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My journey and my mistakes


hzsmith

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Part 2: https://community.fiverr.com/forums/topic/329425-my-journey-and-my-mistakes-part-2/

 

Believe it or not, Fiverr made my dream come true.

I picked up my first instrument (guitar) when I was 7 years old, and studied with youtube and learnt from my older friends who were such good instrumentists. Later, I've picked up on piano as well, but I never had the chance to convince my parents to follow a musical school, and had to do it on my own. When I was in highschool, I got myself a copy of Ableton (which is a digital audio workstation) with the allowance money. Since then, I've experimented with producing music for myself, but never had the guts to release anything. The signs were there, but I always hesitated to pursue my dream of composing music for a living.

Then, in University, I graduated Law School, and practised law, as a legal advisor for 4 years. The only constant in my life so far, was producing music and experimenting with music and sound design. In 2021, I've enrolled myself in a music production course, and realised that my level was quite advanced, eventhought I was self-taught. That gave me the courage to concieve the idea of maybe I can make some pocket-money out of this in my spare time.

Therefore, in October 2022, I've found Fiverr and it's business model of Gigs, and decided to try it out. At the time, I asked my cousin for help, since he knew much more about sales and marketing, and also we were not looking for a quick cash grab. I was in charge of composing and producing the music, and he was in charge of sales & marketing. We found our niche of Video Game Music, since we are avid gamers, and the time spent playing videogames served well on my side, knowing how the music enhances different events and feelings that the game should express, and on his side it helped a lot when briefing with the customers, knowing what questions to ask. We even had some excel sheets with essential questions and flavour questions. We were very organised, and treated freelancing here as a very serious business.

We analyzed our competition, learnt a lot from them, and created our first Gig which was priced, of course, at 5$. We've got 3 orders in the first 2 weeks (which was crazy if you think about it), and after that it was radio silence until January. In January we got another order, and things slowly picked up, and by March 2023, we were having around 15 orders/month on average. Then, we hit a brick wall, and decided to create our second gig, third gig and so on, and improve our first one to scale it as much as possible. From April 2023, it really started growing and the orders were quite constant. Unfortunately, in late May 2023, my cousin left since he had to focus on University studies, and there I was, having to learn the ropes of sales and marketing (which I never wanted to do, but I had to do it).

By July 2023, the income made from composing music on Fiverr summed with the income from composing music outside FIverr surpassed the income I was having from my law dayjob and made me think that I could do this full time. At this time, I was working 8hr/day at the office, and 4 hr/day in the evening as a part-time job composing music on Fiverr. When the orders were piling up, there were numerous times I had to wake up 2 hours before going to office, to make sure I can create and deliver quality for my customers. This way, some days were 14+hours filled with work, and burned me out a bit.

That's when I've took the risk and decided I want to pursue my calling instead of the boring office job I didn't liked. Therefore, in October 2023 I've quit my job and went freelancing full time. The first 3 months were super scary, and I often had the anxiety of thinking I did the wrong thing. The income was low, customers were fewer than before and most of my orders were from returning customers. But I was the happiest man on earth, since I did what I loved to earn my bread. Since I had a lot of free time, I've re-thinked how I marketed myself and did some drastic changes to my offers, my Gigs, and did a lot of A-B testing.

In December 2023, being quite unsatisfied with my performance, I took the decision on joining the Seller Plus program and get in touch with my Succes Manager. And God, how the things changed since then. I was blessed to have the chance to meet the most involved person that helped me develop my Fiverr business and presence way further than I've ever expected. Always responsive, always helpful. With the advices from the Succes Manager and the will to risk it all for my passion, I've powered trough and took even more drastic decisions for my 2 most performing gigs. And you know what? It worked! Since then I'm having my best time here and each month is better than the last.

Now I finally raised enough ammount of money to build my new recording and producing studio. I've finally received the City Permit (Authorization to Build) and the studio should be done by October 2024. All of this with the help of Fiverr which made it really easy for me (I'm not the most tech-savy person) to sell my talent and skill.

Since October 2022, I've completed more than 230 Orders (90 of them being completed in the last 3 months), composed over 300 soundtracks, created sound effects and designed sound for over 100 indie video games. If you could tell my past self that this will happen, it wouldn't ever believe you. I know it's not much compared to other sellers that I look up to in my category and further, but I want to give back and hopefully help the new sellers that just started their journey here, and learn from my mistakes. This is what worked for me:

  • Treat every order like it's your first. 

I had to learn this the hard way. At some point, after I got a consistent number of sales, I was starting to streamline my process of receiving orders and deliver them. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that a good business has to be streamlined to be the most efficient, but until you're not having 10 orders/day, it's not the case. My mistake was that I was less involved in the communication with my customers, and eventhought my products were higher quality than the ones from my first months of selling here, I wasn't retaining the customers like I did before. I realised that from that period of time (aproximately 3 months) there were only 2 customers that returned, while from the earlier timeframe (before streamlining my briefing and delivering process) there is still a great number of returning customers up to this day. Get involved and understand their needs personally and authentic, and they will stick with you even months later.

  • Be prepared to revise over and over again.

Of course I've started with unlimited revisions. After the first few months, I've encountered "that customer" that requested revision after revision and micromanaged everything that came into the production process, to a point where I've asked myself if he's a professional, dropshipping my services. The order lasted 2 weeks over the initial delivery time agreed. I was burned out and made the mistake of letting my ego take the wheel and confronted the customer on his practise. He accepted the delivery, never left a public review, but left a private review that hurt me even 6 months after that order. This was way before the new system was implemented, and with the help of my Succes Manager I've found out there's a private review hurting me like a truck. Now you think, "well, I can limit my revisions to only 2" but that don't work either. I've had customers keeping me in a 5+ revisions loop eventhought my offer included only 2. Don't make the mstake I've made and think the number of agreed revisions will be respected by your customers. Be prepared to revise over and over again each time you meet "that customer", because there will always be one at your frontdoor. Power trough that and provide your best service, since most of the buyers aren't unreasonable. This is how the revision system works sadly, and it's better to addapt and overcome it, especially when you're not like 500+ reviews in and a private one can hurt you even months after.

