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$5 isn't going to make or break me


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Are we in the 19th century? How much is $5 worth? (actually less than $4 after commission + transfer fees). Maybe I’ve been reading too much Dickens and Tolstoy? It seems like except for a few rare buyers, most buyers on Fiverr are not willing to pay a fair price. I’ve already lowered my prices drastically from what I charge in the real world, because I understand that people come to this site with the expectation of what its name conveys. But still, I’m starting to think that if I’m not willing to work for 70 hours for $5 (on average what buyer requests ask for), I will never get another order.
I’m still trying to figure all this out - online freelancing. So confused. Eating chocolate now.😦
Thanks so much, May.

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I think the trick would be to break up your services into $5 ‘tid bits’…
I don’t think anyone would honestly expect you to work for 70 hours for just $5.

You have to come up with a way to offer something you can do for just $5 in a pretty short period of time, like 15 minutes, that doesn’t require blood sweat and tears.

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Thanks for your reply. 🙂
The thing is, I do offer small, medium and large amounts of work for say, $5,10 and 15. But just now for example, my offer was rejected because she wanted a major edit of 20K words for a ridiculously low price - more than $5, but not worth the amount of time it would take me to do it.

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Super common problem. And some buyers are ridiculous, plain and simple.

For proofreading, editing, writing, etc. I suggest going by the word count. And personally, I don’t like using packages when it goes by word count. So let’s say you’ll edit 500 words for $5. That 20k manuscript would get you $200 for the word, so $160 is your share. Not bad, but if you’re accustomed to charging higher rates then it sounds less fun.

Here’s how selling on Fiverr works (as gleaned from forums, TRS interactions, and my brain):

  1. Make a ton of gigs that you can do. Sell them cheaply – lots of work, less pay.
  2. Find your niche – academic proofreading? Creative writing editor? Resumes? Which of your many gigs gets the most traffic/orders? Cut ties on the ones that don’t live up and focus on funneling your customers to between 1 and 3 amazing gigs. More reviews on 1 gig > many reviews over multiple gigs.
  3. Make a name for yourself – sell your skills very cheaply, pick up a few repeat buyers, rack of raving reviews
  4. Advertise – SEO marketing, traffic, portfolios, etc. to get your name out there and be visible.
  5. Raise your prices slowly – this can be done by lowering the work you do for $5 (300 words instead of 500 words for $5) or by making your base gig higher ($10 for 500 words). I suggest the former. Every few months edit your prices. $5 for 500 words, 400 words, 350 words, 300 words… etc. I suggest only doing this at level 2, once your gig has 50+ reviews. Maybe every 50 reviews = 50 fewer words per gig.

It takes a long time to make on Fiverr what you charge elsewhere. But it is possible if you work at it.

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@myskillsforsale thank you for your long and thoughtful reply 🙂

I have never complained nor vented, always being optimistic… but now I feel I really need to explain what’s going on, because it just doesn’t make sense, and I have let myself be upset for the first time (about anything in years). So I’m hoping that an outside perspective can help me get to the aha moment… 🙂

About #1 - I happen to have many different skills, so I did make gigs for each (I have more skills, but only put up 12 or 13 gigs).

#2 - That’s a good idea, but in my case, each gig is for an entirely different service…

#4 - None of my talents include online marketing - believe me, you could drop me in the middle of any country in the world, and I could figure everything out and get settled within a day… but market and promote myself online is something my brain just can’t figure out even after all the research I’ve done. The most I could figure out to do was sharing my gigs on facebook (which produced no results).

#5 - With editing, for example, I started out at 1500 words/$5, and only recently raised my prices. And in any case, obviously with the amount of competition in this category, my gig doesn’t show up in the search results (it probably does, but a buyer would need to scroll down for hours). So, the buyers for editing that I can send offers to, are from the buyer requests… where you know, most are asking for a crazy amount of work with a “$5 budget or don’t contact me.”

And then I have a few unique gigs, where there’s no competition at all… but those don’t get noticed either, and/or it doesn’t occur to anyone to search for services like these.

Thanks for reading this long reply o’mine

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I understand what you are going through, you are not the only one who is going through this. But I really don’t have a solution except that you need another source of income and cannot depend on freelancing alone. This applies not just to you, but for all freelancers. Only 5% of freelancers can live a decent life from freelancing alone and 0.5% of them have become fabulously rich. Freelancing is not easy because there are millions - tens of millions who offer what you have to offer. Do your best, but don’t have any expectations and don’t depend on it. Treat whatever you make as a free-lancer as a bonus. That’s my policy.

