The continuing remake of Fiverr, a site that once encouraged freelancers to do odd jobs for just $5, has the site urging freelancers who have experience to go “pro.” Workers with mad skills in everything from artificial intelligence to video production are needed to work with big businesses and big budgets, Fiverr officials say.
The move is likely to make working through Fiverr increasingly attractive for freelancers who can meet the site’s “pro” criteria.
Here’s what’s happening and how it’s likely to impact you.
What’s Fiverr and why should I care?
Fiverr, like Upwork, is a broad-based job platform, where freelancers can find work in some 600 different categories, from accounting to video production. However, on other platforms, workers essentially “bid” on project requests initiated by clients. That can lead to bidding wars where the lowest-cost provider gets the job. Freelancers on other platforms also complain that they waste a lot of time submitting bids that don’t land jobs. And, since clients initiate the requests, there’s no way to standardize your business to make your work more efficient.
The process is reversed at Fiverr. Here freelancers say what they do; what they charge; when they’ll deliver the service; and whether they offer “extras,” such as expedited delivery. Clients search for the service they want and pick among the offers/freelancers listed on the site.
If a client wants to buy a service, they order it like you would order a meal in a restaurant. Customers pay when they order. When the job is delivered, payment is released to the freelancer. There’s no bidding or negotiating.
And because freelance offers are standardized, jobs can often be accomplished in an efficient, assembly-line fashion. Freelancers say that makes Fiverr an attractive place to earn money.
However, Fiverr is always fighting with its history. When this platform launched, it was all about buying and offering cheap work — things that could be done for $5. The $5 jobs that the site was named after barely exist anymore. But many freelancers and businesses still see Fiverr as the Walmart of freelance.
Even now, the site is a repository for some of the most random job offers ever. You can, for instance, ask a Fiverr freelancer to “put a hex on your ex” for $15. Or to “cast a love spell” for $20. Freelancers on Fiverr offer psychic readings, curse removal and voodoo, too.
But where odd-ball offers were once ubiquitous and prominent on Fiverr, they now make up a small and hard-to-find fraction of the site. Job listings are now dominated by traditional work, like graphic and website design, writing, marketing, and business services.
Last year, 4.3 million projects were ordered through Fiverr, with an average project value of $262 — an 8% increase from the year before. Notably, ten years ago, the average project value was a mere $64, some 300% less than it is today.
Fiverr is now actively courting Fortune 500 customers, who want to fill skill gaps or complete projects with freelance help. At the same time, the site has quietly sorted through thousands of freelancers registered on the site to recognize those with the most experience and best records with clients.
Fiverr awards these individuals with “pro” and “rising star” badges to signal that they’ve been vetted by the site and found to be extraordinary.
These badges boost you in the site’s search algorithm, tip prospective clients to your elevated status, allow you to offer more services and, essentially, to charge more.
To be clear, Fiverr doesn’t set freelance rates. Freelancers determine their own rates. However, the site puts some restrictions on newcomers. Those restrictions affect the number of projects you can offer through the site and the maximum amount you can charge for them.
However, freelancers who build up a positive track record with the site face fewer restrictions on both the number of projects they can offer and the maximum pricing.
Applying for “pro” status
And the freelancers who get “pro” designations are tapped to work with big business clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll charge more per hour. However, big business clients are far less price sensitive than small companies and individuals, says Shai-Lee Spigelman, general manager of Fiverr Pro.
What does it take to be a pro?
You need to have experience to go pro, says Spigelman. The site expects at least two to five years of verifiable experience in your field. In addition, pros must exhibit high levels of dependability, on-time performance, and communication.
With existing freelancers, Fiverr ferrets out these traits by looking at the number of projects that freelancer has completed, his or her customer ratings, as well as project response and completion rates. All of these statistics must be in the excellent category for the site to consider you a pro.