99designs : Why You Should Try and When to Stop

Perhaps, it's the most popular design crowd-source platform with over 300k contests and around 90 million dollar payouts to date. But why? Haters gonna hate? Yes.

I'm an amateur designer, a self-taught designer. I learned by seeing, entering courses, read books, and spend most of my time exploring. It was all started at high school. I wanted money so bad that made me search all over the internet to find how to make money. And I found 99designs.

At the time I just started to know about graphic design. Because I attend my school's extracurricular. 'Why don't just give it a shot?' I tried once and it doesn't seems alright. My design was poor, and luckily I noticed. There are many people out there do not. So I learned a lot, everywhere, Behance, Pinterest and other inspiration website. Until the eleventh trial at 99designs, I won a contest and my last year on high school. It feels so great. The first time you 'make' your own money

Graphic designer work seems so easy. Because I'm still lacking of knowledge. And then it starts to grow when I find out more about design world later on my first year of college. After winning over a thousand dollars, I quit. Because they said professionals will pay higher than 99designs contest holder. But what it takes to be professional?

You have to qualify. I believed there are self-taught professional designers out there, without formal education at design. So here's how to be qualified according to my experience.
Learn the basics, sketches first then software skills and build a portfolio. I found out Instagram is a good way to show what you got. Make them look good, and have a conversation with the community. Following people with good design taste will also help. The final step is hard, find your own unique style.

What's the deal with 99designs? Many of them - I can say about 80 percents - of the designers are poor, I mean real bad. They don't have what it takes to be a good designer, they don't know what they made. Luckily the contest holder knows what best, but some still don't. The other 20 percents is either platinum designer or they know what they're doing.

It's a place for early stage designers. 99designs helped them to start their own career. They have some of them that more than qualified - name it talented. The stage after it is the professional one I believe. I haven't reach somewhere near professional either. I got several client request some design work, but I only get paid less than fifty bucks for a small job. Professional design agency get paid more than $100 per hour, or maybe way more than that.

99designs have their own way do differentiate the talented one with the rest. They make the title platinum designer and posting the top designers list. So you'll know who's in the game.

Why you should stop? It's a waste of time for some of you. Your time has more value than it looks. You can't replace time with money, you can't buy time. But you can make money with time. The present is assets for your future. If what you're doing in the whole month makes you a millionaire next month, then it's your value.

You can start learn more, read books, take courses and learn more and more. Make your day more productive. It doesn't mean making something everyday, learning is a precious progress, enjoy it. Start a Behance portfolio is also good. Just wait until someone hire you, or make them hire you! Make a good personal branding and internet marketing will do the rest.

Anyway, it's quite a lot of money going to someone everyday. It's a decision over arrogance. You can still try if you think you got what it takes.

Worth reading : Get Over It, Haters: 99designs Has Tipped , How I Quit Working for 99Designs, Crowdspring and Mycroburst

Laurensius Adi

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