One Mom's Experience with | 1099 - Mom
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One Mom's Experience with

Have you heard of Fiverr?  The online marketplace allows anyone to buy or sell services for a low $5.  There have been reports of moms making a decent part-time living this way, selling everything from graphic designs, to blog posts, to consulting services.  Here is a real-life account from one mom who tried this site as a way to supplement her income.

I signed up for Fiverr after seeing site after site in the work-at-home niche recommend it.  I didn't know much about it, but it had so many users and it had been around for awhile.  I immediately created a free profile and started setting up my services for sale.  I wanted to sell articles, ads on my blog, and perhaps a sponsored tweet or two. I created descriptions for each of these services, as well as provided samples of what the client would receive when they bought from me.

I was immediately disappointed to see that Fiverr only allowed me to sell my tasks at $5.  I didn't understand why this was, as I had viewed hundreds of similar service offerings where they were charging $20 and upwards for the same services.  As it turns out, you can offer "add-ons" to your base price of $5, to give yourself an actual living wage from the site.  This is only available for service providers who have sold 10 listings, however, and have received good feedback from the clients.  If you are new to the site, or are slow selling, this means that you can't price any of your services above $5.  This was not a good sign.

Knowing that my time was valuable, and that $5 wasn't worth writing an article (I wanted to charge at least $20), I stripped down my offerings to just tweets and banner ads on my blog.  I placed 2 separate listings:
  • $5 for a tweet from my account with over 8,000 followers 
  • $5 for 5 days of displaying a 250 x 250 banner ad on my site (above the fold) 
I figured, at these rates, I was following the $5 guidelines and was getting my time's worth.

After 1 day, I had my first sale.  The client wanted to buy a tweet. I clarified that the tweets would be disclosed as "sponsored", per my service description.  The tweet went out, and I was paid $4 within 48 hours. (Note: Fiverr is free to join, but it takes $1 for every 5 as a commission.)

Encouraged with my first sale, I was soon contacted by another potential buyer.  They indicated interest in a banner ad, but had a question about a possible second offering:

Hi, just came across your gig and was wondering if you do guest post (written by you)? We are looking to promote this post: (URL blocked for privacy) Let us know if you can create a gig for that (guest post).

I replied:

I can, however, I have to charge more than $5, and Fiverr won't let me add extra services until I have 10 completed gigs. I can do a guest post written by me on my blog for $50 with one URL and 250 words, plus your choice of anchor text and link. If you are interested, you can order 10 banner ad gigs at $5 each, and leave me a note that you want the sponsored guest post option, along with the info I need for the URL, messaging, etc. (Once I get enough good feedback to charge more than $5, I'll have a sponsored guest post option for the flat $50.) We do require that all guest posts state "This post is possible via a partnership through XYZ company" Thanks!

I never heard back.

2 days later, I received another confirmed sale, for a banner ad. I was excited, because banners take just seconds to put up, and well worth $5.  In place of the information I needed to place the banner (image, url, etc.),however, I hear nothing.  Since Fiverr starts a clock as soon as the gig is purchased, I knew I needed to reach out right away, as late delivery would affect my ability to start adding extra charges to my sales.  I wrote:

Hi, please send me the following information to get started: In order to start your post, we need the following: - HTML code of 150 x 150 banner ad OR - image file and URL destination for 150 x 150 ad Please also specify if you would like the banner ad on all pages, or just the home page. We will let you know which days are available for advertising. Choose one 5-day package or up to 6 packages for a total of 30 days. 

I immediately hear back:

Hi, I would like to guest post if possible. Please show the url.

Right then, I knew this was going to be difficult.  I replied:

(URL changed for privacy) is the URL, however, I am not accepting guest posts, just the advertised banner ad. To get your ad in the sidebar as specified, please submit: - HTML code of 150 x 150 banner ad OR - image file and URL destination for 150 x 150 ad Please also specify if you would like the banner ad on all pages, or just the home page. As soon as you submit, I will place it above the fold for 5 days starting the day after I receive your info. Thanks!

I heard back:

Hi, I have a great article, relevant to your niche. I can also buy an extra gig for the guest post. Thanks

GAAAA! I was not selling guest posts in place of banner ads, especially for $5. This guy bought a banner ad.  Why couldn't he just give me the info for the ad?

I reply:

I'm sorry. We are not doing guest posts at this time. You may submit the info for the banner ad, or we can cancel the order. Thanks.

I never heard back and cancelled the order.  This was the first of several people trying to buy unadvertised "guest posts" on my blog.  It irritated me that my time was being wasted.