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Guest sameerthewriter

As a writer you can ask for upto $995, and BTW why are you so shocked about $5 after being a member for almost 3 years?

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Guest sameerthewriter

$5 is a lot of amount in poor countries like the one that I live in. You claim that you joined about 3 years ago to buy gigs. Didn’t Fiverr look to you Victorian back then?

Today, you have the option to ask for as much amount as you want for your services, 3 years ago, getting an order worth $10 was considered pretty rare here.

I am calm and I didn’t mean to attack you. I always behave nicely with everybody here and that is the only way I can survive here.

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1)I did not claim anything. I have no reason to lie. I stated a fact.
2) I never asked to pay for a gig that is worth 100 for 5. And if I posted on buyer’s request, I posted a fair budget. I never leave less than $10 tips for $5 gigs. I also never ask for discounts, or try to haggle.
3) Obviously anyone can price their gigs at any amount they want, and you keep repeating that fact - which is missing the point of my post entirely.
4) If $5 for 70 hours of work in your economy is worth it, then enjoy - the rates you can earn here are great for you. What does that have to do with my situation? If i were to earn $3.5 per day in the economy I live in, I would be homeless and eating from garbage cans.

  1. I didn’t post on the forum in order to be attacked. You did attack, and your definition of “always” seems to be “sometimes.” So please leave me alone. Since we don’t have the same concerns and issues, I don’t see why you feel the need to comment on my situation and this thread.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Proofreading one of those gigs that everyone thinks they can do. It isn’t.
Unfortunately, it is also one of those gigs that buyers think anyone can do and they don’t see the value in until they have hired an incompetent at a very low price.
The idiots in Buyer Requests who think they will get anything like a good job done for those ridiculous rates are not the kind of people I want to work with. They clearly have no concept of what the job is, how it is done, the time it takes etc.
While many competent new sellers will do a lot for very little, I cannot see anyone decent doing more than 5000 words for $5, just to get some reviews on their profile.

Final thing, as a buyer, when I buy anything related to writing, proofreading etc, I go through the seller’s complete profile looking to see how they write, their grammar, punctuation etc. I suggest you have a look through your profile as there are quite a few punctuation errors and some spelling errors too; enough that would put me off hiring you.

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5$ isn’t going to make you or break you unless you let it.

As for the price, well, we are knew the deal when we signed up to this site : things we will do for 5$. The title itself says Fiverr. I’m not intentionally trying to be hard on you but that is the truth about life. Nothing in the world has any inherent ‘absolute’ or objective value. All of value is subjective and depends on the frame of reference. For someone who is jobless having Fiverr is better than having nothing. For them the 4$ is a boon. For someone who has just lost his high paying job, suddenly having to do with 4$ seems like a curse.

Let me tell you my story, this is my second time on Fiverr. The first time I was working on Fiverr was when I was studying engineering in university. At that time, 5$ seemed like a huge amount, I could buy extra stuff for myself, afford a better internet connection, gaming computer, and other hobbies. I lived like a king (again, relative to what a student in college expects to live like). Once I passed out, I stopped concentrating on Fiverr and subsequently the orders dried up, anyway, I had earned 1759$ in 2 years and I withdrew that money, bought myself a motorcycle, deleted my Fiverr account, thanked the wonderful Fiverr customer service staff who had helped me sail through my journey and moved on. All in all it was a very happy stint with Fiverr. I was a realist and realized that it was suitable only for earning extra income to supplement your primary source on income, never become a full time thing.

2 years down the line, I am back to Fiverr with a fresh account. Long story, (started a startup, things went downhill, made bad investments, and other things) and I revisited the same dilemma which you are having ‘can 5$ change my life? can it make or break me?’ There was no clear answer form inside my mind, but the realist in me took over and asked myself “could it hurt?” The answer is, NO. Point being, no one can force us to go through something we don’t want to, so as long as something seems to be working out, you can stay, if it seems too much to handle, we are free to leave. Don’t be disheartened by people not paying enough, the economy is somehow always bad, on top of that people always want to maximize their profits/savings by trying to cut cost, on top of that competition is cut throat, on top of that there is a pervasive thought across the spectrum across all kinds of buyers (be it individuals or large scale enterprises) that freelancers are second class human beings that need to be exploited. The key to a happy freelancing life is to not fight this realization but to let it sink in and accept it. Once you accept it, you will start seeing patterns in how potential buyers talk to you, and you can instinctively start sorting out the bad ones and turning down their offers. I had grown a similar second nature on my previous Fiverr stint.

