How I earned my first 30€ as a designer? And what I learned from that!

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Much like every other beginner, getting paid for my design was not at all an easy task. My journey for these first bucks, started when I was in third semester of my Architecture Course.

After assisting my seniors for a semester, in few projects of graphic design in my campus, I was able to get to the post of lead designer for the Annual Cultural Festival of the institute. It was then, when my passion for Graphic Design grew to maximum. I started following many of the famous designers, and always wondered ‘How are they able to make $500 for a logo?’

So, I decided to give it a try. I joined a freelancing website(internet is full of those) as any other other normal designer would do (signed up for a free account). And I was welcomed with a teasing banner.

“Congratulations, you are successfully registered. Get ready to embark on this exciting journey.”

Never thought, it would be that exciting!

For a start, I placed 8 weekly allowed bids for different type of projects, 2–3 contest entries a week.Not a success so early, I was ready for it. But this zero conversion rate continued for a long period of two years, only to end my interest in online freelancing. But these two years, of around thousand unsuccessful attempts helped me learn few important things :

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Success in design is long term derivative, specially ‘monetary success.’ There were moments in this phase when I was frustrated, down and self doubt scraped me from inside. But it was this quote on my wall that got me going.

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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Portfolio — A window to your thoughts

A designer is judged by its portfolio, as a gentleman is judged by it suit. So you need to present it in the best possible way. I realized afterwards, that I had not even put a single design on the profile and I did not have a good one back then. But after two years, I had ample number of unsuccessful but few good designs with me. So, we learn even from our failures.

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Attitude — I’m a good designer

Throughout the process, I tried my best to maintain the composure and believe that ‘I am a good designer.’ I always looked for better inspirations, tried to learn more and improve skills just to feel the taste of monetary success once.

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Don’t get lost in the crowd

The biggest disadvantage of the online freelancing platform, is that many a times ‘good designs get lost’ in the crowd. Many clients here for a cheap giveaway, select a winner purely on appearance (what they like) missing out on important factors like functionality and adaptability.

And then came the turning point, when I had decided to give up on online freelancing, my mail box popped up with this :

Congratulations! your entry has been selected as the winner for the contest.

I won 30€ for a car wrap design, which even I had done halfheartedly.

And soon after graduation, I gave up on online freelancing to go with a full-time job, where I can deal with clients who are much more enthusiastic, creative and dedicated for good designs. But now I had with me, experience of thousands of failures which helped me learn, how not to approach success or money.

If you are the one of the individual who is struggling in creative field, in the early stage of your career, I hope my story will help you proceed in right direction.

Never run for money, let it follow your dedication and passion.

I welcome your thoughts, stories and reviews in the responses below. Let this story help many by clicking the ‘little heart’ :)