Hi friends! Jorden here, and I’m SUPER excited about today’s guest post from writer Miranda Friel. 🙂 In this post, she’s breaking down her awful experience freelance writing on Fiverr – in spite of being a top rated writer there! If this doesn’t motivate you to get the HELL off of Fiverr / content mills / bidding sites and start a REAL freelance writing business, nothing will. Over to you, Miranda!
I’ll be honest.
When I was a new freelancer — scared and confused — Fiverr sounded like a pretty sweet deal.
“You mean I don’t have to have my own website? I don’t have to pitch? And I don’t even have to bid for jobs?!?”
Sounds pretty great, right?
I found out about Fiverr sucking the hard way.
And wow, it sucked.
It sucked a year of my life away, stalled my career, and paid me pennies to work the hardest I’ve ever worked. Ever.
…Yep. I was a Fiverr “success.”
I was popular! I had tons of repeat clients!
I completed over 250 assignments in one year, wrote hundreds of thousands of words…
…and made a grand total of $8,000. In a year. Full-time.
Which is 1/3rd of most USA minimum wage earners.
I really don’t want any other writers to go through what I did.
Especially since, after launching my business for real, I make $5,000 a month for a fraction of the work.
You are so much better off taking a course on pitching or learning how to niche down.
(Frankly, you’re better off joining the circus than joining Fiverr…)
But if you’re still not convinced, here’s exactly why Fiverr is the WORST way to start freelance writing.
Why Fiverr is the WORST Way to Start Freelance Writing
1) Copywriting is one of the least popular categories on Fiverr, so demand is low.
When you look through the other categories on Fiverr, like video-editing and graphic design, it looks like some freelancers might be making decent money.
Head into the “Writing” tab, and prices abruptly drop.
That’s because most “wanna-be-preneurs” cruising Fiverr for freelancers think good writing is an afterthought.
They value flashy video and pretty colors over good old-fashioned words.
Now, I’m not knocking our fellow visually-oriented freelancers.
(They work hard, too!)
But I will say that REAL businesses know writing is worth SO MUCH MORE than $50 for 3,000 words.
That’s why writing pros earn anywhere from $5-15k a month…when they’re not on Fiverr.
2) Fiverr takes 20%. That’s a LOT.
Ever wondered how Fiverr affords all that advertising?
You have to dig to find out, but they actually take 20% of every single transaction.
If you hate math (like I do), that might not mean much to you. It certainly didn’t mean anything to me.
Until I started working for customers, that is.
Think about it this way:
If you charge $5 for a service, Fiverr takes one dollar, leaving you with $4.
If you charge $40, Fiverr takes $8, leaving you with $32.
Even if 1/5th doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up fast.
At my peak of doing 15 assignments a week, I was losing hundreds of dollars.
The more you charge, the more Fiverr takes.
So, if by some miracle you rise to the top of Fiverr and charge $100 for your services, you lose $20 — on top of your taxes. By the time the dust has cleared, that soul-sucking project might only net you $40.
When all’s said and done, if you calculate how much you make per hour, that 20% cut knocks you below minimum wage.
That’s right: you’re writing full-time for less than minimum wage.
(Side note: If you want to learn how to make $1,000/mo writing from home WITHOUT Fiverr (even as a beginner), then sign up for this free class on how to get clients now!)
3) You’re treated like a fast food worker.
If you’re freelancing to escape retail or fast food, you definitely don’t want to work on Fiverr. You run into a lot of similar problems.
- Customers can be rude and demanding.
I’ve had clients blow-up over minor mistakes, accuse me of lying, and demand tons of rewrites for no reason. (That happens rarely, if ever, in the “real” world of freelancing).
And when you’re juggling ten other orders and desperate for a 5 star rating, you don’t have the energy to fight back.
Plus, your Fiverr ranking (AKA how many people purchase from you) is at the mercy of how customers rate you.
That means that the customer is always right.
