By Adam F.
Everyone can use a little extra cash monthly. It was no different for me. With two kids, a mortgage, and a bunch of bills, and purchases to pay off, my wife and I found that we were largely spending our entire respectably sized monthly combined income. Throw into that the need to do things with your kids to keep them entertained. All in all, I made a decision that I needed to try to pull in at least a little extra money monthly to help out.
I read about and watched videos online about strategies to make some extra cash. Some of them tried to sell the idea that you can make cash while you sleep, on complete autopilot, and with minimal effort. I am sure some of these are legitimate, but I never quite felt the desire to pull the trigger on those. One method I kept coming across over and over again, however, was a site called Fiverr.
Iâve always had an affinity for writing, and have written for the now-defunct content farm on Yahoo about a decade ago, as well as occasionally work for a content writing site (with per word pay) named Textbroker. I decided to try Fiverr out with a variety of different gigs which I thought I could be proficient with. My experience was an interesting one.
How Fiverr Works
The concept is easy enough. You create a gig to leverage some ability that you have and set up a pricing tier for how much you are willing to perform varying levels of this gig. By doing so, you become a seller. Buyers interested in your particular skill set will explore your profile, if they happen to find it, and will be able to either place an order for one of your tiered gigs with information about what they need.
The buyer places the order with Fiverr and inputs their payment. The payment is then held by Fiverr until the seller completes work on and âdeliversâ the final product to the buyer. The buyer reviews the order, and if satisfied, accepts the delivery, at which point the seller gets credited with the money that the buyer invested into this order.
The more you earn and the better-ranked you are, the higher you move up in the levels. At your first $1000 you become a level 1 seller, which affords you a few extra benefits. At $2000 with some additional considerations, you go to level 2, and long after that, at $20,000, you graduate to the elite level seller, which comes with some good useful perks.
Choosing Your Skills
The seller is permitted to set up a few gigs to start with. Since I love reading, I decided to make one of my gigs one of a beta reader. I first scoured Fiverr to make sure that there were others successfully engaged in this type of work, and found many people who do that with great reviews. I figured that regardless of the topic, I would be able to read almost any book, story, or essay, and do so with a critical eye for plot âholesâ and things that could help the author improve from my perspective as a reader.
I also set up other gigs. One was a gig of writing short stories of varying lengths, writing blog posts or rewriting articles, and proofreading written content. My previous experience with Textbroker gave me a little bit of a leg up on writing assignments, but the platform was a bit different as instead of picking which projects I wanted to do, I instead would need to wait for interested buyers to find me and consider me for the work.
While I set up these gigs in late October of 2019, I didnât receive my first order until late January 2020. I had given up hope until suddenly an order was placed. My first order was actually a beta-reading project. It was my first and only order, so I took a lot of time to read through the authorâs work on the provided Google document, and left many constructively critical comments. In the end, the authorâs response blew me away. He couldnât have been happier with my work, calling me âexactly the kind of beta reader he wanted to work with.â
Shortly after a writing gig showed up for an article rewrite someone needed. Then an English class teacher from the Dominican hired me to write an original short story for his class. Having completed all of these orders with maximum effort, I was rewarded with some cash, as well as 5-star reviews. I would soon learn how valuable and chaotic 5-star reviews would be to my Fiverr experience.
One of the hardest lessons I learned with Fiverr is the time management of projects. When I first started, I felt lucky to get any orders. Sellers with the best reviews and ratings are listed toward the top of the search results that buyers can perform. A new seller ranks very low on the sellers list inside of gigs, so it takes a prospective buyer to go pretty deep into the search rankings to find you.
Writing articles and proofreading are obscenely prolific gigs on the platform, which made it extra surprising when I started getting those orders. As my 5-star reviews grew in quantity, I just assumed I was climbing the rankings. When I received my first order in late January, I was able to take the time with it, and deliver a great product to the buyer. In February, things started picking up. By the end of the month, I was nearing $300 in earnings. In March, things took off. The completion of orders began to become more challenging and I found myself giving up all my limited free time, writing deep into the evening hours after my kids went to bed. In March I pulled in a bit over $700. By April things somehow went even faster, as I was able to generate just over $900.
My biggest takeaway was that while it is great to be in demand and to not turn clients who want to order with you away, if you are limited on time, delivering orders on time becomes very challenging, In the months I have earned the most Iâve also asked for a lot of extensions and had a handful of late deliveries.
Some clients reach out ahead of time, and work out a custom offer for the price and timeline of their gigs, while others just place the order with your tiered gig offerings. It doesnât take long for your workload to get very intense, so managing timelines is a virtual part of the process, especially when you are doing this part-time.
Prices: How To Start and How to Scale Up
Anyone who is just starting that sets their gig prices too high is unlikely to find much success. Buyers are wary of investing their hard-earned money into someone who they cannot gauge in terms of the productivity and efficacy based on their reviews. Strategically, when starting, you would want to set your prices low. The idea of Fiverr is that you can set prices as low as $5 for your gig. As a beginner, if your gig is relatively simple, you should try starting with that.
