Fiverr Community Forum

Newbie Unsure as to How to Handle this Situation

Hello everyone, I apologize for what will likely become a long post (questions are in a TL;DR at the bottom), but I’m looking for advice on how to handle a situation I’ve currently found myself in (with multiple questions to you, the wise and well traveled Fiverr community). I would appreciate any insight and advice you might have for my current circumstance. I’m new to Fiverr and looking to finally pursue freelance voiceover work. I’m still getting a feel for the culture here, and trying to understand what “normal” is (if there is such a thing). My brand new account and gig (two weeks old at this point) have had very little traction just yet. As I make continual custom sell offers to buyers and continually tinker and experiment with keywords and gig descriptions in hopes of landing work, it finally happened, someone contacted me requesting my services (what’s more is that they weren’t someone I contacted, which was exciting).

This client produces whiteboard/explainer videos here on Fiverr (among other things) and asked me to do work for him that he didn’t have yet money in his Fiverr wallet to pay for. Seeing as how I really had nothing better to do with my time, I did the gig not really caring whether or not I would get paid. I figured at the very least, my voice would be out on some corner of the internet somewhere, and my world domination would begin. I got the script, which was horribly translated through Google, complete with no punctuation and awkward word choices, did the best I could to make sense of it for proper inflection and tone, and sent it off to him through the private message as an attachment. No sooner than I had finished voicing this script, he had another one waiting for me, with another promise of payment once his previous gig payments had cleared. He even accompanied this with a screenshot from his app, showing clear dates on gig payments. Again, not really caring about payment or not, just happy to get some work out to further refine my hobby/skill/hope for riches and glory, I voiced that script as well. I did that second read, and then sent two custom offers through the chat, asking for payment for the work I had done (at $5 a read). He said he couldn’t pay me yet, even though in his original message he had promised payment by that date. I shrugged it off, because again, this is more of a hobby currently than anything else. I work full time as it is, and hope one day to go full time voiceover/voice acting, so for now I consider this a hobby.

A third one came and I did that as well, and then it happened. He got asked for a revision, in which his client asked for the reading to be slower, and he sent me a video as an example of what the client was looking for. I thought, “Great, finally some clarity on what I’m doing outside of ‘I need this voicenote, please hurry’,” and proceeded to open the video. At this point I found out that I was voicing something that someone else had already done, except their script made sense, and mine was like what a student in grade 6 would do to copy someone’s paper and change a couple key words here and there to “trick” the teacher into thinking it was original work.

As I hesitantly re-did the read and sent it back off, he asked for a fourth script to be done “on the house”, which I was already assuming would be my fate for all of these reads, since I still hadn’t yet received payment. It was a short script, an intro video for another gig here on Fiverr, in which I am supposed to record a “personal message” from someone who isn’t me (the irony is not lost on me).

After sending in this fourth script read, which I did because it took all of five minutes and I was already set up to record, I sent three custom orders, asking for payment for the work I had completed, stating that I greatly appreciate the repeat business and prompt communication, but would not do any more work until I was paid for the work I had already done.

TL;DR - New to Fiverr, was contacted by someone who blatantly was copying an already existing video and asked to record a script that I had not known was a copy when I recorded it. This all the while essentially working for free on the promise of payment once funds cleared through Fiverr. This all occurred between Thursday (March 1) and Monday (March 5). To date, I have been paid for 1 gig out of 3.

Questions to you:

  1. This is my first and only customer so far, is it worth putting up with the obvious nonsense for the sake of good reviews (1 5* review for the 1 gig I’ve been paid for so far) and small amounts of payment to build my profile?
  2. In the case of the 3rd gig which was obviously a budget re-do of an existing work by someone else (for God only knows what reason), what would the proper course of action be?
  3. In regards to being asked to work for promised future payment through Fiverr (not getting paid directly, which I’m aware is a big no-no), is it against the TOS to conduct business in this manner?

For those of you who made it this far, I greatly appreciate your time. Even more so if you have some wisdom and insight to shed on this zany affair.

(Disclaimer: If I broke any TOS in this process, I will gladly cease operation in this manner. It is not my desire in any way, shape, or form, to be breaking rules. I just want to start building up my Fiverr presence, and if this is the wrong way of going about it, I have no qualms of burning that client’s bridge and changing tactics. Just to clearly state it, I am still working through Fiverr, and the only payment I’ve received so far has been through Fiverr, so they still receive their cut. I haven’t advertised personal websites or anything like that. I’ve done everything I can to stay above board on that front.)