  • Be authentic.

Don't try to copy others in your category. Analyze their gigs, services and offers, and try to do better, of course, but don't try to imitate what they're doing since it's very less likely that you'll steal their audience, especially if you're looking up to seasoned sellers. The market is indeed very plentyful and customers are bombarded with 17.000 gigs when searching a certain category, but don't forget that you're selling on the internet. There will always be someone that will choose you because your unique traits. I've made the mistake to try to do what my competitors do, starting from the keywords, the style of the thumbnails, the style of how they've wrote Gig's description, and so on. Didn't worked. Why would've anyone pick me instead of my competitor who has more reviews than me and it's been there before I was? The momment I've realised this, and decided just to be myself and create my Gigs the way I thought it was good, I started gathering like-minded customers that are returning regularely, and the new ones are pretty much "my cup of tea", with of course the little exceptions (see "that customer" from above that creeps at your inbox right now). 

  • Use translation tools.

As you might see from my writing, english is not my first language. Don't expect your customers to be english teachers or natives. When briefing with the customer, it's very important that you are 100% sure of what's the task and it's flavours. If you see your customer struggles to explain and you're not 100% sure of what are the fine details of the needed work, don't do my mistake and take the order and find out when you're delivering. You're loosing important time. Your time! Instead, you can see where your customer's from, translate your question in his language, send it and kindly ask him/her to respond in their native language. It happened to me many times that I had to "guess" some specific details, and since using translation tools to make sure I understand what's needed to be done exactly, the revision requests are fewer. 

  • Don't try closing the deal as soon as possible.

When starting, I was always trying to close the deal as soon as possible, to make sure the potential customer won't pivot to other seller. Don't do my mistake! Make sure you put a lot of emphasis on the briefing process, since (at least in my field of work) customer requests are very subjective. If you're talking about art (music and audio in my case), some customers will see as "perfect" something that you don't. Take your time and discuss every little detail to make sure you understand their vision before accepting the order. It's risky because you might loose the potential customer to another seller? Well, yes, but it's more important to make sure you deliver exactly what your customer needs, and not get stuck in a revision loop or get over the deadline with "last minute details". Remember that every action has a direct consequence on your ranking spot and your gig's traffic, so think twice before saying you got all you need to start working on the order.

  • Provide early drafts.

It saves you so much time! With an early draft, you can make sure you won't loose your time in the wrong direction. Maybe you had all the needed details from the customer when starting the work, but guess what? There are a lot of customers that change their mind overnight. Provide them a draft as soon as humanly possible and ask for confrmation, so your time won't be wasted re-doing the job. I used to deliver the work without providing an early draft and it was a mistake. Almost 1/4 of my customers changed their mind overnight and shifted the key elements that we've agreed on initially, and when asking for the revision, I had to change structural elements of my work, resulting in almost re-doing everything since I had to addapt the rest of the work to their new requests.

  • Educate your customers.

I was just delivering the order and hoped for a returning customer. It was lazy, and it was a mistake. Before/When delivering, try to put together a small debrief on what you've actually done in your work. Your customers aren't stupid and eventhought you're an expert on your field, you could be surprised on how much your customers can learn from you and how that can beneffit you on future orders. Not long ago I've started sending my customers an explanation text with what instruments I've used, why I've used them, what's their role, what's the musical theory behind the composition and what's my personal take on all those things. This thing works! Next time you're collaborating, you'll have a much easier time to transpose customer's vision into your service, because they will know how to answer your specific questions!

  • Give your customers some options

You have that potential customer that wants to buy your 50$ service, but his budget is only 35$? I used to turn down those customers since my highest discount rate was at 20% and that way I lost potential returning customers! It was a mistake. Instead, at some point I've decided I'll take those requests, but I'll double down on the delivery time. Instead of 5 days delivery time, offer it in 10 days. That way, you will not loose a potential returning customer and you won't have to fit that project into your main scheddule. You can do it whenever you have a spare hour or two, since your delivery time is doubled! It works like a charm to me, and you'll be shocked on how many customers are not in a rush, eventhought they say so in their first message. Time is money, friend!

  • Collect your own data

I made the mistake on relying on memory and on the data shown by analytics to drive my business. Don't do that. It will save you a lot of time and you'll make informed decisions if you make your own spreadsheed with everything that happens with a relevancy for your Gigs. Try to track the most important stuff, such as: keywords performance, new customers/time frame, returning customers/time frame, types of projects done, the most asked questions or inquiries by your customers, orders that landed you tips and WHY that happened, changes made to the gig related to key factors etc.  

  • Be patient

If you're treating every order like it's your first order, it's impossible not to grow. Don't make the mistake I've done by panicking when orders are not coming. It's not worth your time and your mental health. Instead, be patient, do your best on the services you provide, and try to slowly build your returning customer base. The best you can do proactively, is to fine-tune your Gigs, but be careful with that, since back-to-back changes might screw up the ranking algorithm (source for this is my Succes Manager). If you're looking to do A-B testing, wait at least 3-4 weeks in between, to have at least the minimum data to compare.

 

I feel like there are much more to be told, but I just realised this post will take an eternity to read anyway, so I'll stop for now. I really hope my journey of pursuing my dream with Fiverr's help can motivate you and give you the strenght to power-trough rough moments, and that you can find something positive in the lessons I've learnt from my mistakes. 

Don't give up, and trust your skills and talent! 

Edited by hzsmith
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Such an awe-inspiring journey you had @hzsmith!! 🙌 

Amid all the marketplace challenges, battles against invisible reviews and ever-changing algorithm - it is indeed heartening to see someone grow, evolve and realize their true calling & potential!! 

A lot of relatable pointers in your story and if I may say, a few common self-taught best practices too.

