Accounting for inflation, Fiverr.com is a living representation of this video of a man explaining the value of a purchase. On the site, you contract people on the internet to do a variety of things for increments of five dollars. Whether you’re looking for a custom ukulele ringtone, some girl to hold a piece of paper with your logo on it while jumping in the air or just want a nine-year-old to catch and release a fish in your honor, you can get it done on Fiverr.
I’ve made two purchases on the site so far and loved both. My first was a set of sumo wrestler “podlings” from CelticMoonX. A former delivery room nurse, CelticMoonX started using Fiverr after a car accident rendered her unable to work. For less than the price of what one stuffed animal would cost me, I got three hand made, custom designed representations of the logo of my company. She even made tiny little glasses for them to wear. I almost felt bad paying only 5 dollars each for the podlings, especially considering CelticMoonX was so much nicer than most of the strangers you interact with on the internet.
However, Fiverr goes far beyond simple transactions and actually represents a much larger concept of today’s internet culture. Many new businesses and products exist to connect people with a specific need to someone with the resources to fulfill it. Airbnb connects people who need a place to stay to people with extra rooms, Lyft brings people with cars to people who need rides and Sugardaddy connects… “Sugardaddies” and “Sugarbabes”. Fiverr encapsulates this new service-exchange phenomena in its purest form.
I made my second Fiverr purchase from CoachSami, who was offering a 15 minute life coaching session. I was sold from the second I saw her video in which an off-screen voice instructs her to start her pitch over again despite the camera having been rolling for 8 seconds already. Since she wasn’t technically capable enough to edit out the first 6 seconds of a video, I was sure she’d be interesting to talk to if not a great life coach.
I missed the initial time we had set to chat via Google Hangout (an AM for PM kind of thing that only happens when you set a meeting for 8), but Sami graciously rescheduled. She opened the conversation by asking me what I was having trouble with, and I told her that I was having some anxiety issues and felt a lack of creative stimulation. “Well what do you want to do about it?” she asked. “Aren’t you supposed to tell me?” I replied. This is when I understood the value of the conversation I had sacrificed a footlong Italian BMT for.
When I reached out to Sami initially I thought I’d have an awkward experience on Skype to recite to my friends and blog about. I mean sure, I’m 23 and not entirely on top of the whole finding my path to fulfillment thing, but I’m not undergoing that quarter-life crisis I keep hearing about either. Sami had some helpful advice about self-talking and decision-making, but the real value of our conversation was that it helped me realize that whatever I was going to get done, I would have to do myself. At the very least, a 40-something year old woman living in a small town outside St. Louis wasn’t going to do it for me.
I’d like to say the two stories in this piece collided and I’ll be using my new found internal motivation to apply myself in one of these new service-provider to consumer networks. Unfortunately my Purple 1998 Honda Odyssey isn’t new enough to meet Lyft’s standards and I lack the hustle to “eat watermelon fruit and find your message” (seriously, watch the video in this link) on Fiverr. The moral of the story is that the solutions to all of life’s problems are just five bucks and a few clicks away on the internet.