  1. Yes
  2. I don’t know
  3. No but it seems stupid. We work for money here. Don’t be taken advantage of this way. It is possible you would get an account warning about this. This isn’t free giveaways and it is really misusing the site and incredibly bone headed, no offense.

The whole idea of this site is to get paid for our work. If you are giving away work, then no one gets paid including fiverr. I think they would take a very dim view of what you are doing. It is beyond unprofessional. They might even disable your account.

I’m not actually sure that it isn’t in the terms of service that this is not allowed but it seems so obvious that someone wouldn’t give away work they probably didn’t think they would have to include it. You are supposed to use the site as it was designed for, which is to get payment first, then do the job.

Sorry you had this happen to you - you’ve been taken advantage of. :frowning:

Your buyer is a fellow seller on Fiverr of whiteboard videos, and should know better. Please don’t do any work without an order being placed and as they’re reselling your work as part of a product to other Fiverr buyers, they should pay you for a commercial licence as well.

  1. I figured as much. I mean, I’ve got a pretty high tolerance for the random nonsense, which is what’s led to this whole circumstance.
  2. I’m thankful for your reply, all the same.
  3. Blunt, and to the point. I like it. I’ll adjust my interaction with this client accordingly. I hadn’t thought about it from a perspective of misusing the site. No offense taken. I’m obviously incredibly inexperienced in terms of business mindset, which is why I was asking for advice in the first place. “Bone headed” is bone headed, even if it’s from ignorance/lack of forethought. No two ways about it, letting myself get into this position was dumb.

I’ll have a conversation with this particular client going forward. In all likelihood I’ll go back to having no clients, rather than 1 poor one, but that sounds like that’s the better course of action.

1 Like

You will get some clients eventually if you have a very good gig setup and a good example of your work for others to hear. This site does work very well to bring people income and jobs but it can take a short time before you start getting them so patience at first is required. I wish you luck in this. And I’m glad you asked about this on the forum.

1 Like

I was afraid that was the case, got caught in the fearful mindset of “well I need reviews to gain credibility, so I’ll do whatever it takes to gain said reviews”.

Going forward, I’ll talk with my client and explain any gig from now on will have to include a commercial license, and be purchased through my gig as listed on my profile.

Thanks for the concise advice (especially about the commercial license, I’m still wrapping my head around that)! I really do appreciate your time in reading and replying to my lengthy post!

1 Like

This is just my personal opinion on your third question. It never hurts to have multiple perspectives. It is not against ToS to work for free and risk getting paid later, though Customer Support won’t help you if you do it. In my opinion there are rare cases when it might be worth it, though. You’d have to know that it’s a total risk with a chance of no reward except some work for your portfolio. A potential buyer is under zero obligation to pay for work that was done without an order set up and prepaid.

That said, I’ve seen it work for someone. I know someone who is completely self-taught in an area and had been told by friends that the work was very good, but wasn’t sure if it was good enough to be considered professional. He decided to make a gig for it and put a very low price on it with the intent of giving the buyer’s money back after a realistic test of the work. He got an offer from someone and they liked the portfolio but felt uncertain about a seller with no reviews.

The seller just decided to wing it and offered to do one job in advance (never using the word free) with the understanding that if the work wasn’t good enough, they would just part ways. The seller had to work longer than it would take a more experienced person, but it was nice to have no pressure. When the work was complete, the buyer loved it. The buyer paid for the work happily.

That was enough to convince the seller that the work was good enough for Fiverr and now sells cheap, but keeps improving with every job. I am not saying this is a good idea for most sellers, but I felt like the story was worth sharing since other new people on the forum run into this issue too.


Thank you!
I’m constantly fine-tuning my gig, and working on getting better examples up as well. I think the hardest part is patience though! It’s definitely been a good learning process for me though, learning to think strategically in terms of weeks and months, rather than day to day.
I’m hoping to be more involved in the forum in the future. When I first took a look at it I was both overwhelmed at the size of it all, and discouraged due to the number of google-translated posts I would have to wade through for any useful information. So far my experience here in this thread has been great though, which is causing me to reconsider my first impression.

1 Like

Five dollars is not a lot of money so if someone tells you they can’t afford that tiny amount they are lying. Get them to part with five bucks at least.

