My on-again, off-again freelancing career is now on again. In early 2011, while I was looking for a job, I researched alternative ways to make money online. I found several good websites for freelance work, one of which was Fiverr.com. I started an account and created a handful of Gigs® (what Fiverr® calls individual services offered on a freelance basis) based on the skills I already enjoyed: recording voice-overs, proofreading, and translating between English and Japanese. I made a modest amount of money doing those and other tasks. Over the past four years, I’ve deactivated and re-activated my Gigs® more than once as my life has become more and less busy.
Why did I decide to re-activate them now? I’m going to an in-person networking event tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 17), where everyone will be exchanging business cards. I’m just a front-line technician at my day job, so I have no business cards from the company where my day job is. I do, however, still have the business cards I got from Fiverr® when they were offering every seller a free box (we only had to pay for shipping). I figured that if I was going to give out those business cards, my Fiverr® storefront should be open for business, so I opened it again.
I only have three Gigs® live on my Fiverr page right now. They’re my favorite freelancing tasks and the ones I had printed on my business cards: general voice-overs, proofreading, and voice-overs in Japanese, which includes translation as an optional extra service. Last Saturday night, when I looked at the statistics on those Gigs®, I was surprised to see that people had actually clicked on them in the past 30 days, even though they were inactive. I knew that meant there was real demand for those services, and I was proved right when I had a new order (for a Japanese translation and voice-over) less than 48 hours after re-activating those three Gigs. Wow!
In my introductory post to this blog, I mentioned that one of the personal interests I wanted to renew this year was my interest in learning Japanese. Starting now, I’m making good on that promise. Offering translation services between English and Japanese provides an opportunity for me to renew that interest and get paid a small amount for doing so. More importantly, it gives me a source of accountability for maintaining and improving my Japanese skills. Providing value to freelancing clients is a good motive for studying and practicing the language.
This freelancing business isn’t just about translation, though. It’s also about making a habit of spending time in front of the microphone, working on my acting and production skills. If you need a freelance voice actor for a promotional video, automated phone-answering system, or anything else, or you know someone who does, please feel free to spread the word about my Fiverr page. The ultimate purpose of this site is to share and maybe even build a community around the things I create, as well as to create a storefront for those things. The stories I’ve created for myself aren’t quite ready for prime time yet (although at least one of them will be ready within the year), but I am now offering some of my creative services on a freelance basis.