So, you want to start your journey as a Freelance writer on Fiverr, but you have mixed emotions about it. You might have heard that Fiverr is a great platform to utilize as a Freelancer and earn some extra money on the side, or you may have heard the downsides of Fiverr. They take 20% of your earnings, they’re known to attract bargain hunting clients, and the platform has practically become a meme among popular YouTubers at this point.
I can’t tell you if Fiverr is the best platform for you and the specific services that you offer, but I can give my honest opinion after being a seller on the platform for a few months. In this article I will discuss the pros & cons of Fiverr for freelance writers, and I will give you some tips on how to get started if you choose to starting selling on Fiverr.
The good part about Fiverr.
In my opinion, there’s no shame in getting started on Fiverr. Use it as an experiment. Before I started Fiverr I had no clue what niche I wanted to write for. After running one Gig that’s gotten 1K impressions and 10 5-star reviews (I’m a little picky about the clients I agree to work for), I’ve noticed what industries I am attracting to my gigs and what topics I enjoy writing about. I have created content for realtors, construction companies, lifestyle blogs, dating websites, and more! I would have never known that I enjoy these niches, had I not had a platform to explore this. It’s a learning process!
Earn money to reinvest into your business.
Another reason to use Fiverr when you first get started as a Freelancer, is to earn some money that you can reinvest into your business! We hear it time and time again. “Just stop buying that cup of coffee every morning.” “Quit ordering takeout.” “Skip a night out in order to save money.” There’s always this assumption that we secretly have money hidden away to invest in a brand new freelancing business, but the truth is, sometimes you just don’t have the money to spare! You don’t have to stop purchasing the little things that bring you joy, and some of us (especially the parents out there) need every cent of our current income for living expenses and necessities. So the best part about getting started on Fiverr? Once you start making money, you can use these funds to invest in your business further.
Some other pros about Fiverr is that they have a resolution center you can utilize, the platform allows you to easily make custom orders, you set your own prices, and (this is a big one) you are guaranteed to get paid if you deliver work to your client. One of the biggest challenges of being a freelancer is trying to chase down payments and make sure that you aren’t being scammed. Fiverr eliminates this worry since they collect the payment. Customers have to put down their credit card information before they place an order with you, so as long as everything works out and the order eventually gets marked as complete, you will get paid!
Finally, one last pro of this platform is that customers can tip you! After you have delivered an order, and your client marks it as complete, they have the option to review and tip you! This tip money will be paid to you on top of whatever they paid you for the Gig, but keep in mind that just like everything else, Fiverr will take a percentage of this tip. (If you have a positive experience with a Fiverr seller, and it’s financially feasible, please remember to tip!)
I used my first deposit from Fiverr to buy a P.O. box for 6 months so that I can start an Email list (Legally you have to provide an address at the bottom of your Email newsletter), where I mail out a weekly newsletter to small business owners. This helps me find future clients and meet other business owners! I couldn’t have afforded this in the beginning without that money from Fiverr. You may want to invest in a Canva subscription, buy office supplies, purchase video editing software, or use the additional income to start running advertisements on social media to promote your business. The point is, you can take this money from Fiverr and use it as seed money to market yourself on other platforms. Fiverr can (and probably should) be a stepping stone, not the final destination.
The downsides of using Fiverr.
Now it’s time for us to discuss the cons. What’s the biggest downside of Fiverr? They take 20% of your earnings when you first start out. That’s a lot. The benefit to Fiverr is that you don’t have to have previous experience or published work in order to use their platform. This is why they seem to attract brand new freelance writers more than any other freelance platform. The downside of this, is they take more of your earned income than other freelance platforms.
Another con is that Fiverr is a bargain hunting platform. This means that most clients on there are looking for the lowest price possible, but they still have extremely high expectations. This is the main reason that Fiverr is a stepping stone and not the final destination. Just remember to prioritize other avenues of income, and maybe offer low word count articles, that way you don’t spend a long time working on orders that won’t help you pay the bills.
The clients you meet on Fiverr stay on Fiverr.
Fiverr has a very strict policy that you cannot contact clients outside of Fiverr. So if you get an awesome repeat client on Fiverr, you can’t contact them on social media outside of Fiverr, set up a Zoom meeting (Fiverr does have it’s own video chat feature available for some clients), or fully market to them. If you decide to leave Fiverr, then you leave all of the contacts you have made on the platform, otherwise you violate the platform’s policy. It’s definitely not ideal but the positive side to that is that Fiverr will do the marketing for you and push your gig out to potential clients. This means that sometimes you will have had a gig running for months and one day randomly a brand new client will place an order with you, and you haven’t even been marketing your gig!
This is an incredible thing and also a potentially stressful thing. This is the biggest mistake I made in the beginning. Make sure you are consistently checking your Email notifications from Fiverr or logging onto Fiverr itself to see if any clients have messaged you or placed an order with you recently. Fiverr really cares about your average response time, so you want to respond to messages as quickly as possible! Remember that even if you haven’t had an order placed with you in awhile, it could happen randomly while you’re out on a Friday night, completely unaware. The last thing you want is for a client to pay for a gig that you put a 10 hour timer on, while you’re out for the night and away from your phone.
Luckily, Fiverr does have a few features in place to help you with this. Fiverr allows you to put a cap on your orders. For example, for my most popular gig I have changed my settings so that I can only have 3 active orders going on for that Gig at the same time. (I learned the hard way that 4 orders at once can be a bit overwhelming for me personally!) You can always pause your Gig, be careful with this though, it can potentially mess with your Gig’s ranking. You can also set your availability on your profile. This means if you have a week when you are going out of town, you can tell Fiverr not to let anyone place an order with you that week. You can still message with clients while you are not accepting orders, in order to touch base and keep them in the loop. Finally, as a last resort, if someone placed an order with you and you either don’t have enough information or you just don’t have the time, you can cancel the order. This will definitely negatively impact your Gig’s ranking, but sometimes you just don’t have another choice so remember that this option is available to you.
