Is anyone else finding it harder to make a living online?

by Rob-T
32 replies
Hi guys

I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
#brand #design #finding #harder #living #logo #make #online
  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    no doubt. Far too much fraud online to deal with.

    Sites copies, materials copied, business ideas cloned, chargebacks, etc.

    Anyone that offers "coaching" on their method...is either thick as a brick or it's B*S*

    No-one shares their money maker.
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  • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    If you have a problem competing with Fiverr...then don't compete with them.

    Do you think that BMW has an issue competing with Ford or Toyota?

    No: they made a $6.7 BILLION profit last year.

    Think outside the box: the people on Fiverr, Odesk, and even Elance aren't even medium sized companies: they're cheap IM companies with a limited budget.

    Do you think that you'd find BMW looking on Fiverr for cheap graphics?

    HELL NO.

    Pitch to the companies that YOU want to work for who have a need for your services, and develop a tight pitch that will make them want to work with YOU.
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    • Profile picture of the author salegurus
      Originally Posted by DTGeorge View Post

      Think outside the box: the people on Fiverr, Odesk, and even Elance aren't even medium sized companies: they're cheap IM companies with a limited budget.
      Not even companies, more like one man/woman shows...


      Originally Posted by DTGeorge View Post

      Do you think that you'd find BMW looking on Fiverr for cheap graphics? HELL NO.
      Yes but they are also not going to work with a work from home designer...
      Companies are far more likely to work with other established companies that will handle all aspects from brand development to social media...

      RE: BMW - recently consolidated all marketing divisions and handed it over to
      Grey Group...
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      • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
        Originally Posted by salegurus View Post

        Not even companies, more like one man/woman shows...




        Yes but they are also not going to work with a work from home designer...
        Companies are far more likely to work with other established companies that will handle all aspects from brand development to social media...

        RE: BMW - recently consolidated all marketing divisions and handed it over to
        Grey Group...
        1. It was an analogy...the point of the matter was obviously not to tell him to go and apply with BMW

        2. There are plenty of SME's who work with bigger companies who would be happy to outsource work and pay premium prices as well
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        • Profile picture of the author Steve B
          I think the key is to offer something unique so that you aren't competing with anyone else. When you do this you won't appeal to everyone . . . just a particular segment of the market. But that's OK, that's what you want.

          Carve out your own niche. You can do that by surveying what's out there currently and see if you can identify an unmet need/want in the industry.

          The unique thing about your business could be anything that you specialize in that sets your business apart. Here are just a few examples:

          • Cater to a particular industry and become known as the "go to guy" used by all the top firms in that space
          • Provide a unique set of services that other designers don't offer
          • Make your designs stand out as by far the very best money can buy
          • Give better customer service than anyone else
          • Include add-ons to your offers that make them very valuable to the client
          • Offer to upgrade your designs at a discount in the future
          • Don't just do logos, include designing letterhead, business cards, etc
          • Provide the fastest package turn-around time in the industry

          It could be anything. If you persist and you have a value-added proposition to what you offer and it's something that is seen as very desirable by your prospects, you will slowly build your brand that will be recognized for its uniqueness.

          As you can imagine, folks on Fiverr are mostly competing against each other in the very low end market. Their uniqueness (cheap price) brands them all with the same market crowd. Most will make very little money and if they spend any time at all on their designs, they will be working for pennies on the dollar compared to the high end designers.

          Believe me, competing on the basis of a cheap price alone is a tough business proposition, especially given the low entry dynamics of the Internet and the foreign labor that is willing to work for a tiny profit.

          I hope you succeed by carving out your own unique niche,

          Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author PeckhamPirate
    Certainly getting harder.
    Less cash floating around, more competition, Google being an asshole.

    It's all made things tougher, but there's still plenty, plenty dollar to be made online.

    One thing that did work for me on Fiverr, although I've kind of moved on now, is to hook in new clients by offering cheap services to get the client (and their trust) then once you've created contact up-selling them to other services.

