Tag - Fiverr

Building a Fiverr Business – Redd Horrocks from Fiverrcast Podcast

redd_headshots_57

Creating, building and growing a full-time business on Fiverr.com

We have with us today Redd Horrocks from Fiverr.com fame and voiceover fame on Fiverr, also the official Fiverr podcast, the Fiverrcast. Redd, welcome to the show. I'm super-excited to have you here today.

Redd Horrocks:
Well, thanks very much for having me.

Lance Tamashiro:
I know that you're really busy, and like I was telling you, we got a ton of questions. People just want to know everything that there is to know about you and voiceovers and all of this other stuff. I think maybe the best way to get started is maybe if you could talk about how you got started on Fiverr, and I believe you're full-time now, and what that transition was like from just finding out about Fiverr to using it as your full-time income.

Redd Horrocks:
Well, yeah, my Fiverr story is ... It's very similar to a lot of other people's Fiverr stories. Initially, a few years ago, I think it was back in 2012, I was working on another project, and I had this document that I had no idea how to format. I'm not super technically savvy in everything. Internet, yes. Documents, no. I asked a friend who's like the person that knows how to do that, and he was like, "Oh, you should check out this site Fiverr. There's probably someone on there that can do it for you." I'm like, "Okay, no problem." Went on there, found it, got my document formatted.

I was looking around, and I was like, "Oh, they sell voiceovers. I do voiceovers." It's kind of like, "Well, maybe I can see whether or not I could do that." I got together and put up a gig. It was slow at first, as it always is for everyone. Then over time, it was able to build up to a point where I was making enough income from it that I was able to seriously consider whether or not I could leave my full-time job. I waited a really long time to do it. I actually gave my job four months' notice because I was like, "What happens if it all goes horribly wrong?" Luckily, it didn't, and I left my full-time job then and started doing voiceovers full time back in September of 2014.

Lance Tamashiro:
Oh, wow! So full-time for almost two years then?

Redd Horrocks:
Getting close to it. Yeah, almost two years.

Lance Tamashiro:
Oh, my gosh. What an incredible milestone! When you're talking about this, had you done ...? Were you part of the voiceover world before Fiverr or ...?

Redd Horrocks:
To an extent. I've been doing voiceovers way, way back since I was in college, so about twelve years now. I was doing them kind of off and on, but with no real way to find a reliable source of work because I didn't work with an agent, so I would do things that I found on Craigslist. I would do projects for friends. I was signed on with an audio-book company, so I did a few audio books, but it wasn't really consistent at all. It was one of those things where you always had to hustle to find work.

I was expecting Fiverr to be kind of the same, and for a while, it was. Every time, anytime you're new, there's certain ways that you can kind of hustle for work, but the stability came a lot faster than I was expecting. Luckily, I'm kind of a bit of a ... I've got a bit of a magic trick. I'm British, but I live in the US, so I can actually record in both my normal British accent, and then I have a really solid, standard American accent from living here so long. So the other benefit that I had was I could kind of bridge the gap between people who wanted British or American or both.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah, it's really weird. I listened to your demos on Fiverr, and I'm like, "How? This doesn't even sound like the same person." It is a magic trick, having that ...

Redd Horrocks:
If you would like me to, I can switch it on for a little while.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah, just as you go, whenever you feel like it.

Redd Horrocks:
Just randomly, I'll be American, and then I'll be British. It's a bit of a party trick. People actually ask me to do it sometimes for fun when I'm out.

Lance Tamashiro:
Oh, that's fun. That's really fun. When you move ...? You started working on Fiverr. I think one of the frustrations for everybody, even when I got started on Fiverr doing this sort of stuff and watching the people that were at the top of the search results, is I'd look at yours, and you've got fifty orders in the queue every single time that I'd look. Then there are the people that are just trying to get started, and they struggle to get any sort of thing going at all.

My experience was it was slow. There were some things that I figured out that I could do, and then this snowball effect happened where I created this monster that I couldn't stop once it got started. It sounds like that was sort of the same path that you took, as well. You're kind of in a unique situation where you get to do the Fiverr podcast. You're involved in the Fiverr community a little bit more. What are some of the big mistakes that you see people trying to get started on Fiverr make?

Redd Horrocks:
There's a couple of different things that people do. One of the things that makes me sad when I see it happen is when people get so frustrated that they give up because they think, "Oh, I can never get there. I'm never going to get there. There's all these people that sell the same service as me, and they're selling it for cheaper or they're selling it ..." The thing that you have to remember is, when you are working on Fiverr, you are working and you are your brand. You're selling a product, but people are choosing to buy from you. If you make your gig personal, if you go in and you tell people a little bit about who you are, how long you've been doing this, just little things that are going to set you apart from the randomness of everyone else ... If you can do little things that set you apart from everyone else and showcase your personality more, that is honestly one of the most important things that you can do.

One of the reasons why I have a lot of orders in my queue is a lot of them are repeat clients. I would say about half the orders in my queue at any one time are people that I've worked with before. It's all about building up client relationships. When you do have the occasional person trickling in, if you're new, see what you can do to make their experience as a buyer be the best experience they could possibly have, and they're not going to look anywhere else because they won't need to. That way, you've got a client that might come back. Then you might get another new one a couple of days later, and you'll find you've got an order from the new one and an order from the old one. It's just all about working really hard to build those connections.

The other thing that I see people do a lot, which I feel sad about too, is when they drastically undersell themselves, when they undervalue themselves. They're doing an extortionate amount of work for a very small amount of money. When you're doing that, that's when it gets really easy to get frustrated. If you've got an order that you've spent hours on, and at the end of the day, you get $5 for it. Don't be afraid to stand by your work. You're a professional. They're hiring you because you're providing a service that they cannot do for themselves. Don't be afraid to charge what you're worth. Yeah, absolutely, in the beginning, discount this, discount that, negotiate with people, but within reason. Don't let people take advantage of your newness.

Lance Tamashiro:
For example, with your voiceover stuff, have you ever changed your pricing model, or have you always done the number of words that you do per gig?

Redd Horrocks:
Yes, I have changed my pricing model twice. When I started out on the platform, I was doing ... Right now, my rate is 125 words for $5. When I started, I was doing 150. It was, I believe, March of last year was the first time I did a rate increase. Then just a couple of months ago, I did another increase, but instead of increasing my word count, I increased the rate to have an extra-fast one-day delivery. Instead of having a $5 one-day delivery, now it's $10 to get one-day delivery.

Lance Tamashiro:
How did that ...? I mean, did you see a slowdown? Did you already have enough ...? How did your repeat clients respond to that?

Redd Horrocks:
Everyone was actually really okay with it. The time that I increased my word ... I upped my rate for the word count, I did give everyone a month's notice, so they all knew it was coming. With the extra-fast, I actually did it as a test. I took a week and saw exactly how many orders I got with extra-fast done on that one rate, and then I switched it for the next week to see how many I got at the new rate. The impact was so minimal to the amount of people that were ordering it that I decided to keep it.

Especially if you're new, it's a great time to play with your prices a little bit to see what's the sweet spot for you because you're not locked into anything. If you do have regular clients, so long as you're upfront with them and you communicate with them, then they're not going to have a problem with it. I do have one client that I still do her work at a discounted rate, but that's only because she was literally the third buyer I ever had on the entire site, so she's just like ... She's got a special spot in my heart and generally orders every few weeks. She'll send in an order, and I'm like, "No, I'm not going to change my rate for you because you've been with me since the beginning."

Lance Tamashiro:
One of the things you mentioned is the repeat buyers. I think that that was probably one of the things that was most surprising to me as a seller on Fiverr is how many repeat buyers there really are on somewhere like Fiverr in a category like voiceover. I think that you're absolutely right. Picking up one at a time ... If you can pick up one repeat client every ten days or every week or something, all of a sudden, you end up with this huge amount of buyers that are buying consistently over and over again. I love that idea of keeping the price the same for some of those people.

That was huge to me. I think that, when I started, I didn't realize how many repeat buyers I was going to see that would turn into customers. One of the big mistakes that I made was I probably didn't treat every buyer the way that I should have getting started. I didn't realize. It kind of felt like this marketplace where people would just buy and then you'd never hear from them again. It turns out Fiverr buyers are this rabid community of people that buy non-stop for all kinds of things.

Redd Horrocks:
Yeah. One of my favorite phrases that I have is, "You never know when your next buyer is going to be your best buyer." That's something that I try really hard to ascribe to whenever I get new clients. It can be tricky sometimes, but for the most part, it's just ... Yeah, you develop a relationship with these people. That's, again, when being personal comes in because all of the time, I get clients, they'll message me, "Hi, Redd. How are you? How's things going?" It's not like, "Here is my order." It's a little bit more engaged. It's definitely a selling point for buyers when they have like ... It's like they have almost like a buy-in to us as people. They have a stake, and they like that.

Lance Tamashiro:
I've noticed even for the stuff that I'll do is I'll randomly, if they message me or sometimes they need something fixed that might be out of the scope, if I fix it for them, and then I tell them, "Thanks for being one of my VIP customers." It's amazing that saying little things like that to people makes them feel so special they never go anywhere else. It's amazing.

