Whether it’s a website contracting out virtual chores (oDesk) or real ones (TaskRabbit), resources abound for entrepreneurs to outsource or crowdsource their most minute tasks.
Whereas Elance and its brethren have been accused of leading a race to the bottom, Fiverr beat them all there.
“For less than $100 a month, I estimate that I receive around $5,000 worth of services,” said Andrew Lock, producer of the Web TV show “Help! My Business Sucks!” Lock used Fiverr freelancers to put together a keyword research report and even design a new mobile version of his website.
Mark Cramer, CEO of SurfCanyon.com, concurs. “Frankly, I feel guilty only paying $5,” Cramer told me. “I would have paid $100 without blinking.”
Low-budget and no-budget entrepreneurs are flocking to the site in droves, looking to hire cheap and temporary labor for everything from data entry to marketing support. I received dozens of emails from shoestring entrepreneurs who weighed in on the many ways they’ve taken advantage of Fiverr. Following are the top 5.
Basic graphic design. Whether it’s resizing images and creating high-resolution versions of existing images or even designing a basic logo or infographic, graphic designers are in high demand.
“Our design needs are sporadic,” said Richard Armstrong, advertising manager of Discounts.ca. “It's tough to keep a good designer employed, even on a part-time basis. We pick up varied artists for very small jobs and often use the same guys for repeat gigs.”
Social media marketing. “Buyer beware” was the common theme expressed by entrepreneurs who’ve used Fiverr for social media marketing. Most expressed satisfaction with the price, but not necessarily the quality. Joe Horan, founder of TheBuyFly.com, recalled using hired work from Fiverr to send out sponsored tweets. He cautioned other entrepreneurs to “not expect a whole lot of click-through.”
Data entry and Excel spreadsheet work. Pavel Mamaev, president of Elka Palka Production, which develops iOS apps to help children with basic reading skills, called using Fiverr workers for data entry an “amazing experience.”
“Work that would have taken myself or someone from my company several days to do working full time was done in seven days for $25.”
Voice-over talent. YouTube videos are a dime a dozen, and many entrepreneurs are seeking out hidden voice talent on Fiverr. According to Fiverr representative Alia Dudum, videos represent one of the highest-volume categories on the site.
Writing and editing. Several entrepreneurs told me they’ve used Fiverr regularly for basic writing and editing tasks. Proofreading and translating assignments are a common sight for $5, in exchange for at least a few hundred words.
Bottom line: Fiverr offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to outsource labor for one-off projects at basement prices. The quality is often questionable, but considering the cost, it’s tough to complain.