beyond the next horizon
a discussion of developments that affect education in the emerging world
My friend was telling the Wednesday morning Bible study that I attend about his new voiceover business that he is trying to start. He was explaining the difficulties in making contacts, setting up a web presence, and marketing.
I asked him a question that has become an increasingly common one over the last couple of years:
Have you been to Fiverr?
This normally gets an interesting range of responses. But most of them center on “What’s a five ur?”
Put simply, Fiverr (www.fiverr.com) is a clearing house for freelancers of all sorts, who provide a whole spectrum of professional services at significant discounts.
The services that are offered there (called “gig’s”) range to the limits of the professional (and sometimes goofy) imagination. You can have a website built from scratch and have someone manage your entire social media presence, or you can have Tom Cruise sing happy birthday to your girlfriend.
I have used it for a couple of things. I have had a book edited there. I have gotten some help with my email marketing. I have also had my promotional videos for my website made there (only some of the current ones.)
You can have logos created, songs composed, stories written, computer programs and apps created, and all manner of other services.
But that is not why I am writing about it today.
Fiverr (www.fiverr.com) provides a way for a young student to offer services that he or she is good at – and get paid for it! If your child is good with computers, there are all sorts of people in the world who are not, and would be happy to pay him or her (admittedly a lower price than they would pay a certified professional) to get the benefit of their expertise. If your child is a good writer, or can get people to do anything, then perhaps they can sell “ghost writing” or marketing gigs on Fiverr. The official categories from the website are Graphics and Design, Digital Marketing, Writing and Translation, Video and Animation, Music and Audio, Programming and Tech, Business, and Fun and Lifestyle. Under each of these large “umbrella” categories are multiple sub-categories, each housing numerous gigs offered for sale.
Everybody wins, and here’s how. The people paying for the services are able to get them for much cheaper than they would if they had to pay a certified professional. As long as the job gets done right, most people do not care if it was done through a “professional” company (who has to charge enough to pay employees, rent, utilities, taxes, and insurance.) They just want the job done right. The service provider wins because they can define the scope of the gig to be performed, and then they can get more efficient at it to the point where they can actually make money.
This is even more important for someone who does not yet have a professional portfolio (such as your child.) They can develop a list of accomplishments for which they have been paid (albeit not as much as they might have, if they worked for a company) that they can put on a resume or as part of a work portfolio, which can help them get a job in the future.
When they go to interview for that job, one of the scariest questions that they will be asked is “Do you have any experience?” They will be able to answer, “Yes, take a look at my portfolio.”
Now there are lots of examples of people with portfolios in different areas, but many of the entry level versions of them do not pay you in the process! Most of them are some sort of student portfolio. This is a way for your student to get paid for doing what they love.
There is another process benefit for your student. It will give them some experience in customer service and market analysis. They will have to find a way to describe what they do well in terms that people will want to pay for it, and they will have to make the customers happy in order to improve their ranking on the site (which will get them more sales of their gigs.)
If your child wants to be a writer, but has never been paid for it, before you agree to pay for a Doctorate in Victorian Poetry, tell them that they have to sell a certain dollar amount in writing gigs and achieve a certain level of customer satisfaction. I’m just sayin’…
Now, you have to be at least 13 years old to use the site, but since my audience is starting with children 14 years old and older, that should not be a problem for anyone reading this.
Fiverr takes care of the collection of funds. They take care of making sure you get paid for services rendered. They handle a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that you might have to do yourself if you were to actually start your own company.
Which brings me to yet another benefit of Fiverr to your homeschool student entrepreneur: a marketplace for cheap services for their business. Fiverr lets them take the things that they are good at, and get paid to do them, while taking the things that they are not good at (or just hate doing) and get them done for pennies on the dollar for what a company would offer.
If you have been wondering how to get started in a field without any experience, you definitely need to consider selling gigs on Fiverr. If you are an entrepreneur that is looking to have someone else do the things that are necessary to make a business run, but you do not want to pay your annual budget to do them, you should consider buying gigs on Fiverr. If you are a parent who is looking to give your child a chance to try their entrepreneurial vision without "breaking the family bank" in the process, then Fiverr could prove to be a good training ground.
Either way, go check it out.
See you on the Frontier!
David E. Mugg
Hi, I'm Dave Mugg: author, educator, entrepreneur, coach, and retired Infantry and Special Operations Army Officer. I hate the opportunity costs that current educational choices force us to bear today, and I love looking for ways to use existing tools to open new opportunities. I will be discussing both here.