I think that is something that's totally overlooked, is that human element. I know you guys talk about that a lot on the Fiverrcast podcast, but I think that people don't really realize how that is the make or break. When you go and look, there's a hundred people that do awesome voiceovers on Fiverr, and at some point, it really is are you able to make that connection with somebody where somebody else may not be able to.

Redd Horrocks:
That's the thing, is, yes, I understand that there are categories like voiceover where you look at it and you think, "Oh, there's all these people that are getting all the work," but look through, and there's plenty of buyers that are way down in search that still have orders in their queue. It's because, especially with voiceovers, people are buying your voice. They are looking for you.

Also, something that happens a lot, which I don't think a lot of sellers realize, especially in voiceover, is I might get an order, and that client might have sent the same script to ten different people. He wants to hear different versions. It's a very inexpensive way ... It's almost an inexpensive way of getting a plethora of auditions from people, and then that's how they decide. That's the thing. If you're doing exactly the same script as me and they like your voice better, it doesn't matter that I've done as many orders as I have. It matters that they like you better.

Lance Tamashiro:
Along those lines, it always is just amazing to me when I open up yours and some of the other top sellers and just see the orders in the queue. What does your typical day look like, and how do you go about managing thirty, fifty, twenty orders at a time?

Redd Horrocks:
Well, some days it's easier than other days. My typical day ... I used to work night. I used to work in the evenings because my fiancee used to have an evening job, so I used to work the same hours as him, but now he's in school full-time, so I don't do that anymore. Now I work almost like a regular nine-to-five. Generally, it's get up in the morning. I'll do my admin work. I'll answer messages. I'll go through modification requests for about an hour or so before I get into the studio.

Then depending on my workload, I have kind of different ways that I approach my day. If it's a heavy day, which is usually a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, then I just absolutely knuckle down, and I just start plowing through my queue. I'll turn off email. I'll turn off Skype. I'll turn everything off so that I can just really focus. Then it's a case of you just get into a rhythm, and you find your rhythm with it, so I'll handle that. Then if it's a lighter day, I have something I call working 30-15s, which is where I'll do 30 minutes of work, and then I'll stop for 15 minutes. My studio is in my house, so I'll stop for 15 minutes and leave the studio. That's when I'll do some housework, or I might do some prepping food for lunch or hanging out with my dogs or something like that.

Lance Tamashiro:
Awesome.

Redd Horrocks:
That enables me to not get burned out, because if you're just going in the studio for seven hours in a stretch, you're going to go bananas because you're standing by yourself in a small padded room talking to yourself.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yes. Some places they call that a mental asylum, right?

Redd Horrocks:
Yes, exactly. Yeah, those are usually the two kind of ways I approach it. I usually do the 30-15s on my lighter days. Today, actually, today is a heavy day, but I'm still doing 30-15s because it's a really heavy day, and I have to work a bit later today and have to keep my wits about me.

Lance Tamashiro:
Do you keep track of your orders, or do you just kind of this one's done, it's delivered? Do you do other admin work on top of the Fiverr to-do list?

Redd Horrocks:
I do the most ridiculously rudimentary tracking ever. I track ... At the end of the day, I go into my analytics and see how many orders I got that day, and I write it down in a notebook.

Lance Tamashiro:
So mostly just to keep track of what you think you should get per day or did something happen?

Redd Horrocks:
It's mostly tracking trends. I like to see how different days of the week compare to other different days of the week and how, say, if I usually get this many orders one day, I can kind of expect others the next day. It also gives me a really good way of tracking my progress, in general, year to year because obviously, with any business, you always want to see an upward trend, so I track order numbers, and I also track revenues.

The other thing that I like to keep an eye on is if it's gotten to a point where my order numbers are really high, but my revenues are lower, that means I'm not selling as many of my gig extras. I might then want to go back and look in and see, okay, is there a reason ... Like, what's not selling? Do I need to tweak it? Do I need to make a price adjustment? Do I need to rephrase it? All that kind of thing. It's mostly just to keep an eye on how I'm doing. I'm really terrible, though. I don't track my extra ... my non-Fiverr ... I have some non-Fiverr clients too, and I don't ever track their stuff. I probably should start doing that, but Fiverr's analytics are so easy.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, just to see the graph of ...

Redd Horrocks:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), exactly. My graph looks the same every week, the same peaks and divots on different days. It's always the same. It never changes.

Lance Tamashiro:
My wife laughs at me because I started doing the Fiverr thing, and I'd notice that every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, for whatever reason for me, those are always light days, and they always have been. I assume for somebody else in the same category, they're really heavy days. Every single time, I'd be like, "You know, this thing's not going to work out. I think I've got to go do something else." Finally, one day she looked at me and said, "You know you say this every single weekend."

Redd Horrocks:
Oh, my God. My fiancee says this to me every year. Whenever I freak out in December and January, it's like, "Oh, God, I'm not getting any orders. I'm going to have to go back to corporate." He's like, "You say this every year."

Lance Tamashiro:
"You say this every year." It's weird because I think when you're working by yourself in a padded room or on the internet or whatever it is, you kind of lose track of time.

Redd Horrocks:
Yes.

Lance Tamashiro:
It's weird. Some days it feels like I've been working all day long, and then some days I feel like it's been a year since I've worked. I think that that's the value in even just writing down how many orders per day, if nothing else, because I think you need that sanity check. I think we get this weird, warped perception of how long we've actually been doing stuff.

Redd Horrocks:
Absolutely. That's the thing too. The other thing I keep an eye on is my delivered orders. I look to see how many orders I've delivered that day. I think it was either yesterday or the day before, again losing tracking of time, that I looked at it, and I was like, "Oh, my God. I feel like I've been so unproductive today. I feel like I've done nothing." I looked at my delivered, and I'd done a ton of orders. "When did I do that? Was I sleep recording or something?" It's interesting.

The other thing too is giving yourself credit for the amount of work that you're doing is really, really important. That's another thing that's good about tracking trends and tracking things that you've delivered because you really do get to see, okay, I really did do this. This is something that I accomplished and something that I completed. The other thing that I like to do is I set myself targets, like little milestones that I consider small wins. Like, I want to have done this many completed orders. I want this many reviews on this gig. I want to have this much amount of revenue in my ... Then the other really silly one is I want this much world domination on my world-domination map.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right. Isn't it weird how that little map, like, you really pay attention to it?

Redd Horrocks:
No control over it, but I'm always ... Anytime it ticks up a percent, I'm going around trying to figure out which country it was, and I have no idea. I have no idea which country, but I get so excited.

Lance Tamashiro:
They need to make that so you can put that publicly somewhere on your website. Then somebody could make a site for all the sellers of who's dominating the world the most.

Redd Horrocks:
It actually used to be. Back in the day, this is more in ... My podcast co-host, Adam, tells of the days of this. Back when the site began, it was public on what your world-domination map was and also your delivered orders. He managed to come up with some kind of program that tracked all the top sellers that said what their world domination was and who was doing the best in how many orders delivered. He would run like ... This is way, way back. Apparently, he'd run mini-contests for people. This was obviously when Fiverr was much smaller, but it sounds like ... I'm like, "Oh, I missed it. That sounds really fun."

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah, that does sound ... because there's so many little hidden things that you start exploring and figuring out. I find that I live in basically two or three different tabs. Every time I get some extra time and I start clicking around, I'm like, "Wow, when did they add this? What is this cool thing that I've got here?" One other thing that I wanted to ask you about and talk about is, especially for people that are just getting started, can you remember back to when you were getting going and that first day when you wake up in the morning and you've got ten, fifteen orders in the queue? On one hand, it's what you've been waiting for, but on the other hand, it's like a heart attack.

Redd Horrocks:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lance Tamashiro:
You don't know how to ... One of the things that ... I talk to a lot of people that are getting started on Fiverr. You talked about your daily schedule and your 15-30s and all of these different things, and I think that what a lot of people don't realize is one of the genius things that Fiverr seems to do is they don't let you get yourself in trouble right away. Everybody wants to have fifty orders in the queue. The truth is, can you handle fifty orders in the queue? One of the things for me that I learned ... I had never done voiceover stuff. I didn't know the software. I didn't know my workflow or anything ... is that when Fiverr was giving me an order here, an order there, it allowed me to sort of build a system so that that first morning when I got fifteen, twenty, ten orders, it was scary, but I also knew that I could handle it.

Redd Horrocks:
Yeah, it was very similar to me. When I started out, I wasn't expecting anything, so it was a case of getting an order here, an order there, and then getting ... The other thing too you have to remember if you're new, when you start out, an order is going to take you a lot longer than it's going to take you in six months' time because what happens is you practice, and you get used to it. You get used to the system, and you get used to what you're doing, and you get used to your workflow.

For me, back in the day, a $5 order would have taken me five or ten minutes to do. Now I can knock it out in less than a minute because I've done it so many times. It's a case of just practice, practice, practice, and then ten orders is going to take you a lot less time in six months than it will take you now. That's something that you have to remember is that it does get ... You get better. It's not that it gets easier. It's that you get better.

