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My journey and my mistakes (Part 2)


hzsmith

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Hi everyone! This is the second part I've promissed related to the initial post you can find here: https://community.fiverr.com/forums/topic/328289-my-journey-and-my-mistakes/

I'm back with some more lessons I've learnt the hard way on my Fiverr journey. Without further ado, here is an update to the initial list.

  • Find out who you're actually working for

This particular situation happened quite a lot during my time here. Sometimes your Fiverr Customer won't be the direct buyer, but an intermediary, or someone that will make use of your service to integrate it into their own service before delivering it to the final buyer. Around 20% of my orders so far were for a third person, one different from the customer that messaged me and contracted me. For example, in my field of work (audio) I've collaborated with many marketing agencies creating short ads for their clients. Therefore, they needed only the audio part from me, while they gathered the rest of the media services (video, animations, rigging, scripts etc) from other freelancers. I find that it's important to know if your customer it's the final client or not, from the perspective of the briefing, the feedback, the delivery times and the number of revisions. It happened often to deliver the work, and hear nothing from the customer for like 2-3 days, and in the final day to recieve a revision request that included their customer's requests. Don't make the mistake I've made by not asking about that and by expecting the delivery and the number of revisions to be as initially planned. If you can find out from the begining you're not dealing with the final customer, you have the chance to ask your Fiverr buyer (the one you're speaking with in the inbox) about their client's requirements and their client's deadlines. It's not everytime the information get trough to you complete, and if you can find out the input that was given to your customer by their client, you have a much greater chance of nailing the work from the first try, without the need of any revisions and the frustration of finding out a week later that the task requirements included elements you had no idea about.

  • Analyze the buyer and their specific needs

Many times I've made the mistake to avoid working for customers that I've saw they have the "Average Rating Given" lower than 5/5 stars. That resulted in not taking 20-30% of the tasks I was asked to do, by being affraid to setback my rating record with a lower than 5/5 stars rating. But with time, I've found a way to minimize the risk of that and not give up on potential orders. The way I've did it, is simply click on the potential customer's profile, and see who were his past sellers and the aproximate time they've finalized the order, by the date of the review. From there, you can search the seller and filter their reviews by "Most Recent" and scroll down to the appropriate month you've identified earlier. There, you can see WHY your potential customer rated that specific seller less than 5/5 stars. It is indeed irrelevant if the potential customer review looks like "Thank you so much" and the rating is 3/5 but with some luck, you can actually find the reasoning behind the lower rating. Maybe the delivery time was not met, or maybe the communication wasn't great. If you can have that information, you can go above and beyond, and double down on the reason why your potential customer downrated other sellers, and (in the case of the exemplified delivery time) deliver a day earlier than agreed, or (in the case of the exemplified lack of communication) make sure they're 100% updated on your progress or anything else you can identify. This way, you can make sure to change their previous bad experience, and proove that every seller is different from another, and why not, win them over your competitors as a returning customer.

The previous tip is much easier to utilize if you're a Seller Plus member, since you'll have the option to immediately see the metric of "Average Rating Given". But there's a way around that, a bit more time consuming, but it finally gets the job done. If you're not a Seller Plus member, you can take your time to checkout your potential buyer's profile, and calculate yourself the average rating given, by searching all of their past seller's profiles and search for their given review.

  • Use the Follow-Up Message function 

This again is a feature available only to Seller Plus members. I can already see how this is turning into a Seller's Plus sale pitch, and that's not at all my intention. But if you're yourself a Seller Plus member, don't make my mistake to treat that function as something irrelevant. Since I've joined here, even before subscribing to the Seller Plus program, I was sending follow-up messages to my past customers, 1 month, 2 months and 6 months after our order was completed, to try to close a new deal. The response rate was quite low, and when I saw the new "Follow-Up Message" function being added, I was skeptical of it's potential, since my past data indicated that the response rate was almost close to 0 to the follow-up messages. Recently, I gave it a try and from 10 messages, I've got 7 responses, 4 of them transforming into conversions really quickly. Why? I can personally see two reasons. First reason is that it looks pretty good (I'll attach a screenshot of that below). It reminds your customer about your visual branding, your prices, and at the same time it displays your number of reviews and the general rating acumulated since the last time you've collaborated with your customers. The second reason why I think it works, is because your past customer might not be aware you provide other services than the ones they've previously ordered. For example, I deal with composing music, creating custom SFX and sound designing videos. 2 of the 4 customers that replied to my follow-up message and ordered again, requested a different service than the one previously ordered. So far, I think it works wonders, and I highly recommend you to at least try it!