Keep thriving. 😇

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5 hours ago, hzsmith said:

Believe it or not, Fiverr made my dream come true.

I picked up my first instrument (guitar) when I was 7 years old, and studied with youtube and learnt from my older friends who were such good instrumentists. Later, I've picked up on piano as well, but I never had the chance to convince my parents to follow a musical school, and had to do it on my own. When I was in highschool, I got myself a copy of Ableton (which is a digital audio workstation) with the allowance money. Since then, I've experimented with producing music for myself, but never had the guts to release anything. The signs were there, but I always hesitated to pursue my dream of composing music for a living.

Then, in University, I graduated Law School, and practised law, as a legal advisor for 4 years. The only constant in my life so far, was producing music and experimenting with music and sound design. In 2021, I've enrolled myself in a music production course, and realised that my level was quite advanced, eventhought I was self-taught. That gave me the courage to concieve the idea of maybe I can make some pocket-money out of this in my spare time.

Therefore, in October 2022, I've found Fiverr and it's business model of Gigs, and decided to try it out. At the time, I asked my cousin for help, since he knew much more about sales and marketing, and also we were not looking for a quick cash grab. I was in charge of composing and producing the music, and he was in charge of sales & marketing. We found our niche of Video Game Music, since we are avid gamers, and the time spent playing videogames served well on my side, knowing how the music enhances different events and feelings that the game should express, and on his side it helped a lot when briefing with the customers, knowing what questions to ask. We even had some excel sheets with essential questions and flavour questions. We were very organised, and treated freelancing here as a very serious business.

We analyzed our competition, learnt a lot from them, and created our first Gig which was priced, of course, at 5$. We've got 3 orders in the first 2 weeks (which was crazy if you think about it), and after that it was radio silence until January. In January we got another order, and things slowly picked up, and by March 2023, we were having around 15 orders/month on average. Then, we hit a brick wall, and decided to create our second gig, third gig and so on, and improve our first one to scale it as much as possible. From April 2023, it really started growing and the orders were quite constant. Unfortunately, in late May 2023, my cousin left since he had to focus on University studies, and there I was, having to learn the ropes of sales and marketing (which I never wanted to do, but I had to do it).

By July 2023, the income made from composing music on Fiverr summed with the income from composing music outside FIverr surpassed the income I was having from my law dayjob and made me think that I could do this full time. At this time, I was working 8hr/day at the office, and 4 hr/day in the evening as a part-time job composing music on Fiverr. When the orders were piling up, there were numerous times I had to wake up 2 hours before going to office, to make sure I can create and deliver quality for my customers. This way, some days were 14+hours filled with work, and burned me out a bit.

That's when I've took the risk and decided I want to pursue my calling instead of the boring office job I didn't liked. Therefore, in October 2023 I've quit my job and went freelancing full time. The first 3 months were super scary, and I often had the anxiety of thinking I did the wrong thing. The income was low, customers were fewer than before and most of my orders were from returning customers. But I was the happiest man on earth, since I did what I loved to earn my bread. Since I had a lot of free time, I've re-thinked how I marketed myself and did some drastic changes to my offers, my Gigs, and did a lot of A-B testing.

In December 2023, being quite unsatisfied with my performance, I took the decision on joining the Seller Plus program and get in touch with my Succes Manager. And God, how the things changed since then. I was blessed to have the chance to meet the most involved person that helped me develop my Fiverr business and presence way further than I've ever expected. Always responsive, always helpful. With the advices from the Succes Manager and the will to risk it all for my passion, I've powered trough and took even more drastic decisions for my 2 most performing gigs. And you know what? It worked! Since then I'm having my best time here and each month is better than the last.

Now I finally raised enough ammount of money to build my new recording and producing studio. I've finally received the City Permit (Authorization to Build) and the studio should be done by October 2024. All of this with the help of Fiverr which made it really easy for me (I'm not the most tech-savy person) to sell my talent and skill.

Since October 2022, I've completed more than 230 Orders (90 of them being completed in the last 3 months), composed over 300 soundtracks, created sound effects and designed sound for over 100 indie video games. If you could tell my past self that this will happen, it wouldn't ever believe you. I know it's not much compared to other sellers that I look up to in my category and further, but I want to give back and hopefully help the new sellers that just started their journey here, and learn from my mistakes. This is what worked for me:

  • Treat every order like it's your first. 

I had to learn this the hard way. At some point, after I got a consistent number of sales, I was starting to streamline my process of receiving orders and deliver them. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that a good business has to be streamlined to be the most efficient, but until you're not having 10 orders/day, it's not the case. My mistake was that I was less involved in the communication with my customers, and eventhought my products were higher quality than the ones from my first months of selling here, I wasn't retaining the customers like I did before. I realised that from that period of time (aproximately 3 months) there were only 2 customers that returned, while from the earlier timeframe (before streamlining my briefing and delivering process) there is still a great number of returning customers up to this day. Get involved and understand their needs personally and authentic, and they will stick with you even months later.

  • Be prepared to revise over and over again.

Of course I've started with unlimited revisions. After the first few months, I've encountered "that customer" that requested revision after revision and micromanaged everything that came into the production process, to a point where I've asked myself if he's a professional, dropshipping my services. The order lasted 2 weeks over the initial delivery time agreed. I was burned out and made the mistake of letting my ego take the wheel and confronted the customer on his practise. He accepted the delivery, never left a public review, but left a private review that hurt me even 6 months after that order. This was way before the new system was implemented, and with the help of my Succes Manager I've found out there's a private review hurting me like a truck. Now you think, "well, I can limit my revisions to only 2" but that don't work either. I've had customers keeping me in a 5+ revisions loop eventhought my offer included only 2. Don't make the mstake I've made and think the number of agreed revisions will be respected by your customers. Be prepared to revise over and over again each time you meet "that customer", because there will always be one at your frontdoor. Power trough that and provide your best service, since most of the buyers aren't unreasonable. This is how the revision system works sadly, and it's better to addapt and overcome it, especially when you're not like 500+ reviews in and a private one can hurt you even months after.