Lance Tamashiro:
The weird thing is is that, for me at least, there would have been nothing that I could have done that would have prepared me to be better. If I would have done practice reads and tried to deliver it ... Something happens when you're watching that clock ticking on your order queue and you're like, "Oh, my gosh, I've got to get this done. It's got to be perfect. It's got to be the way that the client wants it, and it's got to be fast." You can't simulate that kind of pressure that you get from delivering a real gig.

Redd Horrocks:
Right, exactly. It's just it's something that comes with time. Yeah, there is going to be ... There is always that day when you wake up ... I actually ... I'm not going to lie. I had that this morning when I looked at my queue because it's been a very, very busy week for me. I woke up this morning, and I looked at my queue, and I had this moment of like, "Oh, my God. Okay. Well, guess we're having a long day today." That's just kind of how it was. Back when I was working corporate, too, it was really, really rough because I was working a fifty-hour-a-week job. Then my job got out at midnight, and I would get home, and I would record till 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. Oh, it was rough. I always look back, and it's like, "Well, it could be worse."

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah. It's a good problem to have, and I love the way that you transitioned too. I think that's the way that people should do that is not go put all their eggs in their basket and say they're going to work on Fiverr full-time, because the thing that I've noticed is you can only grow your Fiverr business as fast as your Fiverr business grows.

Redd Horrocks:
Right.

Lance Tamashiro:
There's nothing you can do, at least that I've seen or any of the people that I've talked to, where it's like if you did this for eight hours a day, you would be full-time in a month. It doesn't happen that way.

Redd Horrocks:
No, it doesn't.

Read more...

Voice Over Career, Fiverr, WoVO & More! Dave Courvoisier (Courvo)

Courvo

Lance Tamashiro:
Hey everybody this is Lance Tamashiro, welcome back to the show. I'm really excited about today's show because we're going to talk about a different business model that we've talked about quite a lot in this show. Actually we're going to be talking about the whole world of voice overs, performing voice overs and I'm super excited for the guest that we've got today. His name is Dave Courvoisier. You probably know him online as Courvo, I think it's what he goes by now, but I actually grew up watching him on the news in Las Vegas and somehow through all of this stuff that we've doing lately, our paths have crossed here. I asked him to be on the show because a lot of the things that you guys that listen to a lot know that I've been doing lately is trying to figure out how to build other types of businesses than what I'm currently in.

Dave has a different approach and represents an organization that sort of looks at the voice over stuff a little bit differently. I asked him to be on here so that, one, I can educate myself but two, also educate all of you and to sort of open your eyes up to some of the possibilities, some of the different things that you can do. Dave, I'm super excited to have you here, thanks for doing this, I know you're a busy guy.

Dave Courvo:
Lance, I'm so glad to be here. It's so serendipitous that we should have crossed paths after all these years. You said you watched me on the news, that makes me happy because we want viewers and that's a real compliment. Thank you.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah. I know we have a very limited amount of time here, but one of the things I sort of want to get started with, how do you go from ... How did you go, what was your journey of sort of being on the news to getting into this whole world of voice overs? Now I know you are president of the world voice organization and what was that path for you? How did you go from that to the one thing to the next? Also, if you can talk about what your organization does.

Dave Courvo:
Well, you got a couple of hours?

Lance Tamashiro:
No, I mean I do.

Dave Courvo:
That's like three questions there. First, I've been a news guy on TV since I don't know, 1980? That makes me kind of old but you know what? I worked really hard at it and I thought I was really into something in the best years of TV. Now it's taken a turn like radio, the internet has disrupted TV like it has photography, voice overs, publishing, graphics artists. If you have a freelance entrepreneurial audience then they know all this. They know that the TV and their profession has been disrupted by the internet. I saw that coming years ago and I thought, "I got at least one good thing left in me." I thought, "Well, voice over's got to be easy. Jeez, I do that anyways on the news, right?" I startled dabbling it in and really immersing myself in that culture. I found out that broadcasting doesn't necessarily work in my favor as a voice actor. In fact, in many ways it works against me and I can explain that later.

I've been at it for about 8 or 9 years now and it's definitely a marathon and not necessarily a sprint, it takes a lot of application and like I said, immersion in the business to really find your way through it. How I started in world's voices was a group of us were with an organization that we thought had promise 4 or 5 years ago. It turned out to be almost illegitimate, almost illegal. A core of 4 of us withdrew from that organization and started our own, we called it World's Voices. The idea was to create an industry trade association for voice actors. We felt that there were a lot of people in our community who were not being represented by the union or anybody else.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, right.

Dave Courvo:
We set about to set out some best practices for producers, for coaches for talent. We take a high road in ethical judgements of things, we try to set a tone that advocates for voice actors, mentors, promotes and educate the voice acting community. In 3 years, we've grown up to 750 members and we have an annual conference in Las Vegas, we're heading for our third one here in April.

Lance Tamashiro:
Awesome. I know that you guys have some standards and best practices that you set out and I think that one of the big things that, maybe we should talk about right off the bat, what does the path look like? Because I know ... It's funny that you say, "I thought being in media, being in broadcasting, I'd be good at voice over. If you know how to talk maybe you're good at voice over." All the things that you see on the internet, get a mic and talk, you know how to do that so be a voice actor. I found out the exact same thing as you, like it's not as easy as just getting into a microphone and talking. It's a lot harder than that, what sort of is the path that you guys set out if somebody listening is saying, "This is something that interests me, how do I get started? What do I do?"

Dave Courvo:
There's kind of two answers to that. First of all, there's a wide spectrum of genres of voice acting, I mean there's video games, there's audio books, there's radio imaging, there's commercial work. You kind of have to find your niche, you need to find what you're good at and your bread and butter is and start there. Then if you think you want to tackle another genre later you can do that. There's not many voice actors that can do a lot of different genres because it's a wide range of skills. You need to kind of decide on that. Beyond that you need to also decide whether you're going to do this part-time, whether you're going to make this just some little extra pay, little extra job on the side or if you're going to make a career out of it. That's one distinction that I really want to bring up to your audience today. The difference between a career voice actor and a voice actor who's just doing it as a part time job.

Right now, I got a full-time job as a newscaster but I feel like I'm doing voice over full-time too. Yes, burn the candle on both ends, I'm very busy. Luckily I'm an empty nester, it's just me and my wife at home and she understands. I think there's an important distinction between how do you want to approach this business, it is a marathon. People get into and they say, "Gee, I was a radio DJ for 5 years, I should be able to do that. I used to cut spots over at the station." It turns out that in today's world, in today's market, the announcer voice is not the one they want. Almost every audition I get, the direction say, conversational. We're looking for the everyday guy, we don't want somebody who's an announcer. In fact it'll say, no announcers or no announcery.

I had to overcome that broadcast lose cadence, that rhythm, that pattern of broadcast news, it's so typical to do everyday guy. I'm still working at it, it requires a lot of coaching, it requires acting classes, improv. It takes an application of practice and intensity to get past the news broadcast or the radio broadcast cadence.

Lance Tamashiro:
It's funny that you say that because I know that when I started out, sort of my journey of dabbling into this whole thing, I saw that whole thing where people were like, "You got to be conversational." I'm thinking, "Well, great I talk to people everyday." This weird thing happens, when you put a microphone in front of you that you automatically turn into the guy on the radio from the 80's.

Dave Courvo:
And you know what? Most of the people that send out those jobs are the producers, are the clients as we call them, they include directions that sometimes are longer than the [inaudible 00:07:40]. It just wonders through this what they think pie on the sky voice they want and bottom line is they don't really know. They don't know exactly what they want, they kind of have to have an idea. Sometimes they'll send you a link to a YouTube video and they want you to listen to that and copy that. They'll say, we need a Morgan Freeman type, well then go get Morgan Freeman. Well he costs too much, well then you're not going to get Dave Courvoisier instead. I can't do, there are people that do Morgan Freeman but ultimately you got to do yourself.

It's what you bring to the mic, it's what your life experience forms you as. That's what they want, they want you now. You may not be the guy they necessarily want but the next client, you might hit the mark totally for that guy. You just have to throw out you to the client and hope that that's what they're looking for. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.

Lance Tamashiro:
You pick the genre and then it's ... I mean obviously some equipment type of stuff. I know that there's a range of 50 dollar mics up to you name it. As high as you want to go, is there a sort of a set-up that somebody just getting started that's good enough or do they need to spend 5,000 dollars?

Dave Courvo:
There's a sweet spot around 2 to 300 dollars where there's a series of set-up mics that are just great. I like the studio projects C1 mic, it's 300 dollars or less. It's top notch. Some of the best coaches that I've studied with, have used that mic. I would say, less than 800 dollars to really get going. I mean a 300 dollar mic, software these days for recording is pretty decent priced to a 100 bucks or so. Then you need good cables, you need maybe pre-amp, you need some kind of USB interface to port it into your computer and you're set.

The most important thing Lance is, you can have a 5,000 dollar U87 Neumann mic and it's going to sound crappy if your recording environment isn't good.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right.