If you're not a Seller Plus member, you can do this manually, like I did before, and my advice is to include in your message the other services you're offering, and maybe a link to the specific gig that offers that service, for them to be able to see the pricing, the gallery and what other customers had to say about that.

image.png.8e8213b5a1c68b3b58aa61f42150906d.png

 

  • Reach out to the competitors you're looking up to

Don't make the mistake I've done by thinking that the competitors are your enemies. Like I've said in the initial post, don't forget that you're selling on the internet, and there's space for everyone! Also, don't think that the competitors you're looking up to, seasoned sellers with tons of orders and years of experience selling on Fiverr are suffering from a Rockstar Complex. From my experience talking to my the fiercest competitors in my market, was a very important win. We exchanged impressions about the work here, about our most important customers (without naming them, since that's sensitive private data you're not allowed to share) and their general needs (and most importantly, on how to satisfy those needs), and even about the bad apples and the bad experiences and how we overcame them. You would be surprised that they're just human beings like you, facing the same freelancing issues and wins as you, eventhough they're miles ahead in terms of experience and sales.

  • Make use of the New Succes Score feature

I remember that I was super scared and faced a lot of anxiety when the new leveling system was introduced. I guess that was basically the shock of being able to see my back-end score for the first time, and the fear of the unknown. Don't do the mistake of fixating on the numbers, and try to actually follow the impact metrics you see rated on your level overview. Before this feature was implemented, when I finally decided to join the Seller Plus Premium program and had my first talk with my Fiverr Success Manager, I've found out for the first time that besides your front-end ratings, there are some back-end metrics that influence your place in the market, with much more impact than your reviews. I was intrigued to find that, and from that time, I've tried to speculate on what those metrics would be. The new level system, with it's succes score, finally shows us those metrics! And the best part is, if you follow the metrics that shows you as "negative impact" or "room for growth" etc, and do your best to improve those areas, they will actually change and your score will be upgraded! I've had this issue on one of my gigs displaying "room for growth" at "Effective Communication" and I did my best to communicate even more (I thought I was very talkative with my customers, but it seems more was needed), and update the client's more regularely on my progress, and 1 month later, my "Effective Communication" metric changed from "room for growth" to "positive impact". It really works. Try to make use of those and really try to proactively improve those areas. Don't treat the succes score feature as a number, but more as a "tips" on where you can improve! Ah, and try to remember that the success score is a REFLECTION of your performance, and NOT an arbitrary random number that's there to setback your progress. Most probably we had this same score based on the same metrics before the update, but we were just simply not able to see it!

  • Identify the full process

Most of the times, your work will represent only a part of the bigger picture. Don't do the mistake I've made by sticking only to the part you think it's yours and then move forward to the next order. I highly recommend you to try to identify what is the previous or the next process before or after your job is completed. In my case, when creating custom Sound Effects for my customers, there were many times that I've heard the line from the buyer saying that they're going to send the sounds to the animator for syncronization. I then quickly identified that's the process that comes exactly after my job was done. Then, I made my research on how it's usually done, and after I was ok with the theory, I asked the customer If I can give it a try, for free, just to hear their feedback. Apparently it worked just fine, and from that momment, my services include that process as well. I find this particularly important from the buyer's perspective. Your buyer will always need their job of finishing the full project to be as quickly and as easily as possible. If you can provide them a service that is highly corelated with the job you're usually doing, you're saving them time, money, and mental pressure. This way, you can stand out by offering more, and you can atract customers that are looking for convenience and time or/and budget optimization.

