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Voice-Over

Should You Use Fiverr for Voice Over?

Al Black

Al Black

9 May 2021

Should You Use Fiverr for Voice Over? - Voquent

We spoke to five voice actors about their experience using Fiverr.

Here’s what five voice actors had to say about the freelancing platform.

A quick disclaimer: we are neither arguing for or against Fiverr  – just giving you the tools to make your own decision. We also do not consider Fiverr to be our competitor as we offer a managed casting and production process and work with clients who have neither the time or means to procure multiple voice talents directly.

We spoke to the five(r) following voice actors:

 

Q: When did you start using Fiverr to get voice over work, and how long did it take you to land your first gig?

Beau: I believe I first signed up for a Fiverr profile around 2015. The second time I gave the platform a try was a couple of years ago in 2019. 

Daniel:  I registered my Fiverr account in March 2018 and my first order came on April 28, 2018. It was a sponsor tagline announcement for a YouTube channel.

Chuck: My very first orders were late in 2017. I had been a buyer on the site for years before that and first started to set up a profile and demos in 2014, I think. But I never really did anything with them. By the end of 2017, I heard about others finding success on the platform, and I thought maybe I should dip my toes in the water. I had no clue what I was doing. So I truthfully just tried to guess my way around for a very long time. 

Heather: I started with Fiverr Pro in October of 2020. It took about three weeks to get my first job, and it was a promo for a small theatre’s rock opera—super fun!

Chris: I’ve never used Fiverr and don’t plan to.

 

Q: Chris, what are your primary concerns with using Fiverr?

Chris: I can’t imagine why anyone would want to align themselves with something that will telegraph either cheap or amateur, thus tagging themselves and their ‘brand’ with these attributes. 

Most of my ‘competition’ on Fiverr will be selling voice over services for the price of a hamburger or a combo. Those hiring do so based on price and not quality. Most seem unaware of what a professional benchmark or standard even is.

My years of experience in the business and investment into my skills and my pro home recording studio are incompatible with charging $20-$40 for a TV commercial.

Even those who might read this comment and think, “Oh, this dinosaur doesn’t get it at all, I charge $125 with the add ons!” which is still far below what the work is worth (based upon both SAG-AFTRA rates and surveys like the GVAA Rate Guide).

Just because there is a new or disruptive way to do something does not mean it is better. And the anecdotal, “But it works for me! It’s none of your business how I do my business!” is also invalid.

These are side-hustles, paid hobbies, not legitimate businesses if they harm others in the meantime, and that is what is happening.

 

Q: Beau, why do you think Fiverr didn’t work for you?

Beau: I found the user experience to be very lacklustre, clunky, and disorganised.

Additionally, many users on these platforms will provide work for next to nothing simply because they have a USB mic. Voice acting is so much more than a cheap microphone and the ability to speak.

Quality costs (you get what you pay for), and I had difficulty accepting the number of folks on the platform undercutting that concept after spending significant time and money with professional trainers to assure that I could deliver for clients.

 

Q: Have you tried Upwork?

Daniel: I spent an equal amount of effort trying to build success on UpWork, but Fiverr and UpWork are very different. Clients on UpWork seek the lowest priced kind of deal, whilst clients on Fiverr seem to know what they want and be willing to pay to get it.

My clients rarely need to negotiate the price. Many of them are big international agencies, end clients and high-end production companies.

Beau: Upwork has been the complete opposite for me, providing me access to countless opportunities from international clientele.

Like I did on Fiverr, I took the time to create a thorough profile and began searching for/applying for projects and the ball started rolling very quickly. Job postings come from quality sources that paid well for the work – something I couldn’t find on Fiverr.

Many sell voice-over services for next to nothing, which severely discounts/undercuts those who have put in the time and effort to obtaining professional training, acquiring and setting up high-quality equipment, etc.

 

Q: How many gigs on average do you book on Fiverr?

