What is Fiverr and how does it work?
Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects freelancers and buyers. Founded in 2010, Fiverr is where you can get work done for as little as $5USD. Which is where the name comes from originally (the idea of doing work for a fiver). Over the years the platform has grown significantly, and now the $5USD price bracket has become the cheapest price for an order. Orders can now fetch as much as $5,000USD!
It doesn’t matter from which country you use Fiverr. The pricing structure is set up in US Dollars ($USD) and then shown on the front end in whichever is your native currency. If you’re in Australia, you’ll see all the prices in AUD on the front end, but in USD in the backend.
Fiverr is used mostly by freelancers looking to offer their services on a global level. The obvious benefit being that you aren’t confined to just your local region or geography.
It’s quite easy to be in Australia and get work proposals from clients in Europe, the UK, America, Canada, India and so on. This is also a benefit for buyers who are looking for not only the best deal, but also the best quality of work, reliability and turn-around time.
Fiverr is easy to use, easy to set up, and easy to navigate. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to become successful on the platform. And this applies to both buyers and sellers.
A quick note on terminology
On Fiverr a freelancer is known as a Seller. A Buyer is someone who registers on the platform to purchase work on Fiverr. Work or jobs are known as Gigs, and an Order is when a buyer purchases a Gig.
Post a request is an option for buyers to submit a request. One example might be a buyer requesting a “30-second explainer video”. In that request they can specify what they need, when they need it by, and what their budget is. Sellers can then respond with a sales pitch and how much they are willing to do the work for.
Signing up to the platform
Signing up to Fiverr is free and it’s also very easy. All you have to do is follow the sign-up process and prompts. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to confirm your account via a registration link that usually gets sent to your email.
When you’ve done that you can start using the platform as either a Freelancer or a Buyer.
Fiverr for Buyers
If you’re a buyer on Fiverr, you can browse the homepage for featured sellers, go to specific category pages, or use the search function to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Buyers need to make sure they read the description of the gigs carefully to make sure the gig provides everything they need. If you like the look of the seller, but can’t see a gig that matches your needs, you can message that seller to start a conversation.
When a buyer has found what they are looking for, they’re ready to go the checkout. Ordering a gig on Fiverr incurs a processing fee. Which is $1 for orders of $20 or less, and 5% of any order valued above $20.
Fiverr for Freelancers
On Fiverr, freelancers are known as sellers who offer jobs (known as gigs) in a diverse range of categories. These include writing, music, audio, video, animation, photography, web development and many others.
As a freelancer seller, you create a number of gigs for the different tasks or services you wish to provide. For example, a copywriter or content writer can create one gig for blogging, another for landing pages, and another for email copy. Or, you can go niche and create more targeted gigs, like SEO blogs, blogs for cosmetic / plastic surgery, sales blogs etc.
When a buyer places their order, a seller gets 80% of the asking price. This of course, provided the order is delivered successfully and completed by the buyer. For example, if you charge $20 for a blog post, you will receive $16.
The other thing that is important to mention with Fiverr is how long it takes to process payment. From when the buyer completes the order (or the order is completed automatically), it takes two weeks for you to be able to access the money. You can then transfer it to a PayPal account or bank account.
Buyers, on completing orders, can leave you a review. Gaining positive reviews and building up your profile on Fiverr, allows you to increase your rates (asking prices) for gigs over time.
On merit of the quality of their service(s) and customer reviews, it makes sense that someone with consistent 4 and 5-star reviews is likely going to cost more than someone with a poorer review rating.
Sellers can only leave reviews of buyers who review them first. And sellers can’t see the buyer’s review until after they’ve posted theirs. Which is an interesting design choice by Fiverr.
Is Fiverr worth it for freelancers?
As a freelancer, Fiverr has certain benefits. One such benefit is how easy it is to find and interact with buyers. There is also the platform and network-effect benefit, that once you build your profile up, clients will start coming to you. Over time, this can more or less remove the need for cold-calling or emailing prospective clients. Which is itself often very time consuming, tedious and fruitless work.
Another benefit is you don’t have to worry about invoicing, since Fiverr takes care of all that for you. However, losing 20% of your gig (by the way, this includes tips) isn’t ideal. But it’s the price you pay to enjoy all the features and benefits of Fiverr.
If you’ve got the humility to start small and slowly work your way up, Fiverr can be worth it. If you can put up with the occasional odd-ball client and difficult enquiry, it’s worth it. If you’ve got the self-discipline and the customer service skills to be a freelancer, Fiverr can certainly be worth it.
Quick disclaimer: this author uses Fiverr. It works for me. But I am aware of the other options out there, and I am a big fan of people discovering what works for them and going all in on that. However, I think Fiverr is worth it if you’ve got the skills, patience and the necessary customer service skills
Is Fiverr worth it for buyers?
The pros and cons of Fiverr for buyers are a little different than those of the sellers.
On Fiverr, sellers lose 20% of the asking price, to fees and charges. In some cases, Sellers to take this into consideration and bump up their price, to account for this. That’s not ideal, but at least for buyers, the price you see is what you’ll pay (plus relevant Tax).
Where Fiverr does help buyers is in the area of price shopping for affordable, quality work. That is what Fiverr is known for and what it excels at! The Fiverr platform allows buyers to browse a vast collection of sellers, read their bios, their gigs and then decide if they want to continue the conversation or just buy straight away.
Fiverr also introduced an English test to make sure anyone offering writing services had the requisite skill and knowledge of basic grammar to be eligible to offer writing jobs.
As this is a marketplace, buyers are spoilt for choice, and as long as you can navigate your way to the quality sellers, this platform can be ideal place for all your digital marketing needs.
Fiverr in 2020 from a copywriter’s point of view
As I write this in 2020, Fiverr makes my life as a freelancer much easier. Buyers find me and initiate conversations or just buy without so much as a hello. Which is fine by me!
As someone who spent many years working in digital marketing, I know how difficult generating new business can be. With Fiverr taking care of this for me, it’s one less hassle.
Then there’s the fact it’s all messaging. There are no phone calls, no emails—or, at least, you don’t have to engage in these. It’s all done on the platform.
There’s a handy dashboard that shows you when your orders are due, and you can edit your gigs as necessary.
I love writing. It’s all I want to do for money. And with Fiverr, I can create a profile that says just that. I don’t have to offer social media content, or email marketing. Fiverr lets me be as niche as I want, and as long as I provide value to the buyer, that’s all that matters.
I’m not sure if I would recommend Fiverr to newbie freelancers though. Like most platforms, it’s not easy to get started. The general mood and attitude towards new sellers is, well, not exactly hostile, but it’s not exactly cordial either.
There’s a certain type of buyer who excepts everything to be cheap. And who feels that sellers should be grateful that these buyers are even talking to them. These buyers are terrible to work with, but they’re hard to identify right off the bat.
Once you’ve worked with a few of them though, you do get a sense for that personality.
However, if you can get a foothold on Fiverr, it is a rewarding place to be as a freelancer. And truly, there are more pros than cons.
One way that Fiverr looks after sellers
There is the option to block buyers. If a buyer orders something from you and the situation turns ugly. Sellers can go to a buyer’s profile and block that buyer from ever being able to see them or their gigs. I’ve never had to use this tool, but there’s a certain sense of security and safety knowing it’s there.
Fiverr: one of the better options
Fiverr is one of the most popular freelancer platforms out there for a reason. It has helped many people turn their passion for creating digital content into a full-time career. And it has helped many entrepreneurs and start-ups affordably build their online presence.