Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fiverr And Swimming With The Current

This is going to be a controversial post, I think. The reason is that for people like me, who’ve been in the creative fields for a lot of years, the Internet has not always been a good thing. There was a time before the Internet when freelance writers could make a princely sum for their work. You gained experience, put your articles (called clips) in a portfolio and showed them to clients, and the clients gave you work commensurate with your ability and experience. It was a great system, right?
And then the Internet came along. The Internet allowed clients to vastly expand their pool of freelancers. Anyone with a computer and a modem could call themselves a writer, and the clients could make all these millions of freelance “writers” compete against each other to offer the lowest bid for the job. That’s why you have writers making $5 or less for a blog post. 
For awhile, I held my nose up like a lot of other experienced writers, and I said, “There’s no way I’m going to stoop to those kind of rates. I’m too good for that!”
But, you know what? I’ve seen the light. I’ve realized that the Internet is like a mighty river, and it’s better to swim with the current than against it. 
I joined Fiverr. Fiverr is a site where people advertise that they’ll do all sorts of odd jobs for five bucks. Really, you can find someone there who’ll do just about anything. 
It’s outrageous, right? Why would a person who’s got decades of experience writing for companies and publications, who has a Master’s in English and is a published novelist, why would he sell his services for five bucks?
Here are five reasons why I’ve done it.
. If you price the job right you can make decent money. People aren’t giving away the store for five bucks. You can structure your offer so that your time invested is equal to the payment you receive. The ones I’ve posted, “I’ll brainstorm 12 ideas for $5,” and “I’ll write a 250 word blog post for $5” are things I’ve decided I can do profitably. Sure, it’s not top dollar, but it can lead to bigger and better things (see below for more about that). 
. You get paid without a hassle. In my career I’ve had to wait months to get paid, and sometimes I got stiffed for my fee, when a magazine or business went bankrupt. With Fiverr, you get paid within a matter of days after completing the job. Every time. 
. You get lots of work. If you have a good offer, you’ll get work. Tons of it. Your email inbox will be filled every day with people buying your gig.
. You get bigger jobs in time. When you move up the ranks of Fiverr sellers, you can multiply your income. If someone wants a thousand word article, I can tell them to order more gigs, so that I’m not writing all those words for five bucks. 
. You do something different every day. I like the thrill of tackling different jobs every day.  I’ve done brainstorming gigs for videographers, game designers, novelists, business owners, and much more. I never know what to expect when I log on each day, and I love it. 
I’m not going to get rich working for Fiverr, and I know that. My main gig will still be writing fiction, and that’s the way I want it. But Fiverr has added some variety to my writing life, and it’s stimulated my brain cells in ways you wouldn’t imagine. Also, it’s a nice way to pick up some extra cash. 

I guess I’m a traitor to the venerable freelance writing profession. Oh, well, it’s better to adapt than to become a dinosaur.