Fiverr Review: My Experience as a Seller

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I joined Fiverr* as a freelancer in April of 2020.  As someone who was 100% new to the freelance scene with a handful of marketable skills, I found Fiverr to be a great place to gain experience and determine if my offerings can sell. As with all platforms that connect freelancers and clients, there are positives and negatives to selling on Fiverr. Overall, my opinion is that Fiverr is more beneficial for buyers than it is for sellers. Read my full Fiverr review to understand why.

Before you consider joining Fiverr as a seller, you need to understand the basics:

What does it cost to join Fiverr?

Fiverr is free to join.  The only thing standing between you and becoming a seller on Fiverr is how long it takes you to create your perfect gig. (Here’s my proofreading gig to give you an idea of the elements you’ll need to include.)

What percentage does Fiverr take?

As with any company that connects freelancers and clients, Fiverr takes a percentage of all transactions to support the service they’re providing.  In the case of Fiverr, that is and always will be 20%.  While sites like Upwork encourage you to create long-term relationships by taking less off the top when certain milestones are reached (same client earnings of $500 and $10,000), that doesn’t seem to be something that interests Fiverr.

Fiver taking 20% of earnings off the top may seem like a lot of money, and it is. To compensate, you’ll need to consider it and price your gigs accordingly.  If the service you want to provide takes one hour to complete and you want to make $20 an hour, price the gig at $25 to cover the 20% fee. Yes, this means you may have higher rates than other sellers, but you’ll need to weigh that against the quality of service you’re providing and if you’re willing to work for less.

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Does Fiverr really pay?

Yes. Fiverr is a legitimate site that will retrieve funds from clients upon purchase of your service and transfer those funds to you after the work is complete.  The only hang-up with payment on Fiverr is that funds take two weeks to clear from the date the service is completed.

This is by far the longest fund clearance period of any freelance site I’ve been a part of (except for onlinebookclub.org, which is sometimes faster).  Sites like Upwork take only days to approve funds and pay freelancers with deposits weekly, making them more appealing if getting money in your hands quickly is a priority.

The Good

As with any freelance site, there’s good, and there’s bad.  As a freelancer, you need to weigh the pros and cons to figure out if selling on Fiverr is worth your time.

  • Fiverr reaches a large audience of buyers. With over 2.8 million active buyers, your gigs have an opportunity to be seen by a lot of potential customers. I’ve had a proofreading gig active on Fiverr since April, and in the last 30 days, it’s had 3.9K impressions. That means it’s getting in front of a lot of potential buyers.
  • The platform is incredibly easy to use and reliable. The Fiverr site for buying and selling is very user friendly. Aside from a snafu over the summer where gig analytics disappeared, I haven’t had any issues with the platform itself. The process of creating gigs, messaging with clients, and delivering orders is seamless.
  • Clients can give tips for exceptional service. This is one of the significant differentiators with Fiverr vs. other platforms. After an order is delivered, clients have the option to leave the seller a tip along with a review. Unfortunately, and this kind of rubs me the wrong way, Fiverr still takes 20% of tips. It seems to me that a tip for a freelancer should go 100% to the freelancer. But I digress, at least the platform offers the ability to receive tips at all.

The Bad

  • Sellers expect to pay low prices.  The site is called Fiverr for a reason.  It’s because many gigs are posted at $5.  If you’re creating a basic logo or short video, this might make sense.  But if you’re doing any kind of knowledge work that takes more time, you likely want to price your gig a bit higher.  I’ve had many sellers contact me to request custom offers for jobs that could have easily been purchased through my main offering. The platform encourages buyers to find cheap freelancers on Fiverr, and until that messaging changes, I don’t see this issue going away.
  • The 14-day clearance time on earnings is way too long.  In an age where you can exchange work for money quickly, it’s a shame Fiverr hasn’t figured out a way to let the funds clear just as quickly.  The only way I’ve seen is to become a top-rated seller, which allows fund clearance in 7 days.  The catch?  In addition to excellent ratings, you need to have at least $20,000 in sales.  With small gigs, that’s a tough number to hit and is going to take most freelancers a long time to do it.
  • There’s no incentive for sellers on Fiverr. Sites like Upwork decrease their commission after you meet a certain monetary threshold (after you bill $500 with the same client, Upwork takes 10% instead of 20%). This incentivizes the freelancers to establish relationships and do quality work to keep clients happy. It seems like Fiverr is marketed as a “quick work for cheap” business and encourages freelancers to do more work to make less money than they might on other platforms ultimately.

