Being a business owner I can answer these questions from a buyer’s perspective and fill in some key advice that can help sellers up their quality, which will in turn up their sales. If you are a small business thinking of using these services and are not sure how to go about weeding out the multiple sellers then the tips presented here may be useful. If you are a seller trying to get an edge to compete, then this may help you.
Every seller isn’t a winner, every buyer isn’t one either.
When I first started using Micro Gigs (Fiverr) for my small business I felt at first I had hit the Jackpot for outsourcing the multiple tasks I had piled up. I decided to set a small budget of $200 to the side in order to outsource smaller tasks such as Banner design, SEO writing, Product descriptions, Translation for international customers, Photo editing, Temporary Social media management and small spurts of advertisement. That doesn’t sound like a bad haul for only $200 which would allow me to manage other things that needed more of my attention like Inventory management, order processing, Article writing, budget management and local advertising. So how great were the services I purchased my first time around with $200? I would rate my average experience at around C+ with 18 jobs completed (13 were great and 5 not that great), 5 cancelled and 2 in dispute.
What did I do wrong? I read the job descriptions and had seen the review average was usually a 4.9 out of 5 for most sellers so everything should have been smooth sailing, right? Well I found out quickly that what I had saved in money I had to spend in time. Either by correcting a completed job that was half way what I wanted, asking the seller to correct the work multiple times or simply disputing with a seller who could not accomplish the task to begin with. You can’t just trust each gig is going to be a winner immediately so you have to filter them out a bit first. But at the same time I have seen many reviews from the sellers claiming the buyer was just trying to get the end result of the gig for free. So what guidelines can be a happy medium both can agree on? Well I felt in order to come up with guidelines it would be best to answer the questions of my own experience.
What should buyers do to avoid the most amount of issues and what should sellers expect before a purchase?
Tip #1 – Search for a Gig that has about 20+ reviews first and concentrate on the negative reviews if they have any. Make sure that the issues that seller had in the past are acceptable for what you want to take a risk on. If a seller has 54 reviews and 3 negative reviews say ‘Seller failed to deliver’ then you can guesstimate that seller will fail to deliver 1 out of every 18 gigs. If this is acceptable to you for that sellers going prices, then you may have found your seller.
Tip #2 – Keep in mind that Sellers who have a long duration to complete a gig also mean that they will have a long duration for ‘fixing’ anything that is not correct. For example if a seller takes 7 days to write up 30 product reviews and he turns in something completely different from what you wanted, how long do you think he will take to fix the format of what he turned in? Your guess is as good as mine.
Tip #3 – If a seller has few reviews but you like the product description or the price being offered, then take the time to write to that seller and ask key questions, and avoid asking Yes or No questions. Ask what the sellers experience is, how the seller would complete the gig or what examples they can provide of their work. The sellers answers will allow you to estimate if you want to continue discussing business with them or not.
Are international sellers truly qualified or are they trying to scam you?
More than half the sellers on Micro Gig sites are from the international community for several reasons such as currency rates make Micro gigs attractive to certain economies, the opportunity to break into the US market is increased with resume building experience from these gigs, their own businesses are coming up short and they have to subsidize with these gigs or they are just down on their luck so they decided to sell their services at discounts. There are many other reasons but the fear of being scammed is halved when using these Micro Gig services as there is always the review and refund ‘safety nets’ in play.
But even if it is not a scam there are still sellers that just are not qualified to sell the services they offer. In my experience some of these international sellers do have issues understanding that a buyers money is to be earned and not demanded, in other words just doing a gig at low level of quality is not enough to earn the buyers money. So how do you know which ones are qualified? That is a bit trickier but there are some rules of thumb I have implemented to help with this.
Rule #1 – Request a gig instead of reaching out to the sellers individually. You want to make sure you don’t waste time with a seller who struggles with broken English or non-qualified writers who simply want to get paid then you have to start by Requesting a Gig with your warning first. An Example is if I have 70 product reviews I need written and I want to get a good quote from someone who is qualified I would start my request with, “NO BROKEN ENGLISH, I WILL CANCEL BAD ENGLISH!” This usually discourages about 40% to 60% of those who know they are not qualified since they have an obvious English barrier (I have also done this when requesting translation services into NO BROKEN SPANISH or “¡Sólo los escritores españoles de dominio!” and I have found it works equally well).
Rule #2 – Read the messages from those who do answer your request, they will give you a clue if they actually read your Gig request and will tell you if they follow instructions. An example is if you requested a quote for photo editing of 100 photos, for color balancing, watermarking and teeth whitening while getting a message that says, “I will cut out the background of 10 photos for only $5”, then you can be sure they are not either qualified or didn’t take the extra 15 seconds to read your details the first time. In my experience only about 1 out of every 4 actually write a message addressing your request, which cuts down my selection rather quickly.
Rule #3 – Of those that left you a well-directed message to your request,message each one and ask if they are willing to give a money back guarantee if the work is not completed clearly within you guidelines. Most will either write back in very clear non broken English a counter offer or will agree to a guarantee if you purchase a certain amount.
How do you get exactly what you want the first time from a seller?
My experience has been before you even visit a Micro Gig site, write up your Guidelines very clearly to eliminate most confusion. Give some thought as to exactly what you want, message a seller before you purchase and send the seller those guidelines so the seller can present questions early. Investing this small amount of time now will save you much more time later. Also, if the seller turns in something different from the guidelines you can refer back to them for corrections. Sellers really enjoy working with customers who know exactly what they want by providing clear guidelines and are willing to finish those jobs quicker in hopes of repeat business with that ‘preferred’ customer versus customers whom are very vague with what they want.
What should new sellers do to get quicker business from customers and get high reviews?
First, a seller must be honest with themselves as to what they can and can’t accomplish. Don’t take a gig or offer a gig that you know is beyond your capabilities. This is very counterproductive as it will bring you unwanted issues, it will make the customer feel lied to, and will usually end up in bad reviews. If you know your service does not meet the challenge, then don’t take the challenge. Also, if you know your service will fall apart soon after you have completed it, then don’t offer it as it will also result in bad reviews. Your product description is your bread and butter so keep it clear and honest of what you offer and use it to mention clearly what you don’t offer. Examples; You will not accept gigs to promote violence or you will not accept gigs supporting any political causes.
Second, offer short Duration times no longer than 3 to 5 days, the quicker you can get it done the better. Nothing is worse to a buyer to order something with a 7 day duration only to have the seller not deliver and ask for more time or to cancel. That will not just kill any hope of repeat business but it will also haunt you. Speed may not be everything, but it always counts for something. Offering a 24 hour turn around for an extra $5 is not bad but also don’t overdo it if you can’t handle the time frame.
Third, regardless of what the buyer writes to you in his review, always give a 5 star review back. I have already passed up on hiring experienced sellers who have 40 positive reviews and 3 negative reviews which the seller would give the buyer an equally low review stating things as “This is your own fault” or “It was not my fault as the rules were changed” or even “I am expert SEO, My English very best good and you no good”. This gives off a clear unprofessional impression from the seller even if they were not at fault. Remember, the buyer is the one with the money and they are not just purchasing your product but they are also purchasing your professionalism, so be professional at all times.
Micro gigs are a good way to outsource small tasks for small businesses, but as with everything there are several things you need to look out for. Keep these guidelines in mind the next time you want to outsource using Micro Gigs may help you either save time, money or both.