Outsourcing with Fiverr is a lot like drinking alcohol. When done appropriately and in moderation, it can be awesome!
Now, if you drink all day, mixing beer, wine and liquor, there will be problems.
Is this a bit of a stretch? Perhaps.
My point is this: be careful with Fiverr and use it for what it is.
While it is a fantastic option for some tasks, it is not a solution for everything.
Introduction to Fiverr
Fiverr is a very commonly used outsourcing network that can be a fantastic use of your money or an absolute waste of your time and energy.
I didn't say waste of money because you can get your money back if a gig is not up to par, but you cannot get the time and energy back.
When I started growing my first business, I was a huge fan of Fiverr.
A lot of this had to do with the fact I couldn't afford much else and didn't know about many other options. It was pretty cool nonetheless.
After purchasing dozens of different gigs ranging from logo design, voiceovers, transcription, data entry, image editing, website design and even hand drawn caricatures of myself (don't ask), I have a rounded understanding of what tends to work and what doesn't on Fiverr.
I even sold gigs on Fiverr writing comedy, so I have seen both sides.
I have wasted a lot of time on Fiverr gigs, and I want to help you avoid this.
One question you might have is,
“Why does it even matter? It is only five dollars?”
Perhaps $5 is not a big deal to you at all. I hope that you are at a place that $5 will not make or break you financially. You probably know that gigs aren't all $5, but there are reasons why even $5 gigs are important to monitor closely.
Remember this, when you buy a gig on Fiverr, you are still spending your most valuable resource: time. You are either growing your business, remaining stagnant or worst of all, destroying it. Sometimes you are worse off if you purchase a bad gig than if it wasn't done at all.
Hiring for a project and just writing off the expense as a loss is not just a $5+ loss, it is the amount of time you spent not completing the task that you deemed important enough to hire out in the first place.
Is Fiverr Right for Your Job?
Fiverr is great, but it is far from perfect. Due to its affordability and easy startup, many bootstrapping entrepreneurs attempt to use Fiverr for everything.
They want logos made, websites launched, copywriting crafted, sales pages perfected . . . unfortunately, Fiverr is not the best option for all of these things and you may very likely end up paying more money in the long run and wasting a lot of time.
How You Should Use Fiver
Fiverr is a great place to find a wide array of basic jobs or ones that require very specific technical expertise.
It's a good option if you have time-consuming tasks of low-level importance.
It's a good option if you have a clear job description with details, timelines, and examples.
It is also best for infrequent gigs.
How You Shouldn't Use Fiverr
Fiverr is not a compete solution for all of your outsourcing needs. I don't recommend you put all of your work on the backs of Fiverr workers.
If you have open-ended gigs that require a great deal of ingenuity and self-guided work, Fiverr won't be a good solution. You can benefit from hiring someone "in house" and employing them long term.
Fiverr is also not a good option if you have very important tasks and deadlines that aren't flexible since you never know if you're getting someone who is going to meet expectations.
Fiverr Pros and Cons
Assessing Your Task and Your Options
Before deciding whether or not to use Fiverr, you should ask yourself the following 7 questions.
#1 "Is my time better spent somewhere else?"
This may be a task that you should do yourself if it is easier than explaining to someone and if it is only a one time fix. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty from time to time. There is a huge difference between effectively outsourcing tasks and outsourcing for the sake of outsourcing.
Basically, don't spend 20 mins explaining a 10 min task you could do yourself. This seems like common sense, but once you develop the mindset of "I have to outsource or I am being inefficient," you may not notice logical errors like this.
If it is a repeating task, you should outsource if your time is more valuable than the rate paid to a freelancer.
#2 "Is this task flexible enough to risk losing time if the seller fails to deliver as expected?"
Unfortunately, many gigs fall through especially the basic $5 ones. The reason for this is that many Fiverr(ers) don't intend to ever work for $5, they only want the gig if you purchase the add-ons.
