Todor Krasimirov Todorov, 28, from Pavlikeni, Bulgaria and Orsolya Orbán, 30, from neighboring country Târgu-Mureș, Romania both discovered Freelancer.com while experiencing life's letdowns. Now that they have leapt over the obstacles they faced, the artists (Todor is a graphic designer while Orsolya is an illustrator), looked back and shared in this Q&A how they endured and succeeded.
What got you into freelancing?
Todor: In 2009, my father passed away. As a result, I took the helm in providing for my family. I was in university at that time, but tried non-stop to find some side work. I searched design forums, contest webpages, and freelance forums for gigs, until I discovered Freelancer.com and ultimately worked there. I continued freelancing even after I graduated and got a full-time job as a graphic designer in a local advertising agency. For five years, I worked in the office during the day and at Freelancer.com at night. Last October, I decided to quit my job to freelance full-time. I’m tired of working for bosses and doing low-cost projects. I want to build my own company.
Orsi: Illustration has always been my passion but life pushed me into other directions. After finishing university, I tried my luck at many companies. I worked as an assistant, a help-desk person, and a sales agent. In all workplaces, I felt like a black sheep. I didn’t feel like I belonged and nothing satisfied me. Seeing my frustration, my husband and parents convinced me to just follow my heart. I then started out looking for illustration jobs by sending e-mails to publishers and kids’ magazines. My husband also helped with the search -- he linked me to a Freelancer.com project. I signed up on the site, and the rest is history.
What are the changes you experienced since you started freelancing?
Orsi: Illustration set me free. This is what I want to do, so work is always a pleasure. My financial situation also became considerably better than before due to the projects I got on the site. Three months ago, I got invited to join Freelancer’s Preferred Freelancer Program. Honestly, it makes a difference because I get more projects than before. My latest achievement is winning the runner-up prize in their Best Freelancer Profile Contest. After all these, I can say that my self-appreciation grew, and I became highly motivated to start learning and polishing my skills.
Todor: I think I have achieved a very high level of progress and self-improvement. I learned how to communicate with clients remotely, how to make them feel comfortable working with me, how to organize my time, and how to meet deadlines. My design skills also improved because of frequently joining Freelancer’s contests. The competition there was tough and I had to improve myself every day. The freelancing lifestyle also suits me well. I have time to meet with family and friends and have fun.
(Todor's brochure design)
What are your top three tips for new freelancers?
Todor: First, bid on low-cost projects at first to collect feedback and build your portfolio. Second, learn something new every day and use that for improving yourself. And last but not the least, never give up!
Orsi: It is not enough to want something -- you have to go to sleep wanting it, and wake up wanting it even more. Also, be humble. No matter how successful you become, remember how much you worked for it. Never get drunk on success. Most importantly, don’t give up. If you fail, analyze your weaknesses and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
Favorite Freelancer.com Feature:
Orsi: Verifications and withdrawal -- Freelancer really makes sure that it’s me who takes the money. I don’t mind the waiting time as long as I feel safe. I also liked personalizing my profile. Employers immediately get an idea on my work style and personality even before talking to me.
(Orsi's illustration from Natalie Del Favero's book)
Todor: Preferred Freelancer Program -- This one is really great. The Recruiters always connect me with serious clients. The projects are bigger and I feel safe knowing that there would always be good projects waiting for me.
(Todor's book cover design)
Orsi loves working on children's books. View her profile here.
Apart from joining contests, Todor's choice of projects includes logo design, corporate identity, cover and packaging, advertising, and print design. View his profile here.
Both of them are members of the Preferred Freelancer Program, a community of elite-level freelancers.