Ryan: Hello and welcome to Fiverrcast, the official Fiverr podcast for sellers by sellers. I am Ryan AKA Customdrumloops on Fiverr.
Adam: And I’m Adam also known as Twistedweb123. Today we’re joined by quite the star of Fiverr who’s probably very well-known for her forum activity and as a placement as an admin on the forum, Maddie AKA Fonthaunt. Welcome to the show Maddie.
Maddie: Hi. Thank you.
Adam: So tell us a little bit about yourself and the role that you play on Fiverr and the services that you offer.
Maddie: All right. Well, I got started on Fiverr when I was reading through many, many different e-books how to make money online. I had recently left a job and really wanted to find something that I could do from home. So I was reading book after book, all these get-rich-quick things. I stumbled on to one that mentioned Fiverr and luckily it happened to be one of the few that wasn’t garbage because there’s a lot of bad books out there.
I found one that was really realistic that said get down there, try it and I had never heard of it. I got on. I was amazed to see what you could buy for $5 and so I thought, “Why not?” and I made my first Gig and started right out. As far as about me, I live in Texas and most people know that usually from my accent when I do record.
Adam: So you were saying Maddie, obviously you read these books previously and you came on to Fiverr. Now when you first came on to Fiverr, did you have a set idea in your mind of this is the service I’m going to offer or were you kind of in the mindset of thinking, “This platform looks great. But what could I offer?”
Maddie: Well, I kind of had an idea what I could offer because I had done freelance writing before. I used to write years ago for a company called Associated Content that Yahoo bought out and so I had done a little bit of online writing like that before that was anonymous and I thought maybe I can do some ghostwriting. But really I wanted to expand from there and I had no idea what else I might be able to do.
So I started out basically with just a simple writing Gig and I didn’t put a lot of specifications in it. I just said, “I will write something for you.” That’s where I started out.
Adam: And if I’m right in thinking, you’ve actually expanded from there now into a kind of virtual PI type service.
Maddie: Yes, that’s right. One of the things that I had always been good at was research. I guess as a writer, you end up doing a lot of research anyway. I found out very quickly early on that I was good at it and could find things that sometimes were difficult to find. So I had the idea looking at those people finder services and things like that one day that hey, you know, maybe I could find contact information for people and add that as a service even though it’s something that I’ve never done professionally. Why not try that out?
Ryan: That’s great. I think it’s cool that you were able to take your skill and then diversify it across your Gigs. I mean looking at what you offer, it has gone from writing and like you said, you’re good at research so you can take that and apply that to different situations and different niches. What was your second Gig you created after the ghostwriting?
Maddie: So the second Gig that I did was about how to make someone’s story into a format that would look as though it were like a press release or a newspaper article or a magazine article. I’ve seen a couple of other Gigs like it but they were graphics-intensive and I thought maybe I could go at it from the writing side and make something that was a template that I could just stick it into but do the writing part.
So I added that and it was very unsuccessful and in fact I think that was the first time I got a negative review. It was the second time I tried it. So I decided at that point that graphics were definitely not something I do well, even just inserting writing into them, so I abandoned that one.
Ryan: I mean a lot in Fiverr is trial and error, especially for people that are just setting up their Gigs and don’t necessarily have experience. You have to look at what people want, what you think people want and find that sweet spot in between where there’s a demand for it but it’s also something that you’re good at. So I mean I think that experimenting always leads to a learning experience. What did you learn from that, that helped you create future Gigs?
Maddie: Well, one of the things I learned is that there’s no harm in trying something different even if it doesn’t go right. At first it really scared me. I thought, oh, I’ve ruined my entire Fiverr career now because I have an unhappy buyer who didn’t like what they got and I had read as much as I could find. I was already reading the forum even though I wasn’t actively writing on it and I was reading the Fiverr Academy and all these different things and I thought, OK, so what everybody says to do is go back to the buyer and talk to them.
