A lot of people have reached out to me over the past couple months asking me for advice or about my experiences with Fiverr.com. I haven’t talked about Fiverr on this blog before because I haven’t used that platform for a little over 3 years now, so bringing it up now feels a bit strange but it’s apparent that a lot of people are looking for ways to get into the freelance world, and so I might as well weigh in with my opinions now while they are semi-relevant.
For those of you who don’t know what Fiverr is, its a website where creators can sells their services for $5. Eventually your gig price can increase based on levels and packages but we aren’t really going to talk about that today. You can find writers, editors, advertisers, artists and even tarot readers on the site selling their services to people looking for cheap solutions. A lot of companies use the site to outsource or delegate small task jobs so that they can focus on what’s more important. This all sounds pretty straight-forward but what they don’t really advertise is the amount of complete BS that you get to deal with as a seller.
So today I’m going to break down my experience on Fiverr into a few cute little categories:
When you start looking for sellers, you will see their ratings. Most of the ones you’ll see first are the 100% or 99% positive ratings. So naturally you’ll gravitate towards one of those experienced sellers. But what no one tells you is that most of those top sellers have their own fake buyer accounts so that they can buy things from themselves to influence their positive reviews.
Another thing that no one seems to discuss is that some sellers will have fake buyer accounts and will buy from their competitors just so that they can leave negative reviews. Unfortunately this is pretty detrimental as Fiverr doesn’t have a way to get rid of negative reviews once they have soiled your account. You’re just stuck with that awful new percentage. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but that rating percentage is basically your Fiverr livelihood.
When you create your account as a seller you are quickly told that you are by no means allowed to discuss moving a buyer/seller relationship from the site to your personal emails or communications. Any talk of exchanging emails or contact info for off site communication is flagged, filtered and can ultimately lead to a ban. (Fiverr is known to ban top sellers and not pay them their earnings without warning, but I can’t actually talk about that since it never happened to me.)
This protocol makes it basically impossible to grow any kind of real freelance relationship with your buyer, and voids any chance of making them a client. Which feels a little backwards to me. I understand that Fiverr is just trying to keep their money, and that it isn’t a place for building client relationships, but it definitely has the potential to start some real job opportunities; its unfortunate that they are so insecure about losing their buyers, and their cut of each gig, which leads us to the next point.
When I started using Fiverr, I was a full time journalism student, working part time and I was just looking for a few little gigs here and there mainly for experience but also for a couple extra dollars. I didn’t really mind that they were taking 20% of every job I did, or that I had to wait almost 15 days to see the money I earned from each job. I didn’t mind that I was selling my skills for so little because I was making money elsewhere, and it wasn’t really contributing to my survival. For people looking to use Fiverr because they read an article about “how you can work from home by selling on Fiverr”, or they’ve seen income reports of people that use Fiverr, please please please don’t quit your day job yet.
I used Fiverr for about a year and had only brought in approx $2000 on the site by the time I decided it wasn’t for me. Thats roughly $166 a month, which is by no means survivable, unless you’re living with your parents still, then it could actually be kind of feasible I guess. I remember frequently asking, “Is this really what freelancing is going to be like?” and “is this really what I want to do from now on?” It was one of the most thankless experiences of my career to date, but it did give me a bunch of work for my portfolio, an array of different gigs, and so much experience in dealing with bad clients that I think I might actually be a professional at freelance damage control.
Lastly I want to discuss what I think is the worst problem on Fiverr: The Buyers. I believe I had around 300 gigs by the time I quit and I would honestly say at least 100 of them turned out to be super negative experiences. Whether it was them hiring me on to do their job and then doubling the work once they had me locked in, or just the disgusting number of buyers that hired me for writing gigs but then asked me to send them pictures of myself instead, I just ended up getting fed up with the amount of abuse I had to endure from those entitled buyers that thought their $5 was worth $25.
All in all, I understand why people use the site. Its easy, its money, and its a free platform, and I agree that it is a good way to gain experience in both selling your services but also in just working with different kinds of clients. But if you are a licensed professional, or have your degree in something, don’t touch this site. Just put down the sign up and back away slowly. I’m so happy that I took the leap and decided to go the freelance route for my writing career, and I’m also super glad I dropped Fiverr when I did.
I hope this post wasn’t too negative, I don’t want to make posts like this a regular thing, I would much rather keep this a mainly positive place, but I thought it might be okay to share my opinions and experiences with those who are interested.
Thank you so much for reading this post, if you enjoy my content and feel like supporting me in my (*cough cough caffeine addiction*) writing endeavours, I now have that that cute “Buy me a coffee” button that all those cute bloggers have! Feel free to check it out! I’m eventually going to add some kind of incentive or perk (haha get it? PERK!) for those beautiful people that donate. But for now I can thank Heather from The Sassy Mal on etsy, and Christian from Cjej.me