I want to walk you through my experience of finding and getting a simple job done on Fiverr so you can feel comfortable getting whatever gig you want done and you won't be surprised like I was.
So the Job...
With schools starting to open back up, I wanted to market my tutoring business (holistictutoring.org BTW). In the past, I've reached out to local schools. But thanks to 2020, I switched everything over to be completely digital and I'm no longer bound to where my car can carry me.
So I have the new ability to reach out to schools across the country. But I had been horribly procrastinating that job for weeks. So I figured, why not pay someone else to get it started for me. I've heard of Fiverr for years, and until now I never had a job that I could actually see delegating to someone. However, getting the contact information and mascots for 100 schools? That sounded like a perfect task to test out this service I had heard so much about. It's well-defined and important, but non-critical and boring. Perfect for a VA. So in this review, I want to tell the 5 rules I discovered from my first foray into Fiverr, so you can find the right freelancer for your job, and ensure that it gets delivered the way you want it, without surprises.
Let's start with...
Rule 1: It's Not Going to Cost You $5
On Fiverr, there are jobs for pretty much everything that could possibly be done virtually. From data entry to voiceover, you can get people from various regions around the world working for you as freelancers. There's also a whole lifestyle section where you can get a love spell casts and other meme services.
Better yet, you can just post a request for what you're looking for and people will submit requests for their job posting which you can browse at your convenience. We'll talk about this more in a second.
One thing that I feel that you should understand and that we'll be talking a lot about is the price. On Fiverr, it lives up to its name and there are many jobs on there for $5. But it starts there and only goes up. If you want your wallet to cry just look at their pro pages. Sure, you could get any of these people to give you a logo $5 or you can get the guy who designed the apple logo for $10,000 (which is exactly 2000 fiverrs.) Also, each seller can have multiple tiers of selling, which means that sometimes to get those fancy designs they advertise the price can be many times what they advertise it starting at.
So let's assume that you have a job in mind, beyond budget how do to find the right person for the job.
Rule #2: The more support you can provide the cheaper you can go.
My project is likely different than what you have in mind, but I feel like some of the steps that I took in my search to find the right person would benefit you with any job.
So I started off by searching Data entry and because it was a commodity, that I had clearly defined and didn't have a strict deadline on I knew I could search at the bottom of the price tier. And that is exactly what I was searching for. I just went with the cheapest guy on the first page. He listed 100 data entries for $10, a fair price.
One thing that I did that I am so glad I did is is creating a video of what I wanted done. This eliminated any confusion over what I was looking for or how to go about it. I just used OBS to capture my screen and record my mic, I didn't need a webcam, and I just uploaded an unlisted video to youtube and posted that with my request. Now there was no confusion.
After seeing the video, without asking, he provided me with a sample of his work on the first two schools, and I would have gone with him if not for the week-long vacation he took the next day. But this taught me an important rule and one that I carried over to all my future interviews.
Rule #3: Test the seller before you place the order.
Asking for a sample before you start if possible or a rough sketch or pitch for an idea is important. You should feel confident. I had everyone who I interviewed do the first two schools on my list so I could check accuracy and understanding of the task.
With the first guy on holiday and this lesson under my belt, I tried reaching out to more people in the same way but I wasn't getting the response I was looking for. In another sneaky occurrence of rule 1, every seller will try to negotiate you higher than their listed price. Want it here early, that's a surcharge, want additional information that's a surcharge, want source files, that's a surcharge. One guy had his post as "any type of data entry" listed for $25 but he tried to tell me that it was going to be $60 because my job was complicated, another girl had data entry listed for $10 as well but tried to sell me on it for $40. They say please and do their best to get more money for the job, and fair enough to them. But I set my budget to $10-$25 for so it was an automatic no for anyone above that and I was willing to hold out for the right deal.
