How do freelancers compete with so many 'hobbyists'

(Si Rogers) #1

Hi All,

In the interest of discussion;

I’ve seen numerous instances of people earning, ostensibly, good livings as 3D freelancers! However, i’ve also seen many examples of people offering to do work for impossibly low fees. How do individuals manage to make a crust when there are so many people (i’m assuming hobbyists!?) willing to undermine pay rates? I’m guessing its largely down to reputation and quality!?

Be interested to know peoples thoughts!



I think that “give some freebies, entice to buy the rest” is often used. Along with a good portfolio.But
between so many competing artists, great amounts of free stuff are generated, so people can gather it and get used to getting almost anything for free. Or at the very low price.
As I see it, both hobbyists and freelancers undermine pay rates - but some not intentionally. And yes, quality might be the answer to make a living out of the art, but some advertisement is necessary - and freebies are in the game again.
BTW I like getting freebies :wink:

(alf0) #3

i think it up to your quality and reputation
just as MssB said

(Lumpengnom) #4

The vast majority of jobs require you to work on a project for days, weeks or months. A hobbyist usually doesn´t have this time because he has to work a regular job.

(burnin) #5

… is parallel to the difference between amateurs and professionals :slight_smile:

(Dorro) #6

I think this is true for nearly all creative career paths, whether you want to be a writer, musician, photographer, designer, chef, fine art or digital artist. You have to start somewhere. You have to love your art because you will need work your arse off, promote yourself shamelessly and use every opportunity to find a niche in industries where your skills are under valued and exploited. Excellence is not enough to stand out and you may never have the leverage to demand decent remuneration. If you are doing this for the monetary reward alone, being a plumber, electrician, mechanic or some other mundane job may be be a better investment of your time, although this is no guarantee either…

I have had many different jobs in print media, design, tourism and teaching in many countries across the globe, only doing what I love, changing when bored or unhappy, with the support of my wife and family. I have always managed to have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, good things to eat and drink, enough to share with good company. It has been touch and go many times, I will never be rich and the only thing I regret is when fear has held me back from new tastes, sounds, places and experiences.

(ambi) #7

Reliability and quality is probably the most important metric working as a freelancer. Those undercutting everything to the ground will probably have neither. If by some miracle they are actually really good, the price will quickly increase as they will be saturated by work.

(kesonmis) #8

Given infinite time, everything can be aquired free. But if you have looming deadlines, a hobbyist that asks 5 $ but might never finish the job is not an option. As has been said by others, reliability is what matters and reliable people don’t work for peanuts because maintaining reliability itself is not free. And in addition to that, looking for another cheap but good enough hobbyist for every job is just too exhausting, it is much easier to work with someone you have worked before and know what he can do.

(Jason van Gumster) #9

An extremely key facet of any bit of success is having good relationships with people. For instance, it’s a good idea to actually know your customers and clients… like, you actually know what their faces look like. Give the choice between two artists of similar skill level, most people will give work to the person they know… oftentimes they’re willing to pay more because they know the person they’re hiring.

Some of this can be handled with advertising and marketing, but one of the most effective things is to get out from behind your monitor and physically go to the places where your customers are. Don’t be a shill while you’re there. Just be present, friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Build up a solid reputation that way and you’ll find yourself bidding less and having customers seek you out more.

(dgorsman) #10

Almost all training focuses solely on the technical side (or at least, which buttons to click). When you do everything yourself that includes being manager, marketing/sales department, accounting, and everything else. Those roles, however much maligned in popular culture, are necessary for running a good business.

(sundialsvc4) #11

“There is scarcely anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply. The person who buys on price alone is this man’s lawful prey.” – John Ruskin

In the real world of business, people find trustworthy, professional suppliers who have demonstrated their ability to meet their business requirements, and they reward those suppliers with loyalty. In turn, those suppliers are careful to reward that loyalty by exceeding their clients’ expectations [almost …] every time.

Always(!) remember this, if you remember nothing else:

:bulb:every(!) business relationship is, in fact, a human relationship … you make it and re- make it every single day.”

(captainkirk) #12

The difficulty I find is when someone comes to me with a project but they are unwilling to pay what is a decent amount. I had someone ask me to render an exterior based on a sketch that had almost no information, meaning that I’d have to basically design an entire building and all its surrounds, and they wanted it for $100. I assume they found someone else willing to do it for that price. But I know that if I’m going to get anywhere in this business and earn a decent living I can’t simply undercut everyone else.

Client relationships are the most important thing. I landed a very nice project that had been awarded to the company I used to work for, until they were fired for the head of the company’s unprofessional behavior. He would miss meetings repeatedly, respond to phone calls while drunk, and not actually tell the artists to start the work. So I am always as responsive as possible with them which has lead to them saying that they will use me on future projects as well.

(sundialsvc4) #13

If someone wants to pay you $100, you simply have to explain to them that the request is unreasonable – then, walk away. Tell them to call you when they have a budget. And remember, maybe they just honestly don’t know. (Never try to do business with someone who “doesn’t know.”)

Very early on, I glommed on a book about consulting contracts by the late Herman Holtz (nee: Hermann Holz), who wrote several good ones. He described a system of task-orders and change-orders, and binding estimates.

And then there’s Judge Wopner from the old People’s Court television program (which he pioneered):

"Get it in writing!"

A simple letter, signed and dated in pen by both of you, with an autograph copy held by both of you, not only constitutes a legally binding agreement but also compels both of you to sit down in good faith and to define and negotiate the project, or whatever it is that the letter contains.

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

If you make a verbal agreement, get it in writing. Even an e-mail will help: _“Okay, Bob, yesterday, January 10th 2019, you called me up and we had the following discussion. Here’s what I think we said and agreed to. Please review it and send any corrections – or, if you agree, please confirm it. Thanks.” Then print a paper copy of that e-mail and the response and put it in your paper files. "Diligence matters."

This line of work is very labor-intensive and that makes it expensive. Changes, also, are expensive, and “what makes it expensive” might never be visible. But, professionals all around the planet are likewise … “expensive, but worth it.” For the good ones, their reputation precedes them.