How long has it been? It was supposed to take only 5 days! I think it has taken 47 days, yes 47 good days, and now, I have finally parted ways with my first Fiverr client.
Oh, did I say I finally delivered my first order? Pardon me, that was a slip of tongue, the order was actually canceled and wasnt delivered. In this post am going to explain why an order I worked on for 47 days was canceled, the mistakes I made and what I learned from those mistakes, grab your popcorn people, lets roll.
This post was written with beginners in mind, I will try to go into as much details as possible; experienced Fiverr marketers can also follow along although this post might sound a little too detailed, you may pickup
a few things on the way who knows what might help in the future?
If you didnt know already, Fiverr is an online skill marketplace, think of the local market or supermarket in your area, Fiverr is exactly the same thing well not exactly same thing per say, Fiverr is an online marketplace which means the seller and the customer doesnt get to meet face to face, secondly you cant buy your regular wares like beverages or wines in the platform, for that youd have to visit amazon or eBay, here we actually market (buy and sell) skills like web development, programming, audio editing, video editing, copy writing, graphic design etc the different types of skilled marketed in the platform will surprise you, so if you already have skill but hasnt registered on the platform, please do so already. If you need to learn more about Fiverr, please search on Google for more information about it, I will also post regularly about my experiences on the platform on this website.
Alright, now that you might have a fairly good understanding of the platform, any related terminology will be explained as we move forward, here you will understand some Beginner tips needed to start out on Fiverr.
It was on this fateful 14 September 2018, I had received a follow-up message on an offer I sent to a buyer about a week ago using the buyers request page on this page customers who are probably too lazy to move round the whole market checking and comparing prices (assuming its your regular local market) writes a description of what they want to buy and sellers who can deliver this product make offers to the customer with their prices and how long it will take them to deliver this product (or orders), the customer then selects the best person for the job.
2 weeks before the message I had gotten a laptop, created my gig a day later think of gigs as the wares you see on your regular market displayed inside showcases and hung on counters, so basically, by creating a gig I had actually set up my own ware and hung them on counters oh and dont forget the price tags. That same day I started making offers to clients using the buyers request page.
I made my first mistake by sending an offer to that particular request, the customer requested for someone with knowledge of PHP, I thought maybe I could convince him to work with python (which is what I work with), PHP and Python are programming languages which in my case are being used for web development, so they are like different tools that do the same thing. This was my first mistake. Always remember to apply for an offer that allows you to deliver with the tool you work with, dont write an offer you arent sure you can deliver do not play trial and error with a customers order. You will learn more about this as we move further.
It took a week, I have even forgotten I wrote an offer to that particular request because I had continued writing offers to so many other requests. so imagine my surprise when I was contacted with details of job I had forgotten I even applied for, someone talking like we had somehow discussed about the job before, thankfully I can view all the requests I sent offers to, sure we had discussed about the job before, he needed someone to redesign an existing site interface and add some functionalities to make the lives of the site visitors easier. This was a big task, Id only gotten my laptop about two weeks before and hadnt embarked on a large project, I had just finished writing a simple web scraper; and here I have someone who wants me to build something with a technology (or tool) I dont like or use, I had even forgotten my plan was to convince him to drop PHP and use python instead.
At first I wanted to reply with Sorry am not a PHP programmer, find someone else, but then I looked around the room, I was actually sitting with an experienced PHP programmer, the owner of this great blog and a good friend Kizinho.
Kizinho I just received a message from a potential client that requested for features you may already have scripts (already made) for, what do you think? Should I negotiate with the customer? I will handle the interface while you handle the back-end I had asked, he gave me a go ahead, few hours later a $70 custom order was placed with 5 days time frame Another mistake.
I had made two mistakes by accepting this very order First,
Accepting A Project That Required A Tool I Dont Work With:- Im a python developer, I accepted a job that needed tools I dont work with.
Do you know why I accepted the order in the first place? Na, I havent told you yet, well I accepted the order for the same reason many starting Fiverr freelance will accept this type of order Rating! I had hoped to do a fantastic job and get a five star rating; I did not stop to think about certain variables that came with job, for example, communication, I as the front-end developer lives very far way from the back-end engineer, this presented communication issue because relaying to and fro such long distance with Facebook and Whatsapp is a huge mess I would have realized this if thought about it a longer, sometimes the message youre trying to pass along might be completely misunderstood. Also I didnt stop to thing Oh maybe this project might be more complicated than I thought, and it as hell was, we will look at this mistake in the next section, for now, please never accept a project that requires a tool you are not familiar with, you might be severally tempted but dont give in, my huddles might be different from yours but it will ultimately boil down to one thing bad customer experience.
Now is the major mistake from my long list of mistakes
Assuming I understood what the customer wanted without paying proper attention to details:- Care for a piece of advice? Never under any circumstance assume you understand what the customer wants without paying very proper attention, neither should you try to guess what a clients requested that you didnt understand properly Big mistake, you will waste a lot of time doing this.