    I think there are proobably lots of free wsos on the subject, but basically it runs something like this; You sell some kind of Graphics service to Mr small business owner via Fiverr. To get started you ask for as much info as possible - espescially the addresses of any of his web properties (site, blog, facebook page, google local page, google+ etc etc).

    Then contact that person via one of these sources, rather than Fiverr, to get clarification or make some kind of comment.

    Deliver your work via Fiverr but continue the dialogue away from the site. Boom, if you made a good job of the gig, and your buyer needs more work, you just became their new go-to graphics guy. I did this for local sites, and to be honest, if I needed a cash injection I'd go right back to it, cos it works.

    One last tip, I found a line like this in my Fiverr profile really upped my conversions; "I'm here on Fiverr mainly as a buyer, as I'm a professional designer / writer / voice-over artist in real life. I usually charge much more for the type of gigs I'm offering here, but I'm such a fan of Fiverr and buying stuff here, I thought I'd join in the fun."
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    • Profile picture of the author China Newz
      Not in the same niche as you but feel the pain of trying to start an online business. Hang in there, stay positive, try to work harder, try to work smarter, stay focused on your goals and good things will come.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob-T
      DTGeorge - Never thought of it in that way. Very useful information, I'm definitely going to approach bigger companies.

      PeckhamPirate - I like your idea of up-selling, I may try the same thing but using Elance.

      ChinaNewz - Thanks for the encouragement and like you say I'm just gonna have to work smarter.
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  • Profile picture of the author prateek9118
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    Don't compete with them.
    Build your own brand. Specialize only in one niche or you can create one niche in your field.
    Lets take an example of dominos. Everyone pizza seller had a punchline like " Homemade sauce and freshly baked crust with tomatoes and vegetables". But in came dominos .. they never said anything about their pizza... they just said " we will deliver in 30 minutes else you will get it free". Rest is history. They created a new niche in pizza industry. That's how you do it.
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    • Profile picture of the author 4DayWeekend
      It's swings and roundabouts...

      If you're offering small graphic design jobs to online companies who are tech savvy, it's going to be more difficult to win work because they already know about Fiverr, Elance and the like where they can get work for next to nothing.

      But, you can twist this and work it to your advantage.

      Get yourself to breakfast networking meetings, local networking and get to know people who run brick and mortar businesses. You'll find they are not as tech savvy but they still need logos and stationary designed etc. And these guys will pay you proper money.

      But here's where you use Fiverr and the like to your advantage...

      You can actually outsource the work for them. And the time you would've spent doing the work can be used to get more clients.

      Also, the guys who are making some money on Fiverr will not have some money to invest themselves on improving their business (Nobody wants to keep working for $5 forever), think about what you can offer to them.

      For every door that closes another door opens.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheFury
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    I think what you are saying makes sense. I used 99designs and while I pay $500, the expected value for a designer making a design is probably closer to $5. Though I did use the same guy to then design the ebook so he made $150 with no comp there, but yes, I think it will be very hard to make good money designing logos etc. freelance.
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  • Profile picture of the author retsced
    I doubt companies selling 2k products worry about the WSO section. The Internet is a mighty big place and there are plenty of people with deep pockets that will only buy high quality products.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:

    Sometimes you have to take a different approach than your competition. I've just recently started setting up an ecommerce site for my offline business and the fact that my niche is ultra competitive keeps running through my head. However, there's another major company in my niche that's been running full page ads in an industry publication for several months now and over 75% of the stuff they have listed is NOT what everyone else is pitching on a regular basis.

    I've noticed a pattern with these guys over the past several months where they try to completely differentiate themselves from most others in the market. I've gone through much of their site and although they do carry quite a few common items as well, they make an obvious effort to push items that everyone else isn't focusing on, but will do the same job.

    They appear to be doing quite well, too. How do I know that? Because companies don't normally continue to pay for advertising, especially expensive advertising, unless it's working!

    Study what others in your market are doing besides just those that are giving away their services cheap. By doing this I've discovered that even though there are companies in my industry that sell stuff dirt cheap, there are also those that sell at full price! Do they sell as much? Probably not, BUT I'd almost bet that their profit margin was comparable, and they do it with fewer customers.