  • Mention your Top Clients in the Gig Description & Portfolio

If you're like me, and you haven't yet had the chance to work for giant companies that are in the "Top Clients" feature, don't make my mistake on waiting your indie customers to be added on that list, and briefly include them yourself in your gig description. Most of my work is done for indie game devs. and indie companies, and therefore I can't find any of them in the approved Top Clients List. I even reached support and asked on if I can propose some of my indie customers to be added as Top Clients in the official List, but I was informed that the list is approved by a third party, and it's not in Fiverr's hands to do that themselves. Therefore, you can simply add your personal top clients in your gig description, without emphasizing all of your description on that. Why I think that's important? Well, since I usually work with indie game developers, the indie community is well aware of other indie game projects. To my surprise, some of my customers that are indie game devs. mentioned that they loved the game I was showcasing in my gig description, and therefore confirmed me that it was a good move to do that. Also, if you have the Portfolio feature enabled, and you have the time to do it, try to showcase the project you've worked on your personal Top Client there as well, to back the affirmation you've made in the gig description with the palpable example.

  • Use the Gallery PDF function to your advantage

Don't make my mistake and sleep on that function! My work involves only audio. Therefore, I thought the PDF function was irrelevant for me, since I can't use it to showcase my audio works. But I've found out I can utilize that PDF to my advantage, by outlining the expected workflow! For that, I've made a 6-7 page PDF, friendly designed to explain any potential customer how's the most optimal workflow, and therefore I set the expectations correctly. In that PDF I've mentioned all the stages and the information I need to be able to create the most fitting work for the customer's needs, while naming it "Customer Guide - Workflow and Expectations". Also, you might want to mention that in your gig description, something along the lines of "Check out the New Customer Guide on the 5th slide of my Gig's Gallery". Since I've done that, the number of customers that were understanding the workflow and the initial information needed rised by a lot, and my work of trying to decode customer's requirements were much more easier, since they've followed the guide I've posted. So, if you're in a field where visual art/work is not the main point, use that gallery PDF slide to your advantage!

image.png.cec7f1ecff358892d3037f521c3ccd0c.png


I hope my mistakes and the conclusions I've drawn from them will help you sail smoother than I did, and by personalising them to your specific services, they will somwhat empower your journey here! Looking back to the initial post, I feel really humbled by the number of reactions and replies and I thank you so so much for being a supportive community! I wish all of you the greatest of succes and don't give up on your dreams and talent!

As for the journey part of the post, Saturday I've recieved THE EMAIL I was dreaming off since I've joined Fiverr. I'm now accepted as a Top Rated Seller, and I'm the happiest man on earth. Now, I don't want this to sound arrogant or snobish, but everything I've done to achieve the Top Rated status is written in the initial post and in this one. If I forgot to mention anything, it's not at all intentional, and I'll make sure to come back with a Part 3 of the things I've done to increase my chances of becoming a full time freelancer on Fiverr.

 

Edited by hzsmith
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10 hours ago, Lyndsey_Fiverr said:

This is again, such fantastic insight, and I love seeing your seller experience here at Fiverr. Thank you so much for sharing!

Thank you for the kind words! It's always my pleasure to share what I've learnt so far, and I'll continue doing it as long as I'm here!

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I spent 2 days to read and understand the entire post. Since joining the community till today I have never read such a large post completely. (I finished part one too). I read the entire post part by part. I cannot explain what I learned from this post. I learned many unknown things that were never known before. Two things helped me a lot. (Use the Follow-Up Message function & Mention your Top Clients in the Gig Description & Portfolio). I don't know how to thank you.

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On 5/13/2024 at 11:34 PM, hzsmith said:

Hi everyone! This is the second part I've promissed related to the initial post you can find here: https://community.fiverr.com/forums/topic/328289-my-journey-and-my-mistakes/

I'm back with some more lessons I've learnt the hard way on my Fiverr journey. Without further ado, here is an update to the initial list.

