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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.)