Freelancer stories: The fixer
Graphic designer Anatol Ursu's career on Freelancer.com took off like a rocket from a standing start
It started with winning a contest on the platform, and quickly turned into a flood of projects.
"I got lucky because I got [a client] from Canada who's looking for cheap work. I delivered a first brochure, which was very nice for him at the time. And I got hired for like five or six projects one after another," Anatol tells Freelancer.
With projects coming in quickly, five-star reviews started piling up for Anatol's work. He credits this with jump-starting his career on the platform.
"I have friends who have struggled to get five or six reviews in half a year or a year. And I got these reviews really fast and this is the thing that got me going," he says.
Anatol managed to build his client base as a graphic designer on Freelancer in spite of having no formal training in the field. But his high quality output and passion for graphic design was obvious to clients.
"When I'm working, I put my headphones on my ears and the sound is at full level and I'm connected with the project, with the information, with the colors, with the shapes, with the forms of it. I can't go back," Anatol says.
Anatol also built a reputation as a designer who could reliably deliver on projects that reflected a client's existing visual branding.
"This is my favorite part of the job; replicating someone's design, because you have to get into his head, think like someone, and it really challenges me. When I get the messages from people who say, 'We have our full identity and we have a couple of designers and we need some work,' I'm like a fish in the water because it's just like the perfect task for me."
And with that skill came Anatol's aptitude as a fixer. On more than one occasion, he's been called in to correct poor work done by another designer. In one case, Anatol says a company hired him to fix sloppy work done by their own in-house designer.
"It was awful, you know. Like awfully awful. And when they told me how much money they spent on it, I was shocked. I did a four page brochure for them for like $20 USD, and they were amazed by the result they got. I think that guy was fired after that," he says.
As Anatol has built a network of satisfied customers over his last six years on Freelancer, he's also had full-time job offers coming in. And while he says it's unlikely he'll leave his native Moldova, the offers have reinforced the difference his work has made to clients.
"[One American client] said, 'It was really nice to work with you, you did a great job, and you should know that we hired you just because we needed an outside point of view on our brand, on the brand we're working on. And I actually run an advertising agency, and if you ever think to move to the US, know that you will have a place of work here.'"