  • Find out who you're actually working for

This particular situation happened quite a lot during my time here. Sometimes your Fiverr Customer won't be the direct buyer, but an intermediary, or someone that will make use of your service to integrate it into their own service before delivering it to the final buyer. Around 20% of my orders so far were for a third person, one different from the customer that messaged me and contracted me. For example, in my field of work (audio) I've collaborated with many marketing agencies creating short ads for their clients. Therefore, they needed only the audio part from me, while they gathered the rest of the media services (video, animations, rigging, scripts etc) from other freelancers. I find that it's important to know if your customer it's the final client or not, from the perspective of the briefing, the feedback, the delivery times and the number of revisions. It happened often to deliver the work, and hear nothing from the customer for like 2-3 days, and in the final day to recieve a revision request that included their customer's requests. Don't make the mistake I've made by not asking about that and by expecting the delivery and the number of revisions to be as initially planned. If you can find out from the begining you're not dealing with the final customer, you have the chance to ask your Fiverr buyer (the one you're speaking with in the inbox) about their client's requirements and their client's deadlines. It's not everytime the information get trough to you complete, and if you can find out the input that was given to your customer by their client, you have a much greater chance of nailing the work from the first try, without the need of any revisions and the frustration of finding out a week later that the task requirements included elements you had no idea about.

  • Analyze the buyer and their specific needs

Many times I've made the mistake to avoid working for customers that I've saw they have the "Average Rating Given" lower than 5/5 stars. That resulted in not taking 20-30% of the tasks I was asked to do, by being affraid to setback my rating record with a lower than 5/5 stars rating. But with time, I've found a way to minimize the risk of that and not give up on potential orders. The way I've did it, is simply click on the potential customer's profile, and see who were his past sellers and the aproximate time they've finalized the order, by the date of the review. From there, you can search the seller and filter their reviews by "Most Recent" and scroll down to the appropriate month you've identified earlier. There, you can see WHY your potential customer rated that specific seller less than 5/5 stars. It is indeed irrelevant if the potential customer review looks like "Thank you so much" and the rating is 3/5 but with some luck, you can actually find the reasoning behind the lower rating. Maybe the delivery time was not met, or maybe the communication wasn't great. If you can have that information, you can go above and beyond, and double down on the reason why your potential customer downrated other sellers, and (in the case of the exemplified delivery time) deliver a day earlier than agreed, or (in the case of the exemplified lack of communication) make sure they're 100% updated on your progress or anything else you can identify. This way, you can make sure to change their previous bad experience, and proove that every seller is different from another, and why not, win them over your competitors as a returning customer.

The previous tip is much easier to utilize if you're a Seller Plus member, since you'll have the option to immediately see the metric of "Average Rating Given". But there's a way around that, a bit more time consuming, but it finally gets the job done. If you're not a Seller Plus member, you can take your time to checkout your potential buyer's profile, and calculate yourself the average rating given, by searching all of their past seller's profiles and search for their given review.

  • Use the Follow-Up Message function 

This again is a feature available only to Seller Plus members. I can already see how this is turning into a Seller's Plus sale pitch, and that's not at all my intention. But if you're yourself a Seller Plus member, don't make my mistake to treat that function as something irrelevant. Since I've joined here, even before subscribing to the Seller Plus program, I was sending follow-up messages to my past customers, 1 month, 2 months and 6 months after our order was completed, to try to close a new deal. The response rate was quite low, and when I saw the new "Follow-Up Message" function being added, I was skeptical of it's potential, since my past data indicated that the response rate was almost close to 0 to the follow-up messages. Recently, I gave it a try and from 10 messages, I've got 7 responses, 4 of them transforming into conversions really quickly. Why? I can personally see two reasons. First reason is that it looks pretty good (I'll attach a screenshot of that below). It reminds your customer about your visual branding, your prices, and at the same time it displays your number of reviews and the general rating acumulated since the last time you've collaborated with your customers. The second reason why I think it works, is because your past customer might not be aware you provide other services than the ones they've previously ordered. For example, I deal with composing music, creating custom SFX and sound designing videos. 2 of the 4 customers that replied to my follow-up message and ordered again, requested a different service than the one previously ordered. So far, I think it works wonders, and I highly recommend you to at least try it!

