source of full-time income, then I started to open more gigs, I still... I always had a problem where I didn't charge enough. That's just like one of my problems and you know, my mom and people were telling me for so long you can charge more for your press releases, like you're getting 30 every night.

Alex

That means that you can up the price, like you can't handle your workload. And I was like 23. So I was like, I don't know what you're talking about. And then one day I actually raised the price and it was the best thing I ever did. And um, you know, that was, that was that. And then with Fiverr Pro came that changed kind of like the trajectory of everything. But one other feature I always tell people about that they aren't aware that exists, and I did use this feature was the buyer request forum, where people actually post.. it's like almost like a job posting forum inside Fiverr and you don't, no one knows it's there. And it's under the orders tab. And people in your industry post jobs that they want completed and you can apply to them, you don't have to wait for someone to come to you and your inbox, you can take matters into your own hands.

Alex

So I did a lot of those, um, you know, they're super low pay. Those people know that people are kinda crawling to them, but you know, if you're in it for the long haul, like it's what you have to do because it's how you get your reviews. So I used that for about a year.

Juan

So it supports your reviews?

Alex

Oh yeah. Well, cause then so okay. So if you go to the forum, it only shows you gigs that you can complete for people. It doesn't waste your time. So I would see editing gigs, all the stuff I can do, I would write to people and pitch myself why they should pick me, you know, which was a good training for me and my customer service. I definitely, it definitely helped me like refine how I present myself. And I would say to people, you know, this is why you should pick me. I can do this for you in 24 hours, blah, blah blah, and then if they picked me it would still go as normal through my normal gig. So when they were done and left me a review, it was as if it was a normal order and that way... Because I know like the waiting game can be psychologically tough for people. Like you have to just be like, oh I hope I get a buyer today, but you can actually be kind of aggressive about it on this forum. And I always tell people you might not know it's there, but you should definitely use it. So those are like my two. My two things starting out. Yeah, yeah.

Juan

Do you find that you have to create a brand new service page for that custom job? Like let's say you are doing press releases, but then you see that someone has a gig listing for like, you know, I need someone to like write a blog article for me and then you're like, Hey, I will write your blog article, but right now I do mostly press releases but it's like the same skillset. Do you then have to create a new service page just for that offer and kind of do it custom built or do you say, Hey, just book me through my press release gig, but you and I have already talked and I know that it's about this. Like how does that work?

Alex

Yeah, I mean I know for me like, you know, this sounds silly but I've always had such a high volume of work coming through my profile that there's days like there's a new gig I've been wanting to open for two months and I have not had the time to do it. Like, which is great, you know, but I ended up being a little more lazy with that and I'll just say, hey, the title may say press release gig, but I'm writing you a blog. And then most people are like, okay, as long as it's good. Because if it's not I'll have, you know, I want to refund. And then I'm like, 'just ignore the title I'm providing to you what you asked of me'. So that's how I go about it. But if I had more time on my hands, I'd probably try and be a little more professional about it, but I also like with Fiverr Pro, my account manager and stuff recommends that I not have like 15 pro gigs because then that tells buyers that you're diluted and you're not focusing enough on their request. So for right now I try and keep it at six, seven gigs. But that's, I don't know if that, you know, that's a little different than regular gigs because I used to have way more open than I do now. So.

Juan

What are your thoughts on this? Because in the early days when you are just now starting to get into Fiverr, before you have the ratings, you need a little bit of savings runway, you know, because like you're not going to replace your income right off the bat. You have to stack up enough ratings, enough reviews. So do you recommend at the beginning having a lot of different gigs for all your different services, getting some money in the door, getting some ratings and reviews and then over time getting rid of some of those gigs that you noticed are not selling? Or should you start right off the bat, very niche, having maybe two or three services that you can totally crush it at and just focus on that. What's the split there?

Alex

You know, I mean my experience is the latter. Like I, I can't really speak on going full throttle right from the beginning, but I know for me I had previously not been a freelancer so I had previously worked in office jobs. So I needed that year to only have three gigs open to get a grip and, and understand how I was going to make this happen. Because you can't deliver late, you know, that penalizes your profile. Make your buyers mad. Like you need, you know, for me to develop the discipline that I have today, I would recommend that people go slow at first because it's, it's drastically different than what you might think it is. And if you're already a freelancer then maybe not, maybe you're already seasoned for it, but if you're someone who's thinking of going into this for the first time or jumping from a regular office job, go slow because otherwise I've seen it overwhelm people and then they end up, they end up stopping because they're overwhelmed.

