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All designers are familiar with the amount of time and energy it takes to find clients.
Some might be lucky enough to have a backlog of people who want to work with them, but for most, a big portion of the working week is spent pitching, searching, giving quotes, following up, and otherwise trying to convince people to exchange money for design services.
Few designers would say this is the highlight of what they do. Designers do what they do for the love of being creative and doing good work, but it can feel like more time is spent pitching, giving quotes and marketing than actually designing. And while many freelancers will eventually build up enough of a reputation that they no longer need to market themselves, building this level of reputation and skill takes time, and years of experience.
Is there a way to make design freelancing better?
Bringing Clients to Designers
Envato’s newest service, Microlancer, turns these things upside down. It was created to bring clients to designers through its own network and marketing channels.
No more feeling like a door to door salesperson. Microlancer gives freelancers a place to set up shop and have buyers browse their wares.
Buyers pay for services upfront, so if the job is properly completed, service providers will always be paid. In the case that a given buyer proves very difficult to deal with, there is a robust dispute resolution process to make sure any disagreements are resolved fairly and without bias. No more clients from hell.
In essence, Microlancer aims to eliminate some of the more onerous parts of being a design freelancer and allows you to focus on what you love doing most: creative work.
To get started:
- Choose the services you want to provide.
- Create a job listing for the service on Microlancer.
- Choose your price.
- Make it through the review process.
- Start working with clients Microlancer brings to you.
What is a Service Provider and What is a Service?
A Service Provider is a freelancer who provides one or more services on Microlancer. A service is a small-scale freelance job, such as designing a business card or drawing a vector character.
Choosing the Services You Want to Provide
Depending on your freelance skill set, there may be a range of services you can provide on Microlancer. For each service you want to provide, you’ll need to create a unique listing describing the service and showcasing some examples of your previous work.
This listing will be submitted to the Microlancer review team. They’ll check that your service description has been carefully prepared and that your work samples are of a high standard. During this process, you’ll also choose a price for the service you want to offer, in increments of $5.
If you’re wondering what kind of services you might be able to offer, a good place to start is to look at the kind of work you are currently doing as a freelancer, jobs that generally take you less than a day to complete.
Microlancer has set categories of service types that it will accept, so it’s important that you explore the site and determine whether there’s a home for the type of service you want to provide. If you want to provide a service that doesn’t currently fit with the categories on Microlancer, you can suggest it and we may add it to the site either now or in the future.
If you’re wondering what kind of services you might be able to offer, a good place to start is to look at the kind of work you are currently doing as a freelancer, jobs that generally take you less than a day to complete. If you just finished a landing page design for a client, you could probably offer a landing page design service on Microlancer. Better yet, because Microlancer doesn’t require you to market your own services, now might be a good opportunity to start doing new types of work that you haven’t done before. For example, if you’ve successfully designed concert posters in the past, you could probably start offering CD cover art design, because your foundational skills for this type of work are strong.
Offering multiple services gives you a greater chance of attracting clients and receiving a steady stream of work. It’s a good idea to offer as many services as you can. If you ever get overwhelmed with work, you can ‘reject’ jobs that you’re not able to do, and the buyer will be refunded. You can temporarily pause a service at any time if you need to get caught up with work.
Over time, your Microlancer presence will start to feel like a ‘shop’ of various services, a shop that customers will browse.
If you’re interested in becoming a service provider on Microlancer, the best place to start is creating a list of the services that you want to provide. Next, you’ll need to create your listings, collect visual examples of your work, and decide on the price you will set for each job.
In the next post in this series on getting a head-start with Microlancer, I’ll share some tips on how to create effective service listings that will pass the review process and convert into a steady stream of clients.