  • Be authentic.

Don't try to copy others in your category. Analyze their gigs, services and offers, and try to do better, of course, but don't try to imitate what they're doing since it's very less likely that you'll steal their audience, especially if you're looking up to seasoned sellers. The market is indeed very plentyful and customers are bombarded with 17.000 gigs when searching a certain category, but don't forget that you're selling on the internet. There will always be someone that will choose you because your unique traits. I've made the mistake to try to do what my competitors do, starting from the keywords, the style of the thumbnails, the style of how they've wrote Gig's description, and so on. Didn't worked. Why would've anyone pick me instead of my competitor who has more reviews than me and it's been there before I was? The momment I've realised this, and decided just to be myself and create my Gigs the way I thought it was good, I started gathering like-minded customers that are returning regularely, and the new ones are pretty much "my cup of tea", with of course the little exceptions (see "that customer" from above that creeps at your inbox right now). 

  • Use translation tools.

As you might see from my writing, english is not my first language. Don't expect your customers to be english teachers or natives. When briefing with the customer, it's very important that you are 100% sure of what's the task and it's flavours. If you see your customer struggles to explain and you're not 100% sure of what are the fine details of the needed work, don't do my mistake and take the order and find out when you're delivering. You're loosing important time. Your time! Instead, you can see where your customer's from, translate your question in his language, send it and kindly ask him/her to respond in their native language. It happened to me many times that I had to "guess" some specific details, and since using translation tools to make sure I understand what's needed to be done exactly, the revision requests are fewer. 

  • Don't try closing the deal as soon as possible.

When starting, I was always trying to close the deal as soon as possible, to make sure the potential customer won't pivot to other seller. Don't do my mistake! Make sure you put a lot of emphasis on the briefing process, since (at least in my field of work) customer requests are very subjective. If you're talking about art (music and audio in my case), some customers will see as "perfect" something that you don't. Take your time and discuss every little detail to make sure you understand their vision before accepting the order. It's risky because you might loose the potential customer to another seller? Well, yes, but it's more important to make sure you deliver exactly what your customer needs, and not get stuck in a revision loop or get over the deadline with "last minute details". Remember that every action has a direct consequence on your ranking spot and your gig's traffic, so think twice before saying you got all you need to start working on the order.

  • Provide early drafts.

It saves you so much time! With an early draft, you can make sure you won't loose your time in the wrong direction. Maybe you had all the needed details from the customer when starting the work, but guess what? There are a lot of customers that change their mind overnight. Provide them a draft as soon as humanly possible and ask for confrmation, so your time won't be wasted re-doing the job. I used to deliver the work without providing an early draft and it was a mistake. Almost 1/4 of my customers changed their mind overnight and shifted the key elements that we've agreed on initially, and when asking for the revision, I had to change structural elements of my work, resulting in almost re-doing everything since I had to addapt the rest of the work to their new requests.

  • Educate your customers.

I was just delivering the order and hoped for a returning customer. It was lazy, and it was a mistake. Before/When delivering, try to put together a small debrief on what you've actually done in your work. Your customers aren't stupid and eventhought you're an expert on your field, you could be surprised on how much your customers can learn from you and how that can beneffit you on future orders. Not long ago I've started sending my customers an explanation text with what instruments I've used, why I've used them, what's their role, what's the musical theory behind the composition and what's my personal take on all those things. This thing works! Next time you're collaborating, you'll have a much easier time to transpose customer's vision into your service, because they will know how to answer your specific questions!

  • Give your customers some options

You have that potential customer that wants to buy your 50$ service, but his budget is only 35$? I used to turn down those customers since my highest discount rate was at 20% and that way I lost potential returning customers! It was a mistake. Instead, at some point I've decided I'll take those requests, but I'll double down on the delivery time. Instead of 5 days delivery time, offer it in 10 days. That way, you will not loose a potential returning customer and you won't have to fit that project into your main scheddule. You can do it whenever you have a spare hour or two, since your delivery time is doubled! It works like a charm to me, and you'll be shocked on how many customers are not in a rush, eventhought they say so in their first message. Time is money, friend!

  • Collect your own data

I made the mistake on relying on memory and on the data shown by analytics to drive my business. Don't do that. It will save you a lot of time and you'll make informed decisions if you make your own spreadsheed with everything that happens with a relevancy for your Gigs. Try to track the most important stuff, such as: keywords performance, new customers/time frame, returning customers/time frame, types of projects done, the most asked questions or inquiries by your customers, orders that landed you tips and WHY that happened, changes made to the gig related to key factors etc.  

  • Be patient

If you're treating every order like it's your first order, it's impossible not to grow. Don't make the mistake I've done by panicking when orders are not coming. It's not worth your time and your mental health. Instead, be patient, do your best on the services you provide, and try to slowly build your returning customer base. The best you can do proactively, is to fine-tune your Gigs, but be careful with that, since back-to-back changes might screw up the ranking algorithm (source for this is my Succes Manager). If you're looking to do A-B testing, wait at least 3-4 weeks in between, to have at least the minimum data to compare.

 

I feel like there are much more to be told, but I just realised this post will take an eternity to read anyway, so I'll stop for now. I really hope my journey of pursuing my dream with Fiverr's help can motivate you and give you the strenght to power-trough rough moments, and that you can find something positive in the lessons I've learnt from my mistakes. 

Don't give up, and trust your skills and talent! 


Impresive, indeed!

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7 hours ago, hzsmith said:

Believe it or not, Fiverr made my dream come true.

I picked up my first instrument (guitar) when I was 7 years old, and studied with youtube and learnt from my older friends who were such good instrumentists. Later, I've picked up on piano as well, but I never had the chance to convince my parents to follow a musical school, and had to do it on my own. When I was in highschool, I got myself a copy of Ableton (which is a digital audio workstation) with the allowance money. Since then, I've experimented with producing music for myself, but never had the guts to release anything. The signs were there, but I always hesitated to pursue my dream of composing music for a living.