I’m in more or less the same boat as that person it sounds like. I’m not terribly worried about whether or not the client pays me for the work (I certainly hope he does… but the risk in my mind is worth the potential reward of a returning client). Of course, if the client proves trustworthy then it’s worthwhile, but if he doesn’t then the proper course of action would obviously be to refuse working with him until he goes through the gig proper by paying before the work is completed.

My goal for now is to provide an cheaper product all the while improving my skill, but it sounds like the general consensus so far is definitely along the lines of “make the client pay up front” which falls under Fiverr’s general structure.

I do appreciate the anecdote though, it lets me know I’m not entirely alone in this (or at least that I’m not the first person in such a position, and likely won’t be the last).

It’s not that it’s a large amount of money, but in this particular client’s case, it looks like he was wanting to pay me strictly out of his Fiverr earnings. Which on the one hand I understand working from the excess, but on the other hand, I agree with you. Pony up the $5, which is already vastly underselling what my service is worth. This is essentially where my conversation with the client is at now. I’ve made it clear I won’t be doing any more work with him until payment has been received in full. I’ll add on going forward though, that any other scripts must be received through a purchased gig.

1 Like

You look and sound completely professional! You could be a Top Rated Seller with a voice like that. There is absolutely zero reason for someone with a great voice and talent like yours to give away work.

I predict great success here for you.


Wow, I wasn’t expecting such a comment in this thread! Thanks for taking your time to go to my gig and check it out! That means a lot to me. Especially your encouragement, that definitely helps to hear! Really, I sincerely do appreciate such a glowing vote of confidence.

1 Like

I 100% agree with this. If they are not financial enough to pay $5 for a voiceover (which is so crazily cheap as it is), I will guarantee you they will not be a good client to work for - will ask for free revisions and expect things done quickly without paying extra fast etc.

When I was new I had the same thing happen - people promise and just not come through, its like they prey on newbies. Also, if you want to do things as a custom offer instead of have them order from your gig, no problem, but get them to pay first.

One thing you’ll often get as well is people asking you to do just this one cheaply, or quickly etc and they’ll have lots of work for you in future - trust me - they won’t! I think maybe 1 person in over three years, has actually come good on that haha

You’ll get up and running I’m sure, it takes a bit of patience in the beginning, but you’ll get there. Try the buyer requests as well, usually not great, but you can occasionally find a job worth going for.


Yeah, this client has been especially pushy with timelines, asking for very quick delivery, and hounding me when I don’t get it done quickly. Realizing it’s time to take back some control in this crazy seller/client relationship. It’s like you’re reading our conversations! Revisions all over the place, expecting incredibly fast turnaround time without paying any extra for it…

He’s a new seller himself (according to his account anyway) so I’m not sure if its him preying on a new seller or what, but either way, it’s been tricky navigating it. I’ve been doing custom orders through the chat to collect payment, but that’s only been successful 1 out of 3 times so far.

It’s good to know that usually the promise of future work is an empty one, because that’s exactly what this client has been banking on to keep me on the hook. “There will be more work to come, just do this for me and I’ll keep giving you work.”

Patience is certainly the hard part, but I’m learning to not rush it! Again, thinking in terms of weeks and months rather than days has helped take some of the franticness out of my mindset. I’ve been camping the buyer requests constantly, haven’t gotten any luck there just yet, but that doesn’t keep me from trying! If anything, it helps me feel productive haha.

Sounds like overall the consensus is: take a much harder line with the client, don’t stress if I “lose” the client, and be patient, the work will come in due time.

Thanks everyone, I really do appreciate the encouragement in these stressful/discouraging early stages of gig creation and profile development!


Yep, you’ve got it :smile: Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be up and running in no time!

1 Like

We try to be a pretty supportive group when people ask genuine questions and are really trying on their own as well! :slight_smile: (Not so much for the ones who make a gig, hop on the forum, and beg for people to send them money for nothing… :exploding_head:

Good luck!!

Now to tread the line of not overly complicating a very simple and effective plan… haha. I appreciate the well wishes for good luck, going to need it!

It’s appreciated! Never realized how stressful starting up a side business would be. I’ll be around for sure, I’m sure there will be more questions to come… Maybe I’ll have the fortune on being on the other end of such questions one day, offering advice rather than seeking it!

Yeah, I can imagine that would get quite old after a very short time… I’d much rather work my butt off, figure out how to succeed, and not depend on a fluke or a stroke of random luck to get ahead.


1 Like