Back in June 2011, I was struggling to get my writing business off the ground. I’d only decided to give is a chance of going full-time in the February of that year, and I was learning where to find clients and how to get work. Fiverr came up as a place to sell my gigs to get orders, and it sounded like a great idea.
It certainly was. I instantly started getting work and within a year, I was making a full-time income through the micro-gig site. Over that time, I tweaked my gigs to make sure they were right for me. And I would continually tweak them as time went on, ensuring I could offer the best service for the low price.
However, it’s now time for me to quit offering my writing services via Fiverr. I’ve shut everything down as of January 2020. It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly, but there have been a number of reasons to close down what I offer through the site.
Fiverr’s system is unfair to sellers
Let’s first touch on the system that is set up more in favor of buyers than sellers. I get it. Without buyers, the site wouldn’t keep going. Sellers will always come and go. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a site that I want to spend time on.
December 2019 was the last straw for me. For the last year or so, I’ve been putting my gigs on vacation a lot. I was getting to many requests for services that I don’t offer (I’ll get to that in a second) and I wanted to take time away from the site. Each month, I would take a few orders and then put the gigs on hold. I was making roughly $200 from the site and it was relatively stress-free, until December 2019. I got multiple orders that were nothing I offered. Clearly, buyers hadn’t read my gig terms, but Fiverr let them order.
And that’s a major issue. Once a buyer places an order, you’re a little stuck. You just have to accept it or risk damaging your “cancellation rate.” Drop the rate and you lose levels. More on that in a minute. Just know that the way the site is set up is for buyers and not for sellers.
There are too many people looking for cheap services
There are a lot of people who see the $5 price point. And they expect the world for that $5.
I have my gigs set up so that the $5 starting point (as it used to be) was something I didn’t mind offering. Things have changed in recent years where you can start your gigs from more than $5, but people see the name “Fiverr” and expect everything for $5.
I’ve had people demand I write 2,000-word essays for a measly $5. Nope, not gonna do it! People don’t know how much time it takes to write or the cost of living where you are. They then say “but this person does it for that price” or “but it’s ‘Fiverr'” and expect you to roll over.
Then there’s those who have canceled after to get free work. Some have tried and then messaged me with complaints when they’re realized I used the canceled content elsewhere. It’s my content until paid in full for. I’m not removing it from a personal blog no matter how much you cry!
Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business & Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro
One person can ruin everything for you
If you get a bad buyer on the site, you’re stuffed. Some of the worst situations have been when someone has ordered a gig and got exactly what they ordered. They then decided that they wanted something entirely different as a “revision.” When they were told it would cost more, they kicked off. Bear in mind that this was a $5 order. So, it got canceled on them.
On one occasion, it was a $100 order. You would think they’d give the exact requirements, right? Nope, they decided they didn’t like what they originally sent and because they were spending so much, they wanted a revision. This one didn’t get canceled. Nor did I do the revision. They decided to leave a scathing review.
That’s their right as a buyer. Of course, they didn’t give the full truth. They lied to say that I was unprofessional. I would have loved to have uploaded screenshots.
Keeping levels is stressful
Back to the levels. You start with no level, whatever services you have on Fiverr, and work your way up through Level 1, Level 2, and Top Rated Seller. I used to be a Top Rated Seller but lost that on account of cancellations (because people don’t bother reading the gigs).
Right now, I’d be on the verge of losing my Level 2 status all because of cancellations. You see, your cancellation rate has to be 90% within a 60 day period. Say over the course of 60 days, you had 10 orders but one was canceled, you’d be on that 90%. That’s fine until the 60 days starts moving and you get no new orders for whatever reason (such as gigs being on hold for vacation). I’m down to an 88% cancellation rate and, apart from opening my gigs and getting more orders, there’s nothing I can do. But I’ve got no guarantee in getting the orders in time for the monthly review.
It sucks and keeping the levels is stressful. You constantly have to check whether it’s worth canceling an order or taking it despite it not matching your gig. More often than not, sellers are forced into doing work and I don’t like that system. In fact, I hate that system, so I’m not offering my writing services on Fiverr anymore.
I’m making more directly through private clients
Making money on Fiverr is bad. With the original minimum $5 base rate, it was really hard just to get started. Fiverr says that the top sellers make more in the upsells, but that’s not always the case. There are just too many cheap buyers on the site.
Plus, Fiverr takes a 20% commission off you. So, instead of making $5, you’re making $4. If you bring buyers to the site, you get to keep that commission since you’ve done the hard work. Well, if I’m going to get my own clients, I’m going to do it through my own website, where I make more money just from the initial cost of my services. I can also offer a full service package on my own site, which I can’t manage through Fiverr because of various gig limitations.
Fiverr is a waste of time for me. It’s stressful and set up in a way that doesn’t help me write well, so I can’t offer my best services on the site anyway. I’ve quit offering writing services on Fiverr, and I highly recommend more do and get work somewhere they are valued.
Where do you offer your writing services? Are you considering Fiverr? Let me know in the comments below!