    Bottom line, you should look into trying to differentiate yourself from your market. It could even be a unique USP. Make yourself stand out, but don't focus on price. Focus on quality, service, speed, problem solving, originality, etc, etc.

    Anyway, hth.

    Joe
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  • Profile picture of the author Jreed
    Pretty sure fiverr is much more than a one man show. And by the amount of commissions they take from me, multiplied by the thousands of sales each day they are doing pretty good.

    They have definitely changed the game.

    Sorry to get off subject, just my thoughts.
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    • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
      Originally Posted by Jreed View Post

      Pretty sure fiverr is much more than a one man show. And by the amount of commissions they take from me, multiplied by the thousands of sales each day they are doing pretty good.

      They have definitely changed the game.

      Sorry to get off subject, just my thoughts.
      I think he was saying that the people who advertise ON Fiverr are one man shows
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  • Profile picture of the author Fazal Mayar
    Yes its harder because of the competition. That's why I recommend people to go to college, there are so many college threads. Finish your degree, online income isn't guaranteed.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheFury
      Originally Posted by Fazal Mayar View Post

      Yes its harder because of the competition. That's why I recommend people to go to college, there are so many college threads. Finish your degree, online income isn't guaranteed.
      This. There also seems to be delusions about how much money is a lot of money. Guys talking about making $800/month etc. thinking they are going to quit school ... jeez...
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    • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
      Originally Posted by Fazal Mayar View Post

      Yes its harder because of the competition. That's why I recommend people to go to college, there are so many college threads. Finish your degree, online income isn't guaranteed.
      Neither is income from a degree. I received a B.S. in Math & Computer Science in 2011. I was never able to obtain any sort of work with that degree, not even at $7.25/hour. I wish I'd just gotten a nice, inexpensive, online business degree - and that's what I recommend to others. STEM degrees are very difficult to obtain, they are not offered online, and classes are only offered during the day, making it impossible to hold down a normal job while pursuing them. Then, when you graduate, unless you are absolutely brilliant--unless you can sit down and pound out your own copy of MS Word, or replicate Amazon.com (including all of the graphics)--forget about finding a job, regardless of how little pay you are willing to accept. Even the unpaid "internships" I saw required complete fluency in a dozen different programming languages, at least a year of experience, and a portfolio.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheFury
        Originally Posted by teresarothaar View Post

        Neither is income from a degree. I received a B.S. in Math & Computer Science in 2011. I was never able to obtain any sort of work with that degree, not even at $7.25/hour. I wish I'd just gotten a nice, inexpensive, online business degree - and that's what I recommend to others. STEM degrees are very difficult to obtain, they are not offered online, and classes are only offered during the day, making it impossible to hold down a normal job while pursuing them. Then, when you graduate, unless you are absolutely brilliant--unless you can sit down and pound out your own copy of MS Word, or replicate Amazon.com (including all of the graphics)--forget about finding a job, regardless of how little pay you are willing to accept. Even the unpaid "internships" I saw required complete fluency in a dozen different programming languages, at least a year of experience, and a portfolio.
        I don't know if your experience is typical. I have many friends in the tech industry out west and they are all telling me the job market for good programmers etc. is great.
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        • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
          Originally Posted by TheFury View Post

          I don't know if your experience is typical. I have many friends in the tech industry out west and they are all telling me the job market for good programmers etc. is great.
          It is: if you have years of experience and a portfolio, and/or you are absolutely brilliant. If you're an entry-level candidate straight out of university, and you cannot sit down and make your own copy of Word or replicate Amazon.com, forget it.
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      • Profile picture of the author DTGeorge
        Originally Posted by teresarothaar View Post

        Neither is income from a degree. I received a B.S. in Math & Computer Science in 2011. I was never able to obtain any sort of work with that degree, not even at $7.25/hour. I wish I'd just gotten a nice, inexpensive, online business degree - and that's what I recommend to others. STEM degrees are very difficult to obtain, they are not offered online, and classes are only offered during the day, making it impossible to hold down a normal job while pursuing them. Then, when you graduate, unless you are absolutely brilliant--unless you can sit down and pound out your own copy of MS Word, or replicate Amazon.com (including all of the graphics)--forget about finding a job, regardless of how little pay you are willing to accept. Even the unpaid "internships" I saw required complete fluency in a dozen different programming languages, at least a year of experience, and a portfolio.
        I'm going to have to disagree - Online business degrees are a dime a dozen, and I could even extend that to MBA's.

