Are You On the Road to Job Independence?

This economy could provide more opportunity to start your own business.

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Whether you're having trouble finding a job in your field, or you simply want to forge your own path as an entrepreneur, you now have more options for achieving your goal than ever before.

We know that the landscape for entrepreneurs is looking different, with jobs disappearing and job security at an all-time low, but how it's changing is really interesting.

Take Fiverr.com. The site is a small services marketplace where freelancers offer different services for $5. For example, you could buy a quick Spanish lesson or business testimonial for, you guessed it, a fiver.

Are People Really Making Money?

This provides a chance for those frustrated with the corporate world to use their business skills to connect with new clients and make a little money. How much money? It varies with the service offered, but almost 60 percent of Fiverr members have earned at least $100, and 27 percent have earned more than $500, according to the Road to Job Independence report the company released recently.

People looking for supplemental income or to launch a new business entirely have long flocked to sites like Guru.com and Elance.com, but Fiverr fills an interesting niche for people looking for affordable services, and those that provide them.

According to the report, many Fiverr members are already entrepreneurs, working as freelancers, running Web businesses or online communities, or opening stores on eBay or Amazon. Fiverr just provides another outlet for these micro-entrepreneurs to earn extra income in their fields.

Speaking of those fields, you can find people offering services on Fiverr in:

  • Social marketing
  • Writing
  • Graphics
  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Getting Your Own Start

    If the idea of offering your services online as a way to test the entrepreneurial waters appeals to you, first determine what marketable skills you have. Sure, you can sing Happy Birthday in a video for $5, but how many people will actually take you up on that offer?

    Browse through the section on Fiverr's site where customers post what they're looking for to get an idea of what services are in demand. Then, figure out how much work you want to do for $5. If you know your hourly rate, determine how long it would take you to complete the task. If the amount of time you'd need means you'd make less than your hourly rate, consider paring down the offering.

    For example, if you're into social media and can tweet a customer's message to your followers, set your gig at something that will only take a few minutes to complete, such as tweeting the message three times. That way you're earning enough to pay your bills and still providing value to your customers.

    Make sure your gig profile is fully filled out (including photos, if applicable), and provide all details for the services you're providing. Ask your customers on the site to leave feedback to boost your ratings.

    Look on sites like Craigslist, Elance, and Guru for jobs and gigs you can work in your spare time. Make sure you have a website (or at the very least, an updated LinkedIn profile) that reflects the services you want to offer as a freelancer, as well as links to samples of your work. The more places you're found online, the more people will trust you as an expert in your niche.

    Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.