Freelancer Story: “No one would accept me at first.”


Meet Shiela, a TOP Cert freelance designer and illustrator, who’s main passion is developing children’s book art!

Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?

I was struggling to make ends meet every month because of my low salary in my previous job so I tried looking for freelance gigs on multiple freelance websites, however, my skills were, in my opinion, pretty horrible. No one would accept me at first, haha! I practised a lot, I drew everyday. Then after a year of searching and working on my skills somebody finally hired me and it was here, on PPH. I will never forget that client, he opened the door for me and I was able to land one gig after another due to his feedback. I also loved how the website looks, it’s easy to use, and it looks fresh. After a while I decided I will just focus on my PPH profile and abandon my other freelance profiles on the other websites.

What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?

I was working as a Graphic Artist for an outsourcing company that enhances photos for magazines before I quit and became a full time freelancer. It was a happy workplace, I got along with almost everyone.


How did you come across PPH?

I was trying to find top freelance websites and I came across a blog that listed PPH as one of the best ones so I just thought, why not try it? Plus the website looks pretty.

What was your first job like on PPH?

It was an illustration job. I was asked to draw cartoon characters for a cartoon show and my client was going to pitch to a producer.42a1ce782edee9bbdf56630adb1cd207

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up at 8am, I feed my cats and run some errands and by 10am I start working. I answer some messages on PPH first and then I work on the things I have on my to-do list that I made before I signed off the night before.

How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?

It is great! I make more than enough money compared to when I was working as an employee, but that is not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows. I am in charge of everything, the business side of it, the promotion, the accounting. But hey I am at home, I can take power naps whenever I want, I can adjust my work time any time I want and I can play with my cats any time I want! 🙂


What benefits have you found by using PPH?

I was able to hone my skills, and get paid for it. I love my job so much and I get to work with these amazing people from the other side of the world, some of whom are now my friends too! I just thank the universe for the creation of this website.

What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?

I don’t know yet, for now I am just trying to build my brand, work on my skills, and help my clients with their art needs. I am excited for the future and PPH made it possible for me to have a more interesting life.


What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?

1. Don’t get tired on submitting proposals. Someone will eventually hire you, I promise you that. Perseverance is the key people!
2. Hone your skills. Create your own projects at home so you can practice if needed.
3. Please don’t submit canned proposals. Clients will know you are not sincere.
4. Read the job post properly and make sure you send a stand out proposal. Watch out for grammar too because a client will like it if they know they can communicate with you properly.
5. When the time comes that you find your first gig, do your best! Make sure you give your all and hand the client your best work so you’ll get that beloved ‘5 star’ feedback.

What are your top 5 artist/illustrator tips?

1. Polish your portfolio and hone your skills.
2. Invest and learn new skills, try online courses.
3. When landing a job make sure that you give your best service. Give your client a 5 star design service.
4. Never work for free! PLEASE! Also learn how to charge properly.
5. Don’t underestimate a current gig in hand. If you produce a superb design you can put it on your portfolio which can land you a similar gig.


What web browser do you use?

Google Chrome.

If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?

I love cats! I like how curious they are, everything is interesting to them. We designers, should be like that. It makes us more creative if we are open and more curious. I have 3 cats by the way. It’s lonely to work alone and my cats keep my company! 🙂


What do you think of Shiela’s story? Please leave messages of support for Shiela in our comments box below!

If you’d like us to feature your story, please contact us at

Shiela M.

Web & Designer & Illustrator.

Bocaue, Philippines

Overview: Children’s books, characters, cartoons, story boards and picture books.



  • Shiela Marie I Alejandro

    Wow! Thank you so much PPH, this is wonderful! 🙂

  • Nancy Callegari

    You deserve to fly high. Your illustrations are wonderful.

  • Manilyn

    Her story was very inspiring. I am also planning to quit my job and do freelance but I’m afraid to fail, afraid not to get clients. But when I read her story it inspire me to never lose hope and never give up.

  • Sheila Likness

    Great story Shiela!!! I am so glad to have met you and love the work we are doing together! And I think your illustrations are amazing!! 🙂

  • Luculle Stols

    Very inspiring! Love the designs, they are really beautiful.

  • Pamela

    Hi Shiela, I’m so glad to hear of your success, this really gives me hope! I just recently left my job, and am now building my (very small) portfolio. Even though I knew switching from being at a cushy corporate gig to becoming a professional freelancer would be hard work, I’m confident that it’s the right decision. And your story only fuels my fire! Thanks for sharing your story!

