Voices and fiverr

So I made a fiverr.For those of you unfamiliar with Fiverr, it’s a site where you make “gigs”, and say you’ll do X for $5.

5dollarIn my case, I offered to give someone a voice over piece of 30 seconds or less for 5 dollars. To me, it seemed a neat way to promote my voice work with tiny side projects, get a small income from it, and make connections. Bascially, a client would pay $5 for a sample project…then they might hire me full-price for a larger project.

Surprisingly, it was not quite that way.

  • The first thing that happened after linking my fiverr on my twitter was that someone messaged me asking if I would read a script full of hate speech. The answer was an emphatic “No”.
  • The second thing was that a former client emailed me, demanding a refund for a recent project because “could have gotten it for $5”.
  • The third thing was two emails from VA’s chastising me for “Killing the industry”.

Is fiverr worth it? I don’t know. It seems like it might be a source of more problems than it solves. Fiverr has taken heat in the past, being accused of “killing the freelance writing industry”. VoiceoverXtra had a great article about lowballing the industry.

So at the end of the day (and yes, this happened in the span of a day) I was completely turned off to fiverr. Sure, it might get you a few extra bucks, but what’s the point if you end up shooting yourself in the foot in the long run?

About 

Sam Swicegood is a Voice Actor from Baltimore, MD, now living in Cincinnati, OH. He is an accomplished radio host, marketing professional, and freelance writer.

6 Comments
  1. Well, as an experienced voice actor already contending with erosion of rates brought on by freelancers and potential clients at least as ridiculous as fiverr, I can’t say I approve – but at least now, unlike the majority of critics and supporters, you can report from first hand experience.

    Of course, there’s an argument to be made for knowing that the outcome was *perhaps* a wee bit predictable. 🙂

    There will always be cellar dwellers in every business, racing to the bottom, competing on price.

    However what most people who don’t know a lot about business can’t see is that unless you have the scale of a Walmart or a Costco, racing to the bottom is a loser’s game. There are *very few* exceptions to that rule.

    Our business as voice actors is not to be “one of the many possibilities”, but to be *the* option that clients want.

    That sort of reputation is built on craft, persistence, hard work, excellent service and actually being a “voice, not an echo.”

    Good on you for coming out of it understanding the perceptual damage done to your existing career/client base. Better, that you’re committed to not doing it again. Better also to be an accomplished radio host making less money than you deserve, than to be a voice actor screwing an entire community out of a sustainable future one fiverr at a time.

    • Thanks for the support, Paul! You make a lot of great points, especially in regards to lowballing and scale.

      I’ll chalk it up as a lesson learned; and at least I now have quite a bit of perspective about having the self-respect to ask what you deserve, and why it’s important.

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