Want to know How To Market A Pet Portrait Business? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll show you how to start making money as a freelancer in the gig economy to get money and clients fast.
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Get Your First Customers Through Freelance Websites
The fastest way to get your first customers will come either through word-of-mouth and referrals or through gigs you get on freelance websites.
We’ll start by showing you how to get gigs then later we’ll discuss local marketing and referrals. Note that neither option requires you to build a website.
We’ll discuss websites as well but much later. That’s a longer term play and not something you should start with.
The first place we recommend you start with is Fiverr.com. Check out their current listings for Pet Portrait jobs.
Here’s a screenshot of a few examples. Note that there are over 1,500 listings. Many will be different offerings from the same artist.
On the low side many artists charge just $5 to do a digital portrait:
On the high end some artists charge $100 or more:
Note that in the case above the person charging $100 is “Pro-Verified”, has a 5 star rating yet only has 14 reviews.
The other artist that charges $5 has over a thousand reviews.
It’s true that Fiverr is seen as a low cost marketplace. That doesn’t mean you have to charge just $5 bucks though.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the details of Fiverr and how people make far more than $5 per order.
For the $5 listing they just do a head “portrait” from a picture. The size is 2000 by 2000 pixels. Plus it’s available for commercial use.
It’s likely that they aren’t doing this manually but instead are using a tool to do this fast. Here’s a free online tool from Befunky that can take a picture and turn it into a painting style digital graphic online:
This is where you have to know your market. Are these just bloggers looking for simple cool graphics or pet parents that want a high quality painting?
Fiverr will lean more towards the former type of client.
Going back to the $5 listing. Note that they have two more costly options. The next one is $15 and allows a full body portrait with a larger pixel size of 4000 x 4000 px. The final option is $30 which also is for a full body shot with an even larger pixel size of 6000 x 6000 px.
Let’s check out another seller whose starting cost is $35. They have a 5 star ratings with 166 reviews.
Note that marketing on Fiverr requires you to get pretty much all 5 star reviews. Expect a ton of client management and begging for good reviews.
I’ve ordered many things on fiverr and providers explode if you don’t give them 5 star reviews. Just like with local google marketing you have to stay on top of your reviews. Same thing with Upwork which we’ll cover in a bit below.
Back to the next artist…
They actually do the portrait in colored pencil for the starter package at $35. It takes 5 days, it’s just the head, and it’s in color. That’s great service for $35.
It doesn’t stop there though. They offer several add-ons for an additional fee. You can add a background for $25, full body for $20, and commercial use for $30.
When you setup your listings on Fiverr you will want to add up sells to get maximum value for each customer.
You’ll also need to play with price points till you maximize incoming clients. Users of Fiverr understand that Fiverr doesn’t mean $5 for everything anymore. That’s just to get your foot in the door.
Note than many of the clients on Fiverr are not pet parents. They are businesses that want graphics for business use.
Still, Fiverr is a great place to get your cash flow started. You likely won’t end there but it’s a great place to begin.
Next up let’s discuss Upwork. Like Fiverr you’ll get gigs through the platform. Unlike Fiverr it’s a place where freelancers can charge much more for their work.
Upwork is one of the largest collection of freelancers for hire on the internet. We have used them extensively for everything from writing, editing, and graphic design to complex programming jobs.
There’s something there for everyone. Plus as you learn the system you’ll find you can charge more and more for your work.
Similar to Fiverr you will have to start low cost and focus on getting clients, going above and beyond, and getting tons of 5 star reviews.
The easiest way to get 5 star reviews is to bid low, do better work than the money, and give great customer service. Responsiveness, quality, and speed are key.
The platform itself pretty much forces clients to leave reviews so you don’t have to worry about asking quite so much. Instead you’ll need to focus on working fast and doing above and beyond great work.
Let’s check out a few listings to see what’s currently available for pet portraits.
Examples of Completed Jobs and Payments Received
Immediately you’ll notice that the low end is already higher than $5. Here’s an editing job on a portrait for just $15.
This same person later did a similar job for $50.
Then at one point they did a massive portrait editing job for over $2,000!
This person is marketing as a photo editor/retoucher. Not the same as Pet Portraits. It seems many of her clients are businesses that need help with professional pictures for their staff.
You’ll also notice that freelancers on Upwork state their hourly rate and most, even outside the US, start at $15 or more per hour to do this work.
Here’s a few examples of what artists in the US are charging and how much they’ve earned.
First there’s Maia who earned over $700 at $20 per hour doing similar work.
Here’s some of the specific jobs she’s done relating to painting and portraits. Again note that these aren’t specifically for pets.
Here’s a graphic designer and illustrator that’s earned over $5,000 on Upwork. She also offers oil painting, water color, and typography services.
Lastly we have Jonathan who earned over $60,000 on Upwork.
A few of his jobs were for painting and portrait work. Each one earned about $200 and up.
Can you post your pet portrait services on Upwork? Yes.
Is there a big market for it there (i.e. do pet parents go there)? Not really. You’ll be more successful on Upwork doing other forms of illustrations, photo retouching, and graphic design for businesses.
To find clients specifically for pet portraits we want to offer one more online gig website – Etsy.com.
Etsy.com Pet Portraits
Etsy is home to crafters and builders. It’s a place to get custom built art pieces for your home or as gifts.
Check out their listings for pet portraits. You’ll note that the prices range about $25 – $35. That seems to be typical for items on Etsy. This includes printing and shipping.
Here’s a few examples:
You’ll note that the artists are doing very similar things to what you found on Fiverr. They take a picture from you and digitize it into a painting style picture.
Then they print it, frame it, and ship it to you. With Etsy customers expect something physical not just digital.
To sell in this marketplace you’ll need to master programs that let you quickly convert digital pet photos into painting style graphics. Then you’ll need to touch them up fast, print them and ship them.
Note that framing and shipping are above the initial $30 fee.
Let’s look at this bestseller for an example. Her initial fee is $28.
Then when you click into the listing you have to choose frame size and frame color. Choosing the largest frame size in black for 5 dogs we find it now costs $195.
Again, it’s all about the upsells!