Right now, my main business model in order to gain capital before I graduate college is through my gigs in Fiverr. As such, I need to ensure that there is a steady stream of new buyers that will avail my services. Apart from making sure my customers are satisfied by providing high quality services, I must also do my part in only accepting buyers I can feasibly and practically accept at the time. Thus, in order to make those decisions, here are some factors I take into consideration.
Buyer reputation and review quality
Since Fiverr relies a lot on buyer and seller reviews, it is key to review these on potential buyers. The lack of reviews is also a telltale sign of buyers that may not be good to work with. Overall, I mostly choose buyers that are already vouched for by other sellers so it would be less hassle for me in the long run. Those that are also verified to be Fiverr Select or Fiverr Business buyers are also good to work with because you know they are committed to the order.
The Language Barrier is hard to overcome
Fortunately, most of my gigs are made in English and the end product or service is conversed in English as well. However, there are cases wherein a buyer doesn’t speak English as their first language or maybe the service that I have to make have to be translated afterwards. I usually decide against these buyers because overcoming the language barrier is a major issue based on my experience. Most of the time, it is not worth it to have to translate every time, and you also need to consider the risk of having major miscommunication problems down the line.
Locations and Timezone difference between the Seller
This is something that I was not able to take into account at the start. It can be come an issue once an order has matured whenever you have to converse with your buyer a lot and they live halfway around the world. This means there are late responses between the two parties and, for some cases, it is hard to schedule a synchronous conversation of meeting. Sometimes I would have to stay up late or wake up super early just to meet a client for a quick Zoom meeting regarding our order. As much as possible, I would like to avoid this in the future.
Buyer conduct, personality, and tone
This is something that you should first look out for in the initial messages to and from the buyer. As in all cases, it is better to work with sellers who are fun and easy to work with. If they come across as condescending, rude, or, mean in any way, I always consider the Pros and Cons of the situation and potential order. More often that not, it is better to choose the route that is less mentally draining and avoid these type of buyers.
Order description and instructions
It is better to work with orders that have clear plans on what the final product should be. It is hard to work with buyers with vague wants and needs for the project which might just be a problem in the long run. I usually prefer buyers who have obvious knowledge of the topic at hand because these are the ones who can give good feedback and direction on how the product or service should be. For example, trying to revise a specific feature when they can’t describe what is wrong or missing is a situation you do not want to be in.
Breach of Fiverr Terms of Service
Fiverr has strict rules that both buyers and sellers must follow as stated in their Terms of Service. One major red flag to look out for is buyers who wish to communicate outside of Fiverr and especially ones who wish to conduct transactions outside of Fiverr. This is a telltale sign of a scammer who will either not pay in full, pay it much later than the agreed upon time, and in most cases, not even pay at all. It is not worth to risk the time and effort for a few potential buyers. This is why I always conduct my business within the Fiverr platform (and in the future, maybe other platforms too such as Upwork or Gumroad).
Budget and Deadline incompatibilities
Haggling and bargaining is a common occurance in the industry. Although this is not common once you go into the big leagues and have business-to-business relations, it’s something that I experience a lot in Fiverr. It is not entirely a bad thing since I see it as a way of striking a good deal with the buyer in order to arrive in a win-win situation. However there are times that you will receive lowball orders or ones that have either too short or too long of a deadline. Sometimes, these are worth more trouble than they’re worth. Although it may be tempting especially when you don’t receive orders a lot, it is better to wait for greener pastures and invest the time you have into improvements or more marketing, rather than waste your time and potential into a low-return order.
Probable scammers or bot accounts
These are the orders or buyers that seem too good to be true. Apart from possibly tiptoeing the Terms of Service, they might request unreasonably enticing orders. They might also send messages that don’t seem to be personal or human, and feel robotic in a way. It can be as simple as using a sketchy display picture, asking for confidential or personal information, etc. It is good to look for resources that can help you identify this. I just try to think with my head straight and follow my instincts whenever I feel something off. Stay safe out there!
Illegal or unethical content or service
There are buyers that are looking for illegal services and these are ones I reject without a second thought. Great care must be taken to ensure that a product or service you are making is not directly and cannot be refactored into a bad product not just for your conscience but also for your security. Thus, it is important to be in-the-know of the best practices on the web in order to easily identify which buyers are looking for fishy content. For example, someone might be looking for a mass-DM bot in Discord which is always being used for something illegal such as phishing scams or marketing.
I haven’t personally experienced this before, but there were some instances were the buyer is actually purchasing the service for a third-party. Essentially, you are doing business for the middle man. This is usually not a good idea since you are not conversing and delivering to the direct buyer, and you are losing out the potential profits because of the middle man.
Fixing or improving another person’s work
There are also cases wherein a buyer would come to you asking you to fix or improve the work of a previous developer and although this might sound nice since you do not have to start from scratch, most often than not, you would have a hard time diagnosing and debugging another person’s work. Personally, I stray away from these type of projects since they are not worth the hassle.
Collaborative versus Individual work
There might be orders where you have to work with a group of people in order to deliver a single or a number of product and services. I tend to shy away from these type of deals because working collaboratively in a remote environment does not suit my current lifestyle and other responsibilities. My current work ethics are suited for individual projects that I have exclusive control over my time and direction. Although actual team work and collaborative work is something I’m looking forward to in the future, it is not what I am pursuing right now.