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Is Selling Your Services On Fiverr Worth It?

Key Takeaways

  • Why you shouldn’t sell your time through a marketplace like Fiverr, but you should consider selling your expertise (there’s a difference!)
  • How marketplaces can help you “borrow an audience” and generate high-quality leads.
  • Ideas on how to leverage existing marketplaces.

The other day, a local friend of mine posted on Facebook that he had listed himself on Fiverr, which is a marketplace of people willing to do all sorts of things for $5.

Well, I know Kevin, and I know that he’s a high value .NET freelancer. So admittedly, I was a little confused at first… why would a seasoned consultant ever agree to sell a service of his (in this case, proposal review and auditing) for the price of a hamburger?

Now, I’m just going to state the obvious: I’m not a fan of Fiverr at all.

I think delivering a one-off service, like an audit, for $5 sends the wrong signal, especially if you plan on using Fiverr as a platform for lead generation. (Just a guess, but the quality of client you find might find through Fiverr probably won’t be that great.)

But regardless of my feelings toward Fiverr as a marketplace, today I want to focus on my thoughts around selling an “Expendable Offering”, and also how you can leverage marketplaces for lead generation.An example listing on Fiverr

What is an Expendable Offering?

Recently I highlighted a few consultants who had successfully made products of their time. One of them is my friend Joanna Wiebe, who offers a “No-Fluff Website Review” for a few hundred dollars.

Joanna probably won’t ever agree to a full blown contract-and-all consulting engagement for less than five figures, but you can buy her time with the virtual swipe of your corporate AMEX. Getting one of her website reviews won’t involve a proposal, a Master Services Agreement, or a Statement of Work. There’s no negotiation or haggling. You pay her $777, and a few days later get a video report.

Imagine you’re thinking of hiring Joanna to rewrite all of your marketing copy. Well, before becoming an actual client of hers and going through the hoops between going from a lead and a client, it would make a lot of sense to buy her website review product. It’s quick and a marginal cost for most businesses, but most importantly lets you judge whether Joanna is a cash machine for your business — if you give her money, will she spit out more value than you put in?

So in general, I like the idea of creating an Expendable Offering. But I don’t like doing it for $5.

Borrowing an audience through things that scale

The appeal of marketplaces like Fiverr has little to do with pricing, but instead the fact that Fiverr 1) has traffic and 2) this traffic knows that Fiverr’s an eCommerce website.

The downside, however, is that the product you deliver on Fiverr usually can’t be delivered at scale. If you’re creating video website reviews for $5 and it takes you 20 minutes to fulfill the order, a 100 sales is going to require a week of your time and the payoff is practically minimum wage.

Marketplaces can be effective, both from a revenue perspective and also for lead generation if you can deliver something at scale. Take for example my hour and a half video course that I have on Skillshare. It requires no ongoing commitment from me, but serves as a way to deliver value to people in a way that’s truly “set it and forget it.”

But my goal with going on Skillshare wasn’t to make a few hundred a month in revenue. I wanted to gain new subscribers by siphoning off part of the audience that Skillshare worked hard to acquire. And I can tell you with certainty that the financial impact of that course on Skillshare has gone far and beyond what they’ve paid me.

This is why people write guest posts on other blogs or share their designs on Dribble. Getting exposure is hard, and Google is a fickle beast. Creating a guide on how to assess project proposals and selling that on something like Fiverr — that’s a way to put your name and expertise in front of people and possibly gain some leads. But selling your time at $5 a pop isn’t a sustainable marketing strategy.

A few ideas for leveraging marketplaces

  • A video course on Udemy or Skillshare. Teach people something useful for free or for a low price. Include a strong call-to-action that encourages people to visit a squeeze page (here’s an example of one of mine) where they can exchange their email address for something of additional value.
  • Group website teardowns sold for $5 a seat on Fiverr. Instead of directly selling your time for $5 on Fiverr, sell access to you for $5. You could host a roundtable webinar for a few dozen people, allowing attendees can post their website and you’ll provide recommendations and improvements on the fly.
  • Alternatively, sell a workbook, cheatsheet or checklist on Fiverr. Make sure there’s a strong call-to-action that gets people onto an email course of yours (or have some other “lead magnet” that can help them move into your ecosystem.)
  • Posting designs on Dribble. You’re using their traffic to showcase your expertise.
  • List yourself on Clarity or other expert marketplaces. Your per-minute rate should be at or above your equivalent hourly rate.
  • Daniel Cuttridge

    I’ll admit I’m on clarity but never heard of Skillshare or Udemy. I’m going to check them out and see what I can do. Thanks for this, great content as always!