…Even when they’re oh, so wrong.
- Customers demand quick turnaround.
For me, the most annoying part of Fiverr was everyone insisting they needed writing “ASAP” or “the next day.”
I’d quote them a reasonable time frame, usually three to five days. (BTW, this is pretty short for real writing).
And every single damn time…they’d say they needed it the next day.
So I’d be rushing out crappy work.
News Flash: a real freelance writing career doesn’t treat writing like you’re on a line, flipping burgers.
If it does, you’re working for a content mill or shitty client.
- Customers pay crap money.
Fiverr is a global marketplace. And if you’re in the USA like me, you know that a dollar doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Working on Fiverr, I noticed that other people freelanced from different countries, where $40 means a lot more. Many of the Fiverr customers flocked to lower-priced writing.
Even when customers did buy from me, I had to keep my prices low to be competitive with my cohorts from different economies.
No shade to my fellow ‘lancers. But the end result was that all of our prices were driven down. And none of us were making what we were worth.
The result: I would have made more money working at Burger King.
4) The competition is insane.
Your income on Fiverr is directly tied to your “impressions,” or how many times your profile is shown to people browsing the site.
Since Fiverr was founded in 2010 and I joined in 2018, I came to Fiverr pretty late. There were already a couple thousand people in the niche I wanted.
And people are insanely competitive. That results in underhanded tactics to rise through the rankings and get ahead.
Some things I saw happening:
- People would buy each other’s gigs (giving Fiverr free money) and leave 5 star ratings to boost each other up.
- Others would get friends and family to purchase their gig to catapult them onto the front page.
- Still others crowded out the niches with multiple gigs offering the same thing. (Basically, they were getting exposed to potential customers more than once, upping their chances of getting a sale).
Now, I didn’t do any of this crap.
But one of my fellow copywriters outsourced their work to me in order to fill more gigs and get more ratings (again giving Fiverr a huge chunk of their income).
To be honest…all that time and energy?
Better spent on making your own writing portfolio website (click here for an in-depth tutorial!), finding a niche, and pitching your ass off.
5) The freelance writing clients on Fiverr are trash.
A good client is worth soooo much more than the money they pay you.
They can give you referrals, boost your portfolio with good pieces, and more.
Every single person I wrote for on Fiverr was useless to my career.
There were no referrals… because these people weren’t running real businesses.
My portfolio suffered… because their online businesses “died” in a matter of weeks, sometimes days.
And, they constantly low-balled me and begged for work before I was ready to turn it in.
If you choose to work on Fiverr, here’s what you’ll encounter instead of real clients.
- The Liar. He says business is booming, but his website has cobwebs on it. Maybe he will eventually make some money…but he’s definitely not offering you any of it.
- The Rude One. Who knows why, but she was born with a stick up her ass. And she’s not afraid to take it out on you in the form of name-calling, constant messaging, interrogation, and more.
- The Mentor. “Work for me for cheap and I’ll show you how to REALLY freelance, dawg!” This is 100% of the time — every single time — a scam. A big fat scam. I fell for it three times, donating a ton of work, time, and effort to “mentors” who didn’t give a shit about me.
- The Freak. Ladies, you know when someone gives you bad vibes? You usually block them, right? I got sexually harassed. Too bad Fiverr’s “block” button doesn’t work – the guy ended up ordering something else and harassing me that way. And to top it off, I had to play along to keep my five-star rating.
The Main Takeaway About Freelance Writing on Fiverr
You – yes, you – are worth so much more than anything on Fiverr.
You are worth the time and energy to set up a real freelance writing business.
Please save yourself the hassle, headache, and heartbreak of working for a soulless marketplace like Fiverr.
Build your own brand and make your own business happen.
After all – can’t say I didn’t warn ya.
From sunny Orlando, Florida, Miranda Jade Friel writes for and about tech businesses. You can find her at businesswriter.co. When she’s not fending off alligators, of course. Because that’s what Floridians do.