So I did. I re-approached the buyer and asked them about it and we sorted it out. They were happy. I gave them a different thing. I gave them a blog post for their blog and they ended up changing their review to positive and so that worked out and I thought, OK, so that’s one thing I really need to do is not be scared just because I don’t exactly know if this is going to go well. Just get it out there. I do see people on the forum all the time now that ask – you know, I’m afraid to try this Gig. Should I try it? I say go for it.
Ryan: I mean I think that’s always a good philosophy to take and there’s so many people that don’t even create that first Gig because they’re scared it’s not going to work or they’re worried they’re not going to make sales. But if you don’t try it, you never know.
Maddie: Exactly. So I think – when people come on the forum now, I do see a lot that will say, “How can I improve my Gigs?” and then you go and look and there are no Gigs. We’ve got the whole forum category called “improve my Gig” and surprisingly, quite a large number of people that post there don’t have one.
What they really want in the immediate is they want someone to say, “OK, if you do this one Gig, it will be overwhelmingly successful overnight. You will make a lot of money. Then you could just sit back and relax. Let the money pour in.”
Of course first of all, without a Gig, that’s not going to happen and even with the Gig. That usually doesn’t happen to people overnight.
Ryan: I think in any aspect of life, that doesn’t usually happen. I mean there’s obviously the rare circumstances like winning the lottery. But anything that is going to provide any sort of longevity and success requires hard work and requires time. I mean those are the two things there’s not really a substitute for.
Maddie: Yes, and I think a lot of that comes from people that go looking at books the way I did looking at websites on how to make money online. Of course the big titles are always how you can get rich in 10 days or how you can turn the internet into a cash machine. A lot of those books mentioned Fiverr as a way to do that, so they go running to Fiverr and they immediately think that – well, I found five different books that all said that by next week I would have $1000. They don’t understand on day two why they haven’t even sold for $5.
Adam: I actually went to a Fiverr-based event. I think it was last year and it was attended by about 40 or 50 different people who were maybe writers and they had heard about Fiverr and they wanted to get started on Fiverr. But they all kind of said, “I don’t know what skill I have or what I can offer,” or “I don’t want to appear on video. I’m not very good at graphics. I’m not sure what I can do.”
What we ended up doing was actually breaking them into different categories, into different tables and like five people to a table and basically said to them, “For the next 15 minutes, brainstorm. Think about things that you can do. Think about services in general and break those down and see if you can turn them into a kind of micro job or a Gig and kind of go from there.”
So I think what’s really interesting about where you start with writing, that has been broken down again further where you’ve now got into the virtual PI element of it. You went into the other aspect of it, with the newspaper or press releases, which obviously didn’t work out in that regard. But you were still able to figure out things that you could do from a skill that you had previously whereas some people may come and think, “Well I can write. But what can I do with that? How much can I offer?”
Maddie: Yes, and one thing that I think is really important for people to realize when they get on Fiverr is that it’s going to be unusual that you will make a Gig and put it up and leave it alone even if it’s successful. Eventually you’re probably going to have to tweak it because the market changes or something else changes and you need to go a different direction.
For me for example, when I put up that first writing Gig, I said I will write anything and I said I will do 600 words for $5 on absolutely anything and it worked and I think it’s part of what got me my first sales because there were a lot of people that wanted that. But then I started to realize it takes me four hours to write 600 words on anything because they ask for things I didn’t know anything about and I would have to go research them anyway.
So I wasn’t making any money and I thought, well, that’s OK. I’m getting reviews. I can get up to level one and then level two and then I will think about it later. But since then, that writing Gig has gone through many, many iterations and also for a while, I tucked it away and didn’t use it at all because I had to try to figure out how to make it to where I could write something reasonable in 15 or 20 minutes to give a starting point. That wasn’t an easy thing for me to do.
Ryan: I think every seller goes through that where they have to find the system that works for them and that just comes with a lot of trial and error. I know my first Gig that I sold, it took me like two hours to do it. You know, on a single $5 Gig and the hope is obviously that you get better as time goes on and you’re able to develop that system and develop that price point that works for you at the same time while you’re giving that buyer quality work.