Dave Courvo:
Harping on that is what we've been doing a lot of lately is get your recording environment set. Now I work at a converted closet. A lot of people buy their own booths, whisper rooms or their set-up specifically for audio clarity, but you can actually do pretty well in a motel room with an ironing board and some comforters. It's really just isolating the outside sound from getting in and keeping a nice tight sound inside that doesn't reverberate or echo off the walls.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think the one thing I sort of figured out is that's the biggest thing as obviously, as quiet as you can make it and specially the higher end you go on a mic the more that it seems to pick up, which in a lot of ways, you talked about the lower end 2 to 300 dollars stuff, in a lot of ways, you're way better off if you don't have this great set-up already, sound wise.

Dave Courvo:
I think what works for a lot of people is that they go out and buy some PVC pipe and make a frame that's 4 by 6 and maybe 6 or 7 feet tall and they just drape some of that stuff that you get a U Haul for padding over it and on top of it. That actually works really well.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah because I think the biggest thing that I've noticed is, you got to to dead in that bouncing off the walls and that's really I think what makes the difference, at least that I've noticed in the people that are making it and aren't is that you don't hear that echo that's in there.

Dave Courvo:
The bottom line Lance is a lot of us in the voice over business are geeks, we love our equipment. We love buying new equipment thinking that the next microphone is going to really make us pop. There's a point of diminishing returns with that. I stopped buying mics and equipment years ago because I had good enough stuff, it wasn't bad. It was my recording environment and my talent that was going to get me the job, not a better mic or a better pre-amp.

Lance Tamashiro:
One of the things you mentioned is that you have a converted closet, are you literally talking about like, it's a closet and then you've treated the walls and sort of try to deaden the sound that way?

Dave Courvo:
It's a second floor closet, so it's not attached to the bedroom. It was just an existent closet that was at the top oft he stairs that has shelving, it has racks for clothing but I took all that out, I put up some Auralex around the sides, it's about 4 by 6 foot closet. It doesn't have ... I'm in it now, how does this sound? I'm using base [inaudible 00:12:20] in the corners, I got ... It's tight, it's dead. Now, I do get an occasional barking dog or leaf blower from outside and I'll pause for a second or a plane flying overhead but honestly, it's very consistently good.

Lance Tamashiro:
That was one of things that when I looked at this, I mean honestly, you're going to laugh about this, I started with a 35 dollar USB Logitech headset microphone. You can do that and we're probably going to talk a little bit about what I did but I think that you're right, that sound environment is really what you're looking for.

Dave Courvo:
It's the first thing you need to focus on.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah, and way more important than the microphone.

Dave Courvo:
Yeah.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think for sure. The neat thing is, you pick what you're going to do, the genre or niche, which like you said, there's a wide a range of them. You get an area treated then there's sort of two paths that I've heard, again I'm no expert, I just kind of researched on the internet and one is: get a coach and get into a program. The other is: kind of feel your way around the area first. My inclination is, always getting a coach is better but what do you guys sort of recommend as, is that the time? Once you get your equipment, do you get a coach before equipment? How do you sort of navigate that area?

Dave Courvo:
All right, let me back up just a little bit and tell you about the phone call that I get almost every week from somebody who has an incredible voice and has the same ... This is the same phone call I get every week is, "Hi, my name's Bob and gosh everybody tells me I got a great voice, I should be in radio, how do I get started in voice over?" I have to nicely tell that person every time, a good voice is not really that necessarily anymore for voice over.

I got a friend who has a thin, high, raspy voice and he's killing it in voice over because he's good at marketing. He's a good freelance business person. He knows how to promote himself. The other thing is that I think, you have to, as I said before, you have to immerse yourself in the culture of voice acting. Yes you need to get a good coach, a couple and you need to try new ones and you need to stay after, even after you feel like you've arrived, you still [inaudible 00:14:43] the coaching and the improv.

You need to immerse yourself in the culture online, there's a number of Facebook groups and communities online, lurk there, find out what they're talking about, get to know the lingo, find out their tips, get a mentor. Find someone who's good at voice over and who doesn't mind spending a little time with you on the phone every once in a while, can give you some tips and just kind of guide you through the system because there are some ins and outs, there's some missteps you can make that will almost turn you against the community if you do it wrong.

The coaching, the mentoring, the immersion and the culture. Choose your colleagues because ... I'll tell you one thing about voice over and you probably already heard this from Bill, is that incredibly supportive encouraging community. We don't see each other as competitors, I don't know why that is because we kind of are, but honestly we support each other immensely. I was blown away by that because in broadcasting it's dog eat dog, it's cutthroat, you'll step over somebody to get ahead not on voice over. Everybody wants to help everybody. It's a wonderful community to be in.

Lance Tamashiro:
I think one of the things that you've said a couple of times that's really sticking out to me and maybe part of that is, you've said it over and over, own your voice. Don't be Morgan Freeman, be Dave Courvoisier.

Dave Courvo:
That's right.

Lance Tamashiro:
Don't be this. Own your voice and I think that at some level the neat thing about, while there's yes, there's lots of competition, at some level there's no competition because at the end of the day, somebody's looking for you. Your job as a marketer is to find that person that is looking for your voice.

Dave Courvo:
Yeah, it's so true. The reason I say we're not necessarily competitors is yes, I may get the same audition from an agent that 50 or a 100 other people get. What is the client looking for? Sometimes they don't know but when they hear it, they know. And so, if what I bring to the microphone my world experience, my life experience my emotional tenor, if I bring that to the job and that person is looking for just that then that's why I got the job. Not because I have an announcer voice or because I have any particular acting skill, it's because I brought to them what I had. The next client may not want that, they may want the guy in LA who just applied for the job. My goal is to get a job audition and the directions say, we want a Dave Courvoisier type.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, you got the right guy.

Dave Courvo:
That's my goal.

Lance Tamashiro:
Yeah. Let's kind of shift gears because I mean, I think the neat thing about all of this and anybody listening needs to understand is, it's not necessarily about the equipment, it's more about the room and finding a place where you're not going to get some bouncing stuff, which I think is neat because you really can get started for way less than if you were going to open up a shop or produce some kind of thing or do almost any other type of business that you're going to do. 1,000 bucks and you're pretty much set. Finding this coaching and community and I think that's sort of where we met paths, is this whole idea. I know your group has some very strong feelings about not only the site that I like to do and find work on but also a couple of other of these sites where people go to, to get paid for. Can you kind of talk about, I guess not even the site itself but what your guys' position is and what are you guys trying to do as an organization for the voice over community.

Dave Courvo:
First of all, I really have a hard time judging anyone who's a freelancer at their approach to the business. I think there's some rights and wrongs and some things you can do to enhance your position but everybody who's a freelancer finds their own way. I don't care if you're a writer, a photographer, a graphics artists, you're going to find your own way to make it in this business. I go back to what I've said before, are you doing this as a job? Side job? Little extra pay? Are you making a career out of it? That important distinction at the very top of your business plan will set the tone for how you view these services that you mention.

Your question comes at a time when there's really a disruption in the voice over business. It used to be, to be in voice over you're more or less in LA or New York City and you drove around to the different studios every day auditioning live in their studios. Now it's totally different, for the last 5 years the internet has disrupted this business and has democratized it so that there are people sitting in their studios at Omaha and at Little Rock and buying for the same jobs that used to only be available in LA or New York City. Now what that's also done is it's created this new climate for compensation rates that is up for grabs. The two main online casting sites are voices.com and voice123.com, they got into the game early, realize there was this eager population of people trying to find jobs and they supply them these jobs. They list voice over jobs every day and you as a subscriber to their site, can audition to those jobs.

There's a couple things that came out of that that has precipitated out of that paradigm, that business paradigm that is what we think destroying a lot of the compensation rates that are legacy, quite frankly. The first thing is, it creates a climate where the talent are bidding against each other and that leads us to the second point, which is, the client, the talent becomes the commodity, not the job. It's a bad place to be because it drives rates down, down, down, down because the clients going to go usually for the lowest bid if the quality is equal and quite often it is. For the person who lists the job on voices.com they get maybe a 100 responses. Easily a 100 people auditioning for that same job.

There's a few with USB mics that they toss right off the top and then there's a few more that have bad sound or bad noise floor in their audio. Anyway, you come down to maybe 10 or 12 or 15 and you sift through those and you choose the best one. If it comes down between two guys who are equal and one bids 200 bucks for the job and the other bids 400 bucks, you're going to take the 200 dollar guy. It constantly drives down the market. Now, with a place like Fiverr and Odesk and Elance and all the many other thumb tack that have popped up recently that offer also a bidding process for all kinds of professions, the same thing applies.

As a career voice over, I'm not going to choose to even go on to Fiverr because I don't think a 5 dollar voice over job is consistent with my business plan.