Chuck: Recently, it’s been in the range of 65-70 per month. Last year, I seemed to be booking more orders but charging less. So, the income is roughly the same except for a couple of standout months that were especially strong last fall, where I did over 100 per month.

Heather: It depends, maybe 4-5?

Daniel: The first year or so orders were sporadic but since then both the number of orders and the revenue for each order have constantly increased. Today I receive about 150-200 orders/year, for which I am thrilled and thankful.

 

Q: Chuck, that’s a lot of jobs! How do you differentiate yourself from other Fiverr voices?

Chuck: I try to have a consistently professional image. So, my gig thumbnails and demo videos have a clean and sharp look.

I always use the same headshot and font. I have the same intro and outro logo animation on all my demo videos. I hand-write my gig descriptions for each gig, putting some personality into them rather than the copy-and-paste approach.

 

Q: Heather, what is the key to your success on Fiverr? 

Heather: For me, it’s customer service.

I get all kinds of people asking about my services – some of them are below my rates, but I always remember to be helpful and kind. Even though I’m a freelancer, I represent Fiverr and must give excellent customer service.

 

Q: What about you, Chuck?

Chuck: I think a lot of it boils down to experience and work ethic. I’ve been doing VO for decades, so there’s not a lot that I haven’t seen before.

I always give more than is expected for every order – more takes and a superior final product. I have an excellent critical ear for editing, so that helps. And my background experience as both an audio engineer and video editor allows me an advantage in that area, I believe.

Finally, of course, there is my voice. I have a wide range of styles/tones available to me. I’m very grateful that so many people seem to love the sound of my voice, and I get hired for many different read styles, from movie and game trailers to soft inspirational tones, to character voices, to more straight reads.

 

Q: What advice would you offer to others interested in using Fiverr or Upwork?

Daniel: Spare no expense on the wow-effect.

  • Try to create a stunning video that shows the client exactly what they can expect – make it look and sound as good as possible. Consistently deliver the same quality you present in the video.
  • Create a varied audio sample pack of your voice in different styles, without any music or other background audio. From those selected samples, also make an audio trailer sample to go with the package. Again, consistently deliver the same quality as presented in your examples.
  • Be good-humoured about re-takes and pick-ups – never make the client feel that they’re disturbing you. If an additional cost is needed, explain this in a kind and polite manner and ask the client if the fee is manageable for them.
  • Market your Fiverr profile on social media platforms (FB, Instagram, Google, and Twitter/X). Post your Fiverr video on FB and boost the post with a link to your Fiverr gig. Link to your Fiverr gig on your website. Be persistent and never give up!

Beau: Knowing your worth as a voice actor is essential.

Taking on a large project that underpays you for your time and talent is detrimental to not only you but the voice over industry as a whole. Take the time to set up a complete profile that highlights your abilities, defines your rates as a VA, and provides additional information about your background and what you bring to the table for your clients.

Most importantly, be patient. I’ve been using Upwork for about three years now. Early on, the lack of work (or even quality work) was discouraging. However, perseverance paid off, and I have significantly grown my business using the platform, developing an extensive list of recurring international clientele. 

 

Q: What would you say are the biggest hurdles that new Fiverr users face?

Heather: I would say it’s sticking to your guns as far as your rates, try not to get discouraged if things get a little slow, and communicate with your buyers. Different countries have different ideas about what a “pro” voice-over is!

Chuck: Visibility, credibility, and competition are key on Fiverr, with 20K gigs in the VO space. Standing out is tough, and many come in with a sense of entitlement, expecting instant success. When it doesn’t happen, they either leave bitterly or linger without progress.

Credibility suffers from weak demos and poor gig summaries. Many fail to look and sound professional, with inconsistent audio and low-quality thumbnails. With thousands of VOs competing, attention-grabbing thumbnails and demo videos are crucial. Fiverr is highly competitive, and you must engage buyers with a strong title, price, thumbnail, and demo video to succeed.

