My Experience Selling on Fiverr

Thought I would share this.
I’m really excited about using XoJo as I’ve been relearning C for the last year, and never really produced anything with it.
Started XoJo back up and in a short time had some awesome results with Desktop programs.
So I thought “let’s make some money with this”.
Well, the one place I found was where you do gigs starting at $5.
Got my first gig all excited to provide a solution for someone, built this massive program for someone to download
an estimation form from Google, import, calculate job costs, and print out onto a pre-printed brochure. Loved the project, learned a bunch,
put about 40 hours into it, got the $5 I asked for (no tip). No problem, he got what he wanted, I got what I wanted.
Did a few more business calculators for $5 for about two hours work on each.

The only real problem outside of I don’t see how to grow with this is most people were asking for web apps
and my Gig clearly stated I offered service for Desktop apps.
So, I tried to accommodate them by using JotForm where you can do some drag/drop programming/form building with Javascript being created in the background.
No, problem there, the problem came when people tried to put these ‘widgets’ on their web page.
“I can’t place it right”
“I don’t’ show up like I want it too.”
Try as I might, I could not and didn’t really want to get into (ugh!) Web Design.
So I quit Fiverr.

It would be nice to get some feedback on how others approached getting jobs (Craigslist got no responses).
Also, I don’t have the Web App module, but was wondering how difficult it would be to get those apps formatted or placed
like people want on their webpage. I detest web design and don’t want to get into that.
Is it fairly simple to get it placed for customers?

Hope this helps others, and hope for some experiences on getting jobs.


Why would you work 40 hours for 5$? That is worse than slavery. Why don’t you get on Elance or similar? I’d recommend to start with at least 50$ per hour or more.

Because I really enjoy programming?

[quote=185350:@Joel Godin]No, problem there, the problem came when people tried to put these ‘widgets’ on their web page.
“I can’t place it right”
“I don’t’ show up like I want it too.”
Try as I might, I could not and didn’t really want to get into (ugh!) Web Design.
So I quit Fiverr.[/quote]

Some rules of any service business :

  • Always have a contract
  • Always get paid upfront, or at least a deposit that covers your expenses
  • Never give your work away. Be man enough to ask for the price you think is worth your time.

$5 is about half the California Minimum wage for an hour. Have you lost your mind to log 40 hours for not even the money a Mac Donald’s clerk makes in an hour ?

If you are serious about selling desktop software, consider the Mac App Store, or if you are on Windows, soon the Windows Store will accept Win32 Desktop apps.

I do too. That is even just the reason I became a professional developer. In truth, when I was new and naive, at the beginning, I was a cheap one too. Until I realized I was worth more than being treated like a carpet.

I still enjoy programming, and that remains my number one motivation. But it is nice not to starve.

Joel, no offence, these kind of “experiences” are the ones I better keep away from in both roles, as seller (programmer) and as buyer.

It helps if you think of fiver as some social work for people who could never afford your services anyway. Unfortunately it is also used by people who most certainly can, and who exploit you (wether you like it or not is irrelevant).

I have no problem helping an old gran with setting up her computer for free (or a piece of cake), I would have a big problem doing the same for a business.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, $5 for 40 hours of work is absurd. I think the minimum you should have charged is $1000.

One place to find employment is definitely things like eLance etc.
Google for “realbasic employment”, “xojo employment”, “realbasic coder” and other variations that indicate contract hiring.
Scour the forums here.
If you’re a Pro license holder watch the opportunities posts available to Xojo Pro users.
And revisit old ones - you have no idea how many go unfulfilled.

And word of mouth.

And dont under price yourself.

But you must buy bread.

Let him eat cake!

and pay mortages and insurances…

I often get asked about this problem. A client will often tell you that this small project is the entry into a much larger project with the hope you’ll set a really, really low rate. The problem that I, and others have seen, is that now that you’ve set your rates low enough to get the project they’ll expect those rates for the bigger project too (and get mad if you try to adjust later on).

A lower rate on a bigger project isn’t always so bad. Not having to always be looking for work is worth something. However, don’t price yourself so low that you can’t live on it.