It’s a matter of time when you find good clients who become return customers and you wont have to deal with a lot of bad people or waste time in bidding/negotiating anymore. During my last stint I had found a loyal buyer and became his go-to guy. He was running a web development agency and I would do anything and everything technical as I was an engineer and it was cake walk for me. In the end, he started placing so many orders that I removed all my gigs except one which was kept just for him to be able to order. I was able to work peacefully and successfully exited the rat race of seeking more buyers and negotiating with them. My Fiverr account became akin to my private payment gateway for a single customer. Every morning I would wake up and find new orders and money from him on the one gig which I had active for this very ad hoc purpose.

Everyone has their own reason to join Fiverr, which sets the benchmark for whether their online freelancing is working for them or not; Mine is that I am offering high quality services for the sake of getting good reviews to build up my portfolio. So I only do minor tweaks worth 5$, not full websites, which is just enough to compensate for my time AND add their site to my portfolio. I aim to run my own web development (brick and mortar) office one day. It is for that day that I am working on Fiverr for dirt cheap rates, to build my portfolio by getting the opportunity to work on as many websites as I can.

Long story short, don’t let anything get to you; Not just on Fiverr but in life. Keep your morale always high. Freelancing requires the kind of thick skinned and pig headed tenacity to survive because competition is tough. So, if you think you are being shortchanged, stop, take a breath and reject the offer because you are the only one who can shortchange yourself by shortselling. Wait till you get good customers who will turn repeat customers and things will get better. Network with people who sell things that are allied to your industry. For example, I am in the website business, I build websites, and website owners typically require content too. So, whenever I deliver a new website to someone, I can ask them if they have made arrangements for content and recommend your name 🙂

I believe @idostuff4u, @eoinfinnegan @lunabea @emmaki @writer99025 can collaborate with us too.

You could also explore the prospect of paid advertising if you are not averse to spending money to get more gigs. There are many sites that maintain a catalog of websites which are seeking advertisers, or you can personally spot any favorite site of yours, related to your field, which you frequent, drop a line to the admin and ask them how much they will charge to put your Fiverr badge on their sidebar for a month and see how it works. I’m going to do something similar.

I hope to visit Israel someday when my finances improve. As Indians, we are all impressed by how you folks carry yourself with your heads held high in the face of adversity, I met a lot of Jews here in India who come as tourists after doing their mandatory military service in IDF. Made many friends here who have invited me. Israeli irrigation technology has become the mainstay of all agriculture in India. People in India recognize Israelis as ‘those tough nuts who inherited an arid desert and still managed to cultivate strawberries in the desert’. That’s the kind of stuff you are made up of, don’t lose heart over small things like a dry spell on Fiverr. Stay strong, you will get good clients, if you persevere. I’m very pleased to meet you here.

So, to answer your question ‘Is 5$ going to break me?’ No, nothing is going to break you, neither 5$ nor 5 million$

Cheers and Shalom.

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Even I was waiting, but the argument ended even before the real fireworks could begin 😃

I guess this forum is frequented by incredibly well mannered and docile people compared to what I have seen in the kind of forums I frequent (StackOverflow), where one couldn’t take a single step without getting burnt by someone.

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Stood and Steady wins the race.

First of all whenever you make a gig you should do market research and have a look at your competition. check how much work others are doing for 5$ and read their gig descriptions to know more… if you find it a fit for your skills then try to enter that market with your awesome gig.

At the beginning you will need to over deliver in quality, quantity and service because you have competition with other exisiting sellers on fiverr. Make your bonding with your buyer so he/she always wants to come back to you.

Timing is the key to success… spend all your time in getting most of the 5 star reviews. you are new here and i am sure you must be thinking 5$ is not so much but trust me when you will have 50 reviews in your profile you will be able to upsell and people will love to give you more after seeing your experience.

To become successful on fiverr you have to forget everything else and pay attention to your gigs and take tips from the experts here in forum. Your question to yourself should be how to get more sales and returning customers rather than how to make more money.

If you ever need any advice or help feel free to contact me.

Best Regards

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Thank you ALL, for your thoughtful advice and encouragement. 🙂 Actually I wrote the post a while ago, and since then things have been going pretty good with repeat customers (who are so happy with my work from one gig, and now even would like me to work with them with other services I offer).
You Israelophiles are always welcome to sleep in my guestroom when you come to visit or travel. Plus I can take you to see the Fiverr headquarters 🙂 Shalom and thanks so much. Hugs, Maytal (May) 🙂

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