Then, in University, I graduated Law School, and practised law, as a legal advisor for 4 years. The only constant in my life so far, was producing music and experimenting with music and sound design. In 2021, I've enrolled myself in a music production course, and realised that my level was quite advanced, eventhought I was self-taught. That gave me the courage to concieve the idea of maybe I can make some pocket-money out of this in my spare time.

Therefore, in October 2022, I've found Fiverr and it's business model of Gigs, and decided to try it out. At the time, I asked my cousin for help, since he knew much more about sales and marketing, and also we were not looking for a quick cash grab. I was in charge of composing and producing the music, and he was in charge of sales & marketing. We found our niche of Video Game Music, since we are avid gamers, and the time spent playing videogames served well on my side, knowing how the music enhances different events and feelings that the game should express, and on his side it helped a lot when briefing with the customers, knowing what questions to ask. We even had some excel sheets with essential questions and flavour questions. We were very organised, and treated freelancing here as a very serious business.

We analyzed our competition, learnt a lot from them, and created our first Gig which was priced, of course, at 5$. We've got 3 orders in the first 2 weeks (which was crazy if you think about it), and after that it was radio silence until January. In January we got another order, and things slowly picked up, and by March 2023, we were having around 15 orders/month on average. Then, we hit a brick wall, and decided to create our second gig, third gig and so on, and improve our first one to scale it as much as possible. From April 2023, it really started growing and the orders were quite constant. Unfortunately, in late May 2023, my cousin left since he had to focus on University studies, and there I was, having to learn the ropes of sales and marketing (which I never wanted to do, but I had to do it).

By July 2023, the income made from composing music on Fiverr summed with the income from composing music outside FIverr surpassed the income I was having from my law dayjob and made me think that I could do this full time. At this time, I was working 8hr/day at the office, and 4 hr/day in the evening as a part-time job composing music on Fiverr. When the orders were piling up, there were numerous times I had to wake up 2 hours before going to office, to make sure I can create and deliver quality for my customers. This way, some days were 14+hours filled with work, and burned me out a bit.

That's when I've took the risk and decided I want to pursue my calling instead of the boring office job I didn't liked. Therefore, in October 2023 I've quit my job and went freelancing full time. The first 3 months were super scary, and I often had the anxiety of thinking I did the wrong thing. The income was low, customers were fewer than before and most of my orders were from returning customers. But I was the happiest man on earth, since I did what I loved to earn my bread. Since I had a lot of free time, I've re-thinked how I marketed myself and did some drastic changes to my offers, my Gigs, and did a lot of A-B testing.

In December 2023, being quite unsatisfied with my performance, I took the decision on joining the Seller Plus program and get in touch with my Succes Manager. And God, how the things changed since then. I was blessed to have the chance to meet the most involved person that helped me develop my Fiverr business and presence way further than I've ever expected. Always responsive, always helpful. With the advices from the Succes Manager and the will to risk it all for my passion, I've powered trough and took even more drastic decisions for my 2 most performing gigs. And you know what? It worked! Since then I'm having my best time here and each month is better than the last.

Now I finally raised enough ammount of money to build my new recording and producing studio. I've finally received the City Permit (Authorization to Build) and the studio should be done by October 2024. All of this with the help of Fiverr which made it really easy for me (I'm not the most tech-savy person) to sell my talent and skill.

Since October 2022, I've completed more than 230 Orders (90 of them being completed in the last 3 months), composed over 300 soundtracks, created sound effects and designed sound for over 100 indie video games. If you could tell my past self that this will happen, it wouldn't ever believe you. I know it's not much compared to other sellers that I look up to in my category and further, but I want to give back and hopefully help the new sellers that just started their journey here, and learn from my mistakes. This is what worked for me:

  • Treat every order like it's your first. 

I had to learn this the hard way. At some point, after I got a consistent number of sales, I was starting to streamline my process of receiving orders and deliver them. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that a good business has to be streamlined to be the most efficient, but until you're not having 10 orders/day, it's not the case. My mistake was that I was less involved in the communication with my customers, and eventhought my products were higher quality than the ones from my first months of selling here, I wasn't retaining the customers like I did before. I realised that from that period of time (aproximately 3 months) there were only 2 customers that returned, while from the earlier timeframe (before streamlining my briefing and delivering process) there is still a great number of returning customers up to this day. Get involved and understand their needs personally and authentic, and they will stick with you even months later.

  • Be prepared to revise over and over again.

Of course I've started with unlimited revisions. After the first few months, I've encountered "that customer" that requested revision after revision and micromanaged everything that came into the production process, to a point where I've asked myself if he's a professional, dropshipping my services. The order lasted 2 weeks over the initial delivery time agreed. I was burned out and made the mistake of letting my ego take the wheel and confronted the customer on his practise. He accepted the delivery, never left a public review, but left a private review that hurt me even 6 months after that order. This was way before the new system was implemented, and with the help of my Succes Manager I've found out there's a private review hurting me like a truck. Now you think, "well, I can limit my revisions to only 2" but that don't work either. I've had customers keeping me in a 5+ revisions loop eventhought my offer included only 2. Don't make the mstake I've made and think the number of agreed revisions will be respected by your customers. Be prepared to revise over and over again each time you meet "that customer", because there will always be one at your frontdoor. Power trough that and provide your best service, since most of the buyers aren't unreasonable. This is how the revision system works sadly, and it's better to addapt and overcome it, especially when you're not like 500+ reviews in and a private one can hurt you even months after.

  • Be authentic.

