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Journey of a Successful Self-Taught Full-time Freelancer as a Graphic designer & Illustrator

Discussion in 'My Journey Discussions' started by TheHixel, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. TheHixel

    TheHixel Newbie

    Dec 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Graphic designer & Illustrator
    Home Page:
    Hello folks,

    This is the first time I'm sharing my story, this is also my second thread on BHW.
    My name is Alex, known as "thehixel" on the wide web. I'm 20 y/o and I've been doing this successfully for over 6 years now.

    Everything started after one friend of mine, which was a content creator at that time, introduced me to logo design contests on digitalpoint. I won my first contest for $15 on 25 September 2010, aprox. 2 months after I started designing, and that was the beggining of it. I continued joining contests on digitalpoint for 2-3 years and won hundreds of contests in this time frame.
    Before using Illustrator, I was using Photoshop to do the logo designs and I did steal a lot from stock photos and other designers. For the first say 6 months I did this, I was mostly recreating other people work in Photoshopw with certain modifications and claiming it as my own. I don't encourage anyone doing this if they are willing to start on this road, I also got caught several times, but I got to say I learned a lot through it.

    I was pretty popular on digitalpoint for my designs and because of that, 2 years after I started, I was having my own customers. I remember I was getting a lot of contest invitations even after I finally gave up digitalpoint.

    My freelancer skills evolved a lot because when I started having my own customers, I never said "I can't do that" even if we were talking about something I never did before and I wasn't very experienced either. I only learned how to do logo designs and business card designs from digitalpoint contests and I when I got asked to do something else than that (web design, print&identity, UI/UX design, apparel design) I just started studying the creative field that project required and someway managed to do it. I am and will be a self-taught graphic designer & illustrator forever but because of this I have a strong confidence in my skills and my own techniques to get things done.

    In the 2012 June I also managed to get my first item for sale on graphicriver, after which a lot more followed. I sold over $5000 on graphicriver and I still have some of the items live and selling. ( I gave up graphicriver because it became overflooded.)
    After some time on graphicriver and also doing private projects with several customers, at 15-16 years I managed to get a pretty good monthly income for that age ($100-$300, but I remember doing more than $300 in some months from graphicriver+projects)
    Here's a screen of my graphicriver's account income in 2013:

    It's not a lot of money, but at that age I was very proud of earning that much and actually doing something.
    I pretty much gave up graphicriver in 2014-2015 and mostly focused on projects and partnerships since then. I got a lot of customers through recommendations, I also used upwork for some nice partnerships that are still working and I'm still looking for new partnerships.
    For the past 4-5 months I'm mostly doing apparel design and created over 500 designs that sold so far. I'm trying to get on merch.amazon to start selling t-shirts there and meanwhile selling on teespring and taking care of projects. I'm also thinking to give some more attention to creativemarket which is similar to graphicriver. In other words, I'm getting my income from several different sources and I'm doing this full-time for $500-$1000 income monthly (had months with more than 1k though).
    Am I happy with my income? I'd say no. I know I'm experienced enough to earn much more than that and I'm still looking for the right partnership and/or opportunity for that to happen.

    At this point my goal is to reach a steady $2500 monthly income working from home and my main idea is getting on amazon merch (I already applied for 2 months but it's not happening just yet)

    Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it and I hope this helps some new graphic designers get motivated. If you have any questions about my journey please don't hesitate to ask.



    If you want to see some of my works, search "thehixel" on google and go to my instagram/graphicriver/creativemarket.
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