Redd: Hello and welcome to Fiverrcast, the official Fiverr podcast for sellers, by sellers. My name is Redd and you can find me on Fiverr as Reddhorrocks.
Alyssa: Hi. I’m a cartoonist who has been drawing cartoons since as long as I can remember and I was – in the last four years, found a way to make a living off of it on Fiverr. I now live in California. I used to live in Michigan. I was going to school there and it has been great to take my work with me as I move around the country. It’s really great to be here to talk about Fiverr and how I’ve made it kind of my living.
Redd: Well, we’re so glad you’re here today and thank you so much for joining us Alyssa. So today, one of the things we want to talk about is how to build off a low entry point. So when you’re optimizing your business, you start with a strong entry point at a lower baseline and then you get the opportunity to build off of that. So Adam, I know this is something that you definitely use when you do logo design. So why don’t you tell me a little bit about how you would encounter this particular thing?
Adam: So looking at my website improvement service, what I actually do is I offer a $5 improvement or up from $5 improvement where I look at your website and I tell you what you need to do or what you can do to improve it. It’s a very low entry point and anyone looking at my service sees that as the entry point.
But the truth is my actual service is that I will fix your website for you. So I essentially sell people a $5 entry point into me fixing their website for them and that entry point is almost like a consultation. I give them 10 tips that show them what’s wrong with their website and then later down the line, when they come back to me and they say, “Hey, I’ve got this issue,” or, “Can you fix this for me?” I then quote my much higher price point which can be $100, $200, anywhere up to the thousands of dollars.
So the way I handle this method is to kind of strip my service all the way back and offer almost something quite different to what I actually want to offer to have that low entry point.
Now Alyssa, with your service, you kind of – you do something similar but you kind of continue the service as the exact same as you go through. It’s all kind of based around your drawing and your cartoons.
Alyssa: Yeah. I base my service mainly on the number of characters that you need in an illustration for example and the coloring that’s needed. So it just kind of multiplies. So if someone needs an illustration that has four characters and they’re full color, I just multiply – well, one full color character is $15, so multiply by four. It’s 60.
So it kind of is easy for people to figure out. Well, the more complex my illustration, the more it costs because they will send you a quote for some outlandish thing and it will be really hard to price this. Since I have the pricing per character, it has made it very easy.
Usually I will start with a black and white and they will want to upgrade the color from there, so that’s a good entry point. My base service is a black and white character and we usually start from there and then they will want to add color to the artworks and that has been really great to show them the upgrades from black and white to simple color, to full color, to see how much that can transform just by adding that extra on to the artwork.
Redd: So is this something that you always did from the beginning Alyssa or is this something that you’ve kind of tweaked and factor it as being a good way to do it like as you’ve gone on?
Alyssa: It has remained pretty similar to when I started. My base service was always the $5 black and white character. But since then, I’ve added the full color, which I didn’t use to offer. It used to just be kind of black and white or colored and there wasn’t a distinction between the simple which is just flat coloring, no shading, black out lines to now it’s full color with shading and highlights and a more storybook feel.
So I have three tiers as opposed to just black and white and color and that helps because the full color takes a lot longer for me to do than the simple color. So I can charge more for it accordingly.
Also I have extras for background that I never used to have and for commercial use license which has been a huge lifesaver and it has just been easier to price things out with three tiers as opposed to the two tiers. It’s much easier to price.
But basically my entry point has always been one single black and white character which may change in the future since I’ve had more people ask for sketches and drafts.
Redd: Yeah, because I imagined like what a lot of people would do is they would almost use that $5 black and white as kind of their sample to make sure like their basic of – this is what you’re – exactly what you’re looking for to start with and then they can take it from there and decide how they want to – how they want to make it more elaborate and so on. So, it becomes your little tester and then you have like this big, grand production after they add a whole bunch of extras for it.
Alyssa: Yeah. A lot of times somebody will approach me and they will say, “I need a character. I’m not quite sure what I want them to look like. I know I want it to be say a rabbit,” but they don’t know if they want the rabbit to be kind of edgy with an attitude or kind of cutesy because they don’t know what they’re going for. I might offer a few recommendations but I might say, “You would like to purchase three different drafts,” which I offer black and white as my lowest tier. So it’s three different black and white drawings of the same rabbit, but with a different attitude or proportions or things like that.
Then from there, they will choose. Say I like rabbit two. Let’s do five more posters of this rabbit with full color. So I kind of build from just the three – you know, the $15. Three $5 black and white characters build into 20 full color of the one character that they really like. So they like seeing the options presented before they go ahead and order 50 posters of this character that they’re really connected with.
