How to turn $5 into $22000

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I woke today to an email from a past client of mine and I wanted to share it because I think it tells such an important story – that you never know where the little things you are doing now will lead you.

Ffion Evans did Uncage Your Business with me back in 2013. Her business was flailing, she was struggling to get by, and investing in the course was a HUGE deal for her. I encouraged her to write down at least 30 ways that she could generate some income NOW (through her business or not). And you know what she did? She started selling drawings of monsters on Fiverr. It was fun for her, easy, and people loved them. Sure at $5 a pop it takes a while to generate anything substantial, but she kept hustling it and was able to join Uncage Your Business.

Here is the rest of the story in the email that Ffion sent me this morning:

Hey Becca!

I don’t know if this interests you, but I thought I’d share, as a good example of what small seeds we plant along the way can turn into :)
You know that Fiverr Monster drawing gig I started way back when in 2013 because of your Make Money Hustle Facebook Challenge?

After drawing 200 monsters over around half a year on Fiverr and earning about $2000 from it I eventually had the gig shut down because my design business started getting better and I didn’t need the extra pocket money so much and it wasn’t worth the time I was putting in.

The other day, a past client got in touch via Fiverr, and asked if I could reopen the gig so she could get one more illustration in the same style. I opened the gig for her as I’ve done for a couple of other good past clients. She never showed up.

Instead a different person got in touch asking what I’d charge if I was to sign over all the rights for the images they comissioned, so I offered them a significantly higher rate. They said they’d like to commission 3 monsters as an experiment, and if that went well, would I be interested in working for them on a larger project. I said sure, what was the scope of the project. They said it’d be a book of 35 black and white illustrated monsters, but they assumed they’d need several artists. I said, nah, I could do 35 monsters ;)

The first three were a success, and we moved the project away from Fiverr. The Kickstarter for the book reached all its stretch goals at $22,000, so we went from 35 – 49 monsters, and they commissioned them all in colour, not just black and white.

Day before yesterday I turned in the final monster.

It’s been my biggest (and best paid) gig ever. I’ll have illustrated an actual physical book! And I find it just hilariously amazing that I’m getting offered big bucks to draw monsters.
This has also been my financially most successful month ever in my business (including other design work). And I’m starting to feel like so much more is possible.

This would have been completely unimaginable for me just a few months ago, and in 2013 I’d probably have laughed in your face if you’d suggested it.

I’ve come a long way from my ailing first business steps and the $5 monster drawing gig started for a laugh because of your challenge :)
 
Life is good.
 
Thank you for helping me plant those first seeds. I am so grateful I took the leap in 2013.

UYB and your community has been the catalyst for so many wonderful things and connections in my business and life.

Thank you for the awesome work you’re doing and for modelling such an alternative lifestyle.

You are an amazing person.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
xo Ffion

____

Remember – just because you don’t know the ending, doesn’t mean that this isn’t the beginning of something amazing. Huge thanks to Ffion for allowing me to share her story with you.You can check out her design work here.  I hope it reminds you to stay open to the possibilities of what’s to come. Because you just never know.

xo becca

Read 5 Comments & Leave Yours

  1. Lori

    Wow! What a great story. It’s so exciting to see consistent effort pay off in unpredictable and awesome ways. Makes me think I should encourage my clients and myself to try some more creative, fun strategies for getting noticed.

  2. Love this! Thank you for sharing! What a great testament to getting out there and doing what we love and you never know what doors will open up because of it. We can’t possibly have it all planned, even if we tried!

  3. Ffion

    Lori I can recommend experimenting sooooooo much. Like Becca mentioned, I came up with 30 ways to make money, and then implemented 3 – 4 of theme. Some I remember were hustling the hell out of an existing theme shop on Etsy, which also started showing good results later on. The other was the Fiverr gig, another was selling prints of my work on Society6.

    The last one actually pretty much flopped completely. I sold one print, though interestingly enough even that one came with a beautifully inspiring story. The person who purchased it ordered the print and a year later got in touch to ask if they could have the image tattooed because they identified so strongly with the story behind the image. Ultimately the shop flopped, but it touched someone’s life in a significant way for them. So again, you never know what might come of things.

    The Fiverr gig was really started as a “what the hell, going to try it all”, and I happened to have scans lying around, so I just uploaded a portfolio and it exploded. So far Fiverr has led to an illustrated card game, two illustrated books, a tv-interview and lots of hilarious “behind the monsters” stories, one of which was a smaller scale self-published as far as I can tell (although it got a little mentioned by Stephenie Meyer on her FB page – true story), but this current one sounds like it’s really going to be pretty professionally produced with fake leather cover and all :)

    And this current gig has been my biggest, most involved illustration project to date (and the most fun by far.)
    Just to clarify – I didn’t get all the 22K, part of that goes into producing the product, but a pretty big share got allocated to the illustrations :) My experience on Fiverr also trained me up to produce pretty damn fast and also deal with customers better and set solid boundaries. When you’re earning something like $3.50 a monster after Fiverr and Paypal take your share, you’re not going to piss around.

    So you definitely don’t know where things will lead.
    I can only recommend experimenting as much as possible and doing some seemingly random crazy stuff if it sounds like fun to you. It brings so much clarity and often results you could never have planned for, even years and years later. And it gives you fun stories to talk about :)

  4. Ffion

    Thank you <3 See my comment to Lori above, but SO MUCH YES TO THIS. You never know until you try stuff what amazing things might come as a result. Some things may be total dead ends, but it'll still teach you something valuable in most cases.