Don't try to copy others in your category. Analyze their gigs, services and offers, and try to do better, of course, but don't try to imitate what they're doing since it's very less likely that you'll steal their audience, especially if you're looking up to seasoned sellers. The market is indeed very plentyful and customers are bombarded with 17.000 gigs when searching a certain category, but don't forget that you're selling on the internet. There will always be someone that will choose you because your unique traits. I've made the mistake to try to do what my competitors do, starting from the keywords, the style of the thumbnails, the style of how they've wrote Gig's description, and so on. Didn't worked. Why would've anyone pick me instead of my competitor who has more reviews than me and it's been there before I was? The momment I've realised this, and decided just to be myself and create my Gigs the way I thought it was good, I started gathering like-minded customers that are returning regularely, and the new ones are pretty much "my cup of tea", with of course the little exceptions (see "that customer" from above that creeps at your inbox right now). 

  • Use translation tools.

As you might see from my writing, english is not my first language. Don't expect your customers to be english teachers or natives. When briefing with the customer, it's very important that you are 100% sure of what's the task and it's flavours. If you see your customer struggles to explain and you're not 100% sure of what are the fine details of the needed work, don't do my mistake and take the order and find out when you're delivering. You're loosing important time. Your time! Instead, you can see where your customer's from, translate your question in his language, send it and kindly ask him/her to respond in their native language. It happened to me many times that I had to "guess" some specific details, and since using translation tools to make sure I understand what's needed to be done exactly, the revision requests are fewer. 

  • Don't try closing the deal as soon as possible.

When starting, I was always trying to close the deal as soon as possible, to make sure the potential customer won't pivot to other seller. Don't do my mistake! Make sure you put a lot of emphasis on the briefing process, since (at least in my field of work) customer requests are very subjective. If you're talking about art (music and audio in my case), some customers will see as "perfect" something that you don't. Take your time and discuss every little detail to make sure you understand their vision before accepting the order. It's risky because you might loose the potential customer to another seller? Well, yes, but it's more important to make sure you deliver exactly what your customer needs, and not get stuck in a revision loop or get over the deadline with "last minute details". Remember that every action has a direct consequence on your ranking spot and your gig's traffic, so think twice before saying you got all you need to start working on the order.

  • Provide early drafts.

It saves you so much time! With an early draft, you can make sure you won't loose your time in the wrong direction. Maybe you had all the needed details from the customer when starting the work, but guess what? There are a lot of customers that change their mind overnight. Provide them a draft as soon as humanly possible and ask for confrmation, so your time won't be wasted re-doing the job. I used to deliver the work without providing an early draft and it was a mistake. Almost 1/4 of my customers changed their mind overnight and shifted the key elements that we've agreed on initially, and when asking for the revision, I had to change structural elements of my work, resulting in almost re-doing everything since I had to addapt the rest of the work to their new requests.

  • Educate your customers.

I was just delivering the order and hoped for a returning customer. It was lazy, and it was a mistake. Before/When delivering, try to put together a small debrief on what you've actually done in your work. Your customers aren't stupid and eventhought you're an expert on your field, you could be surprised on how much your customers can learn from you and how that can beneffit you on future orders. Not long ago I've started sending my customers an explanation text with what instruments I've used, why I've used them, what's their role, what's the musical theory behind the composition and what's my personal take on all those things. This thing works! Next time you're collaborating, you'll have a much easier time to transpose customer's vision into your service, because they will know how to answer your specific questions!

  • Give your customers some options

You have that potential customer that wants to buy your 50$ service, but his budget is only 35$? I used to turn down those customers since my highest discount rate was at 20% and that way I lost potential returning customers! It was a mistake. Instead, at some point I've decided I'll take those requests, but I'll double down on the delivery time. Instead of 5 days delivery time, offer it in 10 days. That way, you will not loose a potential returning customer and you won't have to fit that project into your main scheddule. You can do it whenever you have a spare hour or two, since your delivery time is doubled! It works like a charm to me, and you'll be shocked on how many customers are not in a rush, eventhought they say so in their first message. Time is money, friend!

  • Collect your own data

I made the mistake on relying on memory and on the data shown by analytics to drive my business. Don't do that. It will save you a lot of time and you'll make informed decisions if you make your own spreadsheed with everything that happens with a relevancy for your Gigs. Try to track the most important stuff, such as: keywords performance, new customers/time frame, returning customers/time frame, types of projects done, the most asked questions or inquiries by your customers, orders that landed you tips and WHY that happened, changes made to the gig related to key factors etc.  

  • Be patient

If you're treating every order like it's your first order, it's impossible not to grow. Don't make the mistake I've done by panicking when orders are not coming. It's not worth your time and your mental health. Instead, be patient, do your best on the services you provide, and try to slowly build your returning customer base. The best you can do proactively, is to fine-tune your Gigs, but be careful with that, since back-to-back changes might screw up the ranking algorithm (source for this is my Succes Manager). If you're looking to do A-B testing, wait at least 3-4 weeks in between, to have at least the minimum data to compare.

 

I feel like there are much more to be told, but I just realised this post will take an eternity to read anyway, so I'll stop for now. I really hope my journey of pursuing my dream with Fiverr's help can motivate you and give you the strenght to power-trough rough moments, and that you can find something positive in the lessons I've learnt from my mistakes. 

Don't give up, and trust your skills and talent! 

Well said..

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1 hour ago, Lyndsey_Fiverr said:

Thank you SO much for sharing this, and what an incredible journey you've had. We hope you'll share the studio space when you're all set up, and wish you nothing but the best in this new chapter of your business. 

Thank you so much for the kind words! I will definitely share some photos or a timelapse when it's ready! At the moment, I just have the blueprints I've designed myself and somehow (sincerely i don't know how) it got approved by City Council haha. But I can't wait to share it!

My journey continues meanwhile, and I have much more self-thaught tips to share. I just ran out of time today while writing the initial post. I'll definitely be back with a part 2 of lessons learnt the hard way in the next few weeks!

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But remember Elevate your Fiverr gig with captivating wording that showcases your expertise and the perks clients enjoy. Craft your gig description to directly tackle the issues your audience grapples with, showcasing your knack for delivering impactful solutions.

