Is it possible for freelance writers to make a living on micro-job sites? I’ve got to be honest and say that I personally don’t think so.
Micro-job sites are useful. You can offer your services and build your portfolio. Since you set the parameters for your gigs, you can clearly state that all work still belongs to you or that you have the right to use as samples of your work. It is a lot more freedom than you get writing at content mills.
You also have the freedom of setting the amount you offer for the pay. If you’re on Fiverr, you can choose to only write 100 words for $5. So, a 500 word piece would cost the buyer $25. That’s not a bad rate, even when you take the 20% commission off. But you need to get enough people buying those gigs to make a living on micro-job sites.
There are other considerations to make.
What Is the Cancellation Policy Like?
Most of these micro-job sites have a cancellation policy that allows buyers or sellers to request mutual cancellations. It is then up to the other party to agree or decline.
However, there are other ways to cancel. And one of those is by going directly to customer support. If you check the Fiverr forums, you will see a lot of sellers complaining about Fiverr customer support cancelling orders after they have been completed.
According to Fiverr, this happens due to PayPal chargebacks after the gig is completed. The buyers’ accounts are suspended until the buyer reverses that chargeback, but is never forced to pay for the gig again; just encouraged to. Some buyers don’t even bother reversing the chargeback. One complaint that many sellers have is that Fiverr won’t fight the PayPal chargeback, and the seller can’t do anything. They’ve done all that work for nothing in the end.
Check reviews before you sign up to any site. You don’t really want one too one-sided.
By the way, I have a way of handling these situations (and they’ve happened a handful of times out of over 2,000 orders). I put the blog posts up on a blog that I’ve designed specifically for work that isn’t paid for by clients. That way I have the time stamp to say that the work is mine and I have copyright on my side. I let buyers know if they’ve cancelled that they have no rights at all to use the work, unless they agree to pay again. It works, and I get to make money on a blog that is powered through AdSense.
Setting Your Own Gigs
It’s really important to think about your gigs. If you want to make a living on micro-job sites, you need to think about the amount of time you’re willing to spend on the pay.
I don’t want to spend any more than 15-20 minutes on a $5 job. That’s the maximum I’m willing to spend, but I prefer to spend 5-10 minutes on work. So, I set my gigs with all that in mind.
I refuse to do a lot of research and I keep the word count for articles and blog posts short. I offer a separate sales copy gig (since people are going to make more money off this type of copy eventually), which forces the buyers to pay a lot more for the content.
Building Up the Extras
The way to make a living on micro-job sites isn’t through the initial gig. You need to think about all the extras that you can sell. For example, I will offer my time to research keywords or find royalty-free images for a price.
Another extra that I offer is to shorten the delivery time. All my gigs have a 12-day delivery time set most of the time. Sometimes that’s reduced to 10 days and sometimes it’s increased to 20 days.
I offer an extra to cut the delivery time in half, for those who want it slightly quicker but don’t have a lot of money. And then I offer another one for 24-hour delivery. That’s not always available due to my own time constraints, and I’ll sometimes include the price depending on how much I really want that to happen. It can be between $50 and $100. If someone is willing to pay the money, then I’m willing to do the work.
Getting People to Buy Your Gig
The only way to you can make a living on micro-job sites is if people continuously buy your gigs and get the extras. That means you need to think about the keywords used in your descriptions and the tags that you add. Think about what words people will use to find something that you offer.
Marketing outside of the site is also important.
But stop right there…
If you’re going to market your gigs outside of the site, why not just market your own services at a higher rate? I don’t get why people market their $5 when they can charge $100 or more on their own website. Think carefully about this. You don’t need the micro-job sites to make a living freelance writing.
What do you think about micro-job sites? Would you ever try them or have you done in the past?
Last week, I focused on a handful of micro-job sites. If you’d like to read about them, here’s my weekly roundup to check out.