This Woman Got on Fiverr, Quit Her Full-Time Job — and Earned $1 Million

Photo courtesy Charmaine Pocek

It’s called a side gig for a reason.

Maybe a big expense is coming up, or perhaps your 9-to-5 salary just isn’t cutting it, so you pick up a little work to earn some extra cash on the side.

But when’s the last time your means of supplemental income earned you over $1 million?

In 2011, Charmaine Pocek and her husband, Sasa, were saving up to adopt a child. Pocek was working as a corporate recruiter at the time and had 15 years of experience under her belt.

She decided to turn to Fiverr — a freelance services marketplace — to make some extra money writing resumes.

Nearly six years later, she’s made about $1.2 million through the site, setting records as the first U.S. — and the first female — Fiverr seller to break $1 million in earnings.

Not bad for something that was intended to be a side gig.

How She Did It

Pocek said she never would have guessed she’d end up making seven figures off the Fiverr platform. Like many Fiverr freelancers, she started off marketing her services at just $5 a pop.

“I really enjoyed it,” she said. “But it was still a lot of work for what you get back.”

These days, she charges anywhere from about $30 to $800 to write resumes and cover letters and optimize clients’ LinkedIn profiles. She said that makes up about 95% of her work on Fiverr.

“I also do career consulting and interview preparation and things like that, but that is extremely time consuming, so I’ve kind of had to tailor that down and just really focus on the writing,” Pocek said.

When prospective clients visit her Fiverr profile, they can choose to contact her for a custom order, which Pocek said has helped her business a lot.

“Whether you’re in sales or writing or customer service or engineering or computer programming… every resume is different,” Pocek said. “So it’s hard to put a set price on everything. It’s almost impossible. [Now I] can look at their resume… and really give them a customized quote.”

How Her Success with Fiverr Has Impacted Her Life

In addition to not expecting to net such profits from her freelance work, Pocek also didn’t think it’d be more than a side gig.

But in 2014, she left her full-time job.

Pocek said she took about three or four months to think things over before ending her corporate recruiting work and focusing solely on freelancing through Fiverr.

To this day, she’s still adjusting to not being around other people in an office environment, but she says she doesn’t miss the Houston commute.

One important trade-off?

“What I get in return is getting to see my daughter smile,” Pocek said.

The extra income Pocek brought in through Fiverr helped her and her husband adopt their daughter Karen, who is now 3.

“We were able to sign up with an [adoption] agency that we really trusted and wanted to use,” she said. “After we had the money, we signed up and were matched really, really quickly afterwards… Adoption just changed our lives.”

Pocek’s freelance career allows her to work from home and have the flexibility to plan her own schedule.

“I do so much with my daughter’s daycare,” she said. “And we love to travel. Another thing about Fiverr is you can go on a cruise and you can still work. You can still get your couple hours in there a day, working when you’re in the middle of the ocean. It’s allowed us to really have freedom to travel.”

Pocek’s Million-Dollar Advice to Fiverr Sellers

Pocek advises anyone who’s interested in freelancing via Fiverr to just go on and put themselves out there.

“Just start,” she said. “Don’t hesitate. Just go ahead and list your gig… There’s no risk, whatsoever, in listing anything. There’s no capital, no overhead and no risk.”

Pocek said it’s important to highlight your relevant qualifications and credentials on your Fiverr profile and to stay in communication with clients after taking on a job.

“I do hard work and… value every customer,” she said.

Every now and then, she gets notes from clients after she helped with their resume and they’ve landed an interview.

“Those things make me keep doing [this work] and keep wanting to do it,” Pocek said.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.