        Either way, how you market yourself and use your degree is far more important.
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  • Profile picture of the author he_august
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    You're not alone, my friend...

    as a graphic designer, i experience this myself ... income has been decrease significantly...

    but still,
    have faith that everything is gonna be alright, and that we're gonna survive no matter what :>

    and, instead of just surrender to this condition, we need to think that something must be done so that we can survive the cruel market competition..

    God bless :>

    sorry for my bad english... not a native english writer :p

    Warm regards,
    hendy August
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    I agree with the comments about the type of clients sites like oDesk, Elance, and Fiverr attract. They don't attract professionals and successful companies. They attract start-ups--a large number of them fly-by-night, hack operations--that are down to their last nickel. Over the past year or so, I've noticed the level of jobs deteriorate to the point where it's not worth bothering with those sites anymore. There are too many gigs that pay, literally, $1.00/hour.

    I also agree that offline marketing is the key. I'm going to start taking advantage of in-person networking opportunities in my area. I feel it's the best way of finding companies that actually have money and are willing to pay for quality work, as opposed to a hack whose Internet is about to be cut off because he can't pay the bill, let alone pay a copywriter or any other sort of service provider.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    approach companies like yahoo. They recently dilly dallied over a month on a logo change, prob spent a million bucks internally, marketing consultants and a public campaign for a new "logo". Which we basically a new font change. LOL. The CEO got paid for that innovation?
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  • Profile picture of the author teresarothaar
    Yeah, I was just saying to my husband that I guarantee Yahoo did not get their logo redesigned by someone on Fiverr.

    While Yahoo didn't approach a tiny, at-home business either, large advertising and marketing firms sometimes outsource work to "creative boutiques," which are tiny operations that specialize in one field, such as graphic design or copywriting.

    We're going to join our local Chamber of Commerce so we can attend their networking events. It costs $345.00/year, but that's part of the attraction. Companies that pay that membership fee are more likely to have money to spend, and less likely to be operating out of a relative's spare room and earning so little they qualify for food stamps.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
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    sell to the wealthy or business. Forget the Getto/keyboard warriors. $10 is life or death to them
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  • Profile picture of the author edlewis
    First things first...be very careful who you listen to in this thread - lots of "Debbie Downer's" quick to jump in and start a pity party.

    Second thing...looking at your work, it's very good. So that isn't your issue. Your problem is more marketing yourself and finding new clients.

    There will always be people looking to hire the cheapest person possible. If you're only competing on price, then you're in trouble. Especially in graphic design where 3rd world workers can charge alot less because they can survive on alot less.


    You also need to learn how to leverage your skills.

    Right off the bat my first question is - Are you posting work anywhere like the Envato network ie GraphicRiver.net?

    Logo templates over there go for $29 each. And you can sell other graphic design elements, kits, vectors, etc over there too.

    It's a nice way to leverage your graphic design skills - by product-izing them. Turn your work into a product that you can resell to many people, instead of just looking for a client for a one-off project.

    What you also find out is this helps you land more clients. Customers who purchase your products and like them will one day want/need custom work...and come to you for it.

    I've hired several designers who I've approached thru the Envato sites. I've also contacted designers and offered to buy exclusive rights to a product they placed on Envato, so I could sell it myself somewhere else. I paid a college kid from the Philippines $500 for two products. It was a good deal for both of us. I made more than that re-selling the product and he would have had to wait months to see that income from sales on GraphicRiver...not to mention Envato taking their cut.

    The point is...I would have never found him if not for seeing his work there.

    I've found many (most?) designers have a hard time thinking this way. They still have the JOB mindset and not an entrepreneurial one. Don't worry...it can be learned. You just need to look around and see how other designers are leveraging their skills and copy/implement it into your business.