This brings us to requests. If you click on your profile picture you can post a request. This flips the dynamic on its head. Now you don't have to copy and paste your same request 100 times and manage the communication and negotiation. Sellers can bid for your business. I made my request and could just sit back and let the offers roll in. I felt like was the prince at a party. I had a simple job, but for the 1 day I left my request up I got 63 requests of people willing to do it, some were outrageous. Unless you're Ed Sheeran and you sing while you do it, I'm not paying anyone $2500 for doing a few google searches. I ended up going with the first person who quoted me $5. Now I didn't end up paying him $5, remember rule 1, the $5 was for 50 schools and I wanted a hundred, so that brought it up to $10. Then because I asked for the mascots as well, he asked for $20 and we split the difference at $15.
That's when Rule #1 surprised me again. When I went to check out, I encountered a service fee that Fiverr adds on top of your order. "The current fees assessed to the total purchase amount are $2 on purchases up to $40 and 5% on purchases above $40.” That's right it is impossible to get a job done on fiverr for $5. Because of that service fee, the cheapest possible gig on Fiverr is going to cost you $7.
But with the money spent, your freelancer highered, and your gig booked, you're ready to embrace the harsh truth of rule 4.
Rule #4: You're not going to like something they do
In Fiverr you don't always get what you pay for. What matters the most is who is doing the work. You'll see that you get wide-ranging quality with a few gems seriously underpricing their work and a few bad apples who don't understand the difference between cents and sense.
What matters are those revisions. This is not a step that I planned well enough. I would say that the first pass got it to 98% completion, but 20% of that data was incorrect. It was simple mistakes, there were broken links, he got a different school with the same name, and missing contact information with no explination given. I had to step through check each piece of data. One thing that I did right on this step was creating a shared google sheets page for data entry so I could monitor his work and leave comments directly on the work saying this URL is broken, this saved me so much time trying to write out a list of everything that needed changes.
However, I found by the time I checked if the results were correct I could have just fixed it myself. If I could do it again, I would have him go in more stages, send me a message once you've done the first 20 so I can check them, then do the rest. That way I could correct errors he was making before he did too much work for me to check.
But one step that saved me was making sure that showed his work. For me, I made sure that for each schools contact information he added the URL that he grabbed it from so I could easily check if it was the right school and if the email was for the right person.
Lesson learned, it's never going to be perfect the first time, so figure out before you have them start the job them how you're going to catch mistakes before they happen, communicate how to fix ones that slip through, and what happens if the job is done and it's still not perfect.
With that the job was done, but rule 1 had to make another recurrence, because fiverr asks you to tip the person after they finish. Ugh... You just can't get out of this without spending double what you expect. But now I knew what to expect, which brings me to the last rule.
Rule 5: Think long term partnership
The coolest part of this whole process was sending off the request, paying the money, and knowing that it was going to be done for me. I would be able to do nothing for the next few days and this would move forward because I had someone working on it.
The price was reasonable but it took me about 4 hours of searching, recording, and negotiating, and back and forth communication over 1 week to get what I wanted done at the price I was looking for. Granted I did free up time after the time that I would normally spend on the task. Furthermore, now that I know the platform and I know to just post a request from the start, I would guess it would take me an hour or two and if I was willing to pay a heavy premium I could probably get the completed sheet in my hands within 24 hours and with a higher accuracy. But I will say that I could have easily done the task myself in the same time that it took for me to find the guy, negotiate, check his work, and get it back.
However, what I gained is a contact that I trust to do this job in the future if I need it done and I'm too busy. I also gained experience with Fiverr and delegating a task. For me feeling trusting that it will be done and seeing it play out. That's worth the $15 right there.
Everyone should consider using Fiverr or a similar service for a gig at some point in their life. But it should only be for a well-defined and important task that is both non-critical and boring. Expect the negotiation to be above the price, don't forget about the service change, and have a way to clearly communicate what you want and have a plan for giving feedback on it or at least checking their work.
Searching for a different person each time costs you the time that you would save, so if I was to do it again I would post a request and look for people who I could see booking multiple times in the future, being sure to test them in some way, have a plan to check in early before too many mistakes are made to easily fix.
Then just trust and relax and enjoy that you can work on other stuff.