There is a website which has proven to be woefully unpopular amongst my peers in the voice over community. It’s called Fiverr.com and for as little as $5, which is about £3 in proper money, you can hire graphic artists, copywriters, web programmers and of course, voice over artists.
Now just to be clear. Your $5 is not going to get you a professional voice artist recording copy for a national TV commercial, but if you need some corporate narration done, then your $5 will get you around 20 seconds’ worth. Quickly, you start to see how it works – if you want more than 20 seconds then you’re going to have to pay more for it, but that being said, it’s still great value.
The voice over community is greatly concerned about sites like this, and there are many similar sites popping up. They’re concerned because it means that they find themselves in a price war which they simply cannot win. However, you might have noticed that I am referring to the voice over community as ‘they’ and not ‘we’. Why you may ask? Well it’s simply because I don’t really share their concern.
Surprisingly, I can draw you an illustration using something that is very dear to my heart – cheesecake. Sadly it also means talking about my not so favourite supermarket, but every little helps, so I’ll have to.
Tesco have an Everyday Value Cheesecake – it costs £1. They also have their ‘regular’ brand cheesecake, and that costs £2. Then you also have the luxury of buying from their Finest range, where the dessert in question is £4. Now to hammer my point home even further, all three of these cakes are literally next to each other on the same shelf.
Now if I was catering for some children’s party where the average palate has not evolved beyond a love of fish fingers and jelly, then the Everyday version suits me just fine. I’m buying quite a few so it makes sense to go for it. Conversely, if I’m hosting a nice dinner party and fully accept that my cooking skills are great for starters and mains but fall painfully shy at the dessert stage, then going for the Finest option makes the most sense.
You see? Neither brand is threatened by the other – they work in harmony to provide the customer with a choice, and we as voice overs need to do the same. But what does any of this have to do with Fiverr? I’ll tell you.
Some time ago I set up a website called VoiceMonkey. It was a means for people to buy celebrity impersonations as ringtones for their mobiles. The price per tone was £5. I built a good site and subscribed to a file hosting service. I continually added to the library of available voices and the hope was that this would be a site which could literally make me money while I slept.
It didn’t. Quite the opposite. If you want to subscribe to the belief that “If you build it, they will come,” then you might want to stay away from eCommerce. This site actually lost me money, mainly because of the fees that I was paying to a company to host files which nobody was actually downloading.
So I moved everything over to Fiverr. I offered the exact same service, except this time I was not paying anything for it and in no time at all, I had orders. Not life changing, but something to be happy about none the less.
So Fiverr is my Everyday Value cheesecake. You won’t find me on there offering to record an explainer video or radio commercial, and it’s unlikely that you ever will. The way I see it, every single person who orders a ringtone becomes and advert for my business, so when you think about it, I’m actually charging people to advertise for me, and when you consider that I also have the joy of putting smiles on people’s faces, then it’s really not a bad business model at all.
Right, who else is in the mood for cheesecake?