If you're not a Seller Plus member, you can do this manually, like I did before, and my advice is to include in your message the other services you're offering, and maybe a link to the specific gig that offers that service, for them to be able to see the pricing, the gallery and what other customers had to say about that.

image.png.8e8213b5a1c68b3b58aa61f42150906d.png

 

  • Reach out to the competitors you're looking up to

Don't make the mistake I've done by thinking that the competitors are your enemies. Like I've said in the initial post, don't forget that you're selling on the internet, and there's space for everyone! Also, don't think that the competitors you're looking up to, seasoned sellers with tons of orders and years of experience selling on Fiverr are suffering from a Rockstar Complex. From my experience talking to my the fiercest competitors in my market, was a very important win. We exchanged impressions about the work here, about our most important customers (without naming them, since that's sensitive private data you're not allowed to share) and their general needs (and most importantly, on how to satisfy those needs), and even about the bad apples and the bad experiences and how we overcame them. You would be surprised that they're just human beings like you, facing the same freelancing issues and wins as you, eventhough they're miles ahead in terms of experience and sales.

  • Make use of the New Succes Score feature

I remember that I was super scared and faced a lot of anxiety when the new leveling system was introduced. I guess that was basically the shock of being able to see my back-end score for the first time, and the fear of the unknown. Don't do the mistake of fixating on the numbers, and try to actually follow the impact metrics you see rated on your level overview. Before this feature was implemented, when I finally decided to join the Seller Plus Premium program and had my first talk with my Fiverr Success Manager, I've found out for the first time that besides your front-end ratings, there are some back-end metrics that influence your place in the market, with much more impact than your reviews. I was intrigued to find that, and from that time, I've tried to speculate on what those metrics would be. The new level system, with it's succes score, finally shows us those metrics! And the best part is, if you follow the metrics that shows you as "negative impact" or "room for growth" etc, and do your best to improve those areas, they will actually change and your score will be upgraded! I've had this issue on one of my gigs displaying "room for growth" at "Effective Communication" and I did my best to communicate even more (I thought I was very talkative with my customers, but it seems more was needed), and update the client's more regularely on my progress, and 1 month later, my "Effective Communication" metric changed from "room for growth" to "positive impact". It really works. Try to make use of those and really try to proactively improve those areas. Don't treat the succes score feature as a number, but more as a "tips" on where you can improve! Ah, and try to remember that the success score is a REFLECTION of your performance, and NOT an arbitrary random number that's there to setback your progress. Most probably we had this same score based on the same metrics before the update, but we were just simply not able to see it!

  • Identify the full process

Most of the times, your work will represent only a part of the bigger picture. Don't do the mistake I've made by sticking only to the part you think it's yours and then move forward to the next order. I highly recommend you to try to identify what is the previous or the next process before or after your job is completed. In my case, when creating custom Sound Effects for my customers, there were many times that I've heard the line from the buyer saying that they're going to send the sounds to the animator for syncronization. I then quickly identified that's the process that comes exactly after my job was done. Then, I made my research on how it's usually done, and after I was ok with the theory, I asked the customer If I can give it a try, for free, just to hear their feedback. Apparently it worked just fine, and from that momment, my services include that process as well. I find this particularly important from the buyer's perspective. Your buyer will always need their job of finishing the full project to be as quickly and as easily as possible. If you can provide them a service that is highly corelated with the job you're usually doing, you're saving them time, money, and mental pressure. This way, you can stand out by offering more, and you can atract customers that are looking for convenience and time or/and budget optimization.

  • Mention your Top Clients in the Gig Description & Portfolio

If you're like me, and you haven't yet had the chance to work for giant companies that are in the "Top Clients" feature, don't make my mistake on waiting your indie customers to be added on that list, and briefly include them yourself in your gig description. Most of my work is done for indie game devs. and indie companies, and therefore I can't find any of them in the approved Top Clients List. I even reached support and asked on if I can propose some of my indie customers to be added as Top Clients in the official List, but I was informed that the list is approved by a third party, and it's not in Fiverr's hands to do that themselves. Therefore, you can simply add your personal top clients in your gig description, without emphasizing all of your description on that. Why I think that's important? Well, since I usually work with indie game developers, the indie community is well aware of other indie game projects. To my surprise, some of my customers that are indie game devs. mentioned that they loved the game I was showcasing in my gig description, and therefore confirmed me that it was a good move to do that. Also, if you have the Portfolio feature enabled, and you have the time to do it, try to showcase the project you've worked on your personal Top Client there as well, to back the affirmation you've made in the gig description with the palpable example.