Lance Tamashiro:
Absolutely. This is sort of the thing that sort of ... I guess it was surprising to me because when I started and how we found out about each other was through this course I was doing on Fiverr and what was interesting to me about the reaction that came from the voice over community towards what I was doing is that I didn't even ... I was surprised that something like that was even on the radar of you guys, to be honest because you guys weren't on my radar until all of this happened. My real struggle with that I've been really trying to figure out and get my head around is that, I almost look at this as like major league baseball. There's guys in minor leagues, single A, double A, triple A and at some point there has to be a path for people to improve and get paid but it still doesn't seem to affect the guys at the top. Even on Fiverr where I'm at and quite frankly, I've tried doing the stuff on voices.com and I can't win an audition because I'm just not good enough for it.

It seems like there really are levels of people and also levels of clients at the same time. One of the things that shocked me was that, it doesn't even feel like I'm competing at the same job and/or client that people even on voices or definitely at your level are. One of the things that I was looking at, I was researching World Voices and different things, there doesn't seem to be a path for people that are brand new, to sort of get their feet wet and cut their teeth. I know the guys, now I do, I know the guys I'm competing against on voices, I'll never win. I mean, the things that you've said. That was one of the big disconnects that I saw.

Dave Courvo:
Lance I think you could easily have a future in voice acting because you have a unique voice and you do sound like a regular guy. You also have that youthful voice which is very much coveted right now, but to get back to your question. It's the old catch 22 of I can't get experience without a job and I can't get a job without experience and so you're right. There has to be a pathway for the newbies, so to speak, to learn the ropes and to try their ... Get their feet wet a little bit.

Places like Fiverr I suppose do fill that need, if nothing else, it gives you a great chance to see what's commercially out there, what's being asked of voice talent and to get practice copy. There's no end of sources for practice copy. The auditions that you get off of Fiverr, voices.com, listening to the radio and the TV, those are guys who won the audition. Those are the guys who got the job, so listen to radio ... Don't turn off the TV when the ads come on, listen, those are the guys that are winning the auditions, same with radio.

The path to a greater compensation rate does follow a low rate to a higher rate, there are lovely clients who are wonderful and realize the value of a good voice actor and will pay compensation rates that meet that expectation and there are those who just don't care, they just want to get it done. They want it done in the next hour and they don't really care, they just don't want to pay a lot, they just want it done. Those are sometimes your worst client. They're the ones, the most picky, the ones that you just want to say good bye and sometimes you have to fire a client because they're just a pain in the butt.

There is a spectrum of opportunities and paid skills as well as other is a spectrum of jobs and a spectrum of talent that can meet those jobs. Now we haven't even got into the discussion about union and non-union. The union as you know SAG and AFTRA have merged and what the union would like you to think is that when you hire a union actor, you're getting a pro, but what you're actually getting is a guy who paid his union fees. That doesn't mean he's a pro, there's plenty of union talent out there that aren't looking anything, in fact, the kind of loosely quoted figure is that only 5% of SAG-AFTRA workers, members are actually working and making a living off of acting. It's a wild west out there, much like other professions that have been disrupted by the internet. It's a shift in the marketplace and everybody's trying to find their way through it.

Lance Tamashiro:
One of the reasons of why I wanted to have the discussion with you is, I wanted to be educated about this stuff. It's such a weird thing because on one hand, again I'm not in the voice industry, I'm not any of those things and it's like ... I consider myself an outsider looking in on all of this and it's like, on one hand I totally see the legacy point, we need to protect these rates and on the other hand, then I see, it kind of feels like what's going to happen when all these guys die? Where are these people going to go?

I feel like at some of the lower sites, that you guys definitely would not be on. [inaudible 00:27:51] would not be on but Lance is, is that there's a lot of students looking to get their papers narrated for their power points. There's a lot of people that are making YouTube videos, startups that are never going to make any money at all, where are those people ... In the spectrum of things, where are those clients supposed to go to get service? Because when I look at stuff that I do and again, I do this stuff on Fiverr, I look at it and I go, if somebody wasn't doing this here, if Fiverr went away and they had to go to voices where there's the minimum of 100 dollars, there's no return, do you know what I'm saying? It prices out a whole spectrum of people that they're not looking to make commercials, they're not looking to make hundreds of thousands of dollars on their investment.

Dave Courvo:
I'll tell you this, here's an analogy. I have 3 daughters who are 20 somethings. They are going online to find relationships, that's the new thing. It doesn't sound right to me because I'm an old guy but that's the new thing. Of course, if you're a startup company, you don't really want to commercially just want to say an in-house video done. You have no clue where to find a voice actor, you don't know any agencies, you don't know any advertising agencies, you don't know any booking agents. Where do you go? If you're going online for relationships for love relationships, you're certainly going to go online to try to find a voice over.

The good voice actor makes himself available, he does good SEO, she does good SEO on their website. They list themselves in places like voices.com or voice123 or even Fiverr, if they want to get those level of jobs. That's why I said, I even wrote a book about it Lance, it's called More than just a Voice. It goes back to my example of Bob who called me, "Hey, I got a great voice." Well Bob, it takes more than a voice, it takes good business sense. Lance that's why you could make it in voice over because you have great marketing, self promotion and business skills. Your voice is adequate is going to be fine, it's the business side of things, you have to be a good freelance business person or you're not going to make it in voice over.

Lance Tamashiro:
Right, I think that's a super important point, not only in voice over but in any business.

Dave Courvo:
Yes, yes.

Lance Tamashiro:
There is no, it's easy to look at a guy like you for example and say, "Well, look all he does is get in front of the mic and gets booked." It's like, "Yes, but also there's 9 years of building up to that." Everybody sees the overnight success that happened over night not the time that went in before last night.

Dave Courvo:
There are very few of those actually. There are people that started after I did and are doing very well but that's all they're doing. I got another job too and it does get in the way of me being able to promote my business as much as I want to. You're right, these are people who worked hard to get ahead, they stayed with it. Lot of people drop out after the first month or two because they realized the sacks of money aren't being delivered to their front door.

It takes patience and skill and time and it's a marathon, not a sprint. The business perspective of it, but see I didn't have that. I've always worked for someone else, so when I got into voice over I'm like, "What? I got to keep my own books? I got to send my own promotional materials? How do I do this?" It took a long time just to learn to teach myself to be a good business person. You've already got that Lance, you're way ahead of the game as far as I go. As far as I'm concerned, you're 80% of the way there to success in voice over.

Lance Tamashiro:
All right, I'll definitely have to take you up on that and hit you up for some coaching then. There's so much that we can talk about in this and I know that we have this limited time. What I really wanted was to get a conversation going because I know that there's people on both sides of the fence and I think that my perspective, and again I'm just an outsider looking in, is that there's two sides that both seem to be digging their heels in right now and my guess is that the truth is probably somewhere on the spectrum in the middle of it.

I totally don't think there's anything that any of us can do to solve this in a matter of 30 minutes over a Skype conversation that's being recording, but what I do appreciate is that you stepping out specially with your role with the World Voice organization, having this conversation because I think that there's nothing bad that can happen from a dialogue starting. At least letting people hear both sides from an objective non-heated point of view can't be bad for anybody. I super appreciate this, I'd love to continue this conversation with you if that's something you're open to. I know you're a busy guy.

Dave Courvo:
Let me just say something to wrap up then. Voice actors work in isolation, we all work in our own booths at home so it's easy to think that what you do doesn't affect others but there is a voice acting community. There is a market place for voice actors and when you accept low bidding jobs or low pay jobs, you set an expectation among the clients and the producers that this is what is common pay for this kind of work right now. You're affecting other people in this business by accepting low pay. There's arguments for and against this, I get that and I'm not judging because the marketplace is a free marketplace and you got to do what you got to do to pay the bills but I'm just saying, we don't live and work alone. We live in a community that's trying to get ahead in trying to find better compensation for what they do.

Lance Tamashiro:
I don't think this is the place for us to have an argument but-

Dave Courvo:
No.

Lance Tamashiro:
I agree and also I still think like there's Mercedes and Hyundai and Hyundai doesn't put Mercedes out of business, you know? There's minor league baseball and pro baseball, one gets paid 20,000, one gets paid 2 million a game for some of these guys.

Dave Courvo:
There's room for all. There is really room for all Lance.

Lance Tamashiro:
I got to tell you, when I reached out to you I didn't expect to hear anything back. I know some things had to happen for this to happen but I super appreciate-

Dave Courvo:
Me too.

Lance Tamashiro:
Being willing to have this discussion and get his out there and hopefully something that we can continue because I think for the whole voice over entrepreneur people in general, I think this is important not only in voice over but in a whole lot of freelancing things. There are disruptions happening for freelancers where this exact issue is happening all over the place. There's got to be an answer that benefits everybody in the long term because I think that either everybody's going to win or everybody's going to lose. I think that having a dialogue is the best way to find that middle ground.

Dave Courvo:
It's hugely important and that's, one last comment, that's why World Voices is really exist, is to help educate its member as to what's out there, then they can make their own decisions. At least it's an educated decision.

Lance Tamashiro:
Just to wrap this up, where can people find out about you, personally, I know you got a great blog, also about your book and World Voice Overs as well?

