TL;DR: Oldtimers, do not discourage the use of new sellers because you have now gone past that stage. Buyers, feel free to use new sellers after vetting them through communication and/or smaller jobs. Levels and ratings are statistics that do not compulsorily tell the competency of a seller.
This is a forum I’ve come to love and appreciate. The advice and help here can be impeccable and the quality of information received from this forum is second to none. But some things don’t sit well with me.
It is not uncommon to find buyers in the ranting pot complaining about poor sellers they’ve encountered. Indeed, we find just as much seller rip-off complaints as buyer rip-offs. When these come, wonderful forum members look to help out and proffer advice. This is just a part of what makes me love the forum.
However, there is a common theme that follows every buyer complaints of recent. Once there is a complaint, I find more established sellers advising buyers to go with sellers with hundreds or thousands of reviews, higher prices, longer time around, native English, the likes… Now, while that is solid advice, I still take issue with it. Why?
For one thing, all of us started as newbies. Regardless of how professional you are, you begin on Fiverr without any reviews, without a track record. This does not mean you are poor at what you do. For the most part, except you have outside clients whom you bring in to begin, you’ll have no jobs until someone decides to take the plunge. As a result, you resort to lowering your prices to make your job attractive enough to a new buyer. At least, for a start. If you are new to freelancing, without a spine to fall back on, you need, hope, and expect that first person willing to trust you with their work.
Similarly, not originating from a native-English speaking country does not mean you have basic English skills. It does not mean you are poor at it, and it does not mean you wouldn’t understand client requirements. Some who originate from British-colonized countries are grappling with the problem of forgetting and leaving behind their own native languages and dialects. It’s a worldwide problem. This does not mean that they all make use of perfect grammar, but it does mean that you’d find many a person from such countries with a more than perfect grasp of English - it’s grammar, structure, syntax, and what not.
What is the point of this piece?
Understanding where I come from and how that has impacted my freelancing career, I fully understand what it means to be in this stereotypical position where you are considered poor and incapable with your skills questioned because of your background. That is wrong! What worries me more, though, is finding such “advice” given freely on the forum. A buyer comes complaining and is offered advice to use sellers with a higher price point (spend more money), with more reviews (into the hundreds or thousands), and with a good grasp of English (native English speaker). In truth, you can get sellers who are more than adequate with none of the first two above. You can also get one with a good grasp of English who is not “native.”
What’s my advice?
- Check out the reviews, if any. Regardless of the presence (or otherwise) of reviews, chat briefly with a person before purchase.
- Check out the portfolio, if any. Request any related sample work from those you are looking to work with. Note: not free jobs done as sample, but something from the person’s portfolio.
- When chatting with a prospective seller, look out for industry-specific terms in their chat. See how well they understand your requirements. And, start out with a small amount you can afford to lose before you proceed to much larger deals.
- Levels and reviews matter and don’t matter. Both are statistics. You don’t acquire either without making any sale. If you find a “new seller” offering the same product on the cheap and wish to vet them first, do so. Do not let stats and numbers prevent you from getting a great job from an awesome seller who happens to be cheap because of those numbers.
- To sellers and longtimers, remember how you started. Do not discourage the use of new sellers because you have now gone past that stage. It ain’t cool. Really!