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I learnt alot from this. Thank you soo much. Every point was captivating and explanatory, I didn't get the part where you said English wasn't your first language because it sounded great to me.

Wish you all the best in your freelancing journey and your studio launch in October 2024.

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On 4/18/2024 at 3:26 PM, hzsmith said:

Believe it or not, Fiverr made my dream come true.

I picked up my first instrument (guitar) when I was 7 years old, and studied with youtube and learnt from my older friends who were such good instrumentists. Later, I've picked up on piano as well, but I never had the chance to convince my parents to follow a musical school, and had to do it on my own. When I was in highschool, I got myself a copy of Ableton (which is a digital audio workstation) with the allowance money. Since then, I've experimented with producing music for myself, but never had the guts to release anything. The signs were there, but I always hesitated to pursue my dream of composing music for a living.

Then, in University, I graduated Law School, and practised law, as a legal advisor for 4 years. The only constant in my life so far, was producing music and experimenting with music and sound design. In 2021, I've enrolled myself in a music production course, and realised that my level was quite advanced, eventhought I was self-taught. That gave me the courage to concieve the idea of maybe I can make some pocket-money out of this in my spare time.

Therefore, in October 2022, I've found Fiverr and it's business model of Gigs, and decided to try it out. At the time, I asked my cousin for help, since he knew much more about sales and marketing, and also we were not looking for a quick cash grab. I was in charge of composing and producing the music, and he was in charge of sales & marketing. We found our niche of Video Game Music, since we are avid gamers, and the time spent playing videogames served well on my side, knowing how the music enhances different events and feelings that the game should express, and on his side it helped a lot when briefing with the customers, knowing what questions to ask. We even had some excel sheets with essential questions and flavour questions. We were very organised, and treated freelancing here as a very serious business.

We analyzed our competition, learnt a lot from them, and created our first Gig which was priced, of course, at 5$. We've got 3 orders in the first 2 weeks (which was crazy if you think about it), and after that it was radio silence until January. In January we got another order, and things slowly picked up, and by March 2023, we were having around 15 orders/month on average. Then, we hit a brick wall, and decided to create our second gig, third gig and so on, and improve our first one to scale it as much as possible. From April 2023, it really started growing and the orders were quite constant. Unfortunately, in late May 2023, my cousin left since he had to focus on University studies, and there I was, having to learn the ropes of sales and marketing (which I never wanted to do, but I had to do it).

By July 2023, the income made from composing music on Fiverr summed with the income from composing music outside FIverr surpassed the income I was having from my law dayjob and made me think that I could do this full time. At this time, I was working 8hr/day at the office, and 4 hr/day in the evening as a part-time job composing music on Fiverr. When the orders were piling up, there were numerous times I had to wake up 2 hours before going to office, to make sure I can create and deliver quality for my customers. This way, some days were 14+hours filled with work, and burned me out a bit.

That's when I've took the risk and decided I want to pursue my calling instead of the boring office job I didn't liked. Therefore, in October 2023 I've quit my job and went freelancing full time. The first 3 months were super scary, and I often had the anxiety of thinking I did the wrong thing. The income was low, customers were fewer than before and most of my orders were from returning customers. But I was the happiest man on earth, since I did what I loved to earn my bread. Since I had a lot of free time, I've re-thinked how I marketed myself and did some drastic changes to my offers, my Gigs, and did a lot of A-B testing.

In December 2023, being quite unsatisfied with my performance, I took the decision on joining the Seller Plus program and get in touch with my Succes Manager. And God, how the things changed since then. I was blessed to have the chance to meet the most involved person that helped me develop my Fiverr business and presence way further than I've ever expected. Always responsive, always helpful. With the advices from the Succes Manager and the will to risk it all for my passion, I've powered trough and took even more drastic decisions for my 2 most performing gigs. And you know what? It worked! Since then I'm having my best time here and each month is better than the last.

Now I finally raised enough ammount of money to build my new recording and producing studio. I've finally received the City Permit (Authorization to Build) and the studio should be done by October 2024. All of this with the help of Fiverr which made it really easy for me (I'm not the most tech-savy person) to sell my talent and skill.

Since October 2022, I've completed more than 230 Orders (90 of them being completed in the last 3 months), composed over 300 soundtracks, created sound effects and designed sound for over 100 indie video games. If you could tell my past self that this will happen, it wouldn't ever believe you. I know it's not much compared to other sellers that I look up to in my category and further, but I want to give back and hopefully help the new sellers that just started their journey here, and learn from my mistakes. This is what worked for me:

  • Treat every order like it's your first. 

I had to learn this the hard way. At some point, after I got a consistent number of sales, I was starting to streamline my process of receiving orders and deliver them. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that a good business has to be streamlined to be the most efficient, but until you're not having 10 orders/day, it's not the case. My mistake was that I was less involved in the communication with my customers, and eventhought my products were higher quality than the ones from my first months of selling here, I wasn't retaining the customers like I did before. I realised that from that period of time (aproximately 3 months) there were only 2 customers that returned, while from the earlier timeframe (before streamlining my briefing and delivering process) there is still a great number of returning customers up to this day. Get involved and understand their needs personally and authentic, and they will stick with you even months later.

  • Be prepared to revise over and over again.

Of course I've started with unlimited revisions. After the first few months, I've encountered "that customer" that requested revision after revision and micromanaged everything that came into the production process, to a point where I've asked myself if he's a professional, dropshipping my services. The order lasted 2 weeks over the initial delivery time agreed. I was burned out and made the mistake of letting my ego take the wheel and confronted the customer on his practise. He accepted the delivery, never left a public review, but left a private review that hurt me even 6 months after that order. This was way before the new system was implemented, and with the help of my Succes Manager I've found out there's a private review hurting me like a truck. Now you think, "well, I can limit my revisions to only 2" but that don't work either. I've had customers keeping me in a 5+ revisions loop eventhought my offer included only 2. Don't make the mstake I've made and think the number of agreed revisions will be respected by your customers. Be prepared to revise over and over again each time you meet "that customer", because there will always be one at your frontdoor. Power trough that and provide your best service, since most of the buyers aren't unreasonable. This is how the revision system works sadly, and it's better to addapt and overcome it, especially when you're not like 500+ reviews in and a private one can hurt you even months after.