Dave Courvo:
The center of that is my website, it's courvo.com and you can put a /blog after that to see my blog. I blog 5 days a week for the voice over community, I've been doing it for 7 or 8 years, I got 2,600 articles out there. It's how I wrote my book, I just took the best blogs and made it into a book called More than just a Voice. There's a link to my book on the website as well.

World Voices is world-voices.org, we have, like I said, we have about 725 members right now, growing by the day. On that site, you can see a number of our resources, we have posted our best practices for our producers and the talent and coaches. Probably like a lot of other professions, there's a kind of predatory education level that really just bleeds our community from people that want to get started. They have stars in their eyes, they see an ad that says, "Hey for only 4,500 dollars we can spend the weekend and cut a demo and you're all set to go." It's not just true, you can't cut a demo in a weekend from scratch. You got to start and get months of coaching first typically and then you cut a demo. There's predatory demo mills and coaches out there that we're trying to warn against and that's why the education is so important we believe from the World Voices stand point.

Lance Tamashiro:
Awesome, well I appreciate that and again all of those links for everybody will be in the show notes but definitely go check out courvo.com/blog. I go and check it out, there's a ton of great information there. It's a great place to get educated find out what Dave is up to. As always, we appreciate you guys listening to the show, we look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks everybody, bye now.

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Confessions of a Fiverr Top Rated Seller: The Inside Secrets You Need To Grow a Successful Fiverr Business – DJ Dave Bernstein (Tuneman)

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

We’ve been talking a lot over the last couple of months about starting from scratch and building something from absolutely nothing using this site called Fiverr. The guy that I’ve got here for you today known as TuneMan on Fiverr is not only a great person, a great friend, but also a top rated seller on Fiverr. Somebody that’s absolutely killing it, been there forever, and his name is DJ Dave Bernstein.

DJDave

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

I’ve been on Fiverr for 6 years right now. It’s funny you should mention that because a lot of people have asked me and I’m sure they’ve asked you this well too, but why we’re so successful on Fiverr. It’s a double edged sword. You want to share your success with people, but there’s so much competition these days. You want to make sure that you don’t cut your own throat. The fact that you’re able to squeeze this information out of me today must mean I either really like you or I must be insane.

Full-Time Living With a Webcam

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

I used to look at Fiverr and my hang up with it was always, “I’m not doing anything for $5”. The big breakthrough for me was … First of all, the biggest breakthrough was you have a gig on Fiverr where you basically watching you. You have a regular webcam that sits on your computer and one of your most popular gigs is you sitting in your kitchen making videos for. You just start talking about whatever subject they want you to talk about and make a video for them.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

You’re right. The most popular gig that I have is an audio/video gig where I do either do voiceovers or I do video testimonials. The perception of Fiverr being $5 is because of their early advertising campaign - What would you do for $5?
The thing is, is that that’s the wrong mentality You have to start thinking about what is the minimum that I would do for $5 and how can I expand that? How can I grow that? How can I turn $5 into $15, into $50?
You’re not going to become a millionaire overnight or even in a year on Fiverr. It’s going to take every minute of your day to do that. You’re not going to have any quality of life and there’s so much competition right now. If you can do something in 5 minutes for $5, that’s the mindset you should think about. If it takes you 10 minutes you should be charging $10. If it takes you 15 minutes you should be charging $15 at the very bare minimum. That’s $60 an hour and most people around the country would take $60 an hour any day (over $100k/year)

Automation

However, if you can actually think about how to automate certain things, and you and I were talking about this off camera that there are now automated messages that you can actually punch in there so when you receive the same questions all the time you don’t have to keep typing them out.
When I leave feedback for people and I’m sure you’ve taken a look at the feedback I leave for people, it’s pretty much the same feedback all the time.

This is not a Yelp review or anything like that where you need to embellish this and spend 10 minutes on certain things. People honestly are very, very happy with receiving what they perceive to be a $50 value for only $5. If you can show them how much value what you’ve given to them is worth, they’ll come back over and over again. I think that’s probably what grew my business. A lot of repeat clients.

Repeat Customers

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

That’s the one thing that has been real eye opening to me on Fiverr is that I would say I am to the point where 60 to 75% of my business are from the same people over and over. Some of them are companies that I do corporate training type stuff for. Some of them are just other sellers on Fiverr that trust that I’m going to deliver on time which is really important.

It amazed me because I honestly thought it was going to be all one shot people when I came on to Fiverr. It turns out there is a lot of businesses and corporations, giant corporations that are on there utilizing the services as well.

One thing I never expected is how many tips you can actually generate on Fiverr which you turn a $5 gig that takes you 2 or 3 minutes into a $10 thing just because they tipped you. It’s like now you’ve doubled it up.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

I’d give Fiverr credit for that as well too, because when they first came out 6, 7 years ago, they were showing the ads like I will draw a picture of a monkey for $5. Great. That’s nice if you have 5 disposable dollars and you’re in the mood for a monkey picture.
Then they started advertising I will draw a caricature of you and your lover for Valentine’s Day or I will do a voiceover for 60 seconds for $5. All of a sudden people start thinking, “Hey, you know what, that’s actually something that I could use. It’s totally worth $5 and every buyer out there, it’s like the Willy Wonka ticket. When you find that perfect seller, and that’s the guy that has the voice or the gal who has the voice like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe they just did it for 5.”

Cultivating Great Clients

They will rinse and they will repeat and they will love you forever. One of the things they also did at Fiverr is they allow people to leave a gratuity in the order when they complete the checkout. You should take a little piece of paper and you should write down every person who’s ever given you a tip at Fiverr and the next time that person orders put them on the top of your delivery list.

That’s how you grow a business. You keep customers. You don’t try to bring new people in all the time. You just rinse and repeat with the very same customers. A lot of people don’t do that. They just go mining and advertising for new customers all the time.

Using Feedback To Kill The Competition

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

One of the things that you mentioned which I want to touch on is you said, “It’s really competitive on Fiverr now.” I know you’ve been around. I mean, you have basically been there since the very beginning and I haven’t. I’ve been selling on Fiverr for about 6-7 months now. It’s funny that you put it that way because to me, I think “Man, there’s no competition. This isn’t trying to sell internet marketing training. This isn’t selling weight loss stuff or dating advice or anything.”

From the world I come from it’s a lot less competition and if you go the extra mile for a customer service-wise you can grow really quick. Something simple is responding to feedback your customers leave. I look some sellers and they’ve got their feedback from the customers and they never even acknowledge it.
think you’re training your customers not to leave you feedback because you don’t care. That’s why I started doing it because I noticed on yours you leave feedback to every single person even if it’s like I’m glad I could rock this for you so and so with their name. To me, I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s how he’s getting this.” While there is competition, I don't know that there’s more than anywhere else.

Standing Out

Take your gig for example, I mean, your set up with your camera, there’s nobody that can compete with what you do. There’s other people that would do a video testimonial or make a “I’m a Justin Bieber fan video” or whatever you’ll do, but there is nobody that can reproduce your kitchen, reproduce you, reproduce your personality and at some point you’re standing out simply because you’re you. You can’t be competed with.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

It’s funny you should mention that because there are lot of people out there right now who do high end videos and they sell their videos for more than I sell mine for. You’re saying, why wouldn’t you upgrade your equipment. You don’t have to upgrade your equipment. You just have to be real. You just have to be you. I’ve learned a couple of things and you and I are being totally transparent here. I have no notes at all. I have no notes in front of me or totally giving you this stuff improve right now.

Now, your listeners better be writing this down because I’m probably not going to talk about it again. I’m telling you right now.

You better broadcast this right away before I tell you to erase it.
Here’s The First Secret

This is very important secret here. People have actually come to me and they’ve said, “We want you to do this audio a certain way or we want you to do this video a certain way.” They say we want you to go outside, stand by a car, set up a video and do it this way. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
Stand your ground. I tell people my videos are recorded with that in the background. If I’m lying I’m dying. I mean, I’ve actually said that in my video and you all can go to TuneMan and you’ll see the video for yourself. I tell people this is the background you’re going to get. This is the quality you’re going to get. People come back and go, “What kind of quality would I get?”

Let Me Repeat That

I just told you. They come back and they asked you to do a lot of things that you don’t want to do. Don’t do them. You don’t have to work with everybody and that’s the biggest problem. A lot of people spend a lot of time having back and forth discussions with not only new buyers who don’t know how to use Fiverr but veteran buyers who think they know everything about Fiverr and everybody will bend over backwards for them simply because it’s $5.

You’re Not Making Money Having Discussions

The problem is that you’re not making any money having discussions. You’re making money by creating output. If I want a pen pal, I’ll go ahead and send Lance an email. I don’t want a pen pal on Fiverr. I want $5, I want $10, I want $50, I want $100. You got to go into that mindset and you got to realize that everybody has 24 hours in a day and 7 of those you’re sleeping, that leaves 17 hours. In those 17 hours you need to take a couple hours for yourself, for eating, for family time or whatever it might be.

Most people who are on Fiverr either full-time or spend a good amount of the time doing it but when you’re answering questions be very firm, nice but be firm and say, this is exactly what I do. I’ve actually replied to people and told them I may not be the right seller for you. I definitely wish you the best of luck, best of success. Always be positive.

