Freelancing and Learning

I’ve been at this freelance thing for a month. I won a logo design contest on Freelancer.com and earned a legit job on Upwork.com. Winning the Upwork.com job taught me something valuable: giving a sketch during a proposal to a prospective client helps boost the likelihood that they will seriously consider me as the freelancer for the work. Maybe it’s stupid in the long run and I’ll stop doing it later on. Right now I can’t afford to buy in to the the fancy accounts on these sites so giving a little helps.

One  frustration with Freelancer.com is that I’m American, the website is Australian, and most of the freelancers on the site are in southern Europe and Aisa – what we Americans would call the Middle East. Why is that such a big deal? Someone from Pakistan or India – to name the two I see most often – can afford to charge half or less than what I do to earn a decent payoff. I don’t begrudge those designers their work at all. On the contrary, I hope they are having more success than I am! However, the truth of the matter is that I can’t compete with such low rates. Freelancers who are willing to work for $3-$5USD/hr are always going to win out for entry level work compared to the $15USD/hr I charge. Competition is tighter than ever in the world of art! I usually stick to contests on that website since there’s no accounting for wage in a contest.

An interesting site I like to work on, but haven’t managed to win anything on, is 99designs.com. I have the impression from hearing about it over the years that this is a great place to start as a designer. It’s entirely contest based, although the site does allow clients to hire you for 1-on-1 projects whether or not you’ve won anything. I like how it’s set up and how responsive clients are using the rating system and rejecting or declining designs that simply aren’t in the right style. I’ve come close a couple of times to winning. In one contest I made it to the semi-finals before being eliminated – the contest was for an apple brand logo. They ended up going with a design that was more anthropomorphic than realistic the way mine was. Another contest I entered I was told by the contest holder that they would have picked my design, but they thought it might look too similar to a competitor’s brand in their country. Sadly, they didn’t give me any direction to change my design so I wasn’t able to enter a winning design and was eliminated after the qualifying round. I’ll keep trying since I have had some interest even though I haven’t won yet!

Upwork.com sits somewhere in the middle of the interest scale in my mind. I didn’t originally plan to use it heavily, but when I discovered that you could restrict your job search to ones available to U.S. freelancers only, I became more hooked. Americans will understand the $15/hr fee a lot better than someone from elsewhere in the world who is used to dealing with people who charge much less for the same work. I landed my first professional contract there, after all. I’m hoping it wasn’t a fluke!

I have some profiles on other freelance sites too, but I’m not as diligent with them. I created profiles there to boost my exposure. You never know where the clients are most comfortable. I don’t expect work to come my way from sites I only visit every so often. They are there if someone wants them, that’s all.

That’s everything for now. Expect future posts to be shorter. 😉

Take it easy and remember to smile!

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