Though I don't blame them for not working for $5, I do blame them for misusing the network like this. If you have no intention to work for the base price as advertised, don't advertise it. I know better now, but many new buyers learn this the hard way. It is, unfortunately, quite common.
Never rely on a Fiverr seller (who you don’t know) to deliver in a high stakes situation. If you have a presentation on Friday and it is currently Wednesday, I wouldn’t trust a Fiverr seller to make them for you by Friday, even if you purchase the 24-hour upgrade. Remember, there are lots of flaky gigs out there.
#3 "Is this something that could be detrimental to my business if it's done incorrectly?"
Some tasks like link building and brand management should never be done on the cheap. Often times, amateurs claim to be able to do these tasks and end up damaging their client's search rankings or even worse, their brand's credibility. Your brand is worth the extra expense of a professional and falling out of grace with Google can be crippling. Use discernment here and be careful who you trust and with what.
You Should Never Buy Spammy Links on Fiverr!
I recommend that you only practice white hat SEO and buying spammy backlinks on Fiverr isn't a good idea.
#4 "Is this task detailed and easy to explain?"
How much time is it going to take you to explain this gig? Consider how much time will be involved when you inevitably have to explain the task again if it's done incorrectly. Don't purchase a gig until you are completely certain what you really need and how it needs to be done.
#5 "Is this task something I am going to need very infrequently?"
If this is a task that you will need frequently (at least a couple times a week) you may be better off learning how to do it yourself and then hiring someone to do it regularly at a set rate. I use Fancyhands.com for tasks like this.
I recommend that you learn how to do it yourself first because it will make it much easier for you to understand what to expect, how long it should take and what you should pay. There is a fine line of course, you don't need to learn iOS programming before you outsource app development, but you should learn how to set up DNS servers properly if you work with a lot of new websites.
#6 "Is this something that will improve my brand?"
I know it can be difficult for people to assign value to tasks in terms of dollars, but you should get use to this. If this is something that will not build your brand or make you money, don't buy it. That is pretty simple right?
You Should Never Buy Subscribers, Likes, or Shares
These are not just a waste of time from an earnings standpoint (think about it, are these fake subscribers going to participate and potentially buy your product or service?) but they can easily be spotted as SPAM and can affect your rankings in various platforms or even worse, destroy the credibility of your brand. Build your following the right way. Organically and at a reasonable pace.
#7 "Is this something that is already listed as a service on Fiverr?"
If you need a gig performed, it is best to work with someone who already has a good track record. If your gig hasn’t been requested before, it may be for a reason. Either way, you will need to take a bit of a risk hiring someone with no prior work history.
If I need to create a new gig from scratch, I typically do not use Fiverr. This isn't one of their strengths and you will get better applicants much sooner if you use a site like Upwork.com instead.
If you need the same task done each day...
Solution: Fancyhands.com or hire your own personal assistant from a similar site. Fiverr requires you to reorder for gigs that are ongoing, so it is not the most logical option for things you are certain you will need each day. Also, check out zirtual.com if you are looking for an agency type assistant.
If you need large projects and require a lot of input...
Solution: You should work with serious freelancers for large projects. You will spend more upfront, but the value will be well worth it. You will save time and energy and you will get a better end product. I recommend Elance.com, Freelancer.com or Upwork.com for larger projects.
Don't compare the Fiverr prices to the prices on these sites, it is truly "apples to oranges" when it comes to quality. If someone on Fiverr wants to build your entire software/website/etc. for 10% the cost of the other sites, run away!
Note: There are a lot of poor quality freelancers on these sites as well. You will need to narrow your search to more qualified applicants. Hiring a bad freelancer on one of these sites is of course no better than hiring a bad one from Fiverr. It may even be worse if you set your budget to high.
If you are building a serious brand and have $99+ to spend...