Redesign an existing interface, implement a new such feature that will return relevant results on both single and multi-search query, dont touch the static files was all I read, at some points I think I had also read something about adding some few other pages My customer had sent a 9 page .docx document listing what he wanted some where vague I agree, but what did I do? Well, I believed he listed everything he needed on the chat message he sent so the document was just a way of well I dont know what to say, I just kinda believed everything he wanted was on our chat message, so I just skimmed through the pages of the document with the wrong impression that I had fully understood the project big mistake then came the complaint:
What is this? The whole features seems like it was rushed and I dont think you understand this project at all, please design an upgrade in progress landing page for the site and redo the whole stuff, its not ready at all! But Ill take it youre still working on the project my heart skipped a beat when I saw this message on the morning of day six. I had been feeling like the Killer Bean the previous night, I had expected a wow message that morning with a lot of smiling faces, and what nonsense was he talking about when he he wrote I dont think you understand the project at all? I replied the message with all the features he had asked me to implement, give me 24 hours to rewrite the whole document he replied, but now I couldnt wait for 24 hours, so I calmed down then and reread the whole breif (yep, that was what he named the .docx document) - Implement a live search filter for the search results that lets users filter the results by views, rating, relevance and many other variables What the hell? Implement a new rating system that lets user users rate the software source and a rating pop-up What?! Now this requirement was vague, it was not clear enough, by source he meant www.domain.com and not www.domain.com/name-of-software, I just guessed he meant he latter, that is rating a webpage against rating the whole website, so we went ahead to implement a system that lets users rate the latter Instead of asking for clarification I guessed he wanted something else, never do this! Ask questions when you dont understand anything.
Other Mistakes that came with this order...
Asking For A Price Increase:- Now this part is tied closely to the one above, I dont think that you would ask for a price increase if you had fully understood the project at the initial stage; and you will agree with me that its your fault if you didnt pay enough attention to job details and had somehow missed some points.
We all know that most of the clients that offered you a job wont accept a price increase, in fact some of them would even prefer the contract terminated, who would want to work with someone that cant pay attention? but for the few that might agree to increase the price, you wouldnt expect the contract terms to still remain the same. I had asked for a price increase after I found out that there was more than what met the eye regarding the project, fortunately (or unfortunately) the client reluctantly accepted with the condition that I d complete everything he wants as he wanted it, I made the stupid mistake of thinking the whole project was still gonna remain the same and everything he wanted was still on the brief document but I was in for a shocker. Add this feature here, add that functionality there, show the search results like this no that doesnt look good, revert it and display it this, fix this, fix that, this was what followed next, I even tasked to build a comment system withing 24 hours and I had gone the extra mile of redesigning all the static pages (which was not part of the original agreement), and whole pieces of programs had to be rewritten. I regretted ever asking for that price increase, if I happen to be in this type of situation again, I would either back out of the project if the customer had more things in mind than the details he sent (I will do this more), or try to complete the project with original price agreed I dont think you even need to ask for a price increase, many satisfied customers will add extra tip to the original price. So I guess the secret is to fully understand the complete details of the job, then complete it to the maximum satisfaction of the customer; if youre not sure about this, dont go ahead with the order, you might end up wasting everyones time Time is valuable.
Always make sure the price included in the offer is a price you can work with: I can bet many beginners like me made this same mistake, and many more will also make the same mistake. When I asked my then client for a price increase as I stated above, his reply was: You dont expect me to increase your price even though I had already agreed to pay more that you requested; what was he talking about? I still remember that what I asked for was for $250, then we had haggled it down to $70, what did he mean by already agreed to pay more than I requested? I thought very hard about this then it hit me, you actually include a price when you send out offers through the buyers request page I mentioned previously, how did I forget? - then it hit me again, for this particular request I had set my price at $25, what a dumb fellow I was, but truth be told, I had not expected the buyer to contact me, I dont think I even read the job description he sent quite carefully I had just quoted a random price and moved to the next request, this is bad. If a request irks your interest, before you make an offer, try very well to understand what is involved in the project, if you are too lazy to read the whole job description, at least set a reasonable amount, more than you work with, the client will negotiate with you if he thinks you are compentent enough; in fact, I have heard of clients turning down offers because they felt like that particular seller ( freelancer ) didnt understand the complexity of a particular job, this was as a result of the freelancer setting a price so low that even the buyer got worried.
Knowing what you worth and what a project worth will increase your confidence, and confidence will drive you to set the right price for your offer and believe me, right prices among other things do win bids.
I Minced Words: One of the worst mistakes you can make as a freelancer is not being straightforward. I know somethings are better not said out-rightly, but you should not fail at any point to make yourself clear, I mean absolutely clear!
Hard lesson; I learnt the hard way how easily one can be mistaken, many times I tried to pass my opinions in such a way i wont sound so blunt, hoping that maybe he would understand what I was trying to pass along, this never happened, in fact I was misunderstood the more, now I understand people arent mind listeners (like we have in The Seeker TV Series) and cant read my mind, neither can they understand what my message was trying to say. On many occasions I should have abruptly rejected many features he requested, I think that would have saved everybody some time, but I didnt until it was late. Now, I did what I should have done a long time ago I listed all functionalities I knew we couldnt deliver we could deliver this functionalities on a normal time but this? There was no willpower for this anymore, we have worked for many days without seeing any cash, now most part of our brain thinks we are wasting our time.
I had done the right thing at the wrong time, two days to the pre-launch was when I told him I could not deliver most of the functionalities we were working on, I had previously mentioned this to him about a week ago when I sent him a message that I was quitting because I had no more willpower to continue working on the project, but maybe because I wrote the message how I thought might be easier for him to take, but maybe he thought I wasnt serious (one of the disadvantages of not being straightforward)- he replied the message with a new functionality update I should fix. That was kinda funny to me. We ended up wasting one extra week with him thinking I was working on the project because maybe I was not clear enough. When I told him I couldnt deliver the functionalities two days to his pre-launch, I think he had even forgotten about the message where I stated I quit. Always be straightforward with your work say what you can/cant work on time so the customer would know the right step to take next.
After the whole project nobody was satisfied, he had offered to pay me $15 which I had refused, the project has wasted a lot of my time and had also taught me a lot of things, Id rather know I did a free job that taught me a lot of things than collect $15 dollar after working for more than a month. My experience has not been the best and I wouldn't want someone else to have such an experience Obviously I have learnt from my mistakes and I hope you did too.
Let me hear your opinions in the comment and . dont forget to share.
Oh and please forgive the typos