Adam: Yeah. I think what – in my website reports, I think the first reports I ever wrote took me about three hours. But over trial and error, streamlining, I’ve become more used to it. That has gotten down to a fraction of that now. So I think what people are talking about, I don’t know what skill I can offer or what skill I can offer quickly, you should also consider that if you’re thinking about a service that you think is going to take too long, is it also going to be a service that the more you do, the more you’re able to streamline it or do it in bulk and make it a viable service? So don’t necessarily just write an idea off because you think it’s going to take too long on the front of it.
Ryan: Yeah, I think there’s a fine line too. I think at the beginning, if it doesn’t take you long enough to do it, it might not be worth offering. I mean it’s – with everything you do, you should get better and more efficient with it, the more you do of it. To me, if you have that first Gig that takes you one minute to do, it might not be valuable enough to offer to buyers.
Adam: Kind of like with voiceovers where when you maybe start getting into voiceovers and you record it, you listen back and maybe think, oh, that doesn’t sound how I want it to sound. You try to tweak it and make it sound better. You might spend 10 or 20 minutes perfecting the voiceovers but by the time you’ve done 100 or 200 of them, you can do them one take straight off the screen, get that number all the way down and it just takes that bit of effort to pick up that skill, become more comfortable doing it and becoming more aware how easy it is for you to do from that experience.
Ryan: Well, I mean even with that, thinking about the editing, when you first start out, if a voiceover artist doesn’t have audio engineering experience, they might not be the best at editing that voiceover and doing cuts and doing punch-ins where they make mistakes. But after they’ve done 500, 1000, 5000, chances are they’re probably going to be a lot better at editing and have a system to export it quickly and get it uploaded quickly but that is all learned through experience and through doing it. I mean those first few Gigs, you do have that learning curve where you have to figure out that system and what works for you and how you can make it efficient.
Maddie: Yes, and even when you’ve gone on to become level two or top rated seller or anything else, eventually you’re probably going to want to add something new when you start to find other Gigs that aren’t working anymore or didn’t ever work at all.
So like for me with the research Gig, it kind of happened the same way. The first thing I put up was, “And I will research anything for one hour.” Now that I knew that I was deliberately setting it up so that I wasn’t going to make a lot of money because obviously I was selling it for $5 for an hour of research. But I did it to get it rolling off the ground and just see how long does it really take me to find this information. Do people even want this? It really didn’t go that well even though I was offering a lot of research for an hour. It was too broad.
People didn’t know what I was offering and I would sometimes get messages from people saying, “I’m interested in your research Gig. So what kinds of things do you research?” I didn’t even know what to tell them. So I went through a lot of refinement on that too and eventually I was talking to a friend one day and they said, “You know, you’re really good at finding people online.”
They were looking at people for an old high school reunion and they said, “We’ve got a few other people on the list we can’t find. Do you think you could find them?” I said, “Yeah, I can do that,” and I went looking and I found a couple. But those services that you can use usually have a monthly fee and a lot of people that want to find one person don’t want to pay for a whole month on a database like that.
So I thought perhaps if I subscribed to the database, I can make enough by selling them one at a time to give the other person something they want to cover my cost for the database. So I put it up and that really took off pretty quickly. It doesn’t take very long for me to do a simple people find research like that. But it’s a great value to the buyer because they would have had to pay for the whole month.
Adam: Yeah, I’ve heard a few different examples of that as well. I mean one I’ve seen being used as well is – there’s a lot of e-book generators out there where you can take an e-book image and it can be rendered into a 3D book and I think I saw one where the service is worth something like $20 a month and if you just want to do the one image, it isn’t necessarily worth it. But if you’re subscribing to that service and then offering the service on Fiverr, you would only need to sell four to cover your monthly fee and give a discount and easy option to those buyers.
Ryan: I think that’s a case in a lot of what’s on Fiverr. Even with the explainer video services, there’s some like “Powtoon” they do the monthly subscription and it’s over $100 a month if you’re using it for your business. But then plus we have to invest the time to actually make it. So I guess it depends on how much you value your time. But if you work with someone who has the system down and knows how to already use it, you’re saving money in the long run and I think that’s true with so many different things.