Tips for new freelancers to succeed on Fiverr

If you feel like Fiverr might be a good move, there are a few things that you can do to be successful out of the gate.

  • Research the competition – Before you create your gig, search as a buyer for the kind of gig you want to create to determine what else is already out there. This will give you an idea of how many people you’re competing against and how to price your gig.
  • Niche down if you can – With so many sellers on Fiverr competing for work, it’s critical to find the most specific niche you can. Instead of putting out a gig for “web design” (which has over 80,000 results), consider if you could instead narrow that focus to “WordPress web design for law firms” (which has 172 results). This is going to narrow the number of potential buyers, but it also puts you in touch with a very intentional audience that’s looking specifically for WordPress site design for their law firm.
  • Respond to messages as soon as possible – I learned this one the hard way when a client submitted multiple orders at once. I only responded to the first order and the other ones I waited to respond until delivery. It dropped my response rate to 0% for about a week. You’ll want to respond to each order within about an hour to keep your response rate at 100%.
  • Be patient – Since Fiverr is a reactive platform where the clients need to reach out to you, it’s going to take a little while for the right audience to find your gigs. I joined Fiverr in April and didn’t receive my first order until May 12. For this reason, I recommend a freelancer strategy of using both Upwork and Fiverr to increase your chances of connecting with the right clients.

Check out my Upwork freelancer review for more information on that platform.

Which is better, Upwork or Fiverr?

It depends on what kind of work you’re in search of and if you have an established portfolio at the ready. In the case of a freelance web designer fluent in WordPress who has previous work to show, Fiverr is likely the better platform. I say that because while Upwork is a platform that encourages freelancers to submit proposals for jobs, Fiverr puts the ownness on the client to find their freelancer.

If you have excellent past work to showcase, and a reasonably well-defined niche, odds are good the clients you’re looking for will be able to find you on Fiverr. If you’re like I was, scrounging for any work that would come my way, competing for work with others on Upwork will be the way to go.

All that being said, Upwork and Fiverr complement each other very well, and if you’re unsure, sign up for both! The beauty of these platforms is that they’re free to sign up and put yourself out there. And you’ll know pretty quickly which site is getting you the kind of work and traffic you want.

Can you get scammed on Fiverr?

The short answer is yes. Anywhere there are people exchanging money, there will be people trying to scam them. Out of all the messages I’ve received from potential clients on Fiverr, 2/3 of them have been spam. Luckily, these scams are easy to identify if you know what to look for:

  • Click the sender’s name to see when they joined. If it’s August 2020 and they’ve been a member since August 2020, that’s a pretty good sign they’re not legit. Most legit buyers will not have brand new accounts.
  • Read the message to see if it’s relevant to your gig. The only gig I have on Fiverr right now is for proofreading, but I’ve received cryptic messages to create software that searches for unencrypted social security numbers…um huge red flag!
  • If you’re not sure or the messenger is persistent about getting you to do something, mark them as spam. Go with your gut, and if something doesn’t feel legit, it probably isn’t.

Luckily, Fiverr does not penalize your response rate for messages that you mark as spam, so it won’t affect your ratings.

How do you make money on Fiverr?

Everyone is after the quick solution to make the most money in the shortest amount of time possible. The truth is, you have to put in the time and do the work to make money on Fiverr. My best advice for earning money quickly is to niche down your gigs as much as possible, deliver quality work, and create happy, raving clients. I didn’t think it was possible at first, but I have a client who submits orders weekly on Fiverr that I now consider a “regular.” In addition to the many 5-star reviews, the more that client orders my gig, the more appealing it becomes to other potential buyers.

The main thing about working as a freelancer on Fiverr

If you have a tangible skill that you can offer as a service, and you’re new to the world of freelance, Fiverr can be a decent place to start. But it shouldn’t be your only freelance play. Diversify your potential income streams, especially when you’re starting as there’s no guarantee you’ll get orders on Fiverr. If you find your gig getting a ton of traction and you’re at a price point where it makes sense, you can always drop back to Fiverr as your sole means of work in the future.

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