I spent the better part of a year selling my freelance AdWords services on Fiverr, which is an online platform where an individual can sell services for $5. After a certain amount of orders are completed, you can then sell extras at a higher rate and as a result, my average order amount was right around $15. This month, I decided to pull my services from Fiverr for a variety of reasons and am now offering an honest review of the service overall.
Fiverr is not a bad platform
This is not a post to disparage Fiverr. It is a great platform overall and offers a fantastic service for those who want to build a freelance portfolio fast. It is well-marketed and the 20% they take off the top of your earnings is fair for the use of the platform and the traffic it provides. If you setup your services (or “gigs”) correctly, it proves to be very fruitful.
So why did I decide to leave Fiverr? Because I became slave to it.
Sellers have no control over the amount of orders received, which was the eventual deal-breaker for me. I became a slave to my computer and I lost the ability to leave the house for half a day without getting behind on messages and orders. I relocated my services to PeoplePerHour for this very reason. PeoplePerHour allows me to set a limit on active orders and to specify working days, vacation days and off days that allow me to have more control over my schedule, thus providing a much higher level of customer service for each client. For those of us working full-time jobs, as I was, the flexibility of custom scheduling is of the highest importance.
The ability to sell extras is contingent on your level.
This is something I understand, however, if you pause your gigs to have more control over your schedule (as mentioned above), you lose your level. This becomes a pain as I relied on the extras to provide services to my clients. When the level is lost for pausing, then the extras disappear, making it impossible to offer the same level of service. As a result, I could never pause gigs and had to work at the mercy of how many orders came in, which was a lot.
Fiverr needs to allow sellers to set limits on how many orders come in.
This alone would solve many problems. If I am offering a gig, I would like to set a limit of 10 active orders, so I don’t get piled up. When orders pile up, customer service suffers. The Fiverr forums suggest simply extending your lead times and I tested this theory, pushing out my delivery time to 10 days in order to maintain some level of sanity. The problems with this method is that customers complain that it takes too long to get an order delivered and if you get 10 orders per day, then you have 10 orders to complete per day, which results in Fiverr slavery.
Fiverr makes it very difficult for sellers to explain what exactly the gig entails, what the buyer will receive and what the seller will not do with the strict 1200 character limit in the gig description. As a result, sellers often have to cancel orders for buyers who don’t get the entire scope of the job or ask for things that are not included in the gig. There are even character limits on the messaging system, which results in poor customer service overall.
Vacation mode limits
Due to popular demand from sellers, Fiverr recently introduced vacation mode. This was a life saver for me initially, until I found out that it was limited to only 28 days per year. The beauty of vacation mode is that it allows you to “pause” your gigs without losing your level (as I described above). The problem is the 28 day annual limit. For those of us who have excessive orders, this is not enough, especially if we are pausing it 2-3 days a week to keep the orders under control. There is also no indication on the seller dashboard of how many more days you have left until you run out, causing problems for sellers.
Buyers expect the world for $5
This is a common argument, but not one I necessarily had a problem with since I didn’t offer any service for $5 that I wasn’t willing to take $4 for. For me, it was imperative to offer something that took me no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete for a basic $5 service. I know many sellers offer items that they would charge much more for under normal circumstances. Regardless, buyers always want more for the basic $5 price and hold the seller rating hostage to get what they want. It is a never-ending cycle that only benefits the buyer. Many sellers end up refunding the buyer just to keep their high ratings and end up providing their hard work for free. Buyers know they can get away with this and it is just another way that Fiverr is heavily biased to the customer service of the buyers and not the sellers.
As mentioned above, my solution was to move to PeoplePerHour, as it works better for my business overall and puts me in control of when I can work, what orders come in and my prices. I am able to offer the same low-cost services I did on Fiverr, without the limitation of how much money I can charge for extra services. This platform also allows me to offer custom services at an hourly rate at my option. Since my freelance work and freelance business belongs to me, I decided that I wanted to be in control of it.
As the proud owner of a teenage daughter and my personal experience with the power of social media on a professional level, I offer this letter to preach the importance of maintaining a professional appearance and using social media. Taking these steps will enhance your future reputation and build power to get into college and land the job of your future dreams.
To all teenagers this may concern,
I am sure you have heard this a million times, but the Internet is a public place. Anyone can, and will, see what you post online. Even if you think they won’t see it, there are software and services out there that allow corporations, colleges and universities to view your complete online history. I am not saying that you cannot have your fun with your friends (we all do), however keep this “fun” to social media outlets that are not so public, such as Snapchat or limit them to very private or alias accounts.
Your online reputation matters, and is beginning to matter more than your paper trail. Whether you are in high school, college or even younger, it is never too early to start managing this reputation and developing habits that will benefit your future self (even though most of you may not even want to think about this yet).