Soon after, I removed my listings for sale on Fiverr.  I wasted a little over 3 hours setting up my account, putting up gigs, interacting with weirdos who just wanted to buy links, and I never got paid.  I still have $4 sitting in my Fiverr account.  For a professional who just wants to do things the right way, Fiverr was a huge disappointment.

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Thanks for Reading!

Linsey Knerl (the "1099 Mom") is a professional blogger, public speaker, consultant, and mom of 6!
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  1. The website is called "Fiverr" and the whole point of the site is to get sell or buy stuff for $5. I'm confused as to why someone would get upset that they couldn't sell it for more.

    Fiverr has been an absolute Godsend for my business. I have purchased logos, videos, marketing plans, virtual assistant services and so much more. All for only $5.

    To use Fiverr to sell my goods or services would be a whole other situation though. This would have to be done ONLY as a way to build my list. Here's what I mean:

    If you have a free opt-in gift or report, which you should, you could easily post something similar on Fiverr. People would purchase your report or yum yum, or whatever it is you give. You would send it them a link to sign up and download. Boom. You just made $5 for a new person on your list that WANTS what you're giving away.

    I would never, however, think Fiverr would be a good way to sell goods that you think have a higher value. I would never think it would be a good place to sell my coaching services or custom marketing plans.

    We also need to remember a big majority for Fiverr users and providers are not from the Americas. It's important to be extremely clear on what you're offering.

    Sounds like with a little more research or use of the site may have saved a whole lot of headache...

  2. That's a bummer that you had such a bad experience. I have been offering a few things on Fiverr for several years now and typically earn a few hundred each month from the site. *Knock on wood* I have yet to have someone ask for something outside of the description. And I do offer banner ads and tweets as Gigs. That being said, I am overly specific in my descriptions about what I will and will not do and who I will and will not promote.

    Fiverr takes some trial and error to find your sweet spot. I enjoy the "let's get down to business" ordering process and one-off orders to pad my bank account. It's often finding the little in-demand tasks that only take 10-15 minutes to complete that hangs many up. And once you move up to Level 2, you can really make some money in upsells.

  3. Thanks for your comments, ladies. As Fiverr has grown, so has the offerings that can be bought and sold on the site. To answer you Desiree on why someone would think they would be entitled to more than $5? A quick glance at the home page shows dozens of gigs that seem like they are priced at $5, but really wouldn't be anything anyone would really want without the $10, 15, and even 20 "add-ons". To shut out new providers from being able to make a decent earning on their talent doesn't quite seem fair. I understand having to prove yourself, but newbies are forced to earn 4 bucks on whatever they offer, while those with 10 or more sales can offer their services for hundreds of dollars or more. Most moms may not feel comfy selling 10 services for the low price just to get their foot in the door.

    It's a good point that many of the buyers are from overseas. They see the site as a way to interact with low-cost providers and this works for them. Likewise, a mom getting started could easily pad her resume or earn a few extra bucks with the site. Provided she is not dealing with the featured mom's headaches (insistence on getting guest posts when they aren't offered -- which seems to be motivated purely by page rank), it could still be worth her time.

    I like to hear that it is working out for some moms. It seems that Level 2 is the way to really earn, however. With all the articles being written about how you can earn hundreds of dollars a month with the site, I think it's important that moms realize that 1) there is quite a bit of work involved to reach level two AND 2) $5 minus the Fiverr fee minus the Paypal may leave you with less than $3.50 for a gig. All the back and forth with sellers, etc, plus the job may not be worth it for many providers.

    I appreciate your comments!

  4. great article, i also have a variety of gigs on fiverr that range from (list-building,traffic generation,graphic design), feel free to check them out

  5. I have been a Fiverr seller for more than a year, but I was willing to start at the bottom and write actual articles for $5 in order to establish myself. It was no time at all (maybe a month) until I became a Level 2 seller, able to upcharge. I also state on my gig that I will write only ONE article for $5. I consider it more or less a free sample for a potential long term buyer. When they come back for more, which they will if you are good, they either remember that and ask me what I'll charge, or I send them a custom order depending on the difficulty of their subject matter and how much time the first article took me. Within a few months I cut my real-job schedule down to four days, which I love! Even with a full day off, I still have more orders than I can keep up with. Additionally this has led to numerous non-Fiverr opportunities. Sometimes buyers will figure out how to contact me directly (due to my name I'm not hard to find) so I've had plenty of opportunities for long-term work outside of Fiverr. Also, once I got established on Fiverr and my friends were aware of it, they began to refer people to me who have writing needs. It adds up, let me tell you. It really adds up. But you cannot go in expecting to get money for nothing.