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Upwork vs. Fiverr: Which is Better For Freelancers?

If you're a freelancer looking for clients, there are many online marketplaces you can use. Upwork and Fiverr are two of the most popular, but which one is better? I'm a bit biased towards Upwork because that's what I've primarily used as a freelancer. And I've found a lot of success there, but I am familiar with Fiverr as well. I've hired freelancers on Fiverr, and I know people who have worked on Fiverr. So, we're going to discuss some of the key differences that can help you figure out where you should be putting your attention.

The overall distinguishing factor comes down to the type of work you want to be doing as a freelancer. Upwork favors long-term work, and you get lower fees the more the client pays you. On Fiverr, you're basically getting the same fee regardless of how small or how big the project is. Under $500 is 20% on Upwork. Over $10,000, it drops down to 5%.

Now, most of the freelancers on Upwork never get past $10,000. So they're always paying at least a 10% fee. But most of my clients on Upwork, I'm only paying 5% because within a couple of months, they've paid me over $10,000 because of the type of work that I'm doing and the way in which I've scaled into various consulting and services that pay more per month. Now, when I first started on Upwork, I was paying 20% on most of the things that I was doing, but Upwork is a great place to build a real business for your freelancing. If you're thinking about doing it full-time and you want more stability, Fiverr takes 20% regardless of the size of the gig, whether it's short-term or long-term. If you want stability in your income and you want to create longer term client relationships, Upwork is the way to go.

Now, Upwork allows you to apply to posted jobs. The client posts a job and you go find the job, then you submit a proposal and you try to convince them why you're the best freelancer on Fiverr. You're essentially creating a gig that is designed around a very specific deliverable, like editing YouTube thumbnails, or creating logos. And then the client has to find your gig through Fiverr's search system and then order it. And you just kind of have to sit and wait for that to happen. So I don't know about you, but if you're trying to build a business just sitting around and waiting for somebody to come to you, it isn't really the best method. It won't happen very quickly. And on Upwork, you seek out jobs and then you submit proposals. So let's say you already have a lot of experience in what you're doing, and you have some past jobs and you have a good resume, but you're brand new to Upwork. You're not going to have much on your profile in your proposal, you can prove to the potential client that you're worth your salt, that you have experience, and that you've produced results for other clients. And you can have links and various things to your portfolio that you've done outside of Upwork and still convince them that you're right for the job.

That's harder to do on Fiverr overall. If you're a side gigger, if you're looking for just a weekend job, a side hustle, Fiverr's a good place for that. If you're looking to build a full-time freelance career, Upwork is the way to go. And one of the big things for me and why I feel Upwork is better for my type of freelance work is communication. It's much easier to communicate with clients through Upwork because you're allowed to share contact information once you're in a contract with them.

Most of my clients communicate with me through Slack or their Trello. I communicate with them by email, and I'm able to maintain that relationship offsite from the Upwork messaging platform, which I like because one, the Upwork messenger isn't great and tools like Slack are a lot better. And two, when you're working with the client long-term, they want to plug you into their communication systems so that you can communicate more easily to the rest of their team. That's very difficult to do on Fiverr when you're not sharing contact information and you only have one person who's logging on to Fiverr to communicate with the freelancer. And it's much more difficult to become a part of a freelancer workforce for a business.

Again, most clients are not logging on Upwork all the time or Fiverr to check messages. They're going to see messages in email, or if they're using Slack, they're going to see messages there. And they're going to have an easier time communicating with you. You can really develop that long-term relationship on Upwork a lot easier.

The next difference is that your income potential is higher on Upwork. I know some will disagree on this, but overall, Upwork is clearly the winner when it comes to income potential because of the type of client relationships you can develop. For me, I have clients who are paying me a couple thousand dollars per month to provide services for them ongoing because we have a strong long-term relationship. Whereas on Fiverr, you're just paying for quick gigs. And the majority of Fiverr gigs are a couple hundred at the most. It's a lot more difficult to build up and stack a lot of different clients to then earn higher income.

Now, there are some full-time success stories on Fiverr, of course, but they had to go through a lot of grueling, getting paid very little for their time to get there. On Upwork, it's easier to build that momentum up. It still requires a lot of effort, but it is an easier pathway because overall, Fiverr markets themselves as being a place where you can get $5 logos and $5 this and that, and they have this whole $5 campaign going. That’s the way that they advertise themselves to businesses. You are kind of forced into that corner of having to compete with lower rates for your flat rate projects and gigs. Whereas on Upwork, you can charge premium rates for things. And you're not in that world of just cheap, quick one-off project types of work.