Daniel: Creating a good video presentation takes time and effort, and it’s tempting to test Fiverr before investing in quality material. However, appearance is everything on Fiverr, and growth is slow due to fierce competition. When I started in March 2018, there were about 5-10 Swedish VOs on Fiverr; now there are 50-100. A search for “English voice-over” yields over 22,000 results today, compared to around 8,000 in 2018. Many give up too quickly, but persistence is key.

Every new person on Fiverr is a newbie, regardless of experience. You must prove yourself and your services to buyers. Start with low prices while offering superior quality to get orders and collect positive reviews, which will generate more interest in your gig.

 

Q: Have you had any negative experiences, or is there anything people should watch out for? 

Heather: I haven’t, personally.

Chuck: My only genuinely negative experience happened when I received a warning about giving out personal contact info.

One of my clients on the platform was trying to refer me to someone who didn’t use Fiverr, and I casually offered contact info when asked. The TOS folks gave me a warning, and it became clear that were I to do so again, I could be banned from the platform. I have two friends who were banned for similar infractions. So that set me on pins and needles for a time!

 

Q: How would a negative review on Fiverr affect you?

Daniel: Negative reviews are very detrimental.

Fortunately, Fiverr has set up routines to protect sellers from being forced into doing low paid work (or, in rare cases, unserious work) under the threat of getting a bad review if they don’t comply. I’ve discussed this with Fiverr several times and come up with some suggestions that they implemented in their system. One of these features is the ability to block a buyer if one has a negative working experience.

It is also possible to report buyers if they are not acting seriously.

Chuck: I would hope to learn from it. Either how to better communicate or to better anticipate needs.

In terms of harming my visibility ranking, I think it would be a drop in the ocean unless it’s some terrible offence. I don’t live in any fear of that.

Heather: Yes, the reviews are critical. I try to make sure my buyers are 100% happy.

Beau: Again, I can speak to this as an Upwork user. The platforms are similar in some of these aspects. I have fortunately never received a negative review. I pride myself on providing exceptional work on time.

Communication is essential to me from both sides of the project. Taking feedback and constructive criticism is a crucial and vital element of the process for me.

 

Q: To what level does getting a new Fiverr gig still excite you?

Heather: I love it! I love having work waiting for me!

Daniel: I generally don’t get excited about a gig on Fiverr or through any other way. The exact moment I get an order, I immediately start to think about making this client happy by conveying the message the right way to reach the audience.

Chuck: I’m just incredibly grateful that people still gravitate toward my voice after all these years in the field, and I seem to be able to blow them away pretty consistently, as reflected in my reviews.

I get more excitement reading the reviews than when I receive the initial order. I have found Fiverr buyers to be incredibly kind. I’ve completed roughly 2,100 orders as of this writing, with only about 5 of those where I netted less than five stars. So many of the reviews express incredible levels of gratitude. Just the opportunity to serve people and make their endeavours more successful.

I often help make them look like heroes to their bosses or clients, which is very satisfying.

Beau: I can’t speak to this from the Fiverr perspective, but there’s no better feeling than someone contacting you about working with them because they loved what they heard on your demos.

At this point, the process has shifted from me seeking out clients to clients seeking me for voice over work, which is such a humbling experience. It reaffirms my decision to pursue this career and is a huge confidence boost every time I am sent a contract to provide voice work for both new clients and existing clients.

 

Q: If you could generate the same level of work you get on Fiverr through methods or means, what would you prefer that to be? E.g. your website? Multiple platforms? 

Heather: Well, I would prefer it to come directly to me. I would like to keep that 20% service fee.

Daniel: Apart from Voquent? Seriously, in my opinion, Fiverr is the perfect way to build long-lasting relationships with serious clients.

I particularly like that the client has to pay upfront and that after a gig is approved, a seller gets his money after two weeks (or one week if you’re a Top Rated seller). So, the logistics are so smooth and straightforward. I know one other voice agency that’s using internal payout systems as well but I think that Fiverr has found the perfect recipe.