When you post anything that is public, it is important to look at it through the eyes of your parents, your teachers, college recruiters and your future employers. Is it grammatically correct? Is this politically correct? Is it in bad taste? Believe me, there are more times than I can count that I want to post something online that I find funny or controversial, however I resist the urge and forward these types of articles privately through email or Facebook messenger.
Some states are beginning to pass laws to protect you young ones from mistaken posts. California has recently embraced the oops button for minors to remove their regretful social media posts. I would not say this is a fail-safe and would still maintain habits to maintain a certain level of public decorum.
I recommend a few things to begin developing this reputation, especially if you are one of those rare and lucky individuals who are well aware of their future path.
Join LinkedIN Sooner Rather Than Later
LinkedIN has been one of my most powerful outlets for developing my online reputation. Even if you don’t work, it is important to document your education, clubs, organizations, volunteer work and merits. LinkedIN has recently been released for teens and I urge you to take advantage of it. LinkedIN is powerful and if you apply to a college or a future position with a complete profile, it will make the decision to enroll or hire you much easier.
Secure Your Domain Name and Blog
Or at minimum, secure your domain name, especially if your full name is available. Have a website and keep it professional (and you don’t even need to share it with your friends). Link to your professional social profiles, blog about your accomplishments and have fun with it! All of your blog posts do not need to be professional (take my blog for example) and you can use it in the future to allow key individuals to get to know you, as well as learn about your goals and accomplishments. When you apply for a job or a college, there is nothing more intriguing than having a website they can view to learn more.
Clean Your Social Profiles
It is important on occasion to backtrack through your Tweets and posts and delete the ones that may not meet professional “standards”. I do this often, and it should become habit. It is important to do this long before you decide to send out any applications as they do remain for a bit until search engine crawlers recognize that it is gone.
I know you don’t want to think about it now, and if you don’t…at least keep it in mind for the future. I have received many job offers and opportunities through social media, my website and I simply write this to make you aware and save you potential future embarrassment. People do get fired or discounted for social media activity and I hope you take the steps to manage your reputation before it is too late.
I have read 104 job descriptions in the past week and there are some trends I am finding that I translate to no less than trying to get someone to work for nothing. I have still only applied to 3 jobs of the countless hundreds that are available, which is unfortunate. There are several great jobs out there, until I get turned off by some key terms in the job description.
The “Entry Level” Scheme
This is the most common element of a job description that I am finding and it is honestly starting to tick me off. I find a relevant job title and I read a job description as normal;
5+ years digital marketing experience. Check
Extensive AdWords experience. Check
Google Analytics expert. Check
Facebook Paid Ads expertise. Check
HTML/CSS experience. Check
Proficient on Adobe Creative Suite. Check
Health Benefits/401K and the works. Awesome
So this position is aligned with my experience and the $60k investment I have made in my education, so lets read more…
“This position is an entry-level position starting at $35k with opportunities for advancement”
Say what? What about the job duties and required experience represents anything “entry-level”. According to my spreadsheet, over 35% of the jobs that I have reviewed display verbiage like this. How does attaching “entry-level” to a position, that requires a pretty extensive experience level justify paying a ridiculously low wage? Doesn’t paying a market-rate wage provide a better service for the company? Is high turnaround preferable? What does advertising, interviewing and on-boarding a new employee cost a company?
(Low Wage:Experience) = Low Quality
(Low Wage:High Quality) = High Turnaround
(Market Wage:High Quality) = Low Turnaround
(Market Wage:Experience) = High Quality
The “Internship” Scheme
Another common practice I am finding in the quest to get employees to work for nothing is by marketing the job as an unpaid internship. With similar experience requirements as the above, this encompasses 10% of the job descriptions I have read. These positions are cleverly masked as a regular position and then you get further down the job description for the ultimate letdown.
“This position is unpaid with the opportunity for a full-time position” (but we require 40 years of experience…yes this is an exaggeration).
Really? College education is ridiculously expensive and a company cannot expect to get quality work, requiring the experience they do while not paying the employee (oh I am sorry, “intern”). If it is a legitimate internship, no experience should be required and it should be flexible, for an actual young college student who is not working a full-time job while going to school. Almost every student I know is working a full-time job because no one I know can afford to “just go to school”. Unless you are going to be a Doctor or your college curriculum requires a semester internship, this should never be considered.
What is the point of this? Well, besides the obvious frustration, I hope that job seekers in my industry read the full job description carefully. There seems to be a trend of employers attempting to get “quality” marketing services for free or at a ridiculously low wage. Perhaps it is because companies are not yet educated on what a great internet marketer actually does.