I have picked up a lot of clients in 15 years where the original developer priced himself out of a consulting gig. They quoted some very low rate and gave a ridiculously low time estimate (with fixed pricing) and in the end they had to go get a job to be able to afford to keep doing the consulting project. Most developers just give up and abandon their client. If we’re lucky we get some source code but often not so the client ends up paying us to do the again.

The ironic thing is some of those clients rejected our bid because we were ‘too expensive’ in comparison to the developer they picked. My first red flag on clients are those that claim we are too expensive because it’s obvious they don’t know what it takes to do software development. I know how long it takes to do software (the right way) and I know what my rates are and the rates of some of my competitors are. But it’s hard to educate clients that are only looking at pricing.

Obviously I’m in a different boat that the OP. We have 4 full-time Xojo developers to keep busy so our rates take into account downtime of not just one person but of multiple developers. Other fixed cost overhead is factored in too like salaries, hardware purchases, vacations, insurance, etc. and then time developers won’t be working like holidays, vacations, conferences, sick time, etc. Oh, and don’t forget those pesky taxes and the associated paperwork. The plus side is that we’re in Kansas so the cost of living is pretty low.

I’ve stayed away from the consulting sites. I tried bidding on projects years ago and the clients were capping prices at stupid levels. My feeling is that since I can’t compete on price I might as well compete with experience, ability, and knowledge. I’ve done well enough without them so I must be doing something right.

Oh Bob this reminds me to my efforts to gain more projects from platforms like oDesk (they renamed themself recently right?), Projektwerk and some others… I’ve seen not only such cappings and unrealisitc time frames. I’ve also seen a lot of headhunters or temporary-employment agencies among them. Ou know how I call them? Parasites!

1/2 year later and just two tiny jobs later I’ve canceled all my activities on such platforms… wasn’t worth my time…

Education is key. The big problem today is that free solutions are often blurring customers perception.

You get people expecting software free or close to it, yet with high level support, and when you tell them what they want requires a fair amount of work, you quickly find out that they did some research and got completely misguided by self appointed specialists who know little but open source projects and do it yourself hacks.

From what I’ve seen, those website tend to attract a lot of developers from parts of the world that can work really cheap. For some people making $5 a day is a pretty good deal. For others that doesn’t buy a cup of coffee. Since I can’t compete at that price I don’t bother.

My own experience with ‘offshoring’ as they call it here in the US: I hired an Indian firm after giving them a 10 page spec on what what I needed done. They did it and it was what I asked for - to the letter for the specification. When I needed some additional work done that I considered part of the job (but since it wasn’t explicitly spelled out in the specification they didn’t do it) they ended up charging me half of the overall project just for the adds.

My conclusions:
• You really need a rock solid specification document for these firms because they make their real money on change orders. When I give a price for a project there are just some things I’ll do because I know they’re needed. If the client wants a desktop app I’ll just add a preferences system just because it will come up sooner or later. I don’t charge extra for it. I also anticipate some minor changes so I don’t have to do a change order.

• Cheap isn’t always less expensive. My Indian firm was 25% that of an American developer (at first). In the long run they were only about 25% less expensive than the American. And I was not satisfied with the work.

• Cheap doesn’t mean skilled and knowledgable. I’m sure there are some skilled developers that are very inexpensive. I suspect, however, that those quickly get gobbled up by companies that can afford to pay more. I’ve fixed a couple of projects by cheap developers that clearly had no idea what they were doing.

Hah! I did one project where it wasn’t until final delivery that I found out I was supposed to be responsible for end-user support. At no extra cost to them - of course. That was a fun conversation to have.

Been there done that :slight_smile:
For us one of the big issues was location location location.
And language - which I understand is better but …

It was hard to have a conference call with the devs as they were in india and we were in canada.
Almost exactly 12 hours apart.
And for us, at the time, language barriers existed.
And oddly enough cultural ones. Like they will do whatever you, the client, ask them to regardless of how stupid it is. They won’t necessarily tell you that as they may not know your business.
I learned a lot working on that project.

[quote=185532:@Norman Palardy]It was hard to have a conference call with the devs as they were in india and we were in canada.
Almost exactly 12 hours apart.
And for us, at the time, language barriers existed.[/quote]

I still remember my first phone encounter with a CitiBank representative whose accent was so thick I could not quite understand what she was saying. Talking about language barrier.

You better offer some different services that can make worth your time and you can finish the task within 1 hour.