  • Hey Brennan, thanks for your ideas about leveraging marketplaces. I’m going to do exactly what you mentioned re: udemy/skillshare. I’d love to see an example of your squeeze page.

    You mentioned it in this article but I think you were intended to link the text “here’s an example of one of mine” but the link is missing.


    • Ah, crap! Thanks Chris. Updated 🙂

      • Nice, thanks for the speedy reply!
        I’ll be sure to share my own experience with using udemy/skillshare for lead gen after I get everything up and running!

  • John

    Forgot the third B in Dribbble twice.

    • Oops – thanks John, always screw that one up. Fixing.

  • Ryan Rhoades

    Thank you for speaking my heart on sites like Fiverr. I think they do an incredible disservice to creatives around the world and have made it much more difficult as one people expect things that take a lot of creative energy for almost free. So frustrating.

  • josephjrobison

    Hey Brennan, here’s a data point for you 🙂 – I first heard of you from the Kalzumeus podcast but also separately from Hacker News I think about Double Your Freelancing rate. I’ve since bookmarked your blogs, subscribed to your podcast, subscribed to your emails and bought your Skillshare.

    Question – do you have to be a well-down teacher or speaker to do a Skillshare class or can anyone apply?

  • Hi Brennan, thanks for another great post. I have been following your blog lately a lot and came across some very practical advise on promoting one’s consulting business. Good point you made, that instead of using these marketplace to sell services we can use them for lead generation. Will certainly try something like this for my company.

  • JT Eberly – vBENCH

    Just this Wed I attended an great event up in MN where Seth Levine (Foundry Group), and Clay Collins (Founder of Leadpages) were discussing Entrepreneurship and Startup Communities. During the Q&A I asked the question “What is your advice/opinion to freelancers (Solopreneurs) or start-ups offering “freemium” services (I’d consider $5 close enough to free) to help build their personal brand or user base. The answer from both speakers was a unanimous “NO WAY”.
    Being the founder of a new start-up (a 100% US-based freelance marketplace) we’d never ask our freelance community perform services for free or a nominal fee. Your time and skills are valuable, so you should be paid a fair wage for these services. If the customer feels like they should dip their toe in the water before making a larger commitment I recommend proposing small hourly project/deliverable to prove you are a good fit, not giving away free services.

  • robertwilliams88

    Is it normal for me to yell “NOOOO” at my computer after reading the title of this article?

  • Hazel

    Hey Brennan, thanks for sharing this!

    On one hand, I love it because I myself started from Fiverr. 🙂 It was a fast and easy way to exchange our service with money back then. More importantly, it VALIDATED my business idea, made me no excuse to start (no technical barrier) and gave me confidence to move on!

    On another hand, I “hate” it because if you’re a talented artist delivering great work, then you’re lowballing yourself too much. That was why I decided to leave Fiverr and built our own brand. Instead of providing quick-fix (which is the mindset of most Fiverr shoppers), I get to deliver more values to my clients and paid better now.

    Your roundtable webinar idea is a brilliant idea, something that I never thought about! Thanks!

    To add in, if you want to sell cheetsheet and checklist on Fiverr, then consider writing a quality ebook that sell your service/ product/ business and publish it to Amazon. Amazon Kindle is a great place for real lead generation. The goal is not to become a best-seller or make millions through it but build credibility, credential and much more through your Kindle lead generation pieces.

  • urlwolf

    Hi Brennan, the extended trial for getdrip doesn’t seem to work? I didn’t sign up, but it still said 21 days trial on the form.


  • Gerben de Jong

    Shouldn’t mind digging but Fiverr is awesome and helps a lot of people getting a fair price for a standard service for which overrated ‘professional companies’ pull a leg.

  • Roshan

    I don’t think Fiverr is such a good market place. This is the article I wrote on Fiverr -

    I have been a Fiverr seller for a long time and these were the thing I was able to observe 1) Fiverr takes 20% of your Income 2) Fiverr usually take the buyers side 3) Fiverr site design isn’t that great 4) Fiverr gives buyers unlimited time to leave a review 5) Buyers can’t edit their feedback or remove it after a certain time

    • Exactly and top of that, there is a vacation mode that you can use only X number of times. I mean if I am overbooked I’ve no way to hold-on except I can suspend my gig, no other choice.