Feedback Is Just Feedback

The only time I ever have a negative slant is when I receive a negative feedback. That’s tip number 3 right here. Feedback is just feedback. You all are adults. You put your pants on like everybody else and feedback is just feedback. It’s real simple. If someone leaves you a great feedback, leave them a great feedback. If someone leaves you a negative feedback don’t go contacting Fiverr to have it removed.

So many sellers want to keep their perfect rating. You know what, I’ve received 150 negative feedbacks. Did I deserve any of them? Absolutely not, I didn’t deserve any of them. You’re not going to please everybody in this life. Not everybody is going to like you. Not everybody is going to like your work. You can’t spend a lot of time. If you deliver inferior work then you need to replace that work and give them quality work but if you’ve done your best job then that feedback is your chance to tell your side of the story.

I have received hundreds and hundreds of orders from people who just read my negative feedback and said dude, I think you’re actually real. It sounds like that other person didn’t know what they were talking about. Am I perfect? No, I’m not perfect. You know what, nobody is perfect. Sometimes there are going to be certain cultures.

Understanding The Customer Base

You remember Fiverr is a world wide platform. Some people think $5 is cheap and other people think $5 is a day’s pay. You just never know who you’re talking to so you need to respect them and you give them your best work. But you know what, if they’re not happy you can’t spend all day redoing and redoing and redoing because you’re going to end up working for $5 an hour and that’s not going to work for you.
You also can’t get butt hurt about it and go, “I don’t like Fiverr. People make fun of me and leave me a bad feedback.” Guess what, life is not fair. If they give you 2 stars give them 2 stars end of the story.

I Guarantee You Nobody Does This

Guess what, I guarantee you, 80% of your audience won’t do it after I tell them to.
When you get an order from someone that’s been a really good buyer, let’s say you had a great experience. The first time they order from you. Write down their username and in 1 year or 1 month or any random arbitrary date send them a message and just let them know this is our 1 month anniversary or 6-month anniversary or our 1 year anniversary of the first time I got a chance to work with you. That’s a great way to get business when you don’t have any business.

You start sending out virtual greeting cards via the messaging system and you tell people, “Listen, I really enjoyed working with you on February 17th of 2016 if this were like next year or so. Then you say, “I haven’t heard from you in a while, I still would love to do some more work from you. Just feel free to shoot me a message whenever you need more work done.” You have just mind your own damn list.

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

I freaking love this because that’s the one thing that I realized about Fiverr was, it’s been engrained in us as marketers is that you have a list and I’m like, “Fiverr sucks. They won’t let me take them off of Fiverr. They won’t let me give them my email address. I can’t build a list and I’ve noticed that I do talk to the same people in the messaging system and what you just said takes it to a whole new level. Now, you do have a list and you can use the canned response on top of it.

If you have your “it’s been a month” thing and you’ve got your spreadsheet, you’re just clicking on their name, hitting the canned response, maybe changing their name or just leaving it blank but contacting them like that. I agree. You’re going to drum up a whole lot of business.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

Absolutely. Everybody likes to be remembered. I mean, don’t you like to receive birthday cards and birthday gifts and Christmas gifts? The thing about Fiverr is most people just do some work and they just let the person go and they forget about them. As marketers we’re always told to hold on to email lists. We don’t need an email list, you just need to write down their user name and look it up.

 

Go pick up an extra calendar.

I mean, just go pick up an extra calendar in the store right now. It doesn’t even matter what year it is.
You can go pick up a 2016 calendar and everyday that you get an order for the first time write that on the calendar, the username and by the time next year comes around, you can pull out that calendar and rather than have to go look through hundreds of orders, it’s like okay, these 7 people gave me my first order exactly 1 year ago today or exactly 1 month ago today.

One month maybe too soon but 1 year it’s an anniversary. People just like receiving anniversaries. I’ll tell you what, you think that it would blow their mind in America who are used to this. It’ll totally blow their mind out of the country where people are not programmed to remember squat.

When I receive an order from China, from Vietnam, from Asia there’s a lot of respect in Asia and they love hearing that. I’ll potentially go check and they will come back and I receive 40 orders from some of these people. This guy remembered. It’s the best thing in the world and you feel good about yourself too.
Top Rated Sellers on Fiverr

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

I love this. I’m doing this one. This is in my stuff starting tomorrow. This brings me to my next question which is about becoming a top rated seller, which you are, there’s only a handful of them on Fiverr. Fiverr has 4 levels. There’s the new seller which everybody gets. There’s the level 1 seller which anyone can get. The level 2 seller which anyone can get and then there is the top rated seller.

The top rated sellers are handpicked from Fiverr. They go through and manually look at how you’re treating customers, how you’re delivering and then make some decision about that. What was that process like? I mean, do they just contact you and say you’re a top rated seller?

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

It’s automated. The great thing about that is you get your own account exec as well too so when you have problems, you’re not just randomly sending in a support ticket. You actually have someone that is in charge of your account. Here’s the best thing about it. If you’re a top seller, you’re probably not having a lot of problems in the first place. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I mean that you’re not causing a lot of problems, not receiving a lot of problems.

Fiverr is like any other website. There’s days that the darn thing is down and there is other days where anytime they change a function or a feature on there, then it’s like pulling out hair. You can tell how many Fiverr problems there might have been in the past by how many hairs that I have in my head right now and everything. We even have a support group and a forum as well and that is by invitation only.

There’s less than 100 people worldwide in that group. It’s a private group. I can’t even tell your listeners about that group but trust me when someone becomes eligible for that group, their contacted and should be part of that group. It’s very much like any good mafia movie you’ve ever seen before. It’s like you can’t just walk and go, “Hey, I like to shoot people for a living. That would be great.” No, it’s part of a family. That being said, it’s earned.

Every good thing in life is earned. Things are not supposed to be fair. There are 5,000 people in that group how special would it been? If everybody was a top seller, how special would that be?

How To Become a Top Rated Seller on Fiverr

The way to become a top seller is by doing great work. It’s first and foremost. I mean do great work, be nice. Be on time. Over deliver. If you’d given people a 3-day window, don’t be delivering 2 hours before the 3-day window.

What you should do, and this is another good tip, is figure out how long it takes you to do something and then add a day to it. You’re always delivering 24 hours before the end of the time. With my audio gigI deliver within 2 days. Now, some people think that that’s too fast. How can you deliver in 2 days? First of all, I don’t like to leave a whole bunch of stuff in my queue. Second of all, think about this, if I tell them I’m going to deliver in 2 days, and then I deliver in 24 hours or less.

Tell You Customers What You Did

Now here’s the thing. I just don’t deliver early. This is another tip. Don’t just do something, tell people what you just did. When you deliver, I just did this morning as a matter of fact. Something was due within 2 days and delivered in 5 hours. Don’t just do it and go, “Thanks. Talk soon,” say, “Thank you so much for your order. Great news. I was able to upgrade you to 5-hour delivery today. My pleasure to over deliver for you. Thanks so much and I look forward to your next order.”
Do you think that person might be more inclined to order from you again and maybe even tip you?

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

I’ve never done that but what I do is I record first thing in the morning when I wake up. I just record once a day. Some people have just made an order at 8:00 Eastern Time or something. I record it and deliver it to him in an hour and they’re blown away. I’ve never made a big deal about it. I mean, I’ve just been like here’s your order which is my standard thing.

You’re right. I get tips because they’re expecting a certain time but I deliver way earlier. I get tips for that but pointing it out like you didn’t have to pay for this superfast delivery just because …

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

Tell them that. The problem is if you don’t tell them that, you run the risk of them starting to always assume.

 

 

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

Set expectations.

 

 

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

Exactly. You’re setting a false expectations and you’ll end up screwing yourself out of certain things like sometimes people would get you extra on there for 24-hour delivery. Now, why would someone pay that if you’re always giving them 24-hour delivery. Guess what? You don’t always have to give them 24-hour delivery. If you tell them you got lucky today, and I tell them today is your lucky day.

You won the Fiverr lottery today.

I tell them that I was able to deliver within 5 hours. The next time, deliver within 18 hours or within a day. It’s one of those things. It’s like throwing a hook into the ocean and catching a fish by putting some bait on there and then the next time you throw the hook into the ocean, there’s no bait on there. You still are going to have some fish. You’re still going to catch some fish. You’re not going to catch as many fish when you bait them and advance.

Tell them what you’re going to do. Tell them and tell them what you just did.

Do that on Fiverr and especially do it for those out of the country where English may not be their first language because people may just think that you’re sitting around the computer all day to do John Doe’s order when that’s not the case.

Fiverr Tips and Public Feedback

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

One of the things that I do is when I get a tip on the public feedback the very first thing that I write is thank you for your generous tip and then whatever else I want to tell them. What I want is for other buyers to be going through saying, “Hey, people are tipping this guy.”