Tips for getting started on Fiverr.
We have discussed the pros and cons of being a Freelance writer on Fiverr. What are some tips for brand new Freelance writers who are going to get started on Fiverr?
It’s not “quick” money.
When you first get started, please understand it’s not “quick” money and there’s a lot of waiting around that comes with Fiverr. When you first sign up for Fiverr (if you are located in the United States) you will have to fill out a W-9 form. You’ll have to know your social security number and be comfortable with sharing it in order to complete this form. You cannot be a seller on the platform without completing this form. It took a few days for my form to get reviewed and approved, then I could finally start getting my actual Fiverr shop up and running.
Then it came to my first payment. Fiverr is totally transparent about how getting paid works and they even discuss this further in some of the free learning courses that they offer. However….I didn’t pay attention to that part. At first it seemed so hopeless that I would ever get a Gig because wow, it felt like forever until someone finally placed an order with me. It took almost two months. However, when I finally did get that first order I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take to get paid.
Here’s a breakdown of how the order process on Fiverr works. Someone places an order with you. Before your timer runs out, you deliver the work to your buyer. Depending on how many revisions you’ve offered, your buyer can either request a revision or mark the order as complete. If they don’t do either of these actions, the order will automatically be marked as complete in 3 days. Once you have delivered your revisions and your buyer is satisfied, they will mark the Gig as complete. Then you have to wait 2 weeks until your funds are out of pending and are available for you to withdraw. On top of this, if you opt for direct deposit, you have to wait until your information gets approved and then your first payment can take up to 7 days to be deposited into your account. My funds were deposited right away but still, after all of the waiting I had to do for every other step I was starting to get nervous.
I’m not intending to criticize the platform for this waiting time but I do find it important to mention. If you’re planning on using your Fiverr earnings to pay a time sensitive bill, please be aware of the waiting time that comes with withdrawing your earnings!
Run multiple Gigs.
The best advice I can give to a beginner on Fiverr for any job or niche, is to make sure you are running multiple Gigs. Change them all up so that there is something different about each one. Running multiple gigs and giving it a little time (This could be anywhere from 1 month to 10 months!) will eventually lead you to getting your first client.
For example, my main job is producing blog content but I also create social media templates, social media calendars, and have consulting services to help business owners review their social media accounts. I ran a Gig for each of the skills I had. I experimented with different cover images, prices, targeting specific industries, etc. Also, do not upload multiple Gigs at the same exact time on the same exact day. It sounds crazy but I swear it matters! Sometimes one Gig will perform better than another just because it was uploaded at a time when more people were online. I can’t tell you what time you should aim for, but definitely make sure to mix it up.
A lot of people will try to tell you that you need to lower your prices, but the truth is, you might just have to give it time. Buyers have a hard time taking a chance on a brand new seller with 0 reviews when they could instead place an order with a seller whose had multiple clients and has multiple glowing reviews.
I decided to make my prices extremely low when I first started out in order to be competitive with experienced sellers, and it worked! However…it came at a cost. I have undervalued my work. I’m not even joking I had a client message me to tell me that I lowballed myself and that the work I delivered exceeded all of their expectations so I should raise my prices. On the one hand, I was super excited to deliver quality work that they enjoyed! On the other hand…ouch…I spent 3 hours on a job I got paid $30 for. It’s not the worst thing in the world but I definitely could be doing better.
Be careful when you lower your prices to stay competitive. Don’t do so at your own expense and remember, that after you get a few positive reviews, it’s okay to start raising your prices!
You should be offering sample work.
Even if you have never ever had a paid gig as a writer, you should still have sample work. Let me explain. Buyers don’t want to take a chance on a brand new seller without some sort of social proof, so…offer them social proof! Stand out from other beginners by putting in your Gig’s description and creating an FAQ for all of your Gigs that lets potential buyers know that you are happy to offer sample work to anyone who requests it.
You can either identify the niche you want to write for and pick 3 topics you think people in that niche would find valuable, then write sample articles about these topics. Or, if you don’t have the slightest clue what niche you want to write for, that’s fine too! I went on Indeed and looked at topics that employers wanted freelance writer applicants to write about and I wrote about those topics. I keep a folder saved on my laptop of all of my sample work. That way when someone requests it, I can give them work that I think relates best to what topic they want me to write about.
Last but certainly not least, buyer requests. If you’ve already ran multiple gigs and offered sample work and you feel like you want to scream because you still haven’t gotten a gig, there’s one more thing you can do! When you’re on your selling profile (make sure you didn’t accidentally switch your profile to “buying”), go to the top menu and select the “more” button. Then select “Buyer Requests.” Buyers will post requests like “looking for someone to write an SEO-friendly blog article for my construction website” and you have the ability to send them a custom offer! If they like your prices and like what you’re offering, then they might become your first client! The longer you have Fiverr opened on your computer the more Buyer Requests you will be able to see. Check it multiple times throughout the day and don’t be alarmed if at times it says there are 0 requests. I promise it won’t be 0 forever. You can send up to 10 offers a day this way.
So, are you thinking of trying Fiverr? let me know in the comments below!
P.S. time for a shameless self plug, but I am currently running a new Gig on Fiverr where I write blog content for small businesses. If you’re interested send me a message on Fiverr, I’d love to chat!