Adam: What I really love about this business model in regards to how you action it – now obviously your service is very visual because they’re based on art. But I think they can kind of work for multiple services. First of all you touched upon that you will offer three different pricing structures and there are many studies out there that go to show offering that at three different price tiers can be one of the best ways to upsell or to engage users into buying maybe the middle package or higher just from basic psychology.
What I really like about your Gig which is different from mine is that it’s a very literal upgrade on your entry point. So the first thing that struck me when I came across your Gig was seeing the $5 version. I think at the time, it was the $15 version and then the $25 version and it was seeing the exact same photo about one in black and white. One I think had a bit of shading on it and then the last one was full color and shading and seeing that kind of like literal interpretation of the different tiers to your service and what is available to me really drew me in and made me want to upgrade because I was looking at your basic kind of coloring or your draft as you say and I kind of thought, “Well, that’s nice. It looks good but I don’t really want that. I want more than that and then you see the kind of shading.” You think, “OK, actually I can work with that.” But then you see the color and go, “No, I need that. That’s the one that I want.”
It kind of – it constantly kind of shows you one better, one better again and you just – you want to go higher and higher with it whereas the way I’m doing mine with the website reports is my actual service – you know, the higher entry point of it is kind of hidden. People don’t order from me to fix their website. They order from me to find out what’s wrong and then I upsell the website fix as my main service.
But the fact where yours is so literal and you can see there are different tiers and the same reflection of that, I think it’s just – I mean everyone wants the best that’s available to them and the way that has been demonstrated on your service just for me pretty much means that most buyers are going to end up towards the kind of color version, the full version available. Is that the kind of trend that you see happening where most people want to or look to upgrade?
Alyssa: Yes, absolutely. Most buyers who have never purchased from me before and don’t know if my style is going to work for the kind of artwork they’re looking for. Say they want a mascot of a cartoon food product they sell. They see the black and white and then they immediately go, “Uh-oh. I really want to see this with the full color now.” They want to make sure that my style works because my style doesn’t work for absolutely everything. It’s not very clean and modern. It’s more cartoony and suited more for more quirky things or kind of cartoony things. Once they’ve decided that my style works for them, they will very often want to upgrade to full color or do illustrations with the character with full colored backgrounds and that kind of thing.
So it very quickly spirals from one $5 order into multiple $15 orders with Gig extras and what not all piled on to each other. So it’s usually a very small seed of $5 that spirals into – I want to take this bigger and bigger and bigger and add color and all these things to it. So it’s a really good starting point for a lot of people who are uncomfortable with – is she going to draw a style that really works for my company or for my book project or for whatever they may need it for.
Adam: So the real success or what sounds to me the success of this platform seems to be that you have an entry point that is cheap enough for the buyer, so they don’t feel there’s too much of a risk to put too much down. But you will also have an entry point that is connected enough to your top seller so when someone comes in and says, “Yes, I like this,” they are then instantly qualified if you like to buy your biggest package from it.
You’re not just trying to upsell a $50 extra on top of something you’ve already made. You’re trying to improve the literal thing they purchased. So there’s the connection there where the small risk that bought them in and then the fact they like it means basically they’re going to want to upgrade that.
Alyssa: Absolutely. I think what has really helped me a lot is I’ve made a PDF document with a price chart that not only has my very simple $5, $10, $15 that shows the black and white, simple color, full color pricing. But it also shows the examples of more complex illustrations I’ve done and breaks down how much those illustrations would cost. Like something like a storybook illustration.
I have an example of the three characters in full color plus the background. I break down how much that costs so buyers can see what type of work that they can expect from the price range and I think seeing is everything especially for artwork. If they can see exactly here’s how my artwork would be upgraded. I can visualize how many characters I want for the picture and how much that will cost. It really helps people price for themselves. I don’t very often have to send quotes to people who are totally lost once I send them the price. So they can kind of figure it out themselves which is great. They do some of the work for me instead of me having to calculate everything for them every time.
So it has been really great to have that visual price chart and to see the direct upgrades from black and white to simple color, to full color. As you’ve said, it’s a very visual upgrade. I’m going to take this thing you already bought and you can just hack on a Gig extra and I can add the color to it on the same order which is great.
I love that now buyers can add Gig extras to existing orders and I can also add Gig extras to an existing order. So if I complete the black and white on time, I can just add the color on and deliver that the same day, which people love. So that has been a really powerful tool for me as well.
Redd: So do you as a general rule – I think the PDF thing is super clever. That’s amazingly well thought out. Do you send that to – if someone orders like a $5 black and white, do you then send them the PDF with the order to say like kind of, “Hey, if you want more, this is what I do.”