Now on Fiverr, you do get paid quicker when it comes to automatic approval. Once you submit the order, it automatically gets approved within three days. Whereas on Upwork, it takes two weeks for a flat rate project to automatically get approved. And that's important as a freelancer because there's so many times where I worked with a client and they just forgot to go in and approve the deliverable, or they forgot to check in on it. Then you’re just sitting around and waiting for them to get back to you. And it's nice that on Fiverr, you get paid quicker in those instances. Buy because you have an hourly option on Upwork, you get paid on a weekly basis, which can give you really nice recurring revenue.

Most of the contracts that I have on Upwork are hourly contracts. Even when I am charging flat rate fees, I'm doing it through an hourly contract. And I'm just logging the amount of hours that equal the flat rate fee, because that is a much more flexible contract to work with. You can expand or shrink it as needed. You can pause it much easier, and you get paid on a weekly basis automatically whenever you log your hours, the following week, Upwork charges the client automatically, and then you get paid. So you don't have to wait for clients to pay invoices or approve something, which is really nice on Upwork as well. You have better protection for getting paid. And in overall with that client relationship, you are entering into an actual contract that Upwork does provide mediation for, whereas in Fiverr, you're not really entering into a contract. You're just paying for a gig. It's like going to a store and buying a product. You're just ordering a specific gig with a very specific deliverable. And you're not actually entering into this contract relationship as you are on Upwork.

So, if you're doing work for a client, you deserve to get paid for that. If there's a dispute, Upwork will give you some protection in mediating that, especially if you use their time tracking tool. Then, you'll have a much easier time in disputing and getting paid and making sure that everything works out there. I'm not a huge fan of Upwork's time tracker, however. It takes pictures of your computer. And I don't really use it, but it is there as an option. And it gives you more protection.

What types of jobs work best for free for Fiverr versus Upwork? As we kind of talked about already, Fiverr is great if you have a specialized skill with a very clear, specific deliverable. If you just want general graphic design work for a client, Fiverr is not the way to go because you have to create specific gigs around the actual deliverable. On Fiverr, you create a gig around creating YouTube thumbnails, book covers, or website pages. Whereas on Upwork, you'll have an easier time finding clients to hire you as their go-to graphic designer for all their graphic design work, which means you can get paid more over time if you'd like to specialize in very specific types of work within your niche. When you just want to get really good at designing YouTube thumbnails, you can create a gig around YouTube thumbnails and get paid to do that. And there are times when companies like being able to just order a very specific service, like a gig like you would have on Fiverr. So there are advantages to being able to go on Fiverr for that. But again, you're locked into only that type of work on Fiverr. If a client hires you to design the YouTube thumbnail, that's all you're doing with that order, unless you create other gigs. And so there's a lot less flexibility to just do different work for that client. Fiverr is best for voiceover actors, logo designers, book, cover designers, and anything that has a very clear deliverable rather than long-term work photo editing web page design.

Although, I do recommend Upwork for web page design because usually that's a much longer-term project that requires more clear back and forth communication with the client. One-off video editing projects are fine for Fiverr. Whereas Upwork is best if you're a consultant or looking for long-term work, or if the services you provide have more variety and you want to kind of include it all in what you're doing. So like for me, I provide YouTube marketing services for clients. And so I'm doing everything from producing the videos, to optimizing the videos, to providing marketing consulting as a part of our contract. I wouldn't be able to do that on Fiverr. I would have to create like 10 different gigs and hope that that one client orders all the gigs. It becomes a huge mess when you're providing services that include a few different kinds of deliverables.

There’s a lot less flexibility on Fiverr with that working relationship with the client. If they have shifting priorities with what they want you to do for them, all that has to happen on Upwork. Because again, you're promising a very specific type of deliverable for Fiverr. My opinion is that if you're building a full-time freelance business, if it's becoming your career path, you're not just doing it as a side gig. Upwork is the platform to use where you'll be able to much better create long-term strong client relationships that allow you to build your business and build up a really strong portfolio and have a very streamlined communication process with that client.

So with that said, feel free to drop a comment below. Please let me know what your opinions are, what feedback you have, and whether you've worked on Fiverr or Upwork or both, and what your opinions are. I'd love to hear from you on any insights you have that I haven't shared with you today on the disadvantages and advantages of Fiverr versus Upwork as a freelancer. With that said, please subscribe to the channel if you want more videos like this. I will see you next time.

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