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Decline in freelance work due to e-lance, odesk, 99 designs?

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  • Decline in freelance work due to e-lance, odesk, 99 designs?

    Hello!

    Just curious if any freelancers noticed a decline in NEW business since the birth of cheap design freelancing sites- O-desk, E-lance, 99 designs etc. I considered using these sites at one point to get more clients, but recently decided against it. I feel like these sites degrade the business as a whole by offering 'cheap' labor. I am eager to freelance full time (yes, I have been in the industry for many years) and am wondering if the creative climate has been greatly affected by these sites. Or does it not even matter because most freelancers have a few big clients who were gained from relationships?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    As a freelancer trying to earn a living wage doing design, you need to rise above the level of work done by those crowdsourced things. If you are still at a level where you are competing for that kind of work, is freelancing really where you should be? Short answer = Probably not.

    Comment


    • Melina635
      Melina635 commented
      Editing a comment
      Nope, I don't want to go for bottom feeding work, I was just asking the question

  • #3
    Yeah, I agree with PD on this one. If bottomfeeding clients are the niche market you're going after, you'd be hurting to make money with or without the crowdsourcing sites.

    Comment


    • Melina635
      Melina635 commented
      Editing a comment
      nope, not going for those.

  • #4
    The other thing you mentioned, having a few big clients...don't ever depend on that. Big clients have a habit of moving on when you least expect it. Usually all it takes is someone else a few dollars cheaper than you.
    Always have work in the pipeline. You can't sit back and wait for the work to come to you if you want to be assured of a meal tomorrow.

    Comment


    • Melina635
      Melina635 commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed, I would never depend on the big clients soley, I would continue to search for new ones. Good points, thank you

  • #5
    When freelancing you have to decide who your market will be. Mine is manufacturers. I used the Manufacturing reference book found at libraries to narrow down the possible clients. It gives you all the manufactures in your state and lists the vital contact names. I always approach the owner/president who usually saw me and only occasionally handed me off to a lesser officer. I looked at income generated and amount of employees. Below a multimillion dollar company, because they have their own in house staff usually or are already using an agency, above the small mom and pops companies because they don't have the revenue to spend on the correct advertising. The middle companies, with about 50 to 100 employees seemed to be a good market where they are experiencing good sales and have some pride in what they do and now want to look good to compete with the big boys. They also are a good market for wanting to clean up their image in order to sell their business and cash out a profit which can be a nice campaign. Here is the link to the book if you don't know it, this is to buy but like I said I use the reference book at the library for free. They have a book for each state, this one is CA

    Look for a company that doesn't have a marketing manager, then they are more likely to want your services.

    http://mni.net/info/directory-of-cal...-manufacturers

    Last edited by Kayekaye; 12-09-2015, 04:42 PM.

    Comment


    • Melina635
      Melina635 commented
      Editing a comment
      OMG THANK YOU! This is genius! I had started to do this on some level, I found an online store that has a pretty big presence but horrible branding. You have just let me know this is the right way to go!

  • #6
    I think those sites actually help us. I've had clients go to 99designs, get mediocre work, and then come to me to get good work. My biggest new client this year came to me in exactly that way. They tried to get a logo at 99designs, got 50 boring logos, and then came to me and paid me my full regular rate for a unique and thoughtfully designed logo.

    If anyone asks me about 99designs, I'd say "Go for it, give it a try." I'd be willing to bet they'll be calling me up a week later when they realize that the old adage is true; you get what you pay for.

    Comment


    • Melina635
      Melina635 commented
      Editing a comment
      Wow good point!

  • #7
    As someone who worked on [croudsourcing site] for years, I can tell you this: it's great for small business clients who can't afford more than a couple hundred bucks for a logo design, and it's also great for up-and-coming designers who are looking to gain experience. For this reason, you definitely get what you pay for.
    Last edited by KitchWitch; 01-03-2016, 09:55 AM.

    Comment


    • #8
      Originally posted by khemion View Post
      ... it's also great for up-and-coming designers who are looking to gain experience.
      I'm going to disagree with that.

      The experience gained might help a person become faster at cranking out ideas in response to a request, but good graphic design involves a whole lot more than that. It's dependent upon working closely with clients, understanding their needs, coaching them, making recommendations, analyzing their business situation and understanding their customers in ways that aren't really possible in a contest situation where speed and minimal client contact are the rule.

      Comment


      • #9
        We don't even consider "logos designed on [insert crowdsource name here]'' as work experience.
        Though possibly you might pass the wire-frame test.
        But I doubt it.

        Comment


        • #10
          I tried my hand at 99designs years ago when it was new, I was bored and things were slow (I wasn't freelancing full time) It only took about 2-3 contests to realize that I wasn't going to get anywhere and that it was a complete sham and waste of my time and talent.

          I have in the last couple years done some work through odesk/elance which is now Upwork. I don't bid on projects that are low budget and I made each proposal very personal to each potential client. I NEVER did any spec work. I was often one of the highest bidders, bidding at or even slightly above the clients listed budget and was respected because of the strength of my portfolio and won jobs. I have gotten a few really great clients who have brought in repeat business over the last 2 years. I also do some outsourcing over Upwork. Those sites are more connecting clients to designers, and you don't have to take cheap work. I live in a small town and have only recently been able to bust in and get some local work. I think Upwork is what you make it, though it is frustrating to see pennies on the dollar bids, often those don't win because clients are looking for capable workers with good portfolios and good english.

          Comment


          • #11
            Agree with 'B'. By just participating in any contest, you can only showcase your talent and earn the price money, nothing else. To learn almost everything about your field, you need to personally experience how to handle a client, how to fulfill their requirements within a given time-frame.

            Comment


            • #12
              I've gotten two jobs from people finding my resume on elance, but not through competing for projects. I tried 99Designs once, got hoodwinked into doing three days' work on a product label, and then they gave the project to someone else. Never again.

              Comment


              • #13
                I've not run across any new clients who have used those types of sites. Or at least in our discussions they've not disclosed that information.

                Started full-time freelancing last April. Re. new work, I have three very solid clients found on my local Craigslist. I also sent out a dozen cold-call emails to printing companies in my area and got one solid client out of that venture. I live in a large city and could probably do that again as well as soliciting ad/marketing agencies. Will do that if things get slow for me.

                Comment


                • #14
                  I lost a job to a client who got their logo from 99 designs. They contacted me and we had a meeting about it. I gave them a price. Never heard from them again, but one day drove by their store and saw their new logo. Did a little research and found the 99 designs listing for it.

                  Honestly I was basically doing the job as a favor as it's a friend of a friend who owns the business in question, so I wasn't charging much at all. But I guess it was still cheaper to crowdsource it. And you can look at it and it looks like they got what they paid for.
                  http://brokenspokedesign.com

                  Comment


                  • kemingMatters
                    kemingMatters commented
                    Editing a comment
                    You are probably better off, it always seems like the ones that are looking for the ''best deal'' are the ones who squeeze the life out of a project and either don't understand what our job is or only want you to produce a digital file.

                  • Cosmo
                    Cosmo commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah. I didn't want to do it in the first place. I kind of got volunteered for it. So it worked out okay.

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