Alyssa: Yeah. I send my PDFs to pretty much everybody, even people who have already ordered from me and purchased something. It’s a great reference. I usually say something like it sounds like you already know what you’re looking for but here’s a price charge just for reference and it also covers things like commercial use and what that means for your artwork and it covers things like – things I don’t draw. Like, I don’t offer portraits. I’m not very good at them. So it covers things I do and don’t do and kind of really ask questions as well. It’s a very handy reference for pretty much every buyer for when I – I send it to everybody. It’s so easy to just attach, command-space on that price chart, hook the price chart to the PDF and send it off. So it has been a really, really powerful tool for many different reasons.
Redd: And that’s certainly good too because your client is going to – they’re going to open up the image that you sent them and then they’re going to immediately open up the possibilities for what it could be like right next to each other and it’s going to give them an immediate call to action. That’s really clever.
Alyssa: Yeah, it has turned into an illustration boost sometimes. Like, I will send the price chart along with their artwork and they will see it and they will go, “Well, it would be cool to try a birthday card with something on the background.” So I sell additional artwork just because they saw the price chart and that might be it. So it’s really good for them to see. I can do all these colorful, wonderful backgrounds and things they’re looking for. They didn’t even know they want it until they saw it. So I like to show them and then they know they want it.
Redd: That’s awesome.
Alyssa: Yeah, I think it has just worked out very well for expanding on very simple $5 orders that like I said kind of spirals into oh, I need this character doing absolutely every pose I can think of on colored backgrounds with commercial use license. So it has been really great.
Redd: I’m sure – this kind of pricing structure, this can translate into so many different services. I mean if you think about it, if you kind of think about it not necessarily just as a low entry point. But what can you provide that is a sample that can then be expanded upon? I think if you kind of go in with that mentality of, “This is a $5 thing. I can do this for $5. These are the ways that I can upgrade this,” and then also have a plan on how to engage customers more to get them to buy into the expansion of your product. That’s good for many, many categories for design categories and video categories and all kinds of different people can do that kind of thing.
Alyssa: Yeah, I think a lot of different Gigs could benefit from a similar price structure as mine. I didn’t realize mine would work out as well. It has but it has been very clear for buyers, which is great. There’s almost no confusion with how much something is going to cost and there’s no hard feelings about, “Well, I thought I was getting $20 worth of work,” because they know exactly what they’re getting when they order it, which has been really great. Transparency is very important to me.
Redd: Definitely. I can see that.
Adam: I imagine the overall structure of how the Gig ordering process was functioned or was built. It really helped with you as well because personally I don’t receive a lot of multiple quantity orders with the extras on top of that. But in your scenario where let’s say the $5 drawing is the quantity, you can literally say, “Right. I want three drawings and then I want three shading on top and then two with color.” It just kind of – the actual system itself also really compliments the system that you’ve created.
Alyssa: Yeah, I really love the Gig packages which were structured very, very, very similarly to what I already had. There are people who have a lot of success with packages that have a lot of extras added but I have found more success keeping it very simple, 5, 10, 15, black and white package, standard color package, full color package, because the title itself lets people know exactly what they’re getting because before, there was no title over say $15. It didn’t say like you’re getting the package that’s for full color. I really think that helps people know exactly what they’re getting. So I haven’t had questions on that a long time ever since they implemented packages.
Also when they click a package, they can order a quantity of whatever right from the screen which I think is great. Like you said, if they need five black and white characters, they can just put times five and then you try commercial licenses. They add times five and it’s very clean and very straightforward. So I really like the layout change that has come with the packages and how it very clearly tells the buyer in the title you’re getting the full color package. Here’s what you get with it.
Redd: So I think it’s good to note that in this situation, I know there’s a lot of pros and cons to using packages and people have very different opinions on it, sometimes quite polarizing opinions on packages. But this seems to be one of those situations where packages are extremely effective.
Alyssa: Yeah, I don’t know if I could price mine with more complex packages. I had thought about it and I’m thinking about doing something maybe with a sketch here since that’s the most commonly requested thing that I don’t offer currently. It’s just the basic sketch instead of black and white. Some people just want a very rough sketch and I’m not sure how to go about that. So I might put that on a new Gig.
But for now, I really like the 5, 10, 15. It’s very easy to visualize. You see the black and white cartoons. You see the simple cartoons. You see the full shading and highlights and I think that’s very, very easy for people to understand as opposed to say I have one that’s black and white plus commercial license, plus background. But what if I don’t need a background? So it’s hard for me to come up with a package that offers what people want since it’s very, very custom. What I do is very subjective and very custom and people want – I only need two characters. I don’t need a background. What would I want this package for?
