People like case studies that are basically “human observation” with better details. Hearing how someone else deals with a real situation is much more informative and interesting than stating facts. I wanted to write about freelancing on sites like Fiverr, and since I have personal experience there, I wanted to briefly share some of my findings and something you might be up against.
Hello, I’m Dr. Ron Masa. I am a Jungian Psychologist, retired from private practice. I am also an artist, I have been engaged in stone carving for many years and I have sold almost a thousand small paintings online. I started freelancing with Fiverr in 2013. I want to learn how to make professional quality recordings at home.
In the 1960s, I worked as a television director for KVOA-TV, an NBC affiliate in Tucson, Arizona. At that point I have to make a little sound announcement, and I love it. Since then I wanted to do more voice over work. My first inclination was to find a formal voiceover education and training program. Luckily I learned that they charge thousands of dollars a year! I say lucky because the cost, plus the delay before I could do any actual voice work, convinced me to try something new.
I decided to “take the risk” by freelancing on Fiverr. I read a few books on voice work, discovered a plastic microphone, and created my first gig on Fiverr.com. You can also start very simple and level up as you learn and earn money. I grow a little in every job. I made mistakes. I learned how to correct them and ultimately avoid them. With the gradual improvement of my vocal skills, I also upgraded the relevant microphones and software.
I chose a temp job and was paid over $7,000 to learn voice over work from day one of actually doing voice over work for over three years. I’ve done 450 professional audio jobs! To my surprise, they got 100% satisfaction. I canceled a few “difficult buyers” but pretty much everyone was happy to work with. Buyers know they are getting a lot, they want the service to work and they are usually very understanding.
In addition to recording traditional voiceovers, I found myself particularly fond of dubbing. who knows? Yes, self-discovery is one of the rewards of designing and doing work you love. In no time, I’ll be the answer to a persistent reporter, a troubled and brooding president, a creepy villain, a loving father, a disturbing alien predator, and several World War II generals and weary soldiers. Dramatic sound. These recordings, and hundreds more, are now appearing in film, television, video games, the Internet and corporate audio systems on several continents.
I also discovered that I enjoy telling educational stories about whales, stars and dinosaurs for children. I ran endless commercial errands. I’m even going to tell several entire books. An influential Dale Carnegie classic was ahead of its time. Another book teaches financial planning and insight. One of the books I have been honored to document is “A Summary of Things Fall Achebe by Chinua Achebe”. It summarizes the life and novels of the inspiring ‘Father of African Literature’ Chinua Achebe.
I love being able to jump right into real voice work and learn the craft by doing real projects. I especially enjoy spending money on learning. If I add up the $15,000 I saved on formal training, plus the $7,000 I earned on voiceover work, I’ve made an extra $20,000 on this freelance journey! If someone prefers traditional training methods, there is nothing wrong with that. Personally, I find freelancing more exciting and engaging.
If you do work you love – freelance invites – you’re more likely to meet like-minded people and find relevant opportunities that are really a good fit for you! Freewheeling at work has immediate benefits, and then there are secondary benefits. While practicing voice work I also learned to edit my own recordings audio. I later used that experience to teach online audio editing courses!
Now the combination of my initial voiceover training and those audio editing skills has enabled me to teach online courses. (And yes, they’ve been praised for their superior sound quality!) Unexpected benefits are more likely if you put your heart and soul into it. I now know that old dreams can be realized through well-chosen freelancing. Do you want to get paid for work you are willing to do for free? How would you design a job or service that you – admit it now – actually enjoy doing?