      And if unfortunately your account is disabled then you are just finished. They will return your amount in 45 to 90 days and only that amount that they think is legitimate, and I dont know what is the criteria of legitimate amount, whatever it is, its sure, they wont return it to buyer, rather they will just keep it as their own profit.

      2 of my buyers account were cancelled due to unknown reason to me, Fiverr just cancelled that order and the amount is reversed to God knows where, I dont have any clue, I have delivered the deliverables and project was complete from my end.

      Fiverr is a thug!

  • Hanna P

    Yes you right about that selling services sold for $5 sends the wrong signal to people but you can also sell services more expensive i use and i only have few services to 5$ most are more 10$ and 30$ you can selling gigs there form 5$ to 100$ some sites have a begining price there so low like 1$.

  • Matt

    I believe there are better alternatives out there to post jobs. for example has 10% administrative fees compared to a majority of alternatives which take 20%. You can also post jobs up to 75 dollars. I guess a person just has to do research before joining any site.

  • Everything 5 Dollars

    PR3 Fiverr alternative Micro Jobs site: The SEO Marketplace

    5 Dollars

  • I was posting Craigslist ads for people, earned Level 2. But after a month of earning that Level I felt buyers & fiverr’s platform is insane for sellers. Usually buyers dont read the gig-description not even if you ask “Contact me before buying” on top of that, so basically seller has to do that order and if due to misunderstanding of buyer he/she leave negative review, there is no way to remove that, not even if you show the communication between you and buyer.

    They disabled my account and hold all earnings till 45 days and saying that, they will release whatever amount they thing legitimate. I dont know then why do they take 20% of my hard earned money at every order, and whatever illegitimate earning they think will become their profit.

    Therefore I feel, I have right to feel robbed.

  • Mike

    Personally I find it the easiest to start making money on
    Fiverr by following your passion while providing a service that is in high
    demand, such as video testimonials (if you love acting, that is). These days
    video testimonials are all the rage and if you’re not extremely shy in front of
    a camera, you can certainly start making some money quickly on Fiverr by
    investing in a decent quality camera. And pretty much that’s it! Just follow
    your intuition and have fun doing it, and understand that at the beginning
    you’re not going to be making a lot of money shooting videos of yourself, but
    if you look at the ones on Fiverr that have 2000 plus positive reviews, you
    know that there is serious money to be made if you persist, which is what I’m
    aiming to do.. so far I’ve got about 10 but I’m optimistic that through hard
    work and dedication I’ll be driving the numbers up steadily..

    The key is creating value for others while having fun doing
    it, and be consistent.. and remember: creating a service is much easier than
    creating a product. Good luck!



  • james

    Avoid this company on linkedin and around the internet, there company name is (Ensurity Group Inc) on Linkedin

    they’re very dishonest people, they hired me on fiverr to advertise for them and get them alot of information and products and then after i had over delivered on their order on fiverr and i worked so hard for them they then made up a flimsy excuse saying “its not the order they expected” in order to get there $45 back and receive free products

    if you’re a seller on fiverr or any other gig site and a buyer named “ensuritygroup” trys to order from you then I highly recommend that you avoid this person and this company, i feel the strong need to WARN others so they can avoid getting scammed atleast by these people’s disgraceful behaviour by this company, so only imaging what would happen if you actually bought any kind of insurance policy from them.. i wouldn’t risk it

    Please share this around so others can be warned and help them avoid being scammed like i was?

  • ELEKTRA Powers

    Here’s the thing. I tried employing Fiverr developers, and NONE of them accept $5. So the whole $5 is just a concept – the same concept as cruises give out by saying they are giving out the second cruise for 50% off. You call the for a reality check, and find out that its all a big fat lie. So you may breath out and get your man panties out of the bunch already – there’s no exploitation on Fiverr, there’s no fiverr chinese slave shop in existence. For that, you still have to take your business to China. What IS frustrating, is getting an idea for how much should the project be really priced. And I’m NOT going by comparing a few high end competitors. The price is fair if you think its fair to you, to your particular situation. I am not a fan of hourly rates. We are talking creative project here, and you must shake hands on it and set clear expectations before you swipe your Amex! So, I think Fiverr is STILL NOT IDEAL PLATFORM but they could evolve if they let the BUYERS have the power to post their projects and the price they are looking to pay for it (or a ballpark). Then the other party can accept or try to bargain, but then there’s clear communication and set expectations, none of those FIVE DOLLAR bullshit.