Alex

I only had one gig for a year and that worked out well for me. I mean I didn't feel overwhelmed by it. I wasn't like I didn't get a bad taste in my mouth about any of it. When I opened three more gigs, I only had four gigs going and it was already overwhelming me a year later. So you know, I finally at like three year mark was able to handle 10, 15. Like I had become a professional freelancer. But I would say if you're not, if you don't have freelancing experience, like that's totally okay. But I would be cautious because those one star reviews, those late deliveries, they will haunt you, you know, unless you. Unless you have a ton of reviews. I'm at this point, I have like 3,600 reviews on my profile, which is really nice. So the average, if you get one star review every so often, it doesn't hurt it, but in the beginning you know the math of it, it hurts it. So.

Juan

That's really good insight. There's another thing that I want to talk to you about... There is a very strong tendency with a lot of freelancers because we. It's easy for us to self identify as like small business owners. Even from day one when it's just us, we put up a website, it's like, oh, you know, creative studios, blah blah blah, and we have these big visions to actually grow an agency and the tendency here is to want to take on the jobs and then flip them by outsourcing them to hopefully cheaper talent so that then you can make a margin and then you're profiting from just kind of being this talent broker. Do you have any experience and actually outsourcing the work? Do you recommend that? Do you recommend just like staying true to the one service that you can offer and then later on scaling? What are your thoughts on that?

Alex

Yeah. I would love to be a talent broker one day, um, some day soon possibly because I always joke that I have carpal tunnel... My wrists hurt at the end of the day from how many words I write. Um, which is a good problem to have. So I'm not complaining, but I think it's a natural part of the freelancing lifecycle and when you get to that point where you need help and it feels unnatural to ask for it because part of freelancing kind of feels so independent that to acknowledge that it's time to bring someone into the equation feels odd. But I do recognize that it's the next thing that I should do. And that's definitely on the table for me in the next year of things I want to accomplish and look more into and that type of thing. But I also believe it's harder with writing because writing is subjective and I kind of artistic and super personal.

Alex

So you know, one person, two people might be perfectly good writers, both of them, but they don't think the other one's a good writer. So it's just, you know, so it's funny to like work with other writers, but I definitely need to do that because I was... I cannot continue at this pace forever. I mean it's, it's a blessing like I don't... It's amazing that I have the volume that I have right now, but I do recognize I am only a human being so at some point I'm going to need help and I definitely, that's like, that's my, that's my shortcoming right now of things that I need to work on. Yeah.

Juan

But Alex, I so appreciate you being so open and sharing that with us because I really think that we have a tendency to scale way too early on and the fact that you're sitting here saying I'm a six figure freelancer that's totally crushing it on Fiverr. I have back to back orders for seven days a week worth of work. Like totally crushing it and only now am I having conversations with myself about how do I actually scale this as opposed to someone that gets like $2,000 in the door and they're like, okay, like I need to start hiring people and then blow this up and you're like, I can't sacrifice the quality of the product and that is the secret sauce. That's what's been running your success up to this point and it's a good point of reference I think for a lot of us to hear, here's someone has been doing it for three years and only now it's starting to think about scaling that. Really, really good insight. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Juan

So let's do a quick recap of this episode. It's been great Alex. so you work really hard. You get up at 6:30 AM, you typically work until 4 or 5:00 PM and you have two different kind of like pie charts of how you break up your time on Fiverr and then how you break up your time for just off-Fiverr freelance work. On Fiverr, you spend about 60 percent of your time actually fulfilling the work, uh, because so much of your lead gen comes from you actually crushing it, getting good ratings, good reviews. Then you spend 30 percent nurturing, questions, sales prospecting, the customer support, all of that, and then 10 percent just looking at your competition, making sure that you're staying relevant and creating services that people actually want to pay for. So that's on your Fiverr pie chart.

