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Shorti says


Perhaps. I think most good authors start out this way, because we all want to give our customers the best experience possible, so we go above and beyond.

+1

@shorti. I see your items have been doing well the past month. Awesome work man :) But the kicker is, unless you’ve hit the popular’s page, your sales won’t remain the same. The items are still going to sell no doubt, just not at the same rate they once did.

I think a lot of us have experienced your situation. We really want to help, and sometimes even do stuff for free. But then 3 months down the road we realize we’ve spent all our time on support and not enough time creating something new to maintain that irreplaceable monthly payment. Then you look back and think to yourself, “What was I thinking? My lovely 5 star rating isn’t going to pay the bills this month…”

In short, there’s 2 ways to play this game we call digital stock. a) Create an insanely popular item and build your business around that item. b) Upload, upload, and upload some more! But spend all your time working for free and you’re going to regret it. My 2c.

Thanks man, appreciate your input!

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LucidStudios says

Doing free customizations only increases buyers’ expectations so there should be a limit in providing support for free customizations otherwise a few of them will distract you too much.

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VF says

Free customisation is a vicious circle. If we think we perfectly completed a small job, still someone may feel few more fractions missing. Regardless of it is free or not, we are taking the responsibility of bug free implementation – so doing a free customization doesn’t have a fixed end and it is more horrible than getting a 4 star (aka undeserved curse).

However, if you have a tendency of helping, I would recommend doing it in the form of bug fixing – if possible. A skilled developers timely help on critical situation won’t damage the work values – while a free/easy customization can damage many things. :D

732 posts fifty_tons and CodingJack
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50andJACK says

1. If buyers ask for customizations/additions outside the ability of the theme, do it!

- infinte

- Chris

68 posts Siiimple
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Siiimple says

Hey Shorti,

Congrats on your success, it’s great to see your enthusiasm :)

Like others have said, the problem with your free customizations is that it simply isn’t scalable. Once you become very successful like Ruben (and I hope you do!), you’ll understand – with thousands of customers, and dozens of support requests a day, it simply isn’t humanly possible to provide customization for every customer.

Is that a problem? Perhaps. I think most good authors start out this way, because we all want to give our customers the best experience possible, so we go above and beyond. The issue is that you’re setting a precedent. You can decide whether setting that precedent for others (as Ruben suggested) is your problem or not – but don’t forget you’re setting it for yourself, too ;) Once you’re selling thousands of items a month and can’t possibly handle the load for even basic customizations, what do you tell the customers who have purchased from you because you offer free customizations? Make sure your business model is scalable and sustainable.

Anyway, I definitely don’t want to discourage you, as you certainly have the right attitude, and that’s great. But suggesting that all authors should provide customizations all the time is a perspective that comes being new to this market. And that’s totally fine – but just try to understand where elite authors like Ruben are coming from.

Good luck to you! :)

Exactly, well stated. There is a certain idealism that exists when starting out, experiencing some success, even some good luck along the way. I’m an idealist as well. But in time, and with more experience, it will become obvious – perhaps painfully – that it’s not practical to offer free customizations in order to receive (or maybe not receive) a rating that you, at the end of the day, have no control over – or – any information on whatsoever.

You’re chasing something that you really have no control over. You don’t know who rated you, how they rated you, or if your free service ultimately did pay off with a positive rating. You only assume that it will and hope that it does. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a losing battle – in the end.

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Bedros says

I think comments on our item pages are more critical than having some stars when it comes to their effects on sales.

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50andJACK says


1. If buyers ask for customizations/additions outside the ability of the theme, do it!

- infinte

- Chris

as in NO WAY :D some friends of mine understood the opposite after reading my post :D

- Chris

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dnp_theme says

Doing free customizations only increases buyers’ expectations so there should be a limit in providing support for free customizations otherwise a few of them will distract you too much.

+1 I have to agree on that.

This is why I get most of the low ratings because I get customers coming from FREE customization and I tell them directly: $50-100 hourly rate customization, ONLY if I am available. They all get crazy and saying others provide free customization and top notch support.

The rating is a [relative X relative] factor, as others pointed out here, the comments are those that really hurt the most, but luckily we can block some of them especially if they are enriched with bad language.

I ended up explaining to each and every user that I used to provide any kind of custom work for free when I started the Envato journey, but now I can only afford the time to provide support for item usage and the very basics, BUT I have a very heavy documentation to divert most of the support requests to. In a matter of a few months users started to understand these things, they seem to started to buy/favor newbie authors’ items or become loyal due to fast learning.

I think in the end that’s a way to build long term relationships though, regardless of the loss of sales with the “high expectations” users.

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pezflash says

I’ve a friend that says:
If you are freelance, and you want to be respected, don’t work for free, not even for your mother”.

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Prothemeus says

This is one of the reasons why we don’t provide support for customizations, you are severely undercutting yourself if you provide a theme, free support ├índ customizations for 45$. Most authors here have a higher hourly rate. People that come looking for free customizations do not respect you or your business. It’s up to you to have some self-respect.

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