My experiment with Fiverr, and what I learned about customer service

September 9, 2016
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”― Ernest Hemingway

Welcome to my journey of becoming a better illustrator, a journey I decided to take in order to improve my skills as a user interface designer about 4 months ago.

“How are you going to get better at something as subjective as illustration?” you may ask.

My answer: “Just do it.” Do it with the professionals as my rule, and my taste as my guide.

Knowing myself, and the schedule that I have — I work best with timelines and deadlines. So, I decided to create a “gig” on Fiverr so that patrons could purchase my service. But, what service would I provide? Would I create cartoon characters? I had already created a funny image for my full-time job, and that would be nice to expand on those skills (gradients, dimension, color theory). Or, should I start with something more manageable, but just as enjoyable, like logos?

Tough question, but I decided to design modern, minimalist logos. I felt that the service would improve my understanding of Adobe Illustrator (current industry standard for illustrations, and user interface designers have been known to use the software for mockups), challenge me in aspects of typography and color theory, but still allow me to provide quality work.

My answer: “Just do it.” Do it with the professionals as my rule, and my taste as my guide.

Grand idea, and easy set-up

Like most, I start with a grandiose idea with goals, and get bogged down by the implementation. Not this time. This time I was able to easily create a gig through Fiverr where any user could find my service and make a purchase. Then, with some research of successful logo designers on Fiverr, and a few tutorials — I was able to create a bronze package using an eye-catching title, and adding images of logos I had previously created. To provide a clear idea of what was to be provided, I studied how other Fiverr sellers would describe their services, and I formed a similar “About” section for my services. Then finally, to make the gig more personal, I included a short bio of myself as well so that users could read about my background.

So very nervous

To be honest, I was very nervous. Mainly, I was nervous about the price point. $10 was the price I set, which is extremely cheap for a logo (logos created by freelancers cost anywhere between $250 to $2500), and I didn’t want to acquire difficult clientele that would require more of my time than I would receive in payment. But, this was an experiment, and experiments require a thesis, correct? And my thesis was that creating a modern, minimalist logo could be completed fairly easily with my skill-set, and the price point would attract purchasers interested in a simple logo for a cheap price. And, if the service is not as expected, a return of $10 would not ruffle too many feathers. It would just be annoying. However, if the service is above expectations, it would receive good reviews and/or a returning client base from which I could continue improving my skills with the increased work. Needless to say, I was nervous.

The end results

Well, the results are in after a little over 2 months of experimenting, and I have the following:

  • 6 completed gigs
  • 1 cancelled gig
  • 5 reviews with a 4.8 out of 5 rating
  • $48 earned

Yes, in the two month time span I haven’t completed, or received, much work, but a lot of my objectives have been met which is very exciting. I learned how to be efficient with Adobe Illustrator, and I have been introduced to a comparable software called Affinity Designer that may improve my web design workflow (this discovery is huge, and worth the entire experiment). Also, I have learned a large deal more about marketing and customer service. Providing a service in a timely manner with what is expected is paramount, but sometimes overlooked. For instance, in my rush to complete one job, I had forgotten to provide two iterations of a logo as two logo iterations were stated on the service statement. Luckily, my client called me out on it, and I therefore provided them three logo iterations for the inconvenience.

Oftentimes, companies place more focus on the brand identity and marketing content, then drop the ball once they have a client. It should be different. Equal, if not more, time spent on the product and service. Seth Godin — an American author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker — wrote very plainly, “Organizations don’t accidentally run ads, don’t mistakenly double (or halve) the amount of cereal they put in the box. They shouldn’t deliver customer service that doesn’t match their goals either.” Now, I don’t always get this right. More often times than not, I mess it up. But this experiment has taught me to be more empathetic to my clients’ needs, and to champion their goals — not mine.

The takeaway

Champion client goals for selfish reasons (or, not so selfish): A client who tells someone that they received X service — and that they are happy with it — is worth more than a billboard ad in New York City.