I’m very exhausted. I work as a Graphic & Illustration designer.
- My first mistake was thinking that something like art, that is typically a slow cooked process, could work in a volume sales environment.
- Second mistake, tailoring my gigs to fit the volume sales/seller model rather than tailing them to fit my own time and skill set.
I make ink drawings that are digitized for Printing on Demand.
My best selling gig delivered:
1 design in two days,
2 designs in 4 days
and 3 designs in 6 days.
Not bad right? Sounded reasonable at first. Make one drawing in two days? Sure, I can do that. Except. My gig sold unexpectedly well. So imagine, getting 4-6 orders in a day- coming from an account that could only cop about 4 sales a month.
I admit, my eyes were larger than my stomach, I wanted them all and wanted to deliver them all. Don’t we all? And I did. As a matter of fact, for two years I never had an order marked as late.
Know that thing where Jon Baas always reminds you to treat Fiverr like a business? Well it’s pretty good advice- I listened to him and it worked. It was definitely paying off too.
As a result, Fiverr quite rapidly grew and took over my life. I allowed it to because was I good at it… I’m good at what I do. I love making art- absolutely love it. And above all it’s incredibly rewarding to see money in your pocket from something that got you in heaps of trouble at school (doodling on everything). The thing is though, there’s only so much sleep deprivation and self isolation you can take before it’s time to see a shrink. I started loosing my mind a little bit-perhaps I still am (lol).
4-6 orders a day really do sound scrumptious until you actually have to do them.
4-6 orders in one day,
all due on the same day
and that day is in two days.
As a designer and artist, unless you are selling clip-art (which is highly frowned upon) this is a very difficult thing to do much less maintain.
Don’t get me wrong here, this may work for things that don’t take an extensive amount of time for art it may even work short term but there is not much longevity in selling art by volume if you are going to do it solo. Taking revisions into account, imagine now, you have 4-6 new orders due in two days and revisions pending on 4 of your previous orders.
Which orifice exactly am I supposed to pull the time to get this done out of? -don’t answer that.
Inevitably my gig started suffering. I was suffering. Revisions were my Achilles heel. This is usually where Fiverr academy advises you to alter your gig; change the price, extend the delivery time, etc. However, when you know what you already have has worked so well
and you fear the algorithm
fear even more going back to having little to no sales,
…you leave it untouched for the sake of sales- my precious sales.
I loved seeing those pending sales.
At this point I decided I needed to work harder. More sleep deprivation and depression have now entered the building. I’ve also gained a considerable amount of weight because of the sedentary lifestyle. The success stories are only one side of the coin and there is an unhealthy side to selling on Fiverr that is often overlooked.
But this isn’t the worst for it’s the last few casualties that have been the most painful.
- I have cancellations on two completed orders for something that the buyer was not clear on/did not respond.
- There’s a charge back from someone who left a great review.
- And also a warning on my account for something that I didn’t do- it states that I solicited a review when really what I asked the buyer was whether the revision was what he had wanted or not; something to the effect of “can I get some feedback on the last revision” -something I ask all my buyers. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? I did use the word feedback which maybe sparked some confusion; buyer probably thought I meant “write me a review”-sigh. unfortunate.
- This isn’t my first chargeback, I’ve taken the last one or two rather lightly.
To top it all off all of these people have escaped with the delivered files with which they can now use the work to their leisure- for free.
Thing is, “Over deliver” is something that Fiverr always advises. I over delivered. Played by the rules. Gave my buyers exactly what they wanted and more (sometime I give an extra free version of their design/order) Is this what you get for over delivering?
For those who are wondering about customer support; didn’t help. I tried to explain along screenshots however they were/are adamant that I was wrong. They didn’t even read the entirety of my request. Not sure if they looked at the screenshots. No amount of explaining can waive them. Which in itself makes me incredibly despondent because I am in no way guilty of what the warning says.
I know this is a part of “business” but I simply cannot sell in the volumes required to not feel the impact when something goes awry. Admittedly also, a great deal of my experience is as a result of some stupid decisions made. At the core I really did try to give the best service that I could.
I am very exhausted. It’s difficult to find the motivation at the moment.
I just feel done. Burnt out and cheated. Things I could do better (which works as advice for anyone reading this);
- Pace yourself.
- Set your deadlines with enough time to work AND revise.
- Price your work realistically (according to the time it takes, technical skill, etc)
- Have a limit number of orders set for your highest selling gigs (I did this eventually)
- Don’t use the word “feedback”
- Try setting up multiple streams of income/backup (at least make a start somewhere)
- Most importantly, take care of yourself; you are working to make things better for yourself not the other way around.
I’ve paused my gigs, set my account to out of office and taking some time off to work on other things.
If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading my wall of text.
I hope everyone is having a better day.