What is Fiverr? The Ultimate Guide
Even if you have never tried or been interested in freelancing before, you have probably heard of Fiverr. It’s a very popular freelancing website, widely advertised across various media channels. So, what is Fiverr?
What is Fiverr?
Fiverr is a marketplace designed specifically for freelancers. If you have skills worth sharing, there are people out there looking for them. Freelancers, called sellers on Fiverr, can set their own prices and sell their skills using a variety of different “gigs”. These gigs show up in search results when customers, referred to as buyers, need someone to help them with a project.
The name Fiverr comes from the fact that prices used to always start at $5, although now there is much more flexibility. Prices range from as little as $5 to as much as several thousand dollars. The buyer places an order, and the seller submits the work. This is Fiverr in a nutshell, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
How does Fiverr work?
Using Fiverr as a buyer
First, let’s look at Fiverr from the point of view of a buyer. No matter what you need help with, you can search for it on Fiverr and be presented with a long list of candidates that Fiverr considers to be up to the job. You can then click on the seller’s gig to find out more about them and what they offer.
Once you find one that fits your needs, you can either place an order immediately, or you can opt to get in touch with them first. From there, it is up to you to let them know what you want, and then they will do their best to complete the work for you.
It is designed to be as straightforward as possible, as the founder of Fiverr, Micha Kaufman, essentially wanted to create the Amazon of services. You search for what you want, then you buy it, and then you leave a review. Unlike buying a new toaster or kettle however, you will instead be paying someone to build you a website, write you an essay or teach you how to code.
Buyers must have an account to use Fiverr, and the sellers can leave reviews for you as well. This means it is beneficial to both you and the freelancers that you work with to communicate well, provide clear instructions and handle things properly. Although there are no contracts to sign, you need to treat it like any other business project.
Freelancing on Fiverr
A lot of people asking “What is Fiverr?” are those hoping it could present a new source of income. Making money on Fiverr is definitely possible, but there are things you should know before you jump right in. Essentially, Fiverr allows you to create a profile, and then create a number of gigs that offer your services to potential clients. You wait for buyers to get in touch with you or to place orders, and then you get to work.
Fiverr puts a limit on the number of gigs that you can create, and so you have to think about which services you would like to offer. You are able to offer services in a wide range of categories, from web development to video editing. Fiverr puts a focus on diversity. So, if you’re good at something, you will most likely be able to find someone willing to pay you for it on Fiverr.
This is a basic rundown of what it’s like to be on either side of the fence when using Fiverr. As a buyer, it serves as an easy way to get something done for you. As a seller, it can be a good way to make some money doing the things you are good at. But before you create an account, it is worth going through the pros and cons of using Fiverr.
Pros of using Fiverr
As a buyer
- Quick access to a wide range of services
- Ordering takes just a few clicks
- The Buyer Requests function lets sellers come to you
- There’s no need to draft up complex contracts
As a freelancer
- You can gain a lot of exposure through Fiverr’s vast user base
- The levelling system lets you prove your worth and earn more money
- You get paid to do things you are good at
- You choose deadlines to suit your schedule
An easy way to get the help you need
As a buyer, you will have an abundance of sellers waiting to offer you their services as soon as you search for something. This saves time that is otherwise spent trying to reach out to individual businesses or freelancers, as you can quickly skim through to find the ones that best suit your needs.
Then, when you find one that you like, you can get in touch with them immediately. If you are confident they are the right person for the job, you can place an order right away. This makes it super-fast and very convenient.
If you would rather let the freelancers do the work (before they actually do the real work) then you can make use of Fiverr’s handy Buyer Requests tool. This allows you to advertise your project (for free) and let freelancers send you their best offers. Then, when the right one comes along you can just click accept, and there is no need to sign any contracts.
The benefits for freelancers
As a freelancer, you benefit from Fiverr’s massive userbase, around 2.5 million active buyers as of Q1 in 2020. This exposure means you can reach people from the other side of the world and offer them your services, which would otherwise be unachievable without a lot of effort.
Obviously, you need to compete with the hundreds of thousands of sellers on the platform in order to rise to the top of the search results. The best way to do this is by getting more orders. This is the classic circle of needing experience to get the job but needing the job to get the experience. It is not easy to do this, but like most things in life it just takes hard work and perseverance.