Maddie: Yeah, I totally agree.
Adam: I think coming back to Maddie to your point about having the research Gig for an hour, I also think that when it comes to maybe being too broad, I also think it’s a tipping point as well in regards to the perceived value of a Gig. So for example if there’s one seller saying, “I will do this for $5,” and then there’s another seller saying, “I will do two of this for $5,” and then there’s another one saying, “I will do 10 of this for $5,” the perceived value is normally that well maybe that much for $5 potentially isn’t actually a very good deal or it could be low in quality.
It isn’t often the case but it’s the perceived value by the kind of buyer. Like if you go in and you go to buy a product in the store, let’s say shampoo and you have the $1 shampoo, the $2 shampoo or the $5 shampoo, you would perceive that the $5 shampoo is usually better. So I think there’s a tipping point by offering potentially too much with $5. It could actually reduce your orders because it either looks at too much of a good deal or potentially you think it’s low quality that they’re – the seller is able to offer so much for such little kind of value.
Maddie: Yes, and I think packages is one of the things that’s really going to help a lot of people with that. I can’t wait for that to come to my research category because that’s going to be a very good fit for packages.
Right now what I do for example is that I have a $5 service where I take one name from someone and then go research that one name and it takes me 15 or 20 minutes altogether because I don’t just have to fill up the report but I have to format it in such a way that it’s readable. Then I give it to them. So it takes me 10 or 15 minutes to do that $5 one.
But I can go on from there a lot of times. If they want to know things that aren’t going to come out in just the database search and I can do my own research where I may go look at property lookups and find everyone’s property or going to a particular state’s public county records and find out things. There are all kinds of things you can do from there. So I can scale it up very easily and give a lot of value to a buyer.
So the packages are going to make that much easier since I will be able to list out this is what you get on each of these.
Ryan: So I think a lot of people feel like they don’t have any skills. They look at something like Fiverr and think there’s nothing that I can potentially offer. I think a lot of times they’re not thinking hard enough about that or they’re not thinking outside the box enough.
What advice would you give to people who think, “I have no skills. I don’t have anything to offer”? What would you tell them to make them change their mind and discover something that they can offer that a lot of people would be interested in buying?
Maddie: Well, the first thing that I would do – and this is what I actually did is I would say get on Fiverr and start looking at other people’s Gigs. But get past the ones that are already oversaturated if you can especially if you don’t know what you can do or don’t have strong skills in those area. Don’t just throw a logo Gig up there because everybody else is doing it, but start really reading through all the different kinds of Gigs that are available.
Then notice which ones are making money and which ones aren’t and how long have they been on. So when I did that, one of the things I was really surprised at was to find that there were people doing all kinds of things that were making a ton of money with it. Going into categories for people who do different kinds of crafts like our own Madmoo, another admin that does all kinds of things with letters and putting the letters on coffee and things like that.
That’s something I would have never thought about making money off of and hers is one of the first Gigs I saw. I just thought, “Wow, you can actually do that as a service and make money?”
So I would say you get on and you start reading other people’s Gigs and also notice which ones are not making money. Even though they might have been on Fiverr for a year, they’ve only had 10 sales and see if you can figure out why.
Ryan: I think Angie or Madmoo is a great example and I think that’s – it’s the way she approached it. She took something that she was passionate about and figured out a way to make money off it, rather than approaching it the other way which is how I just want to make a quick buck. I will do anything to make money. I think when you take that approach, oftentimes you do something like jump into logo design when you’re not a graphic designer. You jump into a category that you’re not experienced with just because you think you can make money versus taking something you’re passionate about that you might want to do even if you weren’t making money with it.
Music is a good example of that. Like with writing jingles, if you can get into a category that you’re passionate about and then figure out how to sell it. Maybe you’re passionate about yoga. You can promote businesses while doing yoga poses. It’s just all about thinking how you can take that passion and apply it in a way that other people would find it valuable.
