Lisa Birch

Apr 24, 2018

4 min read

What I’m learning during my self imposed maternity leave.

I’ve been working steadily on Fiverr for the last year and a half, and with my thesis/exegesis/baby due dates mounting, I decided to take some time off, beginning about a month ago.

First step: only doing custom gigs. I was on the buyers request pages every few hours and picked up quite a bit of work this way. I only wanted to do tasks which would take me an hour, tops. Of course, only a few of these gigs were hour long tasks, some had endless revisions, others were a bit more thought consuming.

Second step: finishing up with my regulars. This was hard. My regulars have been with me since the first few months of working on Fiverr, and there were quite a few projects I would have enjoyed working on for longer than just the first round of beta reads or edits. I think they all know I’m out and lots have asked when I’m coming back, very kind of them.

Third step: going on long term vacation mode. I’ll have to change my settings again at the start of June, but for now, no one can see my gigs, though they can still contact me. I have had a few offers I have had to turn down, and I also had to stop some custom orders that people requested a long time ago.

Fourth step: doing sweet FA. I have loved not having to work late into the night on rush orders. I was finding that tasks which would usually take me three hours were taking five or six, sometimes more. I don’t blame baby brain, just plain old fatigue. I’ve found plenty of other things to do in my evenings, some of which can make the same amount as scrappy Fiverr gigs — selling on eBay has often brought home the bacon for me, and for about the same, or less, amount of time as Fiverr can zap up.

Final step: re-evaluation baby! I love Fiverr, and I’ll be going back. The thing is, I know I’m good at what I do, and the platform gives me the opportunity to showcase my skills. The feedback function is particularly helpful. But for now I have a thesis which isn’t going to write itself, and a baby on the way (hopefully not too on the way, I have a few things to do first).

Assuming that I make it through the examination stage of my research degree, I’ll be looking for something a little more substantial and less time consuming. I don’t think I can keep beta reading for too much longer. I understand now why the slush pile exists, I feel like I have found a few goodies, some ones that just need a lot of extra work, and some truly bamboozling pieces. I have also been lucky to only encounter a few weirdos, though I think I probably confused the Fiverr Safety and Trust Team with my foot fetish customer complaint. I do want to keep writing content and editing shorter pieces — maybe up to 10K.

Some problems: I guess one of the big problems is that you can charge what you’re really worth but no one would pay it. I feel like sometimes I’m singing covers in a pub — honing skills and bloody killing it on stage, but only getting a handful of applause at the end. Other times people are so fantastic and kind. The thing about editing and beta reading is that you can’t see it, and a lot of people don’t understand it’s true worth.

Interestingly I have hired some beta readers and editors myself, and been highly disappointed with many of them. The ones that I like the best give ongoing commentary and don’t take easy options. For example, I hired an editor who changed my quotation marks to be double instead of single, and changed ‘Nanna’ to ‘Nana’ and this was the extent of her work. Not helpful, considering I was using UK English, and Nanna/Nana is one and the same — no need to change it! I hired a beta reader who started by writing comments on the first few pages…. seemed to skip thirty pages… then chucked a few comments on the last two pages. That’s just lazy.

When I think of what I want to do with my career path, it doesn’t have a lot to do with working as part of the gig economy. I would like to work in communications or publishing, or to be my own boss and write romance novels all day long. For now though, with a little one and another bubba on the way, this is something I can do in the short term. I have learned so much “on the job”, particularly in the first six months and feel I have a lot to give.

So, there it is. Self imposed maternity leave is good. And it means I have time to write blog posts like this one.