Keep it simple, stupid. I should have this posted almost everywhere I look. Sometimes I feel it impossible for me to do life simply. Occasionally, it feels like zest for trying new things goes OCD crazy. It gets compounded by ideas of trying to break out on my own in terms of employment, paying down debt and having a sense of financial stability.

For example, I am a decent technical writer and have won several small business grants, so thought I’d explore freelancing. I signed up for a Fiverr and an UpWork accounts. Both sites are for all kinds of freelance workers: programmers, content writers, presentations, bookkeeping, editing, and even creative works. I learned of Fiverr from a guy who does bass guitar theme’d YouTube videos, Davie504 (you should check him out). On a few videos he pays bassists on Fiverr to do things like come up with the best bass solo ever:

The videos are quirky and entertaining, but also led me to check out Fiverr. I guess if there was some cross-advertising going on, it worked, pay the man!

So I signed up for a Fiverr account and put together a few “gigs” where I offered to help write proposals, edit technical papers and even do some content writing. My profile and gigs got a lot of views, but there was one problem: the spam/scam messages and offers. The main offenders were people from (or claiming to be from) offshore who weren’t allowed to use Fiverr or UpWork and wondering if I could set up an account and be their middle man for them to corral work. For assisting I would get paid anywhere from $100 to $500/month. Not bad for a semi passive gig, however it was very much against the site’s policy and just smelled wrong. Sure enough, they’d be kicked off within an hour or so.

I did have one seemingly legitimate hit after a couple months there. Someone asked me to help with an academic paper using LaTex. I did all the customer service things. I inquired which journal he was thinking of submitting his work to, what his timeline was and to look at his data so as to develop a quote. After a couple of back and forths I realized there was another kind of ethics issue here. This was a paper for a homework assignment that the kid forgot about and needed in a day. Uhhh, sorry they’re called lessons for a reason. I got the impression I could have gotten $1k out of this poor kid, but such work is very wrong to me. There’s enough trouble with plagiarism and unauthentic work, I don’t want to facilitate that.

Ultimately, I decided that Fiverr was too much of a wild card and too much extra stress as I would waiting on a whim for work that may not fit my schedule. I since went and closed my account there as the initial excitement collapsed into a gray blob of reality.

The second site I found was UpWork. UpWork is essentially the opposite of Fiverr. Instead of me having a profile and being approached by God-knows-who, UpWork allows people looking for Freelancers to post jobs and then I bid on them through an account that I set up as a Freelancer. As incentive to not bid everything, each proposal costs the Freelancer a certain number of credits ranging between two and six. At least I haven’t seen a job for more than six. This is smart as it allows the most confident people to bid the highest credit, supposedly more expert oriented, jobs.

Similar to dealing with Fiverr, I am realizing again that I only have so much time to put towards life. With starting dating and having a home renovation and other stuff going on, time is even more precious. While I’m not deleting my UpWork account, I have decided to put it on hiatus until some other things clear off of my proverbial plate.

It is tough for me to just break away like that. I would even say there’s a certain amount of shame or feeling like I’ve lost. I need to realize that this is not the case. As for money fear, I’m doing okay. Patience is all I need for taking care of my debts (largely divorce related). My best focus should be on family and work, the rest will take care of itself