In the freelance battle of Fiverr vs Upwork, which platform will rule them all?
On the surface, freelancing platforms like Fiverr and Upwork seem like the end-all solution for freelancers trying to break into the marketplace. Both sites have a sizeable client base actively seeking the expertise of a freelancer. Both offer a wealth of freelance gigs, from writing to marketing to design and beyond.
But that's about where the similarities end.
Which one should you pursue in your freelance venture?
Let's look at some specifics on the Fiverr vs Upwork conversation so you can decide where you can make the most money:
Fiverr vs Upwork: The Basics
Before we dive into the nitty gritty, let's get some basic info out of the way.
Fiverr and Upwork are two of the most popular freelancing platforms. Freelancers can create profiles for free to post their services, and clients looking for freelance services will use the platform to connect with providers.
Platforms like these are a major cause of the uptick in freelancing. They've lowered the barrier to entry by streamlining one of the most difficult parts of freelancing: finding clients.
If you're just starting out in your freelance venture, I highly recommend using an established network like Upwork or Fiverr, or one of these freelance platforms, to start connecting with clients.
It's secure, payment is guaranteed, and you can tap into an audience who's actively seeking what you offer. It just doesn't get any easier.
Both Fiverr and Upwork are hotspots for the main types of freelance work: web and graphic design, coding, blogging and article writing, content marketing, and translation services, to name a few.
But each platform goes beyond the basics to provide tons other freelance opportunities.
On Fiverr, you'll find oddball categories like Spiritual & Healing, Collectibles (think artisanal arts and crafts), and Relationship Advice.
This really pushes the boundaries of what freelancing can be and what the side gig industry has become. If you have some sort of marketable skill that doesn't exactly fit the freelance mold, you can probably find a paying audience for it on Fiverr.
Upwork tends to stick to the more professional roles and trades, such as customer service, virtual assistants, and IT networking. That said, each of their categories breaks down into extensive subcategories to encompass your most valuable skills. These individual roles provide enough detail to get you to think about what you're really good at and how you might be able to succeed as a freelancer.
Fees & Earnings Potential
Both Fiverr and Upwork take a percentage of your earnings. Think of it as a finder's fee, website maintenance fee, credit card processing fee, and marketing service fee all rolled into one.
Fiverr takes a flat 20% of every job or project. If you want to mitigate this cost, make sure you set your gig prices to cover the fee so you're earning the amount you deserve.
Upwork is a little more complex, but works in the freelancer's favor.
On Upwork, the most you'll ever pay in fees is 20%. For the first $500 earned per client, Upwork gets 20%. But after the first $500 and up to $10,000, that fee drops to 10%. If you have a gangbusters client and project work exceeds $10,000, you'll only pay 5% in fees. This is for the LIFETIME of your earnings with each client, not per project. It's a cumulative total for each client you earn, so there's plenty of incentive to maintain good relationships with your Upwork clientele.
With either platform, there's no cap on your earnings potential. There's no limit on how many projects you can apply for, how many orders you can accept, or how much you can charge for each gig.
How to Find Clients
One of the most attractive benefits of Fiverr is that once you post your services, you can sit back and wait for offers. Not once have I had to reach out to prospective clients who had never done business with me before. Never have I had to officially "bid" for a job or go through a lengthy application process.
Clients find you in several different ways. Much of your success depends on you choosing the right gig category and keywords, writing a strong description, and presenting a professional image. Responding quickly to client inquiries, earning 5-star ratings and reviews, and offering in-demand services will also contribute to your ongoing success. Also, you can promote your Fiverr services on your blog or social media pages to drive traffic to your gig.
Upwork is almost the polar opposite of Fiverr when it comes to finding work.
In my experience, this platform is almost 100% outreach. Clients post projects and freelancers bid for them. For each project you're interested in working on, you'll submit a proposal, much like applying for a traditional job. Also like traditional work, clients will likely interview you prior to signing you onto a project.
One of the perks of Upwork is that they offer skills tests (100% free!) and clients can view the results to see your proficiency in a certain area. Upwork also suggests projects based on your profile, so you can find opportunities you're suited for with ease.
Final Verdict: Fiverr or Upwork?
Both Fiverr and Upwork are powerhouses for freelancers to connect with clients and expand your freelance services.
If we're going by personal experience alone, the clear winner for me has been Fiverr a hundred times over. It took me a whopping 2 weeks to get my first client on Fiverr versus months of outreach and activity on Upwork with nothing to show for it.
Personal experience aside, I can't say that Upwork is a complete waste of time. They offer different freelance opportunities than Fiverr, market to different audiences, and focus on ongoing relationships rather than one-off gigs. It most certainly can be a lucrative venture for some freelancers who fit their mold.
As a professional freelance coach, I encourage you to explore both options to see where your services best fit. It's not a matter of one being better than the other, because if that were truly the case, the lesser platform just wouldn't exist.
There's no rule about only using one or the other. It never hurts to promote your services on each one and see where it takes you. This is precisely what I did, and it turns that Fiverr won me over. But you may experience entirely different results.
Share your successes in our Facebook group or drop a comment below!