• Sridhar Rajendran

Day 28 - Freelancing debacle

Updated: Aug 23, 2018

There is more than one way to get rejected

Image credit: Pexels

At the outset it seemed like I was doing everything right:

But still, no matter how low I set the bar, I seem to fail.

One of the common thread of complaint I heard was — I have no real-world experience. Case studies are cute but it is just a bunch of static mockups. So I decided to give freelancing a shot as proof of real world engagement. It turned out to be a worser dud than applying for jobs.


I created a profile on Freelancer.com and UpWork.com. I added the projects from my portfolio on my profile and added a decent bio explaining my skills. I started first with Freelancer.com. The main issue with these sites is the work is mostly a combination of UI and UX. Most of the people who post jobs either do not understand the difference or do not have the budget to hire two freelancers. As it always has been, not willing to work on UI became a serious impediment in my freelancing profile too.


I selected projects that were heavy on user research and interaction design and bid for them. I always quoted the median amount — not too low or too high. I always wrote a message explaining why I want to work on that project and a related experience I possess. But I never heard back from even one of them. Trust me, I bid a lot!

Image credit: GIPHY

To this day, this bewilders me. I chose projects that were entry-level and always put in a median bid, wrote a decent project proposal. I thought of giving UpWork a shot and that turned out to be dud too. I was getting rejected on two fronts — not good enough for a full-time gig or a freelance one.


I discussed my situation with a friend who has similar interests . He mentioned even though he preferred to focus on UX but would still bid on projects that involved some bit of UI. He used Sketch templates to hack his way. So clever! I was busy discounting myself and didn’t apply to certain jobs.


One common advice I got is help out an NGO or an organisation that does social good. Most of these sites are not developed professionally and need a lot of help. My concern was they would prefer someone to do the actual changes in their website and not a pretty mockup. I was not ready to learn front-end development. This is yet another assumption/excuse. Perhaps an NGO with decent cash flow might be open to hiring a front-end developer to implement the design. I will never know.


If you have tried such experiments, share your experience.