    • Balduranne

      The problem is that the buyers still expect you to do 5$ slave labour

      • Mark

        So what? The seller knew that when they signed up

  • ELEKTRA Powers

    FYI I just found a task that I wanted the developer to perform, then was immediately prompted to pay via Paypal. I felt confident doing that bs I trust Paypal. Anyways, long story short – the seller immediately requested I pay him $40 for the gig. I understand that it’s what he WANTS to make for the project, but it came as a complete surprise bs it says $5. Thats a big jump and comes off obnoxious and deceptive. But that’s my $5…Err, 5 cents! PS – I have requested a refund as I can do my own programming.

  • Laura Dixon

    It is next to impossible to get any of your “gigs” even noticed since there are literally thousands of people trying to sell the same thing – I have 4 gigs with them and have not had one person contact me to give me a chance – it is a horrible place for sellers…

    • Ed Burton

      Try 99artisans 🙂

  • Agnes Livingstone

    Hi dear, am a graphic designer and am new here on fiverr can i get promotional tips on how to make more sales

  • Seo Up

    i have work long time on fiverr,upwork,freelancer kind site but i had always hesitation to find new sites like them which gives freelance services,my final was on and i guess,we need to give chance to new sites in order us to support them.My experince was great with,i find a great freelancer there from india and she was awsome talent and we have complated my project.

  • Bryan Ibo

    You go to their website and make you undergo just 3 SIMPLE STEPS and that is where it all begins getting scammed or WASTING your $5 for something you thought was so simple and would give you the results you wanted. Yet because they we’re so promising that you didn’t blink an eye and registered quickly since it’s only $5 you need to put in and never realized what you were getting into. Imagine how many people registers their $5 to them and don’t get what they knew they were supposed to have. And not everyone will give a review on their experience because it may only be $5. But some people who actually experience all their scam scheme will provide their experience on Fiverr.

    They say they have a lot of gigs, “I will create, I will record, I will design, whatever they can do to scam you.” They claim to boost your traffic for you to get more sales. Well, honestly you aren’t because the only sale happening is for Fiverr which is your $5. And although they act like they do value your business while dealing with the other side, they just act and will eventually refuse your idea and once you make that refund. It doesn’t go back to you but instead goes to Fiverr.

    Don’t trust the 5 star reviews that you see as well as the good commentaries because in order for them to scam more people, they have to get fake people, fake high rate reviews and fake accounts to convince real people to burn their money for their own benefit.

    Also under comments you’ll only see the option for “Was this helpful?” – YES is the only option for you to click which obviously is BS because what they tell is completely different from what you expect them to do.

    Honestly, there isn’t much to say about them because all they do is convince you to register to their 3 easy steps for you to get scammed and will make it hard for you to even make a refund even if you get to talk to CSR who is also aware of what Fiverr does and will just let you down and avoid you as much as they can.

    If you are looking into real opportunity to make online business and drive real traffic the honest and legit way, give yourself a chance to check out: where you are able to get an overview of the online business. THEY will not get money from you, and what they do is TEACH you how to START an online business, TEACH you how to drive REAL TRAFFIC without paying anything, TEACH you ways to have your website be more informational = more sales than look more promotional = less sales, plus you get the opportunity to get in touch with the community including the 2 co-founders of the company who are online everyday to support anyone needing help. Here you get to do a business of your OWN interest and promote what YOU want! Enjoy 7 days trial without having to enter your credit card info and let me know what you think. Because there is nothing as LEGIT you doing your own online business.

  • fiverr seo

    Seo is more important for your website.!st step of seo is keyword is some help for you

  • Vivek Jamwal

    In my opinion fiverr is a great platform. Here is a complete step by step guide for a newbie.

  • Robert Patrick Hartle

    Thank you for the info.. never heard of these people Fivver. Was about to join up then I read numerous reviews like this… great points made here and yes my skills and experience (20 yrs) are worth way more than $5. I’d rather rake leaves than have a cheapskate client make numerous changes to a design.

  • Merry Pumpkins

    I been selling on fiverr for 4 years now. and I use alot of services on their for marketing purposes also. I make a nice side income check it out:

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