This, of course, has to be paired with the output of high-quality work. This effort gets you good reviews, pulling you up Fiverrâs ranking, and getting you more attention. As this happened to me, I recognize that my time was valuable, and I needed to be able to make it worth more. I was able to up my gig prices. I thought the pure volume of orders coming in would be somewhat mitigated by the raised price, but I did not fully consider how important the reviews were.
What I found was that even after bumping my prices up a second time, the traffic did not slow down much. In some respects, it actually got bigger. People would be placing bulk orders for higher pay, and I would be able to negotiate timelines with them. My earnings per order began to average over $20. Charging $10 for less than 30 minutes of work for an article rewrite was not bad, but getting $50 – $100 for a couple of hours over a few days was a really solid boost to my earnings.
Benefits Of Working On Fiverr
There are things about Fiverr that I loved. As someone who likes to read, it has been great to do the beta reading gigs. The article and blog post writing gig have easily been my most prolific venture. It has also consumed most of my time. I have however met some great clients and worked repeatedly with many of them. They appreciate my openness and hard work, so they come back to me regardless of my changing gig prices.
If you can manage multiple gigs, there are some easy ones that I have not yet utilized. Logo creation is in huge demand on Fiverr, and many people highly underpriced themselves. Article writing is more time consuming, but I think that if I did this full time, I would be able to work an 8 hour day and stay up to date on all of my assignments.
There are more people than you may think to look for your brand of talents. Buyers out there will pay a lot more than what you think they might for a lot less than you think they would. I have also discovered that you can pitch your offers through the Buyerâs requests section, and you can generate more business that way.
Of course, once the gigs start rolling in, pulling in around $1000 even is great. If you have the time to pair this with another comparable platform, you can start raking in the money as long as you are either willing to put in the hard work or have methods by which you can outsource your work to other sellers, and pay them a portion of what you are earning.
Negatives Of Working on Fiverr
Fiverr is wonderful, but there are some aspects I have observed about it that showed me its darker fringes too. As an article rewriter, I have been asked multiple times to write school papers, and have turned those down as it is unethical and essentially illegal to do. In other respects, you may get offers that sound like they are sketchy, so beware of those.
There are also shady buyers. Some immediately stand out. I was contacted multiple times from different Fiverr addresses by someone claiming to be from China, asking to hire me to set up an account based in the US for them on a totally different platform (like Upwork). Most of the time, these buyers are quickly banned by Fiverr but be careful not to be suckered in by their antics or you will suffer a ban too.
Then some buyers seem and act legitimate but are just clever con men. My worst experience was with a buyer who requested that I watch three YouTube videos about preparing meals and write out the recipes for them. Altogether this probably took me 2.5 hours. I submitted the work thinking I kept to the request. The buyer responded….days later, saying that I did not follow the instructions and requested a revision. As I tried to verify what it was that I didnât do, I got no answers. I asked for extensions and clarifications repeatedly to no avail. Keeping in mind that the buyer already had the documents with my work in their possession, they then responded almost a week later saying they wanted the order canceled. I refused and immediately turned to Fiverrâs customer service seeking their help against this buyer who was clearly trying to get his order without having to pay for it. Within 12 hours, Fiverr canceled the order and without really doing much digging, sided with the buyer.
Angry and annoyed, I looked at various forums to find that this is a common occurrence. It also seemed that Fiverr rarely sided with the seller in these disputes no matter the situation. This left a bad taste in my mouth.
I also did not care for the fact that in any customer communication Fiverr censors your language. If you try to type words like âpriceâ or a name of a competitive site like Upwork (regardless of context) Fiverr flags your account for review of the violation. I had this happen several times for very benign reasons. Then you need to wait for weeks for them to evaluate your comments and decide that they are fine and did not violate anything.
When you receive the money for your order, unless you are an elite seller, the funds take a ridiculous two weeks to clear. Many buyers are under the impression that the sellers get money right away, but this isnât the case. When you become an âeliteâ seller, it only takes one week. If you are constantly generating revenue you will be able to move money to your bank account or PayPal almost daily, but the wait is very long.
Finally, you do not get all of the money you earned, as Fiverr takes a cut. They take 20%. For a $5 order, it is $1, which is not bad. But for $100, you will clear only $80, which can be frustrating since you did all the work, and Fiverr just allowed you to have the platform to do it.
Even though the negatives seem to outweigh the positives in my review, I can still attest to how great Fiverr has been for me. It allowed some debts to be paid down quicker and I am learning a lot about a whole wide variety of topics. I continue to explore other ways to make money on this powerful platform. I realized that as long as you play by the rules and are nice to your clients, providing them with quality work, the sky’s the limit for earning potential. You really could land in a position where you do not need your full-time job. You can even hire others to do the massive amounts of work for you. Overall, I find Fiverr to be a great platform, with a few notable downsides.