Adam: For me when you’re a little bit unsure or you think that you have no skills – and I think yoga as you mentioned is a great example. For me I would kind of say to reflect on what you do in your day to day life. Think about what your processes are. So as an example, do you have a smartphone?
Now very similar thing to do but if you have a smartphone, you’re usually on the app store in some degree. You could offer a Gig to download someone’s app and let them know what you think about it. You might say this is – I like the app. I didn’t like it. I would change this. Are you on Twitter? Do you have like a thousand followers? You could offer to tweet a message to a thousand real followers. Different aspects as well where you may offer to like someone’s page as your actual human self or you – as you say with yoga, if you like to do yoga, you may offer to do poses while holding a sign.
If you like to do makeup, you might offer – you might do makeup videos or anything else along these lines. I think there’s a lot of examples of things that people kind of take for granted on a day to day basis of what they do that do have a value to people and are marketable to people.
So right now Ryan, I mean you live in a big city. And I mean what if I want you to take a photograph outside a landmark in your city? I can’t do that. I’m not going to fly all the way over there to take a photo. But you taking a photo of this landmark holding up a sign, that’s worth value to me and it’s way – I would definitely pay $5 at least for that.
Ryan: Well, I know doing the ukulele Gigs, there’s someone – I think multiple people who live in tropical places who actually do them on video with the ocean backdrop and that’s something that not a lot of people can do and that’s as simple as thinking, “What resources do I have that other people don’t?” It’s taking that passion and then applying it in a way that’s unique to them. So I mean I think that’s a great point and really think about what you have to offer that other people don’t whether it be geographically part of your knowledge or your skill set.
Adam: Yeah. I mean I once tested a Gig that I had where I basically wrote your message in scrabble tiles and I recorded it. All I did was I thought, “What can I do to set up a Gig?” So I had a scrabble board and all I literally did was I put the camera facing the board. I’ve spelled out the message on the board and then I put the camera on to record and I just pulled the tiles away back to front. Quickly flip the video around so it plays back to front which was actually then the right way around. The whole thing took about five to ten minutes and to the user who then watched the video afterwards, it basically looks like I’m spelling out your message on the scrabble boards and I mean I sold about 200 or 300 of those before I closed the Gig down to focus on more business-based stuff.
But that was simply done from a random game that I had in my house that I could easily utilize and I think there’s a lot to be said for just having a look around you. See what’s available to you and what you can take from that. There’s so much around you that your next door neighbor might be able to do but someone elsewhere in a different country may not be able to do so.
So your next door neighbor will take the sights and the buildings and the city around you for granted. You’re not exactly going to sell to them, “I will hold a sign in front of this building.” But someone like me, that’s a big selling point and the thing that Fiverr is – because it goes all across the world. You’ve got to think about all the different target audiences available.
Ryan: Right. I mean that’s a low barrier to entry too, talking about your scrabble Gig. I mean you have the board game lying around your house and then you just need a camera to film it. But with the way technology is advancing, you can get a great quality camera for under $200. I mean even use your phone to shoot in 4K in some cases.
Adam: Yeah. I actually did it with my phone and I did it without HD. I just did it as a normal smartphone which I think is like 720 so it’s not proper HD. But the really funny thing about that is I actually had a buyer come to me wanting to say, “Can you spell out this message?” and I kind of said, “I’m really sorry. I’ve already got X amount of As or X amount of Bs,” or something.
They actually paid me to go and buy new scrabble boards. So I then doubled my scrabble boards and my scrabble pieces because the buyer paid me to go cover their message basically. So the lead into that was ridiculously low because I was using something that was already around my house and I only expanded it when users wanted it.
Then I think in the end I brought a new camera for a holiday or something and then I added that as an extra on the Gig that I will do an HD message and overall, that Gig ended up paying for the camera that I bought for holiday.
So it was – the lead into that was using stuff I already had and I only expanded it as required when the Gig was doing well as opposed to spending $100 or $200 beforehand to try and set it up.
