The REAL Math on
Fiverr for Voice Talent
by Fred Gleeck
Let me start out by saying I’m not a voice talent. I know and work with a lot of them, but that’s NOT how I make my living. I make money selling information. Among other things, I sell voice over training material.

In any business there are basically two ways of computing how much you earn for your work.

If you’re a salaried employee, then you receive a salary. In most cases you work your 40 hours each week! HA! Usually, if you are, what is termed an EXEMPT employee, you work a lot more for than the 40 hours for the salary they pay you.

The other option is you are paid an hourly rate.

If you work for yourself, whether you know it or not, you are mentally computing the hourly rate of a job, before you decide to do it. But, that’s not all.

For most traditional voice over jobs, you must audition for a job in order to get it. Even if you are a TOP voice over talent, you don’t get every job you audition for.

But, work doesn’t magically come in the door. You have to do some marketing as well. In talking to some top VO talent I was given the ratio of 70-30. They tell me that on an “average day” they spend 70% of their time doing the work and the other 30% marketing or auditioning.

Less experienced voice over talent spend a lot more than 30% of their time auditioning and marketing, but let’s agree to use that as our baseline number. Using a more realistic (read higher) number would make this argument even stronger.

The only fair way to compute your wages in the voice over business (or any business for that matter) is by computing your hourly rate. How much did you get paid for the number of hours you worked?

Now, let’s take a look at (Fiverr for short). You do not have to audition to get jobs on Fiverr, but you do have to pay them their commission of 20%. This is much lower than even most of the TOP VO talent pay in terms of their time for auditioning and marketing: 30% vs. 20%.

So, right from the get go, looking strictly at percentages, Fiverr appears to be the better deal.

Many who are uninformed about Fiverr also seem to think that all the VO jobs done are done for just 
$5. Not true, but that has no effect on our analysis here . . . that being your HOURLY RATE. Lance Tamashiro (author of the now infamous reports that his “average” individual job on Fiverr goes for around $14, before Fiverr takes it’s cut.

Last month (July, 2016), Lance made a net (after Fiverr’s take of 20%) of around $4800. He did this working 90 minutes each day on average. In July, there were 31 total days. 90X31= 2790 minutes total for the month. That’s $1.72 per minute. Multiply that number by 60 to get his hourly rate and you get $103. It’s safe to say that his hourly rate is right at $100 per hour for the month of July.

For top talent to be making the same amount of money per hour, they have to be doing 50% better than Lance because their cost of marketing (which includes auditions) is 30%. Not the 20% that Fiverr charges. (30% is 50% higher than 20%). And 50% better than $100 is $150 per hour worked.

(AND, if I were to change the percentage of time spent auditioning from 30% to a higher number, which is much more realistic for new VO talent, again the case for Fiverr gets stronger once again.) 

According to an article published at the mean hourly wage for voice actors in 2013 was $41.94. Given that was 3 years ago, let’s be fair and round it (way up) to $50/hour. The article seems to indicate that this is what VO talent made before an agent gets their piece. But that’s not really an issue given how the numbers shake out. 

Remember, top VO talent have to audition and market themselves. Lance, working on Fiverr does not have to do that. Jobs are “brought to him” in exchange for the 20% he pays them out of each job. 

A big benefit for those just getting started in VO is that Fiverr work doesn’t require auditioning. They find you on the site, decide you’re right for them, send you the money, and you do the work. 

(Again, to be honest, many VO talent on Fiverr spend a bit of time marketing themselves, but it’s not essential to get work. In the case of Lance Tamashiro, he did little to no marketing when he got started. He did the work, provided great customer service and Fiverr “built” his business.) 

For most new VO artists, Fiverr has big psychological benefits as well. As opposed to P2P sites or others means of generating business where the audition to booking ratio is very tough, wins are easy with Fiverr. People find your “gig” page and then book you. No auditioning, just getting paid to voice a job. 

Also, don’t forget about VO artists who go the traditional, non-Fiverr route, pay a handsome fee for getting a demo produced as well. And what about coaching? A lot of people pay for coaching before they have generated a dime in revenue. That total number can run well over $1,000 and often MUCH more. 

Contrast that with those on Fiverr who merely have to put together a 60 second video that is easily done without any paid assistance. Many VO artists are DEEP in the hole before they even really get started in the business. 

Like the old saying goes: “When you’re getting started in business, try and make some money before you spend it!” 

Using the Fiverr model, voice talent can be PAID to learn on the job! A very nice benefit! AND, even if these new VO talents are only 1/2 as efficient as Lance Tamashiro, they are at or above the average hourly wage rate I mentioned above. 

So you can get paid to learn the voice over business. Not bad! 

In Lance Tamashiro’s case, once he made some money on Fiverr, he then invested in some coaching and equipment. He made money before he started spending it! 

Additionally, according to many Fiverr VO talent, you can get started with almost NO investment. Lance and others have started their Fiverr VO business with an inexpensive headset mic and no other equipment or coaching. 

Repeat customers are a great source of revenue for every VO artist. Using Fiverr, you get paid to “audition” for a client by doing your first job. If they like you, they may use you again (and again and again). You are in essence being paid to audition. This is very different from the traditional VO model. They don’t pay you to audition! 

If you get a repeat client on Fiverr, you will have to pay Fiverr the 20% each time they use your services but it’s a client you would not have found without their help. AND, if you use your real name in your Fiverr profile, it’s entirely possible that they find your website and book business with you directly. 

And, if you’re working a J-O-B, you can get going on a part time basis, and in the case of Mr. Tamashiro, you can make a full time living (if you’re as good at it as he is) working just 90 minutes each day. He may be the exception to the rule in terms of how much he is making, BUT, the fact remains that ANY VO talent can get paid to learn “on the job” using Fiverr as their platform. 

Please remember, I’m not attempting to judge the quality of the voice over work here. I’m a business person. I’m simply evaluating the Fiverr option based on the financial merits. 

So, even if my numbers are a bit off (or frankly WAY off), I see no reason for any/all VO talent not to get started with Fiverr. And, I’d recommend they look at:

Very few business ventures offer someone the ability to get paid while they learn. Fiverr for VO talent is one of them. 

And remember, very few Major League ball players jumped into the majors without a trip through the minors! Take a look at what THEY earn: players-lawsuit-mlb-mlbpa (according to this article. LESS than minimum wage, but they have to start somewhere!) 
Everyone needs a place to get started. Fiverr provides a great opportunity for anyone starting out in the VO business to cut their teeth. 

Once someone achieves significant success as a VO artist will they still continue to use Fiverr? Probably not. Is it a great place to start? Absolutely. Unless of course you’re a person for whom logical argument is something you can’t understand or choose not to consider. 

And, those are the FACTS! 

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