People like case studies, which are basically “people watching” with better details. Hearing how another person has managed a real-life situation is more informative-and interesting-than a list of facts. I would like to write about freelancing with sites like Fiverr, and, since I have personal experience working there, I want to briefly share some of my discoveries and a little about what might await you.
Hello, I’m Dr. Ron Masa. I’m a Jungian psychologist, now retired from private practice. I’m also an artist, having sculpted in stone for many years and sold nearly a thousand small paintings online. I began freelancing with Fiverr in 2013. I wanted to learn to make professional-quality voice recordings from my home.
In the 1960s, I had worked as a TV Director for the NBC affiliate, KVOA-TV in Tucson, Arizona. I got to do a little bit of voice announcing then, and I loved it. I have wanted to do more voice work ever since. My first inclination was to locate a formal training program for voice-over education. Fortunately, I learned that they charge thousands of dollars a year! I say fortunately because that cost, plus the delay before I could do real voice work, convinced me to try something new.
I decided to “adventure” my way into freelancing with Fiverr. I read several books about voice work, found a plastic microphone lying about, and created my first gig on Fiverr.com. You, too, can start very simply and upgrade as you learn and earn. I grew a little with every job. I made mistakes. I learned how to correct-and eventually avoid-them. As I gradually improved my voicing skills, I also upgraded the microphones and software involved.
Choosing to work limited hours, over three years, I was paid more than $7,000 to learn voice-over work by actually doing voice-over work from the first day. I completed 450 professional audio jobs! To my surprise, they earned 100% satisfaction ratings. I did cancel a couple of “difficult buyers,” but nearly everyone else was great to work with. Buyers know they’re getting a great deal, they want the services to work, and they are typically very understanding.
In addition to recording traditional voice-over scripts, I discovered that I especially love voice acting. Who knew? Yes, self-discovery is one of the rewards for designing and doing work that you love. I was soon the dramatic voice of insistent reporters, troubled and brooding presidents, creepy evil villains, kindly loving fathers, disturbing alien predators, and a variety of WWII generals and battle-weary soldiers. These recordings, and hundreds more, now appear throughout movies, TV, video games, the internet, and corporate audio systems on several continents.
I also discovered that I love doing educational narration for kids about whales and stars and dinosaurs. I performed endless commercial messages. I even got to narrate several entire books. One influential classic by Dale Carnegie was far ahead of its time. Another book taught financial planning and insight. The book that I felt most honored to record was “A Summary of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.” It summarized the life and novels of the powerfully inspiring “father of African literature,” Chinua Achebe.
I loved being able to leap right into real voice work and learn the craft by doing real projects. And I particularly liked being paid to learn. If I count the $15,000 I saved on formal training, plus the $7,000 I earned for doing voice work-this freelance path put me more than $20,000 ahead! If someone prefers traditional training methods, there is nothing wrong with that. I, personally, found freelancing more exciting and more engaging.
When you do work that you love-which freelancing invites-you are much more likely to meet kindred spirits and find related opportunities that truly suit you! There are immediate, and then secondary, benefits to following your heart in employment. While practicing voice work, I learned to audio edit my own recordings as well. I later used that experience to teach an audio-editing class online!
Now, the combination of my original voice-over training and those audio-editing skills has enabled me-has really empowered me-to teach online classes. (And, yes, they have been praised for their exceptional audio quality!) Unanticipated benefits are more likely to come your way when you follow a path with heart. I now know it is possible to bring a long-term dream to life through carefully chosen freelance work. Want to get paid for work you would happily do for free? How would you design the kind of work or service that you would-admit it now-genuinely love to do?
Ron Masa, Ph.D. is a renowned psychologist, artist and freelancer. He and Debbie Hart lead the University of Yourself, whose motto is “Find Yourself, Express Yourself.”