Maddie: Yes, and I think one of the things that you both have a really good point on is the fact that sitting back and looking around you, when you don’t know what you’re going to do next on Fiverr, is a really smart thing to do. After you’ve looked at the Gigs on there, you see what can be done, look around your house, drive around your city and see what you have to offer.
I find that big in Texas. I get people that write me sometimes and will ask me, “Can you do something a little bit different?” Like they might want a blog on horses and they say – since you’re in Texas, everybody assumes there are lots of horses here and there are. They say, “Can you write me a blog article? But I also want a picture of horses that’s not already on the internet somewhere.”
So it’s very easy for me just to go to my neighbor that has horses and take a picture that I know won’t be something that’s already out there on the internet and I can give that to the buyer and they might pay an extra $5 for my time to go down and take that photo. So there are all kinds of things that may be right around you. I see a guy on Fiverr that sells his own picture standing in front of the Taj Mahal and I thought, oh, that is so neat. I know people that are really interested in India and they would love to have that kind of thing. So I bought that Gig for a friend of mine.
Adam: Yeah, and I know the actual seller behind that specific Gig and all he simply does is he sets the lead time to about seven days, waits for four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten orders to come in and then just travels down one afternoon, does them in bulk and then delivers them all. So it becomes very cost-effective for him because he only has to travel once. It’s quite close to him anyway but it’s very easy to do for him and it’s just utilizing what’s around him.
I mean I live next to a beach and a lot of people are currently at the moment getting into paddle boarding or SUP boarding. You could do something similar. If that’s a hobby of yours or if you like surfing, just go out there and offer to take photos of the waves or you holding a sign on the surfboard or anything along these lines because there are so many people out there who if they see your Gig, would be your target audience whether it’s for a present for someone. You know, who might like surfing or who might like the Taj Mahal or it’s a travel website or it’s someone who’s looking to do social media posting and wants some eye-catching images or if someone wants a business and wants to get their logo out there. You’re going to post in all these different locations.
There’s literally so many people out there who have different needs and requirements as a buyer that there’s nothing wrong with seeing what’s around you, putting up a service and seeing how it connects with the audience.
Ryan: I think that’s a perfect example, the Taj Mahal, of everything we’ve talked about in a practical application.
Step one, you actually have to create the Gig. Step two, you find that process to make it work after you’ve decided this is what I can do. This is going to be different than what everyone else can do or everyone else does. So Taj Mahal is by me. I’m going to go do videos of the Taj Mahal. From there, getting that system of I’m going to go shoot them in bulk and deliver them. I mean that’s a perfect example of something anyone can do with the resources they have or the resources that are around them if they just get started and if they think about it and plan how they’re going to make it more efficient.
Maddie: Yes, and to give another example of how much this can help you make a Gig that is unique, there was a time that I wanted to build up my own YouTube channel. So I thought, well, I will go buy some videos on Fiverr. But what I wanted was videos that would be funny or silly or the kinds of things that sometimes can get a lot of views on YouTube and I really didn’t know how to look that up on Fiverr.
So I went. I just started looking around at Gigs that had “YouTube” as a keyword and there wasn’t really anybody doing that where they would say, “I will just go video a prank,” or doing something silly. I was kind of surprised and I got on buyer request and I put a buyer request out there and said I want someone to make a very simple video. You can use a phone to do it. I don’t need high quality but I just want someone to do something that’s fun or a prank that I can put on my channel.
I got two or three videos out of that from people who hadn’t even thought about doing that either because all they have is a camera. So they thought I need expensive video equipment to do a video. But for that kind of thing, you don’t. So uniqueness is so important now with Fiverr growing as fast as it is and this is one way to come up with something that’s totally different.
Ryan: That’s about all we have time for today. Thanks for listening to Fiverrcast, the official podcast by Fiverr and a big thanks to Maddie who joined us today. You can find her on Fiverr as Fonthaunt. Our jingle was made by the fabulous Customdrumloops AKA me and we were edited by Dansha. Thank you!
Transcription by Prexie Magallanes as Trans-Expert at Fiverr.com