The on-demand marketplace is rapidly changing.  You’re familiar with Upwork and Fiverr, I hope, and there are even more new freelancing sites available every day.

As a one-person shop, many solopreneurs believed that outsourcing was something for big companies only. Truth is that self-employed folks need to leverage their time even more that other small businesses.  Outsourcing gives you the time, energy and freedom to pursue bigger dreams in your business and actually accomplish them.

Current Popular Freelance Sites


You’re probably familiar with Fiverr and Upwork (formerly Elance and Odesk).  They are two of the most well known sites for finding service providers to work in your business.

Fiverr’s claim to fame was any service starting at $5 when they launched in 2009.  Can I tell you how exciting that was to me?  There are always small, annoying tasks to perform in a small business that either you learn to do yourself or farm out.  Doing it myself is fun and satisfying (most of the time) because I’m a life long learner.  However, indulging that itch at work cost me a lot of money in terms of opportunity costs.

It would take me hours to figure out how to post a Facebook tracking pixel into my website. Instead I email my Web guy and he posts it in like 5 minutes without all the dread and worrying I’d be doing about whether I did it right.  The relief I feel is almost palpable, it’s so great.

Fiverr is the first platform that I joined as a seller/freelancer to better understand the buying process from their perspective. It was early days.  Like a lot of folks, I was very skeptical about the quality of work I would receive and wondered if I was opening myself up to trouble.  Nope.  I learned that most sellers are small biz owners just like me who want to earn during their down times. They are incredibly motivated to do a great job and get the repeat business. Yes, there are some sellers who aren’t experienced or trustworthy.  That’s life, but with a little preparation you can avoid that ilk.

Surprisingly, I discovered that buyers aren’t the only ones who worry about getting scammed.  Sellers are worried, too. A few rotten buyers figure out ways to game the system so that sellers provided their work but didn’t get paid. Rough.

What do you need to know about Fiverr?  Primarily, you need to know that it is a good resource for finding teammates to help you achieve your vision or goals.  It’s a fast platform, meaning that teammates rely on volume and speed to make their living.  Use Fiverr when:

  • you need something quick turnaround
  • the project is repetitive, time-consuming task
  • the project is low risk or disaposable

Here’s an example. You’re doing a powerpoint presentation and want to include the logos of 3 companies. You could simply hire a VA on Fiverr to find the logos, download the images and give them to you in whatever format you want. Easy Peasey!  I love using Fiverr for graphics, book covers, powerpoint presentations, social images and research.

Fiverr is evolving their business model, of course.  The average spend has moved up from5-$20 closer to $50-100.  Now that you can do a custom gig the price can go much higher. That must have caused a wrinkle because I notice that they are now offering $5 coupons when you purchase $20 in services to straighten things out.  They also added a processing fee.

Have you worked with Fiverr teammates before? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments. You haven’t tried Fiverr yet?  No worries. Grab my Rapid Start Guide and get going.



Upwork is a mashup.  Odesk and Elance had a baby and named it Upwork. Now, I’m not one to say someone child is ugly but… I liked Upwork better when it was separate entities. The merger was an epic fail in my opinion. But let me start at the beginning.

Elance, I loved.  Like Fiverr, Elance was a great place for a solopreneur to get affordable help without taking on enormous overhead. Elance was a step up from Fiverr, as the teammates seemed a bit more stable with more experience. Elance was the second platform that I mastered.

What I loved the most was that the performance indicators helped me to select the best person at the right price.   There used to be a rating system where the best freelancers were ranked over 10.  You could see examples of work and it was easier to predict fit. And if I didn’t know what that price was I could reverse engineer it by looking at similar projects and that pricing..

Upwork is an auction style site, where you post your project and freelancers compete to do your job by offering the lowest price. It used to be easier to figure out a good price range for projects. It’s harder now to do now.

What do you need to know about Upwork? You need to know that Upwork is a step up from Fiverr. Think of it from a fashion perspective. Fiverr is off the rack. What you see is what you get.  Upwork is a boutique store. What you see you can alter to fit you.

On Upwork, I’m happy to do more complex projects like:

  • video editing
  • audio editing
  • in depth research
  • report writing

I used an Upwork teammate to write my white paper. Wowza, what an excellent job.  My teammate did the research, interviewed clients and wrote the piece in a week!  No way I could’ve done that.  Best of all, the writing is superb and clearly shares the ROI of outsourcing.

Upwork is evolving just like Fiverr. Both sites have decided to abandon the solopreneur and look towards more established small businesses as their market.  Don’t be dismayed.  Both sites still work for you.


What is your experience of Fiverr or Upwork?  Share in the comments so we all learn.





Dina Lynch Eisenberg, JD, is the CEO of, an outsourcing training/consulting firm for successful lawyers and entrepreneurs based in Oakland, CA.

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