Solution: 99designs.com is a cool site that runs a very cool concept. You submit your request and then multiple contractors compete to win the job. You get to view dozens of options and unique examples created specifically for your project and then you select only the one(s) that you like the most out. If you like options, this is the absolute best choice.
Top 10 Fiverr Best Practices
Here are 10 things you should do to make sure you get the best possible experience when you hire freelancers on Fiverr.
#1 Save Information from Quality Gig
Once you have someone you can trust, use them again. I have several gigs on Fiverr that I use over and over.
This saves me a lot of time and I can trust these people to deliver.
#2 Understand What You're Actually Getting for $5
Many gigs now are not actually $5. Technically, even the $5 gigs are now $5.50 with the recently added transaction fee. There are gigs that entice you to click but offer far less than is advertised upfront. Some are more blatantly misleading than others.
The gig below for example advertises 250 high quality motivational videos (which is crazy to expect for $5 anyway, I'd avoid this gig like the plague from the get go).
In reality, the $5 is just to get you onto the page. You'll only get 20 videos (again, still crazy) for $5.
Use common sense and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The example to the right is an obvious exaggeration. The seller does state in the description that this is actually for only 20 mins of work, but this is still a rather misleading description.
That doesn't mean Fiverr isn't worth the extra expense that the gig extras add, you just need to know what you're buying.
If someone does work for you, understand if you need to purchase the copyrights to use it commercially and be sure to check this before buying. These fees are typically not much. If you have a larger budget for design work, I recommend leaving Fiverr and checking 99 Designs instead anyway.
#3 Be Clear in Requirements
I do not mean for this to sound ugly, but more than likely, the person you are working with on Fiverr will lack a “get up and go,” critical thinking mindset.
Don’t ever assume that the freelancer knows exactly what you want. Read the instructions you have given them and ask yourself “if I didn’t already know what this gig was, would I understand this request?"
#4 Contact the Freelancer before Buying
This is particularly important if you are in need of a project very soon. Most Fiverr sellers require you to do this anyway.
#5 Create Screen Recordings and Provide examples of similar work.
Pictures and videos are a fantastic way to get your freelancer up to speed on your needs. Use screenr.com if you want a free tool, but if you want a premium service, check out Camtasia.
#6 Don’t Trust Fiverr(ers) for Work within 24 Hours.
If it’s an emergency and you have to have a job done quickly, you shouldn’t trust anyone on Fiverr. I love Fiverr, but you can’t rely on everyone to deliver. It is not worth the risk and you will eventually get burnt.
#7 Read Seller’s Reviews
Don’t expect work that is much better than what the seller has provided in the past. I always look for comments on whether or not the freelancer was responsive and completed the work on time.
#8 Leave Honest Feedback and Consider Tipping
You should follow proper etiquette when buying gigs on Fiverr. Be cool. Now, don't leave positive feedback if a gig wasn't as advertised or the seller was subpar. All buyers on Fiverr owe it to one another to make sure that we hold the freelancers accountable. Don't feel guilty about leaving an honest review. The good gigs will make it and the bad ones will weed themselves out if all the buyers leave honest feedback when necessary.
If I order a gig and the freelancer goes far beyond my expectations, I will leave a tip of $5 or 15% of the gig total, whichever is more. This isn't required, but I always appreciate good work and like to develop strong relationships going forward.
#9 Don't Outsource Black Hat SEO,
Outsourcing on Fiverr should never include buying bulk backlinks. There are a lot of great SEO related gigs on Fiverr, but buying links in bulk is always risky.
You run the risk of being penalized by Google if you buy backlinks. It is against the Google Webmaster guidelines.
You should only trust SEO work to professionals.
Don't go cheap on SEO or link building. Here is a good article on why outsourcing cheap SEO will hurt you in the long run.
#10 Don't Buy Traffic, Likes, Subscribers, or Reviews
This is not quality traffic. These fake fans will not build your brand or lead to conversions. These are not real customers and doing this may lead to destroying your credibility.