  • Use the Gallery PDF function to your advantage

Don't make my mistake and sleep on that function! My work involves only audio. Therefore, I thought the PDF function was irrelevant for me, since I can't use it to showcase my audio works. But I've found out I can utilize that PDF to my advantage, by outlining the expected workflow! For that, I've made a 6-7 page PDF, friendly designed to explain any potential customer how's the most optimal workflow, and therefore I set the expectations correctly. In that PDF I've mentioned all the stages and the information I need to be able to create the most fitting work for the customer's needs, while naming it "Customer Guide - Workflow and Expectations". Also, you might want to mention that in your gig description, something along the lines of "Check out the New Customer Guide on the 5th slide of my Gig's Gallery". Since I've done that, the number of customers that were understanding the workflow and the initial information needed rised by a lot, and my work of trying to decode customer's requirements were much more easier, since they've followed the guide I've posted. So, if you're in a field where visual art/work is not the main point, use that gallery PDF slide to your advantage!

image.png.cec7f1ecff358892d3037f521c3ccd0c.png


I hope my mistakes and the conclusions I've drawn from them will help you sail smoother than I did, and by personalising them to your specific services, they will somwhat empower your journey here! Looking back to the initial post, I feel really humbled by the number of reactions and replies and I thank you so so much for being a supportive community! I wish all of you the greatest of succes and don't give up on your dreams and talent!

As for the journey part of the post, Saturday I've recieved THE EMAIL I was dreaming off since I've joined Fiverr. I'm now accepted as a Top Rated Seller, and I'm the happiest man on earth. Now, I don't want this to sound arrogant or snobish, but everything I've done to achieve the Top Rated status is written in the initial post and in this one. If I forgot to mention anything, it's not at all intentional, and I'll make sure to come back with a Part 3 of the things I've done to increase my chances of becoming a full time freelancer on Fiverr.

 

Glad to know about your journey on fiverr. Thanks for share with us

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On 5/15/2024 at 5:59 PM, adibbinnur said:

Use the Follow-Up Message function & Mention your Top Clients in the Gig Description & Portfolio

Follow-up messages are useless honestly. You can easily send a message to clients on your own, you don't need to pay for Seller Plus to do that. As for top clients, I don't think that people care that much about who you worked with, unless it was a massive company like Apple, etc, which would definitely turn things to your favor. 

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Fantastic post. It is such a great thing that you share your experience. You did it man!

This post could easily be transformed in a Youtube video (maybe that is your next step?).

Congrats and for the ones giving feedback that disagree with some points of the post, please take into account this is his experience, and this experience converted him into a TRS and it did work. 
My respects for you!

regards

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1 hour ago, donnovan86 said:

Follow-up messages are useless honestly. You can easily send a message to clients on your own, you don't need to pay for Seller Plus to do that. As for top clients, I don't think that people care that much about who you worked with, unless it was a massive company like Apple, etc, which would definitely turn things to your favor. 

I really think it deppends on who are your customers.

As you might saw on the reasoning for each advice I gave from my personal experience, I was following up on my own, without the usage of the Follow-Up Message function, but the conversion rate was lower for the reasons I've exposed above. It might be 100% subjective and, as I mentioned, the arguments for the higher conversion rate are purely coming from my own experience. I am totally on the same page with you, when arguing that it's not worth to get the Seller Plus membership only for that reason, as I mainly keep my membership up for my Success Manager who helped me and continues to do it at every step (I got lucky when choosing the SM I guess). 

Also, I think the subjectivity point stands the same for the mentioning of the top clients in the Gig Description. As I already mentioned, in my network that involves Indie Game Developers, people really do know about most of the indie game projects. I wouldn't expect Fiverr to add to the "top client" list some indie game that barely made it past 10.000 sales, but indie devs. who are hoping for those kind of numbers are actually aware of those titles. To add more, for example, I have Qatar Airways as my top client that's present in the approved list, but the majority of my target clientele (which is game devs.) don't care about that and an indie game they know weighs more in my favour if it's displayed in my gig's description.

So, yeah. Everything you read there is subjective, and from my personal experience, but it might actually help someone in similar position as me, working for indie companies/directors/devs. or anything that has a well networked community. 

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