The odd thing about working on the internet is you don’t always get to see the human side of your work. That’s why we recently started sharing more stories from our community at Envato team meetings. Hearing about our community’s passion, journeys and successes gives everyone a refuel and reminds us why we show up to work every day. Stories like Artur’s are wonderful because they show how through perseverance and determination, some spectacular work and entrepreneurial success follows. I hope you enjoy Artur’s story as much as we did!
– Collis Ta’eed, Envato CEO
I was born and raised in one of the most beautiful cities in Russia – and indeed the world – St. Petersburg.
I joined Envato two years ago. Earning money was not my goal. I was originally just using it to buy projects and footage that would work. VideoHive helped me save time and money as the most expensive item on that marketplace was still less than my hourly rate as a freelance graphic designer.
Rather than think of Envato as a commercial site, I’ve always considered it to be a community of professionals that share their experience to optimize the workflows of as many customers as possible. It’s an exchange of ideas, a guild of mastery.
Where I used to work, I often had to animate titles. Once I decided to share that experience on Envato Market by uploading my first project, I started earning money that I would then put back into the ecosystem, purchasing more items that would ease the pressure of my main job.
Now I’ve begun to earn more than I spend, and thanks to Envato, I’m making a profit.
Beginning as a creative
When I was 12, I met a guy who studied 3D Studio Max. I was struck by what I saw. With nothing more than a mouse and keyboard, he was creating fantasy worlds. This impressed me, so my friend agreed to train me for a modest fee which I paid for using the pocket money my parents gave me to buy food at school.
It was my little secret.
In high school I was interested in videography and video editing, and together with some classmates I created my first short film. In two years I had graduated from what was usually a six year art course.
By the time I was 14, I had already decided to attend St Petersburg University of the Humanities and Social Sciences, wanting to become a multimedia director. The university gave me a great theoretical knowledge base, but, the basic skills of computer graphics I learned on my own through the internet.
After university I worked for one year at a computer graphics studio, and worked on a number of high profile projects, including one for the administration of president Vladimir Putin.
After a year working at the studio, I switched completely to freelance, as I was able to earn more money and have more free time to travel, play sports and generally be creative.
Freelancing has been my main job for ten years. Oddly, my main skill is not actually creating beautiful things, but rather my reliability – I always complete jobs on time. And, thanks to that, I have a large number of regular and returning clients. For the most part these are creative agencies and organizers of large scale events.
My work schedule is very flexible. There are months where I’ll be working twelve hour days, seven days a week, and then there are others where I’ll have no work and can travel around the world.
For example, after a couple of months of a lot of work, I was able to travel for six consecutive months.
Most commercial orders don’t allow me to access my creative side. Rather than quality and beauty they value speed and efficiency. Instead, VideoHive allowed me to finally start creating.
“Most commercial orders don’t allow me to access my creative side…Instead, VideoHive allowed me to finally start creating.”
Early days on Envato
When my first projects began to be sold, I thought I could easily earn money. So, I started to upload items pretty quickly, which was not very good. Even if these items had not been rejected, I doubt they would’ve been useful to anyone.
After a few rejections, I lost my confidence and stopped uploading new items. But, now I understand that good items require a lot of labor.
“After a few rejections, I lost my confidence and stopped uploading new items. But, now I understand that good items require a lot of labor.”
The Russian economic crisis
Recently, an economic crisis began in the oil market here in Russia. Adding to that were a few political issues that affected the value of our national currency. But, I don’t really want to get into the politics of it all. Envato is an international marketplace where there are representatives from different countries. I’m glad that here we can freely communicate and collaborate, regardless of nationality.
Because of the crisis, the Russian ruble fell against other major currencies twice. So, $1 US is essentially equal to $2 to us now. Therefore, if you earn in dollars you get twice as much. This prompted me to start creating items for VideoHive again, and within two months, my earnings had increased by almost ten times from $60 to $500.
$500 covers more than half of my monthly payment on a mortgage for a nice apartment in a prestigious building on the riverbank. Not a bad incentive to keep creating, right?
My most successful item
Most of my items are animated backgrounds, as that’s what I do well. But, I plan to add some projects in other categories soon.
My most successful project so far has been “130 Magic Elements“.
I spent a lot of time on this item. This is a large and flexible tool. Because the market is constantly being filled with new products, you have to be prepared for a lot competition, especially with simple items like this. I know an Author who adds ten items per day. His designs are simple and similar to each other, and he does this not only to compete with other authors, but also with his own items.
To be successful you need to create something unique and complex that can standout in this ever growing library.
Putting quality first
A few days ago I uploaded some new animated backgrounds. It seems that each subsequent project is taking more time than the previous one. This is because the newer backgrounds have more thin details, more complex elements, making them – with today’s tastes at least – more beautiful.
I now create a lot of versions of an item before choosing the one that I ultimately upload, which has helped me ensure they’re ready by the time I submit them for approval.
It’s important to acknowledge that the process of creating successful items for Envato is not only creative.
In addition to creating compelling items, it’s also important to browse the wider market and discover what’s trending and what’s missing. I carefully study the VideoHive marketplace regularly, trying to find categories in which there is a lack of high quality work.
“…it’s also important to browse the wider market and discover what’s trending and what’s missing.”
The Clean Backgrounds Pack is one of my best sellers. This is a type of item that is often requested, which makes competition in this field is very high.
In two months I uploaded four times the projects I had in two years. This lead to a significant increase in earnings.
I just started to upload high-quality content more often, and as soon as I did, I immediately began selling more. I think my items are now high enough quality that buyers will look for and find them.
“I just started to upload high-quality content more often, and as soon as I did, I immediately began selling more.”
Sometime in the future, I plan to start uploading templates for After Effects.
I’ve tried to do it several times, but the quality of my work was, apparently, not up to par, so, I got rejected. It’s much more difficult to create animated backgrounds than I thought, but it’s a category of item that is becoming more in demand. And, it seems that some of the Authors who have created quality content in this area have become very successful. I want to be one of them, so I will keep trying until I succeed.
Empowering other creatives
Envato Market is growing and there are many areas in which the quality of content can and is improving. Authors should be spending a lot of time doing market research. Understanding the market you’re creating for will lead to you creating good quality items and potentially increasing your income.
Remember, we shouldn’t just be earning money here, we should be sharing our experience to help improve the work of thousands!
Every day, artists from all over the world create thousands of slideshows and videos, and marketplaces like Envato empower them to raise the standard of their work.
“Every day, artists from all over the world create thousands of slideshows and videos, and marketplaces like Envato empower them to raise the standard of their work.”
With VideoHive, we do not need to create everything from scratch each time, but rather take templates and use them for creating films, presentations and much more. That makes work easier for all of us, and it’s an opportunity Envato has provided that should be taken!
Check out Arakelov on Envato Market
This article was originally published oArakelov.