My big breakup — Why I left Fiverr

For a few years, Fiverr was working for me. I put together a gig writing comic scrips, $5 a page. That’s not much, but, hey, it was at least some money. And it was in comics, a field notoriously hard to earn any dollars in.

But then summer came, my family and I moved to a new home and the thought of cranking out another dozen scripts featuring wizards, wise-cracking elves and monstrous orcs just wasn’t appealing anymore.

Yes, I quit Fiverr mostly because it got boring, painfully boring. And it turned writing comic scripts into just another job.

Rather than force myself to write 10 more pages of someone else’s comics, I realized that I wanted to spend more time writing my own stuff. Besides, the money Fiverr was earning me — I earned about $4,000 a year from the site — wasn’t much. Giving up Fiverr wasn’t going to make any financial impact; I can make up $4,000 quickly with journalism, my main source of income.

So this summer, I stopped accepting assignments for Fiverr. I haven’t logged onto the site since transferring my last payment to Paypal. And I can say that I don’t miss Fiverr at all.

Not enough money: The big complaint with Fiverr, the same one writers have with most online writing sites, is that there simply isn’t enough money to be made. I was charging $5 a page, which came out to $110 for a 22-page comic. The amount of work I was putting in was worth far more than that $110.

Sure, if you work in volume, you can earn thousands of dollars with Fiver. But you have to write a lot to earn anything reasonable. Fiverr’s problem is the same problem all online content-writing sites seem to have: You have to produce such a high volume of content to earn any real money.

And, yes, I know Fiverr isn’t just for writers, and that some professionals, such as voice-over artists, can actually make decent money without working themselves to death. But for writers? Fiverr is a bad deal.

Fiverr’s cut: Where Fiverr really gets annoying is in its fees. The company takes 20 percent out of every job you make. So if you get $100 on a job, Fiverr gets $20. That’s a huge take.

Then you have to worry about PayPal fees. That’s nuts.

The arbitrary wait for your money: Fiverr’s an online site. You’d think the money you earn on your completed and accepted jobs would be available immediately, right? Nope. You have to wait two weeks after a finished job is approved to receive your payment. Two weeks isn’t overly long for my journalism clients, many of whom take a month to pay me by printed check.

But we’re talking online here. There is no reason — despite what Fiverr says — for payments to take two weeks.

The repetition: Here’s a complain that might be unique to me as a writer of comics. After a while, the jobs I was getting began to feel … too similar. Tons of people wanted me to write Medieval-themed comics with wizards, dwarves, elves and monsters. The rest seemed to want fairly generic superheroes. I started to feel like I was writing the same exact comic over and over again.

Unrealistic expectations: I think we can all agree that $5 a page is not a princely sum, right? Some Fiverr clients would not agree. After a few months on the site, I began charging an extra $10 fee for every project I took on, labeling the fee a “planning fee.” Basically, it was a way to get an extra $10. You wouldn’t believe how many potential clients went berserk over this extra fee.

Then there were the clients who wanted me to charge less than $5 a page if they were ordering a large comic, as if the pages would be easier to write because there were so many of them. I mean, we’re talking $5 here, people!

Some clients wanted me to squeeze in 100 pages worth of story in 22 comic pages. Others couldn’t figure out why characters couldn’t perform more than one action per panel, while others wanted entire panels crammed with so many caption boxes that pages would be a sea of text.

Now, I’m sure Fiverr works well for many. It might even be a stable source of income for some writers. But for me? The negatives far outweighed the positives. And Fiverr and me? We won’t ever be getting back together.