For Ivilina, the fast-paced, unpredictable, highs and lows of the world of freelance was calling her name as young as 15-years-old. Bored with curriculum, schooling, and the same tests the rest of her classmates were taking, Ivilina knew she wanted to get out there and foray into the world of videography.
Fast forward to today, and Ivilina is managing her own video explainer company, comprised of designers, animators, copywriters, and voiceover artists, working with clients throughout the world to create the media they want and desire.
Ivilina claims, however, it would not be possible without the advantage she has received through freelancing on Fiverr. As animation became more popular within the videos, Ivilina was able to network and partner with the right talent to forge on within the videography industry.
Her story is one of collaboration – learn just how small the world is with today’s freelancing technology below.
- First of all, thank you for bringing your knowledge and experience to the Fiverr community. For those who don’t know you, can you give us a little background on how you made the leap into freelancing and how you turned your animation skills into an online sale machine?
- I’m sure you will agree with me that as a freelancer, it’s vital to handle business in the most professional way. What are your key tips to becoming a successful freelance videographer?
- By the time we made this interview, I see that you got more than 600 reviews (which is crazy!) and that you have several orders in your queue as well. I believe that managing your time is one of your top priorities, right? What do you do to maximise productivity without compromising quality? What are your technology tips or preferred tools to boost work productivity?
It is a real pleasure, thank you very much for the opportunity.
My name is Ivilina, and I am running an explainer video company at the moment. We are a small team of designers, animators, and copywriters, and we also partner with a lot of voiceover artists as well.
(ivilina showreel 2017)
I actually started my carrier as a videographer. I used to shoot, direct, and edit short movies or corporate videos for big bulgarian companies. I started working when I was 15 years old. I was still in school, but I felt so bored there and I wanted to do something else, something more creative, and more interesting. Learning languages wasn’t really my thing, although I am so thankful that I went to that high-school in retrospect. Knowing languages is vital when you are running a business, especially as a freelancer.
I loved my job back then, none of my classmates or friends were doing anything different than studying and I felt so different. I remember that I used to watch tutorials for hours after school.
I started making small school projects, showing them to my friends and they really loved them. This made me believe in myself.
Back then, all I cared about was videos. I used to love shooting, directing, and editing. One day I needed an animation sequence for a small introduction, so I went on one of the major freelance platforms to find someone who could help me. I haven’t discovered Fiverr then just yet, but I did noticed that most of the people were posting jobs and hiring animators for explainer videos. I didn’t know anything about that type of work, so I went online and I started searching. I found awesome and creative works that completely blew my mind. And then I thought to myself that I could do just that for the rest of my life. I loved how creative these videos were and still are and how much potential there is. And this is when I replaced the videography tutorials with animation tutorials.
I began working as a freelance animator at Fiverr, and everything was going pretty well until I figured that I needed a designer to help me out with the storyboards. I wanted to switch from creating generic template-based videos to unique and custom animation productions. I discovered our amazing talented designer, Miguel, on Fiverr. We started working together and as custom animations were a new thing to me and a new service I was offering, I remember that I was scared at first. I was scared to see if it was actually going to work and, if we were going to meet the expectations from our clients. But our clients loved it!
We started working for cheaper rates to help give our clients a high-quality product for less money. After all, that is why they were choosing to work with us. Soon after that, our dashboard had only custom animation offers and we had a lot of work. Since then, the wave of new clients has never stopped. Our clients were really happy with our rates and results.
Soon, we had to hire another designer and another animator, because we couldn’t handle all of the projects on our own. Now, about 2 years later, our company has 3 amazing designers ( The amazing Etia, Megi, and Miguel, of course!), and 2 more animators ( me and Francis), and it all started with a few happy clients here at Fiverr. They really made us believe in ourselves.
When I started working with Miguel back then, our vision was to completely change the way we do business., I wanted to stop working on non-custom animations and I wanted our business to be all about creativity. I remember that I tried so hard to make our first clients happy. I was preparing a really good discounted price for them and always delivered something extra that they didn’t actually order ( like a custom logo animation, or a custom gif animation), just to make them happy. I think that made us really successful at first, and it still helps to drive our positive reviews.
In June of last year, we made more than 12K. We had just one designer back then- Miguel.
And in May, we made more than 12K in revenue with more than $300 in tips.
And we continue to grow and make our clients even happier.