Chuck: I want to find more success on other platforms, but I’m also very pleased with where I am on Fiverr.

Not having to audition saves a great deal of time. In my experience, if your demos are good, most people don’t need to hear custom samples up-front (though I have no problem providing them if they ask). I encourage folks to place an order first, and the majority do. I guess I feel game to tackle almost anything, so there are rarely surprises where I feel overwhelmed or turn the work away.

I get some orders directly from my website, and that’s fine. But, just being completely honest, I hate talking about money (price quotes) and seeing that I get paid after the fact. The platforms on which I work solve both of those problems for me, so I don’t mind that they take their cut.

Beau: I will happily take voice over work from wherever it comes.

It’s been interesting to see the multiple avenues from which I receive work requests. I have gotten jobs from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn over the years. A lot of this is due to self-promotion, which is just part of the process. I like to post positive reviews/feedback on social media channels like those previously mentioned because you never know who might see those and reach out.

Taking some time to promote your accomplishments and your services can take you to new levels.

 

Q: How do you think Fiverr could improve things for the voice over community?

Chris: Cut-rate services like Fiverr have already damaged the voice over industry by removing barriers to entry and commoditising the craft.

This “democratisation” has lowered standards, reducing voice over to something anyone can do, which has impacted both quality and compensation. It’s not about union vs. non-union; many non-union actors still earn respectable rates by knowing their value.

Fiverr and similar platforms promise an unrealistic dream of instant success without emphasising the importance of the acting craft and business foundation. They sell the idea that you can “make millions with your voice” and “break into voice-over” quickly, but true success in voice over requires much more.

Beau: It’s been a couple of years since I last checked the platform, so some issues might have been addressed. A better vetting process for talents would be crucial.

While it’s great that there’s a vast marketplace for voice actors, Fiverr’s reputation would improve if clients knew they were getting quality at reasonable rates. The user interface also needs improvement. Finding work only to click on another talent promoting their services was frustrating.

Establishing itself as the premier marketplace for thoroughly-vetted, top-tier freelance talent would attract more high-quality clients and talent.

   

Q: Chris, why do you believe offering gigs with all rights inclusive damaging to the industry?

Chris: This message is for agencies, casting directors, and Fiverr – voice over recordings have inherent rights that transfer only with the talent’s permission. The digital era has seen a shift from traditional union-only talent agencies to online platforms like Fiverr, leading to a loss of the industry’s mechanics.

There’s frequent abuse of these rights, like turning a local radio spot into a national TV ad without proper compensation. Ambiguities around web usage and automatic rights transfers in online casting sites’ terms can cost talents thousands. Protecting these rights is crucial, especially in the non-union world.

Talent agents and casting directors need to push back against unfair terms, ensuring talents aren’t exploited with perpetual usage or multiple edits for one fee. Agents should reject unreasonable terms before auditions reach talents, promoting fair rates and equal partnerships with clients.

Conflicts of interest also need attention; perpetual buyouts can limit talents from working with competing brands. Lowering voice-over to just another gig devalues the craft and harms the industry.

 

Conclusion

And there we have it: five voices and five opinions about Fiverr voice over work.

Over the years, we’ve heard a wide variety of thoughts and opinions about Fiverr and other freelance platforms that offer a potential means to capitalise on their vast audience and traffic volumes.

Here at Voquent, we’ve always supported voice over communities worldwide to engage in active dialogue about all channels and routes to market. We hope you’ve found something useful to take away, and whether you are for or against the platform, please let us know your own experience by joining the conversation on Twitter.

 

Become a Voice Actor with Voquent

Al Black

By Al Black

Al has over twenty years of experience in audiovisual translations. A Voquent co-founder, he has produced tens of thousands of voice-overs and translations for education, advertising and entertainment projects.

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