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Stop Asking Us If We're Available


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“Do you have any samples? Also, are you available to write scripts at the moment?”

Here’s a 30 second script. I never write more than 60 seconds.

Don’t ask me if I’m available. I’m tired of answering that question.

“Thank you for the script. But I’m still not sure if you’re available? Are you available at the moment?”

Is the gig active? That means I’m available. If instead of “Buy” you see “Notify Me,” that means I’m not available.

“I can’t see if the gig is active or not. Can you please confirm if you’re available. Thank you”

Yes it’s active!

“I see that it’s active, but It doesn’t show you’re available. I need confirmation that you’re available prior to purchasing this gig. Thank you”

The green button on the right says ORDER NOW.

That means ORDER NOW and stop asking me if I’m available.

“You still haven’t confirmed if you’re available. I can’t move forward with this order if you keep refusing to let me know if you’re available.”

I’m available! How many times do I have to tell you? Did I not say order now? That means order now! If I wasn’t available, I would say so.

“Sorry, I just seen this message now. I’m not sure how much time has passed since you wrote this message, but I’m going to try and stay online this time so I can wait for your response. Can you please confirm if you’re available right now?”

Hire someone else

“So that means you’re not available? Please confirm.”



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Too many of these lately.

Confucius: "hi"
Me: "hello"
Confucius: "I have a question"
Me: "yes?"
Confucius: "are you available?"
Me: patience rapidly thinning "yes"
Confucius:: "I have a project, would you be interested?"
Me: strained"yes"
Confucius: "So it’s a [vague statement], how much?"
Me: "How many words?"
Confucius::“I’m not sure, what do you think?”

I have forgotten to use my questionnaire lately. The nice thing about my questionnaire is that I throw it after the first hi and then the onus is on them to answer my questions instead of this infuriating game of stupid, time-wasting question ping-pong.

Other inbox pet hate:
Confucius: "can I see a sample?"
Me: "sorry I do not offer samples because of client confidentiality etc"
Confucius: "Oh, but you must have something that you have online that you can show me! Also, I had a terrible experience with another seller and I don’t want to [etc]"
Me: "sorry, we will not make a good fit. I don’t work with people who insist that my response is wrong then start going on about previous poor experiences. Too many red flags. Please find another seller."
<clicks report>

My advice to everyone is make a questionnaire. And then use it. The questionnaire doubles up as a “writing sample” for writers (screw off, boyo, look at my gig descriptions and questionnaire and our conversation–if that’s not enough for you, then you get the paid test gig which I really need to set up soon.), and for everyone else, you get all the details you want filled out which somewhat solves the ordering-without-details issue. Because sometimes, after that inbox conversation, an order is placed with the legend “see inbox for details”, and you remember that there were no details. Just something like “I need a press release about my business please thanks we are a company”.

I hate the inbox, actually. Sigh. A tragicomic goldmine that we’re chained to.

(edited for a little clarity)

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No. No. No. If you get an “are you available?” Just say:

“Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to help you with this particular project.”

These people are so far down the intellectual food chain they’d have a hard time winning a game of chess against a stained sofa cushion.

If they do ever order, they either expect work a few hours later, don’t know how to assess the quality, or suddenly need revisions because they missed out an integral part of the brief.

The same goes for Mr and Mrs “Hi, I need 300 words of copywriting how much do you charge and when can you have it done by?”

I just say that all this information is clearly detailed in my gig description and send them off on their merry way. If someone doesn’t have the time to read your gig description, that’s a red flag already.

I used to entertain this bunch but now that I don’t, I have time to focus on much more profitable work from buyers who know what they want, can figure out how to place an order, and for the most part are always 100% happy because thanks to their spot on brief, I can do spot-on work.

Stop feeding the bottom feeders. They only cause problems and literally only pay crumbs for the trouble of making a neuron or two explode due to sheer intellectual bewilderment.

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“If someone doesn’t have the time to read your gig description, that’s a red flag already.”

Good point actually. Helps me to worry less about what Germans will think of my abilities and me, if they don´t figure out that I didn´t effing write that gruesome auto-translated text, but that it´s a machine translation by fiverr.

Also, a quote-function for the forum would be awesome.

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Them: Are you available?

Me: If my gigs are active, I am available to take orders.

Them: Wow, rude!

I just don’t get this question at all. Like…what are they hoping to achieve with it? Like you said, there is a huge green “Order Now” button on the gig. They can obviously see that they can order it. Why are their wasting their own time by sending a message like this? Have so many buyers had such horrible experiences with sellers being late/cancelling/ignoring their orders that they have to message me to ask about something they can clearly derive from looking for one second at one of my gigs, which, I’m assuming, is how they found me and messaged me in the first place?

This is like 75% of the messages I get. Almost never does someone actually message me with a question that couldn’t have been answered by looking at my gigs or even just by reading the title of the gig. I swear, if I have to answer many more “I need 500 words, how much is this!?!?!?!?!?!?!” messages, I’m going to fly right off the earth and into the sun. I love Fiverr, but the messaging function has become much more of a timesuck than it has a tool for actually making sales. If buyers didn’t have the opportunity to message us a hundred times before actually placing an order, would they be less likely to place an order? Or would they actually bother to read the product page in front of them and find the answers there?

I’m also sick of dealing with questions about my competency. “I need to see more samples.” Okay, well, I’ve sent you samples. You’ve also seen that I can obviously respond coherently in English to your questions, which should be an even better indication of my competency than looking at samples that I could have just copied from the web.

I’m being a little harsh, obviously. Most of the buyers that I deal with are great and I love them a lot, but I’ve also found that a larger portion of new buyers need a great deal of hand holding and back patting before they are willing to spend a measly five dollars. I’m sorry that they’ve had bad experiences with other sellers…that would make me wary, too. But not so wary that I wouldn’t be willing to risk five dollars on someone.