Yes, it is vital to always handle everything in the most professional way possible. I’d say that the most important thing is this: make your customer satisfaction your first priority – always! Make them feel comfortable talking to you, deliver them extras that they didn’t order, and make each of your clients feel like a king or a queen. This is our philosophy, and this made us successful as we continue to grow and improve our skills every day.
Clients always appreciate your time, your attention, and your attitude. This is why we always handle business in the most friendly and transparent way possible. We don’t ever say ‘no’ to a client, we always try to find a solution and, understand exactly what they would like to see in their video. After that, we offer them exactly what they wanted. This is exactly what makes them fall in love with our work, because we understand their vision and convert it into an amazing and engaging video.
Thank you for your kind words! It is really crazy how many happy clients we have and how much work we are currently working on.
Yes, managing my time and the time of the designers and animators in our company is really important because we are a team. And oddly enough, we seem to have better organisation when we’re under pressure and have to meet several deadlines at once. This way, we never compromise quality, because every artist is working on a project that he or she loves! We discuss each project before starting a brainstorming session to help us decide which designer and animator would be best for each project.
Then, we start our design process and keep the client in the loop to make sure that we are on the same page about everything. This way, the quality of the animation is exactly what the client had expected from the start, because he or she knows exactly the exact stage we’re at and how the animation will look from the very beginning. We also provide clients with a project management document, where we add our dates for each stage of the design process, again making the process really transparent and straightforward for the client. The client knows what to expect and when they can expect the final product.
Our designers and animators are able to start a few projects at once, because of our design process. We frequently work on different projects simultaneously, creating sketches, style samples, etc., and making sure that we are on the same page about everything before we move to the actual designs and animation. We always say that the most difficult part is actually making sure that everything works the way it should. Technically, we can do a storyboard in 2 days, but would it be exactly what they want? No, it won’t. This is why our process of working is as follows:
- We start with a script breakdown. We make sure to be as creative as possible, breaking down the script into key sections and adding our ideas for each stage.
- Once this is approved, we move to sketching. We do rough, hand- drawn sketches of our ideas to make sure that we are on the same page about the visuals.
- Then, we do a style sample. Based on the style that we selected, we design one character or a main element to make sure that the style works.
- Once this is approved and perfected, we do a project board. This is where we design all of the characters and elements that will be used in the graphic storyboard later on.
- When the project board is approved, we assemble them into the beautiful graphic storyboard.
- And just after that, we start the animation, always making sure that the scenes are perfect!
We also offer unlimited revisions to all our stages and we make sure that each step is absolutely perfect, before we move on to the next one.
We had to change our process a few times throughout our experiences, but we always try to improve it, so that it can meet the expectations of our clients in the end.
I wanted to explain the way we work, to illustrate how ‘ making sure that everything works’ takes a lot more time than to technically make a scene or an animation. And explaining the process from the start to the client is vital, so that we can also plan our time with the team and make sure that the results are perfect.
I am going to repeat myself here, but I strongly believe that what sets us apart from the competition is our attention to the fine details, our communication with clients, our process, and our creativity. We always offer custom solutions for our clients. We, of course, have fixed prices and packages, but we always try to understand the vision and idea of each client, before we go ahead and offer them some of our packages.
Our customer-focused strategy and philosophy is what makes us unique. Our unlimited revisions, process, attention to detail, attitude, and care are what make clients happy and what will always make our clients happy, not only in the video animation business, but in every business.
What makes an explainer video look great is a killer script, flawless design, and creative animation! This is what a video needs to go viral or to attract more clients, visitors, and sales to the business using it.
And our company is your one- stop-shop for all that. We can make your video creative, explanatory, viral…
Not because we are the best company out there, we are not just yet! But because we listen, come up with a solution, and we do it right. We are doers!
Throughout her experience, Ivilina has learned to create a business model that centers on the customer, first and foremost. Supporting a philosophy that caters to the customer before any other team member is consulted, Ivilina has enjoyed immense success as a business owner, explainer video director, and freelancer in this new gig economy world.
Operating a transparent, honest, and dedicated business that is able to churn out video products faster than Ivilina ever imagined, she claims that she absolutely loves working for herself, pursuing her innate passions every single day. She is challenging everyone else out there to consider a life of personal passion, even if it scares you. For her, it’s been many years in the making, but she has curated a professional life that is directly in-line with what she loves and admires in the world.