    I would have loved to see your work from a year ago, along side current work as comparison. I think that alone could speak volumes of your hard work and never-give-up attitude 🙂

  • obaidul haque

    amusing story. your work also very good

  • aicha L

    you story is very encouraging and also your drawings looks amazing , it is very inspiring
    thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Rosalba Fatone

    Thank you, Shiela
    I am glad I read your story you have given me hope. Your work is beautiful and I wish you all the best in life.
    I am new in this field through art has always been a passion of mine.
    I am definitely taking your advice one of them especially because I am very impatient, “not good”!!!
    Looking forward to seeing more of your work.
    Regards Rosalba Fatone

  • Md.Abul Kalam Azad

    I’m freelancer of graphics design. I am an experienced in 6 years logo design, business card design, t-shirt design, banner ad design, photo editing, info graphics, print design.
    Your all description talke me.
    Thank you.

  • Ashley

    Wonder full work.

  • Ashley

    Wonderful work. Wish you all the best.

  • Diane Thyer

    Your illustrations are beautiful and your post was inspirational to someone who is also new to PPH and struggling to get jobs. However I will now persevere based on your very sound advice. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • jakir mollik

    the story is good.we are inspire from your story.

  • Ridwan Bin Shamim

    Thank you for your advice for beginners. It’ll help us. and yes, the cat thing… they’re good….I have four cats..they all the time keep me busy.. Best of luck for your career.

  • Books 2 Balance Ltd

    Lovely story and couldn’t agree with you more. Wishing you even more success.

  • Tom Rae

    A great story… and a reminder to others (including me!) that we have to start somewhere in freelancing, so don’t give up

  • Emma Hickling

    That is an inspriring story, your illustrations are lovely too 🙂

  • Kerwin Padigos


    I’m from Philippines too. May I know your secret to this success? I am almost a 2 month member. And still no one accepts.

  • Lesley Wilkins

    Love your story, mine is similar, although I haven’t reached the top CERT yet! 5 isn’t bad though.
    Your illustrations are beautiful 🙂 (I have three cats too!)

  • Ahmed Hussain

    Awesome work I want learn this kind of Illustrations.
    Kindly suggest me?

  • Ashraf reza

    grate job

  • Suzan Roberts-Skeats

    Inspiring – and your illustrations are wonderful. I have been ad-hoc freelancing on PPH doing office work for 6 years now with nought but 5 star reviews, but it’s amazingly competitive as there are so many people around the world happy to do it for far less money than I am, so I still struggle landing jobs for reasonable pay.
    However, my dream is to create… I write, I paint, I draw and one day if even one person sees my work and goes “Wow!” I’ll be happier.

    Your story has just reignited the kindling,. Somehow, someday I will succeed.

  • Michele Gilpin

    Love your story Sheila! Thanks for sharing! You do beautiful work!!

  • Shiela Marie I Alejandro

    Thank you everyone for all your wonderful comments, I really appreciate it.. Cheers to us! <3

  • Humayun R.

    Shiela Marie,

    You are truly gifted! Your illustrations are fabulously awesome. And your story is inspiration to all PPHers. Wishing you unlimited success on PPH!

  • Pam

    Thank you Shiela, this is very inspiring and some great tips

  • Rachael Loxston

    This story gave me some hope as feeling a little low as not much freelancing work at the moment and I need to pay the bills. This has given me the will to persevere.

    Thank you Sheila.

  • Yasar Ali

    Many Thanks.

  • salinder singh


  • Alex Blaha

    Amazing Art! What you say is definitely true. I am new to PPH and It was about 2-3 weeks before my first job. Kind of on the lower side payment wise, but I gave it 100% regardless. Then I got a 5 star review, a new portfolio piece, and my second job the next day! Hopefully someday I can be like you. A true inspiration!

  • Md Mahfuj Hossain

    I am really happy to read the inspiring story of Shiela Marie I Alejandro though I am struggling to make first order on PPH( Until now trying and I will try harder from now . Thanks PPH and Shiela Marie I Alejandro!

  • jayesh

    HI Shiela,

    Your story inspired me a lot. By the way what’s the name of your kitties ?

  • Teodora Nikolov

    Amazing story. Very inspiring.

  • Akinwunmi Akinde

    Wonderful story. Gives you a clue to your starting point…

  • Bicky hazarika

    You describe the PPH so beter that i can now know how to get benefits. Thanks for the story.

  • Mensah Stephen

    Your story is similar to mine. Initially, no one would accept me but when I completed my first web development job, everything started turning for good. I love the illustrations.

  • ankit

    Your story is similar to mine. Initially, no one would accept me but when I completed my first web development job, everything started turning for good. I love the illustrations.

  • Maged Nabil

    I’m new to this website I wish to do some like you 🙂

  • afzaal

    Your story is just mine but the difference i did not get my first client yet 😛 and i don’t know where i am making mistake to not grab my first client . i must say good luck Shiela your story was really inspiring

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  • Geraldyne Ingcog

    Your illustrations say’s it all very clear and inspiring! Awesome 🙂

  • Farhan Qamer

    wonderful i will follow your advice


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