  • Be authentic.

Don't try to copy others in your category. Analyze their gigs, services and offers, and try to do better, of course, but don't try to imitate what they're doing since it's very less likely that you'll steal their audience, especially if you're looking up to seasoned sellers. The market is indeed very plentyful and customers are bombarded with 17.000 gigs when searching a certain category, but don't forget that you're selling on the internet. There will always be someone that will choose you because your unique traits. I've made the mistake to try to do what my competitors do, starting from the keywords, the style of the thumbnails, the style of how they've wrote Gig's description, and so on. Didn't worked. Why would've anyone pick me instead of my competitor who has more reviews than me and it's been there before I was? The momment I've realised this, and decided just to be myself and create my Gigs the way I thought it was good, I started gathering like-minded customers that are returning regularely, and the new ones are pretty much "my cup of tea", with of course the little exceptions (see "that customer" from above that creeps at your inbox right now). 

  • Use translation tools.

As you might see from my writing, english is not my first language. Don't expect your customers to be english teachers or natives. When briefing with the customer, it's very important that you are 100% sure of what's the task and it's flavours. If you see your customer struggles to explain and you're not 100% sure of what are the fine details of the needed work, don't do my mistake and take the order and find out when you're delivering. You're loosing important time. Your time! Instead, you can see where your customer's from, translate your question in his language, send it and kindly ask him/her to respond in their native language. It happened to me many times that I had to "guess" some specific details, and since using translation tools to make sure I understand what's needed to be done exactly, the revision requests are fewer. 

  • Don't try closing the deal as soon as possible.

When starting, I was always trying to close the deal as soon as possible, to make sure the potential customer won't pivot to other seller. Don't do my mistake! Make sure you put a lot of emphasis on the briefing process, since (at least in my field of work) customer requests are very subjective. If you're talking about art (music and audio in my case), some customers will see as "perfect" something that you don't. Take your time and discuss every little detail to make sure you understand their vision before accepting the order. It's risky because you might loose the potential customer to another seller? Well, yes, but it's more important to make sure you deliver exactly what your customer needs, and not get stuck in a revision loop or get over the deadline with "last minute details". Remember that every action has a direct consequence on your ranking spot and your gig's traffic, so think twice before saying you got all you need to start working on the order.

  • Provide early drafts.

It saves you so much time! With an early draft, you can make sure you won't loose your time in the wrong direction. Maybe you had all the needed details from the customer when starting the work, but guess what? There are a lot of customers that change their mind overnight. Provide them a draft as soon as humanly possible and ask for confrmation, so your time won't be wasted re-doing the job. I used to deliver the work without providing an early draft and it was a mistake. Almost 1/4 of my customers changed their mind overnight and shifted the key elements that we've agreed on initially, and when asking for the revision, I had to change structural elements of my work, resulting in almost re-doing everything since I had to addapt the rest of the work to their new requests.

  • Educate your customers.

I was just delivering the order and hoped for a returning customer. It was lazy, and it was a mistake. Before/When delivering, try to put together a small debrief on what you've actually done in your work. Your customers aren't stupid and eventhought you're an expert on your field, you could be surprised on how much your customers can learn from you and how that can beneffit you on future orders. Not long ago I've started sending my customers an explanation text with what instruments I've used, why I've used them, what's their role, what's the musical theory behind the composition and what's my personal take on all those things. This thing works! Next time you're collaborating, you'll have a much easier time to transpose customer's vision into your service, because they will know how to answer your specific questions!

  • Give your customers some options

You have that potential customer that wants to buy your 50$ service, but his budget is only 35$? I used to turn down those customers since my highest discount rate was at 20% and that way I lost potential returning customers! It was a mistake. Instead, at some point I've decided I'll take those requests, but I'll double down on the delivery time. Instead of 5 days delivery time, offer it in 10 days. That way, you will not loose a potential returning customer and you won't have to fit that project into your main scheddule. You can do it whenever you have a spare hour or two, since your delivery time is doubled! It works like a charm to me, and you'll be shocked on how many customers are not in a rush, eventhought they say so in their first message. Time is money, friend!

  • Collect your own data

I made the mistake on relying on memory and on the data shown by analytics to drive my business. Don't do that. It will save you a lot of time and you'll make informed decisions if you make your own spreadsheed with everything that happens with a relevancy for your Gigs. Try to track the most important stuff, such as: keywords performance, new customers/time frame, returning customers/time frame, types of projects done, the most asked questions or inquiries by your customers, orders that landed you tips and WHY that happened, changes made to the gig related to key factors etc.  

  • Be patient

If you're treating every order like it's your first order, it's impossible not to grow. Don't make the mistake I've done by panicking when orders are not coming. It's not worth your time and your mental health. Instead, be patient, do your best on the services you provide, and try to slowly build your returning customer base. The best you can do proactively, is to fine-tune your Gigs, but be careful with that, since back-to-back changes might screw up the ranking algorithm (source for this is my Succes Manager). If you're looking to do A-B testing, wait at least 3-4 weeks in between, to have at least the minimum data to compare.

 

I feel like there are much more to be told, but I just realised this post will take an eternity to read anyway, so I'll stop for now. I really hope my journey of pursuing my dream with Fiverr's help can motivate you and give you the strenght to power-trough rough moments, and that you can find something positive in the lessons I've learnt from my mistakes. 

Don't give up, and trust your skills and talent! 

Inspiring!

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First of all, congrats on your successful journey on fiverr! All the things and wisdom that your able to amass from them is very inspiring.

Thanks for sharing your tips! I'll be sure to keep them in mind, and hopefully able to apply them instinctively.

PS. Your english is excellent, and the presentation is very well-presented 💯 

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