As you get more orders and positive ratings, you progress through Fiverr’s levelling system. You effectively start at level 0 (officially a New Seller). From there, you can work your way up through levels 1 and 2, before then becoming a Top Seller, and perhaps even a Pro Seller (spoiler alert: I never made it to Top Seller, but I did make it to Level 2! More on that later).
This convenient levelling system means you can prove your worth and quickly rise to the top of the search results. You can choose your pricing, and the deadlines too. This makes Fiverr a great option for those that want to work their own hours.
But what about the downsides? This is the important part, and the things you need to take into consideration before you create your account.
Cons of using Fiverr
As a buyer
- The work is not guaranteed to be of a high quality
- You may be faced with unreliable sellers
- There are service charges alongside the cost of the gig
As a freelancer
- Fiverr takes a 20% cut of your profits
- Sellers can choose to cancel at any time
- Sellers can place orders without giving you clear – or indeed any – instructions
The drawbacks for buyers
Although as a buyer you have access to plenty of quality sellers on the platform, you also have access to lots of people who have no idea what they are doing. There is no real standard that sellers need to adhere to, and that means you are at the mercy of those that you choose to work with.
Sellers may be unreliable, and there are many that are highly uncommunicative. As you may be dealing with people from across the globe, you might run into language barriers, which can make things even more difficult.
Fortunately, there is a resolution centre, which is essentially customer support. I have never had to use it as a buyer, but I have as a seller. From my experience, it’s pretty painless, but it’s rather frustrating to have to use it in the first place. The final real pain point is that there is a service charge of 5%. This is small, and its impact is dwarfed by the many benefits of the platform, but 5% begins to add up over time.
A cut of your profits
As a seller, you don’t need to pay any fees, and the free nature of the platform makes it very attractive to beginner freelancers. However, you will have to sacrifice 20% of your earnings to the platform. This may seem steep, but I always told myself that 80% of something was way better than the 100% of nothing I was getting off the platform. Plus, you can always try raising your prices to account for this.
Another disadvantage is that buyers can place orders without first getting in touch with you. This means you may need to work to a deadline with very little to go on in the way of instructions. Talking to a client before you start the work is a key part of the process, and this feature can rob you of that critical communication. Not only can they place an order at any time, but they can also choose to cancel it just as easily.
As I already noted, you can take this to the resolution centre if you don’t think it’s fair. However, you may still find yourself losing out. Being a seller, you are at the mercy of the other party. With no contracts to sign, you can end up in unfavourable situations very easily.
Fiverr fees: A summary
- $2 service charge per order for buyers for orders between $1-40
- 5% service charge for orders above $40
- No fees for sellers
- Fiverr takes a 20% cut of each order
An overall view
My own experience with Fiverr was great, and you can read about it in detail by clicking here. As I have already talked about it before on Medium, I don’t plan to go into much depth again here. However, I will write an article giving more specific tips on how to succeed on Fiverr. That article will explore the best ways to get around the cons listed above. So, if you have been put off by the bad things about Fiverr, rest assured that you can still make it worth it for you!
As I alluded to earlier, I managed to reach Level 2 as a seller. I did this in around 6 months. Over the course of those months I used Fiverr, along with one external client, to replace the income from my part time job. Earlier this year I was still using Fiverr almost daily, and it was only when I managed to connect with a few more external clients that I decided it was time to move on.
A good place to start
Thus, from my point of view, Fiverr is a great place to start if you are a freelancer. There is so much exposure to take advantage of, and I know I would never have managed to take my writing to where it is now without it. Plus, if you are looking for help from a freelancer, there are many great reasons to go to Fiverr for this.
It gives you access to a massive pool of talented people that are definitely more than capable of offering you all the help you need. However, you will need to take your time to make sure that you choose the right people for the job.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is free to use! So, I recommend that you check it out for yourself, and consider making an account if you are looking to enter the world of freelancing. If you are looking for help with a specific project, have a look around and see what your options are before you commit to anything.
Freelance writing help
If you are looking for help with any writing or editing projects, feel free to check out the services page right here on Sophical Content. I would be more than happy to help! And make sure to check back at Sophical Content soon for an article that will give you specific tips on how to find freelancing success on Fiverr. To be notified when that article goes live, and when any new posts are added to the site, sign up to the email list below.