So I like to keep it very simple with the $5, $10, $15 structure so people can get exactly what they want, like tailor-made for them.
Redd: You know what would be really cool? This is like my wishful feature request thinking for Fiverr is if – in your packages, like – for a category like graphics and illustration, you could have like literally in your package a little image of what you would get with each package. That would be a really, really cool addition. Hey Fiverr. Think about that.
Alyssa: Yeah, I think that would be a great addition. The only other addition I would wish to be put on my Fiverr wish list – because I feel like everything I’ve wished for has come true with the commercial license extra and a bunch of other things that I wanted implemented that have just magically come to be. The only thing I would want is if I could add a $5 Gig extra that is like a checkpoint. So say my turnaround time is around 7 days. If they added $5 for a sketch, if they wanted to see a draft before I finish the image because right now, I’m getting reminded, “Oh, this order is due in two days. You need to send the sketch.”
That ends up with a lot of late orders so there could be like – on day three, they paid for a $5 sketch extra. Day three reminds you, “Hey, your sketch is due by day three,” and then the actual delivery is done on day seven. The checkpoint for a rough draft would be a really great Gig extra feature that I would love to see implemented. But other than that, I have no complaints. Everything has come to exactly what I wanted.
Redd: Yeah, that’s kind of how I felt when Quick Response has got implemented. It was just the most amazing thing for me and cut down so much of my time.
Alyssa: I feel the same way. I use customer responses very frequently. It’s a great feature.
Adam: So Alyssa, looking at the current service that you offer and how you’ve tailored this kind of business model to what you offer, are there any other kinds of services that you think would work quite well inside the structure? I mean obviously at the moment, we’re looking at artistic and drawing-based services. Is there anything else that you think can work well with that?
Alyssa: I think anything visual. If you’re offering a very simple logo Gig, I’ve seen a lot of people offer kind of retro or vintage logo Gigs that start in black and white and then also get upgraded to color and things like that. Anything that has a very direct upgrade or say – let’s see.
I’m trying to think. Maybe Facebook banners. Like here’s a very simple Facebook banner with a background. I can upgrade it to have the name of your business, custom fonts or what not. Anything that’s very visual I think would work perfectly. As far as other Gigs, maybe a song. Like, you know, here’s a song that’s 30 seconds. Here’s a song that’s a minute. Here’s a song that’s two minutes or anything that goes from simple complexity to more complex in a very, very seeable way. Anything you can see or hear, that’s audio, anything that you can receive as being a direct upgrade I think would benefit from a small, medium, high-priced tier like mine.
Redd: Yeah, I definitely agree. I think it’s all about like layering your services and like you said, like layering the complexity of the services. That’s a really good model to work off of because once you’ve got people in – we talked about this a little bit in an episode we did a while about upselling. It’s like once you’ve got people in, you have a relationship there with an opportunity to build on and there’s really very little limitation to how much you can continue to grow on that client relationship especially if you have a small service starting off that continues to expand and expand and expand. It’s just a smart business model I think.
Alyssa: Absolutely, especially if you get someone who – in my circumstance if somebody has a character that’s near and dear to them. Like I have this woman in Iceland who has this character that’s very near and dear to her and it started off as, “My child had a drawing of this character. Could you do it in your style?” I did that and then she wanted to make a storybook out of it and then she wanted to make an animated short. We did the storyboard frames for it. So it just got her imagination going and the more you talk to people like that about their ideas, the more things you can help them bring to life. So it just adds complexity on top of complexity when you get people’s imaginations fired up, especially for visual Gigs. I think it’s really important to maintain that relationship.
I am just really thankful that I can take Fiverr with me wherever I go and I haven’t had to do a whole lot of medling with the price structure to make it work for me. I think packages is an excellent upgrade from the existing price structure I already had and I think it has made it even more streamlined and easy for people to tailor-make their order exactly what they need and the quantity they need and the color they need. It has made communication very easy and straightforward especially with – partnered with the PDF document I send that explains the package pricing to buyers.
So it has been a really great upgrade and Fiverr has been great at implementing features that have just improved my experience at the site in leaps and bounds ever since I started. It has been crazy to see how much the site has grown since I started three, four years ago and I could see where it goes in the future.
Redd: All right. Well, that’s about all we have time for this week. So thank you so much to Alyssa for joining us. You can find her on Fiverr as Alyssaerin and I highly recommend you go check out her images because they are amazing.
Transcription by Trans-Expert at Fiverr.com