    You should also look into branching your business out.

    Self-publishing is huge right now...and if you can do logos and banners, you can do book covers for Kindle/CreateSpace/iBooks authors. Looking at your work, I suspect it wouldn't be difficult to make the leap. You might have to learn a few little things, but not much...and it's all stuff you can learn for free.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob-T
      Originally Posted by edlewis View Post


      Right off the bat my first question is - Are you posting work anywhere like the Envato network ie GraphicRiver.net?
      I've never even seen those sites but thanks for the heads up, it may be the way just to get a foot in the door There's some very talented people on there.

      I also like your idea of Kindle books covers, something I will be looking into.
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  • Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.
    What's really happening is that the web is growing at such an incredible rate, that it is becoming much more difficult to stand out from the crowd.

    Thus the only thing you can do is scream louder, act crazier, jump higher, or do something original that no one is doing (yet).

    Giving up on designing is not an option and you will most likely regret it if you do.
    (since you love doing it so much). So find a way to doing something different than the average designer is doing. Maybe approaching clients that are not looking to pay just $5 bucks would be a good start? Find out where "they" live, and move to their neighborhood.
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  • Profile picture of the author bikai19
    Originally Posted by Rob-T View Post

    Hi guys

    I've been designing Logos/brands and other web graphics on and off for the last few years and completely stopped a few months back because I just couldn't compete with places like Fiverr (although I love the site) and even find it hard to compete on Elance.

    What would you guys realistically pay for a logo/brand design or static banner design?

    Also if you wanted something designed for your company or website where is the first place you would go to?

    I really don't want to give up designing as I love the create process but I'm thinking maybe I should be looking into other avenues. :confused:
    Never give up, i think competition is good, because, it brings the best out of people and encourages great creativity. Advertise more and do all the traffic generation traffic tactics like video, PR, twitter, facebook, content etc... Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    I must admit it's a little bit harder than it was 3 to 5 years ago.....
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    • Profile picture of the author MatthewM
      People from lower developed countries are willing to do work for less. When it comes to IT, webdesign, and graphics. People end up pricing themselves out of market trying to make a living trying to compete within that market. Just the way it is.

      I advise not competing with them and finding other people in your niche to market to other than internet marketers who most likely will go to fiver for simple image jobs.

      I do graphics, just for myself mostly.

      Here is an idea. Halloween is coming up. I thought about setting up a fiver gig for Image Enhancement - Make Me Look Evil.

      I would run a few photoshop actions over peoples pictures to get them looking undead, decaying, or like a vampire.

      As long as you can crank out images in about 5 to 10 minutes, you could make a decent wage. This could be huge if it went viral.

      I don't have the time nor am I strapped for cash and willing to trade graphics services for less than $50 an hour.

      I'm a music producer also.

      Competition has gone through the roof since about 5 years ago. Now any kid with half talent can produce a great sounding track on their home laptop using inexpensive digital audio workstations.

      Only problem is they think they have to lease tracks for $5 to $10 like everybody else

      I use to lease tracks $50 - $100. Not any more

      When it came down to having to lower my prices to compete, I said hell no and changed my approach.

      Just can't compete in their market.

      Most of their buyers wouldn't buy tracks if they were not in that price range.

      People in my market wouldn't consider paying $5 - $10 a track. They know hundred of musicians own leases, that they probably don't have the proper licenses to use the sounds they produce the track with and know they would only get a mixed down version of the song and couldn't make future edits. Most people I sell too are offline, I meet through local studios.

      I charge $500 - $2000 exclusive rights now.

      I sell far less product but make up for it in commissions.

      A couple years ago I wrote a post on this forum about WSO prices on the decline. I got a lot of flak for asking why so many people feel they must price their wso so low. I don't sell WSO's that often. I don't want to compete in this marketplace. I don't have to when you can move the same products else where at 5 times the price. Some people choose to make their living off wso's alone and if that is you, then you have to be competitive here.

      The online market place is definitely always changing and always will.

      But if you follow the pack, then I guess you follow the pack.
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