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I´m absolutely sure that there are stories like this from both sides of the garden fence. I read it only half as a complaint and half as a satire though, because I’m pretty sure people can imagine that life isn´t always easy for a buyer too - it should be pretty obvious, if one browses through the forum, the buyers’ request page with all the seller ads and so on and forth 🙂

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It’s not really satire.

+++++ Challenged Pachyderm
HI Emmaki,

How long does it take you to finish 1 gig. We are new online fashion retailer needs a Press release for our website launch.


For a press release, typically around 10 days. I do offer an extra fast service for $100 (on top of the regular price for the basic gig and extras)

++++Challenged Pachyderm
$ 100 is bit too much for us at the moment

We will stick to 1 gig for now

is there anything you would like to ask before we give you the project

When you order, I have some automatic questions that will cover most of what I need to know (the basic what, why, who, where, when and how). It’s also best to add contact details and a URL (even if the site isn’t up yet) to further help me! Also social media links if available, as I provide a fully-formatted PR.

++++Challenged Pachyderm
So will you include contacts details, url, and social media links in 200 words. Dont you reckon its bit 200 words are bit short for that.

They’re included on top of the 200 words.

++++Challenged Pachyderm
so 200 words is just the main content rest is on top right ?

I don’t think this is going to work. Please find another seller.


Maybe I was the idiot for being helpful.

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And there I am feeling quids in when I can sell a press release or article for $40. If you ever pop over to teach me how to pull, you’re buying the first round.

That said, because this is tips for buyers, I suppose the overall tip for buyers has to be: Get your freaking IQ together.

If I buy something online, I rarely ask questions from sellers on places like Ebay. I research exactly the product I want, Find a vendor, look at whether they are offering a new or used and abused item, and in the case of the latter, I ask questions accordingly.

What I don’t do is see a PC for sale and say “hey is this a PC?”

Come on buyers, + the I to the Q and beautiful things could happen. Betray yourselves as idiots and the best talent on the board will fly past you and you will rarely if ever be satisfied.

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Do you think all that drama is justified for a $5 order? The guy was still asking if I was available after I told him I was available. I don’t know what’s wrong with these buyers? Do they want me to beg?

“Please, please hire me. I’m desperate. I need the cash. I’ll do anything you want. Two for one! Unlimited revisions.”

I bet that if I had sent him a custom offer, he would have kept asking if I’m available.

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I think Fiverr should have a big red banner/button with bright yellow text saying this’s auto-translated text when people choose any other language rather than English.
Or just translate other things (tittle, site navigations…) and not what sellers write. Somehow the way they’r doing it is disrespectful to the seller.
On the other hand, I don’t know why someone would come to an international market having zero knowledge of English and hoping everyone there would speak their language.

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We have all been led up the garden path by something at some point in our lives. That’s not an excuse for silly questions. It will make competent sellers with plenty of work and good clients more or less skim you over, leaving you with, uh, well, it’s a pot luck I guess?

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@kbfdirect The issue at hand is time and respect. If someone needs an article about ticks and flea treatments for pets and an article writer has a few hundred 5 star reviews, it should be safe to assume that the writer in question will likely be capable of fulfilling the order in question to a high standard.

What happens with the “are you available” bunch is a barrage of questions such as are you available? What will the cost be? And how long will this take? - All of which are covered and answered in even the most basic gig description.

Alternatively, if a buyer is looking for 1000 words on network taps for industrial data systems, of course, they should message a seller first to ask questions like “are you familiar with this subject etc.” This is what the messaging service is for.

In my experience, what usually happens with the first kind of buyer is this:

They ask several pointless questions before finally ordering a basic $5 package for an article about pet tick and flea treatments. They then get this with a couple of nice extras like an extra 100 words or so and a few nuggets of information which make the article genuinely engaging.

The only problem? After delivery, the buyer will then message back to say something like, “you haven’t included anything about our new Massachusetts tick and flea treatment center or any of our products!”

Naturally, this information would have been missing from the original brief and so starts a needless nightmare, all for $5. Meanwhile, the buyer who asked real questions and was a little bit more self-aware than your average Chrismas tree ornament pays more gets exactly what they want and everyone is happy.

$5 doesn’t get buyers free consultation or hand-holding services. Buyers need to take responsibility for their actions and purchases and for their own sake, shrug off this growing culture of neediness and entitlement. If they don’t, sellers who can actually do a top job will simply get harder to find due to them raising their prices like I just did to escape the madness of it all.

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Talking about availability is part of the normal etiquette of communication between buyer and seller. In many cases it’s just a way to get the conversation started.

If you’re annoyed by it, it might be because you’re annoyed by being required to be “available” all the time. That can be the worst part of being a freelance. Your annoyance might be a sign that you’re getting burnt out and need to schedule more down time.

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No, just annoyed by time-wasting idiots–a bit like that one post over in the ranting pot who thinks it’s OK to tell a buyer they’ve decided not to take their services but to please recommend another writer anyway!

If you’re going to talk about etiquette, you should consider that buyers need to follow some too. The worst part of being a freelancer isn’t the need to be available, all the time (in fact, that’s not true), it’s dealing with bad, bad clients and non-clients. Trust me, if you smell a bad one in the air, you’re better off without the work.

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Part of the normal etiquette and just a way to get the conversation started? Like all the “Hi” messages?

I understand that some buyers may feel a bit lost, but would you send an email to a business and ask them if they’re available, just to start the conversation? Or would you simply purchase what you need? Or, if your request is somewhat specific and not covered by their standard offer, politely introduced yourself, told them your exact requirements, and asked if they could do it?

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