How this freelancer made over $366,000 after losing her job

Abu Mubarik January 04, 2022
Jennifer Shealey. Photo credit: CNBC Make It.

Many financial experts have advised that to live a relatively comfortable life, one must combine their 9 to 5 jobs and side hustles. Many individuals who want to build wealth and pass it on to later generations have taken this advice seriously.

In recent times, many people are turning their side hustles into full-time jobs owing to the satisfaction they derive from such a decision as well as the money they make from it. One such person is Jennifer Shealey.

She worked as a project administrator for a tile company. She began losing interest in the job after she was overlooked in promotions and upper management positions because she is an LGBTQ minority female.

“Things weren’t working out,” Shealey, 42, told CNBC Make It. “I wanted to grow, and as an LGBTQ minority female, I was often overlooked for promotions and upper management roles. At times, I felt the need to dumb myself down in order to be heard.”

At the time, Shealey was doing her master’s in management. She previously pursued a degree in graphic design and it came in handy when she found freelancer platform Fiverr in 2014. She was upbeat about the potential of the platform.

“It hit me, and I was like, ‘Wow, could this be something that I could leave that sucky job that I had [for]?’” she said.

She signed for it and started offering digital marketing services as a side hustle. Her services included designing social media ads for entrepreneurs.

In 2015, she lost her full-time job and quickly turned to two other side hustles she was engaged in, apart from Fiverr, to survive. As the days went by, she devoted more time to Fiverr and when she realized the returns were good, it became her full-time job out of her home in Melbourne, Florida.

“I lost my job, and I was all in on Fiverr,” she told CNBC Make It in May last year. “It was actually a blessing in disguise.” According to her, she has made over $366,000 in sales since she started on the Fiverr platform. “In the last couple of years, I’ve been hitting six figures, so I don’t find myself slowing down,” she said.

But according to Shealey, hitting six figures was not smooth sailing. She said that when she started, she designed for customers, charging as low as $5.

“Some people might find that silly starting out, like, ‘Why would you do that?’ Well, sometimes you have to do what you got to do to put your name out there,” she said.

Now Shealey’s work cost anywhere from $20 to $125, depending on the type of advertisement and how much work it takes, among other things.

“I could probably double that and still be fine, but I try to be mindful of the marketplace and where people are at in the marketplace because I do like to help everyday people,” the digital marketing specialist said. “That’s how I structure my pricing.”

For people who want to be like her, Shealey’s advice to them is, “be patient.”

“I just wouldn’t give up. I didn’t see a huge return in the first three years, and I was busy working other part-time jobs. But, I just wouldn’t lose heart,” she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 4, 2022


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