As any small business owner knows, trying to meet all of your clients’ varied wishes and deliver projects on time is a recipe for frantic days and sleepless nights. The challenge in maintaining quality while battling against tight deadlines and even tighter budgets is daunting. Thankfully, in the digital era, help is now at hand in the shape of online outsourcing platforms.
A leading player in this field is Fiverr, whose mission it is to make freelance services accessible to individuals around the world. In turn, they enable small businesses to grow strategically at a pace to suit them.
One such beneficiary is Robyn Mulligan, independent business owner at RM Interior Concepts, an interior design visualization company that specializes in creating conceptual designs for clients, designers and contractors. Robyn explained: “As a solopreneur running a business on my own, it can be challenging finding the right people with the necessary talent and proper skills to help me meet all of my client’s demands.”
The designer continued: “As a result of the amazing people I have connected with on Fiverr, I have had the opportunity to expand my business, bolster the services I offer and take on new clientele. I would have never been able to do this without Fiverr’s help.”
Architizer chatted with Robyn about the challenges of growing her business, and how Fiverr is helping her take her projects to the next level.
Architizer: Tell us about you and your business.
Robyn Mulligan: I started my interior design business a little over two years ago after transitioning from a career in fashion. I started out working with designers and contractors, helping them to get their ideas on paper. Everything from elevations, floor plans, tile layouts and 3D renderings. I’ve even done exterior facades both commercial and residential.
From there, I transitioned into kitchen and bath designs for clients that wanted to see how the cabinet color would look or the backsplash they chose before they made a final decision. Oftentimes, I will illustrate a birds eye view to see how all the fixtures will fit in the space before the actual construction is started. All those things are very important to what I do on an everyday basis.
Are you an interior designer or an architect?
I’m an interior designer that focuses on space planning, but I’ve now extended my business to kitchen and bath design. Currently, I’m focused on growing that part of my business to be a full design service, a one stop shop. We will be opening our first showroom in the next couple months.
What is your introduction with Fiverr?
I was introduced to Fiverr by CK Design when I first started. We used Fiverr to produce elevations and floor plans. From there I used Fiverr to grow and expand my small business.
Is your business based on drawings, or on designing the bathrooms and kitchens themselves?
My business is not just about drawing or kitchens and baths; it’s a combination of all aspects of design so we can help with the project from concept to completion.
So, Fiverr helps you expand your business?
I used a designer on Fiverr for my very first logo, my very first business card, and to help launch my website. I now have a social media manager that helps post updated photos to keep my business current.
Aside from social media, design and marketing, are you using Fiverr’s architecture services?
Yes — I just used them to help produce drawings for the whole side of a building that is being built for a developer in my area.
Are you working with the same service providers on a regular basis?
Yes, most of the time. I’ve built a loyalty with some of these people. The newer people on the platform are very busy; they have other things they’re doing. If I need something immediately and contact the one person that I usually work with, even if it’s 3:00 in the morning, he’ll get up and do it. They’re loyal to me because I’m loyal to them.
Would you say that using Fiverr helped you increase your productivity?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. It’s a real time saver; instead of having to draw everything to scale freehand, I can just send it out and have it done in AutoCAD pretty quickly. Now I just send it over, double check it, make my notes and send in revisions. Eventually, I will hire an assistant just to oversee all our Fiverr projects.
Did it help you decrease your expenses?
Yes. When you are starting a business, you cannot afford a huge overhead. Until I am able to afford hiring a CAD artist on a full-time basis, Fiverr allows me the ability to have people work with me without having the expense of payroll, insurance and other business-related costs.”
You’re the ultimate buyer!
I am! Actually, sometimes I look at night, thinking to myself: “What else? What else can I use Fiverr for?”
Would you consider hiring BIM services through Fiverr?
Yes, I already used Fiverr to help me with a commercial project. He was able to take the plans with my drawings and model the building to create the new facade. These changes from the plans had to be adjusted from the architect but created an amazing visual to hang on the construction site!
You mentioned you bought 3D rendering services on Fiverr. How would you describe your experience? Were you satisfied with the quality of what was produced?
100 percent! I offer 3D renderings to all my clients now to help move along the decision making process. My experience has been extremely positive; there are so many talented CAD artists on Fiverr.
Are you using Fiverr for the 3D renderings to provide a visualization of your design?
Yes, I have two kitchen and bath programs that I use to generate cabinet elevations and floor plans. These software programs do a decent job to visual the product but from there I will have it rendered with the exact tile, lighting, countertop, floors, pulls and appliances.
They approve, saying “It looks just like your drawing”. That’s what I’m able to offer them with Fiverr freelancers.
To summarize your Fiverr experience, what is your one Pro and one Con?
It enables me to offer additional services, services that require talents that I don’t possess. I can draw freehand, but I am not a CAD artist. So, I take my weaknesses and outsource them. Fiverr helps me to grow my business in a way that I couldn’t on my own.
Having said that, I invested time on finding the right people. I’ve had a couple of experiences where I had a lot of pressure to get things done, and when you are communicating via a digital marketplace, you can’t always locate them 24/7. It does not happen often, but this is why I built loyalty with my preferred sellers.
I also take advantage of the time difference; I make sure to order and send the seller all the information before I go to sleep and then have the delivery ready in the morning when I wake up.
Is there anything else that you find relevant or interesting about the platform?
Fiverr is something that I use on an everyday basis. It’s gotten to a stage where I almost feel like I need to hire somebody to help manage my Fiverr; I’m not even joking!
It’s really great, and I honestly couldn’t have done it without that extra help; it makes me look good. There’s a lot of super talented people out there, and it’s great that we can all work together and help each other succeed.
Make sure to check out Fiverr’s new Architecture and Building Design store for yourself, explore the platform’s rendering services, and sign up to become a buyer or seller on Fiverr.