5 steps to save yourself a fortune on fiverr.com

Ever wanted your own virtual assistant? Need a new company logo designed? Want an engaging explainer video created for your latest product? Think it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars? What does $5 sound like? Websites like fiverr.com and GigBucks.com provide a platform where you can get virtually anything done at insanely cheap prices, as long as it can be done remotely and sold online. On fiverr.com each job is called a gig and starts at $5.

But wait! Don’t just sign up and throw $5 at some random service providers for your 10 minute transcription job, hoping to find one that’s going to deliver. You will learn pretty fast, like I did, that finding good, reliable providers is not that easy. You’ve probably just lost money and several hours of your time chasing down random strangers who are not interested in delivering high quality work.

There is a better way and it has proven highly effective for every job I’ve outsourced on fiverr.com, from transcription, blog writing, research, logo design, business card design, flyer design, video creation, and more.

Step 1: Create a mini brief.

Describe the job you need done and include three clear instructions in the brief. First, to respond with a personalised message. Second, to provide a customised estimate. Third to provide links to similar work they’ve done.

If you have the chance to test their ability before paying any money, even better. For example if you need an audio transcription done for 30 minutes of audio, upload a 15 second clip and ask them to listen to it and provide a sample transcription in their response.

Post this brief as a new “Request”

Step 2: Filter out the ones who can’t bother to read your instructions.

You will probably have received 20–30 responses within 24–48h. Anybody who does not provide a custom estimate with a personalised response is OUT. This will leave you with maybe 5–10. From those maybe 3–5 will have provided a link to a specific sample, others might just point you to their profile for samples.

Step 3: Do some research

Look through their profiles. Review the feedback they have been receiving. How frequent that feedback was given (the more frequent, the more time they spend on fiverr, which is good)

Review their gig extras. How much will it cost to get the job REALLY done. How much will they charge for the source files for example?

Review their sample work. Do they have a broad range of samples or do they deliver the same thing over and over again?

Pick up to 5 providers that you would like to take to the next step.

Step 4: Gage their eagerness and responsiveness.

Come up with a clarifying question, maybe what industry they work with most or if they have technical writing background or if they have certain skills in different tools. See how fast they respond. Do they understand your questions? Do their responses actually answer your questions? Filter out the ones that respond too slow or you notice early signs of communication issues.

Step 5: Try them out — cautiously

By now you should have up to 3 providers that seem to fit the bill, are responsive, can read instructions and follow your lead. Preferably each one is willing to provide at least a draft version of the gig for $5.

If you can break your gig apart into three jobs, then even better. If you need some blog writing, ask each one to write on a different topic. If you need transcription service, record 5 minute chunks and get each one to work on a different audio file.

If it’s graphic design work you need, then ask each one to provide an initial concept for the $5.


By now you should have seen your first trial gigs delivered. Now you can compare the quality of the submissions and pick one, or maybe two providers that you want to work with in future. If you liked their work, and want them to maintain a fast and responsive turn around, then reward them with a tip. It is fast and easy to add $5 or $10 to your gig as a tip and your provider will be very grateful for it. Especially as fiverr.com charge a whopping 20% commission to the providers. I.e. they only get $4 for a $5 gig.

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