You may know designer and Adobe-certified Photoshop expert Kirk Nelson as “your friendly neighborhood graphics geek” or as kirk3d on Fiverr Pro. But now he’s adding one more title to his already impressive resume: Learn from Fiverr instructor! Read on to learn more about Kirk’s decades of visual design experience, why freelancers should take his Photoshop Product Photography Retouching and Photo Manipulation courses, and how he “always seeks solutions, not excuses.”
Tell us a little about you. Who you are, where you’re from, what you do.
I’m just your friendly neighborhood graphics geek! I’ve got 20+ years of experience in graphic design, a degree in multimedia, over 400 published works to my name, and I am proud to be an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop. I’ve spent the last three years of my career as a full-time freelancer in the Washington, DC area, doing everything from food truck wrap designs to advertising images to calendar photo shoots, and collaborating with artists, technologists, and many others in branding and design groups.
Photoshop: who needs it, who should use it, and what are most people doing wrong?
If you are doing any type of design work or photo editing, Photoshop really is the best all-around tool to use. Most people take shortcuts when creating selections and then don’t get great results. Different images require different selection techniques, there’s no one-size-fits-all method.
What drives you as a doer? Why do you do what you do?
I do because I can’t *not* do. Design is so woven into who I am that it never stops. I’m the guy who can’t even read a restaurant menu until after I’ve fully evaluated their font choice and checked their kerning. Often my favorite part of a movie is the title sequence because I love seeing what the Hollywood designers came up with!
What are your business goals? What’s next?
I hope to create a library of courses here on the Learn from Fiverr platform. I do have a Fiverr Pro gig for photo manipulation, and I’d like to see that expand. I’m also looking at launching my own design agency in the not-too-distant future. So keep an eye out—you will be seeing big things coming from my corner soon!
What will freelancers learn in your Learn from Fiverr courses? Who should take them?
I’ve got two courses up at the moment. The first one is about Product Photography Retouching in Photoshop. Digital marketplaces are still growing, and sellers are realizing that sales depend on how the products appear online. Most folks assume that quick snapshots with the phones would be enough…but quickly learn that isn’t the case. So they turn to freelance sites like Fiverr to find somebody to take their product photos from good to great. And that’s what this course is all about!
My second course is Photo Manipulation in Photoshop. It’s not just an exploration of the tools. This course is as much about the why of photo manipulation as it is about the how. I teach a nine-step procedure working with two real-life projects. You seriously won’t find instruction like that anywhere else!
I also believe in the power of an intentional, considered process. Freelancers who take my course will understand how an integrated process can inform your design work and lead to better branding programs for your clients.
Why is access to affordable, online education—and the democratization of creativity—important for freelancers and the future of work?
Online education empowers freelancers to carve their own entrepreneurial path. That’s important to me. I spent 16 years at a large company just to be unceremoniously pushed out the door. That taught me something valuable. That your own personal path to success isn’t a path that somebody else has blazed. You have to create it yourself. This helps freelancers do just that!
Why is continuously upleveling and improving your skill set important for freelancers?
You must always keep improving, learning, pushing forward. If your business will only grow if you do. It’s a direct reflection of yourself and how much you invest in yourself. The rest of the industry is constantly moving, changing, improving. You have to do the same or the world will just pass you by.
How is Learn from Fiverr different than other e-learning courses? Why did you want to teach a course?
I’ve taught several other online courses, but I prefer Learn from Fiverr because we designed the curriculum specifically to help freelancers improve their service offerings. We want this to be a resource that sellers on Fiverr can use to add new skills, craft new gigs, and ultimately make the platform better for sellers and buyers!
What inspired you to take the leap from side hustle to full-time freelancer?
I’ve always believed that you should have multiple streams of income. It’s foolish to rely on a single income stream, especially one that can suddenly vanish! That’s exactly what happened to me. When my full-time job disappeared, I decided to make my side hustle my main hustle—and I’ve never looked back.
Do you have any favorite Fiverr Gigs or freelance services to recommend for your fellow small business owners (besides Learn from Fiverr, of course)?
Want to know more about Kirk? Ask him a question in the comments below, and then head over to our Instagram to check out more examples of his work!