Meet Tim, a TOP CERT freelancer who used to work a night-shift as a janitor until he discovered freelancing…
Hi Tim! Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I was born and raised in Canada. I’ve always had a passion for design so I knew I wanted to do something in that field. Once I received my degree in Graphic Design my first step was finding a local business that was hiring. Unfortunately there weren’t many jobs in my area so I thought the next best step would be to go online and expand my portfolio by doing work for others. This led to long-term working relationships with clients from all over the world.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
While I was in college, I worked a night-shift as a janitor at a nearby University. I knew this would not be something I wanted to do long-term so shortly after I started doing smaller freelance jobs for friends and family. Once I built myself a decent portfolio, I joined PPH where I was able to receive many jobs and clients which have been steadily growing since.
How did you come across PPH?
I don’t remember exactly when, but I joined PPH quite a while ago and wasn’t having much luck finding freelance work. A few months later I received an email from PPH claiming they overhauled their site. I decided to take a look and, almost immediately, was able to find work via my hourlies. Now PPH is my go-to site for freelance work with many return clients and long-term work relationships.
What was your first job like on PPH?
I created an Hourlie on PPH for creating web design mock-ups. I got my first customer within a couple of days. It didn’t take too long to receive even more work from some great clients.
What is a typical day like for you?
First thing in the morning I look through and respond to all of my emails. Since the majority of my clients are based out of the UK, I tend to get most emails late night/early morning so this gives me time to respond and communicate to everyone during their business hours. From there I start to work on design projects which range from web design, logos, and branding.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
Being able to create my own hours is a huge plus! The one issue I came across early in my freelancing days was I would often become distracted by working from home. I’ve since learned to stay focused by taking 20 minute breaks every hour or so. This keeps me ahead of any project deadlines. Also the commute to my home office is much shorter!
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
I really enjoy the Hourlies aspect of PPH. It has introduced me to many clients from around the world who want to form long-term working relationships. This is a great benefit I haven’t had from other freelancing sites. Also being a TOP CERT seller on PPH has given me the opportunity to attract even more clients.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I’d like to take my freelancing as far as it can go. In my mind this is just the first step to creating my own successful graphic design business.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1. Create an Hourlie that is unique but also attracts potential buyers. There are many Hourlies that offer the same solutions so create something that stands out from the rest.
2. Form long-term relationships with clients. Once a job is complete it’s always a good idea follow-up with them, maybe they have another project coming up or they can refer your services to someone else.
3. If you win a bid for a job or someone purchases your hourlie, make sure you go above and beyond their expectations. You’ll gain a great reputation and the good ratings will entice new customers.
4. Communication is key. If you take longer than expected to complete a job make sure you let the customer know. If you take too long they may take their business elsewhere.
5. Offer alternative solutions to your customers problems. Sometimes what the client has in mind may not be the best solution for their needs. They will always appreciate it when you let them know of a better way of doing things.
What are your top 5 design tips for small businesses?
1. Keep your designs simple but also unique to your brand. If you’re creating a website for your business, it should elicit a positive reaction from your visitors, not confuse them with flash and clutter.
2. Stay up-to-date with the latest design trends. Nothing is worse than having an outdated web design. Keeping your design modern will have a positive impact from potential customers.
3. Stay active on social media. For smaller businesses this is especially true, the majority of new customers will most likely discover your business via Facebook or Twitter.
4. Stick to design practices that work. For example, place your logo and navigation in the top section of your website, otherwise placing it in any other section can distract and confuse your customers.
5. Design with Search Engine Optimisation in mind. Things like a clear layout, sitemaps, meaningful URL’s, and relevant keywords in titles will go a long way to making sure your website comes up in search results.
What web browser do you use?
I primarily use Chrome but also use Safari from time to time.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
Probably some sort of wild animal, like a lion. I enjoy the hunt, looking for that next big project. And if something big comes my way, I won’t hesitate to take on anything!
What do you think of Tim’s story? Has he given you some valuable tips as a new freelancer or as a business that needs some design advice? Please leave messages of support for Tim in our comments box below!
If you’d like us to feature your story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.