Maybe they think that that’s what they should do or that it’s really good but then what I do is I send them a private message and I just copy and paste the exact same thing like, “Thank you for your tip. I appreciated that and you’re right. Those people that tip me buy and tip me all the time. The other thing that they do is they buy all my extras.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

I’m glad that you mention that because I was just going to mention that here. People look at feedback. When they look at feedback, I have the same copy and paste feedback for just about everybody. It’s usually something like, “Super glad to rock and roll this because I’m the Tune Man. I rock and roll it. I’m super glad to rock and roll it. Thanks so much and have a great weekend or have a great week or whatever.”

I’m so excited to share this, I’m getting the hiccups right now. This is fantastic. If I received a tip that goes in the feedback for everybody to see. All of a sudden when people start looking at your feedback and you’ve received a tip every 5 or 10 orders, subliminally they’re thinking this guy is not only doing great work, he’s over-delivering and receiving a tip. It conditions other people to come in and be part of you’re a club, of you’re A team, of you’re A list. I say, “Thank you so much for the gratuity tip.”

Fiverr SEO

That’s also intentional. I put the words gratuity and tip on there because when you search in search … Let me speak English here. When you do SEO, when you search for SEO, people sometimes type in the word gratuity and sometimes people type in the word tip. Either way my feedback will come up as just in some way, or shape or form, people have found me because of the word gratuity and tip because they’re searching for other sellers who receive tips.

That’s how they find the good gigs. How do you determine whether I’m any different than the other 500 people doing voiceovers? Go do a search for the word tip or gratuity and now you’ve just found the best sellers.

Lance Tamashiro

Lance

The other thing that I do along those lines when I deliver early, like you were talking about and they make a point of talking about how fast I delivered early. I deliver in 24 hours. That’s just the thing. You would be shocked at this. I couldn’t believe this. I charge $20 to do a rush order. My extra is for $20, I will rush your order and do it faster than fast. I don't know what that means. It means less than 24 hours.

Increase Your Income With RUSH Extras

You would not believe the number of $5 orders that turn into $25 orders because of that. Here’s what I do. When I just happen to deliver their thing in an hour or 2 hours because it was during my recording session, and they go I can’t believe how fast I received this back, I always put, “I’m super glad I could rush your order to you.” The connection that somebody reading it sees, at least I think is they bought the rush order because that’s the same name is what I call my rush order. When that happens, for a while, I see more rush orders like more $20 orders because they think this is how I get it right now versus a day which nobody wants to wait. We live in a society of fast-food. I want it now.

Dave Bernstein TRS Fiverr

DJ Dave

I’m glad that you mentioned the words fast-food too because I was going to use that as an analogy as a matter of fact. It’s funny because this is the biggest discussion/argument that I’ve had with other top sellers is what to charge for extra rush delivery. Some will charge for $5 order, they’ll charge an extra 20 bucks. Others will charge an extra 30 or 50 or whatever.
There’ no right answer at all. I actually only charge an extra 10 and you’re thinking $10? That’s nothing more.” Exactly. That’s nothing more. Don’t think about what I’m not making, think about how little it takes for the buyer to upgrade their order to get it done in 24 hours. In that way, you can also deliver in 23 hours and you’re still super cool and everything like that.

Here’s the deal, Lance. If I have a 2-day on my audio gig anyway, whether you do what we do or whether you sell pictures or whether you do copywriting or whatever, you can still use this very same technique. Quote on there a 2-day … I’ll finish it in 2 days or 3 days. For the little amount it takes for them to give you extra, it’s like going to a fast-food place and going do you want fries with that? Now, if you want to … and bought a hamburger and they said, “Can I upgrade you to a filet mignon?

That’s going to be quite a deal more expensive, but if you go in and say, “Listen, for an extra 79 cents, you can get some fries in here.” That’s how all the fast-food joints make extra money by doing that. I actually have one of my gigs where 24-hour upgrade is only $5 more.

Like you just said, 20 every 4 sales or 5 every sale, for 4 sales, I mean, what that does is rather than having 5, 5, 5, 5, 25. 5,5, 25, I got 10, 10, 10, 10 and 10 because I’m telling you right now no one wants to be that one guy who doesn’t upgrade and they’re 35th on your queue and everything like that.

Again, tell them what you’re going to do. Tell them and tell them what you just did. Super glad to bump you in my queue with lightning fast, VIP service, et cetera, dot, dot, dot. Say it so every person that sees your feedback sees what a rock star you are. By the way, how do you become a rock star? Do you know the answer to that?

Tell people you’re a rock star.

You want to be a top seller? Tell people you’re a top seller. Don’t do that. Tell them you’re them you’re a Fiverr top seller but use other words. Just say something like glad to be one of the elite sellers or something. Just make up your own verbiage. Don’t copy Fiverr stuff. Disclaimer right there. Say, “Super glad to be your go to guy in drawing pictures of monkeys or whatever it might be in everything.

How do they know you’re the best? Tell them you’re the best.

I think that if anybody listening, implements these strategies this is how you get the top rated seller. These are secrets from a top rated seller. It’s common sense. I mean, treat your business like a business. Don’t think of it as different because the site is called Fiverr because if it was called hundreder or Ben Frankliner, everybody would look at it differently and the truth is you can make a serious living on this site if you do the right things and if you value your time and your buyer’s time.

Resources:

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100 Checks a Month

Fred Gleeck has been around and involved with internet marketing since the very beginning.

Fred was actually the one who gave Yanik Silver his first big break speaking at a seminar in front of a large group of people in 2001. In fact, Fred was doing offline information marketing since 1983.

He suggests that if you can create a tool that appeals to a certain niche of people and that they buy into to become an indispensable part of their business then you have them hooked in. He quotes an example of one tool that he uses that has made him over 1 million dollars! Lance relates how he feels that a big error people make is that they think that software is the only way to create these tools when it can in fact also be a website that performs a task that automates something.

Fred tells us of a real estate seminar where somebody gave him an idea. He went home, spoke to his developer, made the simple website and the very next day walked back into the seminar and related the URL to the gathered crowd and got instant signups - a simple website, the equivalent of software.

Rather then try to make a million dollars in 90 days, Fred suggests why not find enough money to pay a utility bill and automate it every month, then find a way to pay a car payment… etc… So then if you have quite a number of sources of revenue if one goes bust, it doesn’t matter so much as you have many other sources.

Fred shares that his next book is called ‘Don’t Focus’ - which basically explores how we can only focus on one thing at a time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to focus on one thing for our entire time!

Fred’s business model is based on the fact that he’s an extrovert - he loves being around people. He needed a way to work with people, so he adjusted this business model to concentrating on people in fields who nothing about marketing or information marketing. He also only wants to work with people that he would like to have dinner with on a regular basis!

Lance points out that Fred bases his business model on finding people who are already successful, and the pros of that particular setup. Fred points out the negative side to his methodology is that a lot of people that he works with don’t actually make it.

Fred quotes the example of Travel SCROOGE - a site for budget traveling. The guy who owned the site came to him with no success, but it was really down to the fact that he wasn’t doing anything to help himself. Fred cajoled him into setting up a YouTube channel and getting a daily video up to assist people find a great deal - a one minute tip video, and Lance makes the point that this one minute tip is an ideal length for people to consume short quick information on a daily basis - its not too long , and people always have a minute to spare!

Lance discusses how to micro-niche a niche. He tells how his training doesn’t show a client how to set up a website, it trains a client to use his product to set up a website. 95% of your market is newbies - people forget this.

Fred brings up a great story about a person who was an expert in napkin folding - and how he made the mistake of assuming that nobody would be interested in this - the statistics shocked him. This taught him never to presume he knows everything about what people are actually interested in.

A great tip from Lance about how to increase sales on Fiverr - specifically in the voice over field - is to tell people that you are actually ‘the best’ voice over artist on Fiverr. People search for this, and will find you from this. From this the point that naturally follows is that if you want to be the expert - tell people you are the expert.

Resources

If you have a question, comment, show or guest idea or just want to get in touch with Lance, you can contact him here. He loves to hear from his listeners!

Episode Sponsored By: Dropship CEO

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How to Pick a Profitable Niche, Create an Information Product & Generate Tons of Traffic With Fred Gleeck

Check Out Starting From Scratch Here

  • Why you need to find and identify a coach regardless of what niche or business you are in
  • Picking a profitable niche
  • Can you really earn a full-time income with part time hours?
  • Why you need to make sure you are investing in the RIGHT things for your business
  • Why you need to create an income stream with information products
  • How to GUARANTEE you have a product that will sell
  • Your business (or any other goal) is a marathon and not a sprint
  • How 4DT can make sure you achieve ANY goal you want
  • 4 traffic strategies you probably haven't thought of that you need to implement today

Resources:

If you have a question, comment, show idea or just want to get in touch with Lance, you can contact him here.

He loves to hear from his listeners!

Episode Sponsored By: Profit Dashboard

Today’s episode is sponsored Profit Dashboard. You’re in the right place if you are tired, fed up, frustrated or burned our from the dream of Internet Marketing. If you struggling with traffic, products, tech stuff or even just starting from scratch I’ll show you EXACTLY how I built the side business we’re going to discuss today… Step by step with NOTHING left out.

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