Juan

Then off Fiverr, you're spending about 50 percent on marketing and lead gen because when you're off Fiverr, now you have to be responsible for every prospect you talk to and taking it all the way to a close sale. You're spending 20 percent of your time on fulfillment, 20 percent of your time on sales questions and about 10 percent of your time still looking at others. We talked about the. This is from the book The Originals. It's about an eight percent success rate for first movers and there's a 40 percent success rate for second movers. And so you're playing in that second mover space where you have great context about the whole Fiverr ecosystem. You're being very intentional about looking at what others are doing and what clients are saying about those services so that you can pivot your services accordingly and command those higher ticket prices.

Juan

So then some other things you talked about was getting reviews and ratings first to make sure you have a good track record on your profile that shows that you can do what you say you're going to do. So even if that means having lower prices at the beginning to just get enough momentum and get enough of those ratings, it will make it easier for people to take a chance on you down the road because they can see that you have a proven track record. Once you do have that track record, you want to be able to increase your prices and make sure you don't stay in that hamster wheel for too long of just doing low ticket work. Then a great tip you shared with us was looking at the buyer request forum, which is under the orders tab of Fiverr.com and you can actually apply to gigs that people are posting, so now this is kind of an outbound strategy where you can create your own luck and be responsible for closing sales as opposed to waiting passively with your current gig listings.

Juan

Then another point you shared with us was transitioning slowly into Fiverr.com from another, like a full time role that you may have right now. So that way you're not overwhelmed and you can start growing your business through high quality work and positive reviews as opposed to just spreading yourself too thin at the beginning and just desperately needing those sales. Your story is worth noting because you are continuing to do fulfillment of your orders so that you don't sacrifice quality and it's after three years of doing multiple six figures that you're now thinking about, how do I actually scale this? Hire other people under me.

Juan

Okay, freelance masterminds. Do not forget to pick up your digital resources from this episode. It's very simple. You just subscribe to the show on iTunes and then once you've done that, visit and.co/resources. Subscribe on iTunes and then visit a n, d dot c dot o slash resources to get your digital goods. See on the next one.

Juan

Alex, as you continue to grow and take your business forward, where's the best place for people to learn more about what you're doing and stay in touch with you?

Alex

You know what I would say right now, it would be Instagram. I've put a lot of time and effort into my Instagram and I actually upload my own Instagram TV videos where I talk about Fiverr. And I just started doing that when the CNBC article came out. So I have four videos up on it right now. So I'm not on Youtube. I just kind of do it all on instagram is keep it all in one place. I answer every person that ever messages me on there, I answer everything. I upload photos a lot. In my free time, I love to take photos and I like to make little videos when I travel and that type of thing, like classic millennial and I use my Instagram Stories a lot and it's how I keep in touch with my family and that type of thing so I don't really use Facebook as much anymore. And I did have a travel blog going and I'm really bad. I haven't blogged on it in a full year because I've been so busy. So best place to get in touch with me is Instagram. It's my full name. So it's @AlexandraFasulo, which is f-a-s-u-l-o and that's me. That's how you will find me. And yeah, I answer everyone. So.

Juan

And how do we find you on Fiverr?

Alex

On Fiverr? So fiverr.com/faswaldo. And I had no idea this would become my livelihood three years ago. I would never take that username. So if your listening pick a more professional username and it's spelled f-a-s-w-a-l-d-o. Like where's Waldo. FasWaldo. Yeah, that's me.

Juan

Okay, Alex, thank you so much for coming on the show. We will be linking to your profiles in the show notes. Thank you for sharing all this with us.

Alex

Yeah, thanks Juan. I love talking about this and if I can help anyone not do what I did, go for it, you know.

Juan

Great. Thank you.

Alex

Thanks.

Juan Felipe Campos
About your host

Juan Felipe Campos

Juan Felipe Campos serves as VP of Technology at Manos Accelerator in partnership with Google Launchpad. As a freelancer, Juan has worked on growth and customer acquisition for VC-funded startups including Ease, Admix, Timeular, and AND CO from Fiverr. He hosts the Six Figure Freelancer audio course/YouTube channel, leads the Freelance Masterminds Facebook Group, and is passionate about helping remote workers make more money and live life on their own terms. His companies have been featured in major publications including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes.

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