Disasters With Designers – 5 Lessons Learned From Hiring Freelance Designers – Part 2

Last time I mentioned the first 2 designers I hired and how I ended up shutting down my app development because of the mistakes I made hiring them.

This is the 2nd part of the post where I talk about 3 other lessons I learned working with freelance designers.

Designer 3: The noob

After working with the offshore pro, I decided I wanted someone more local, and surprisingly, found a US based designer that had great hourly pricing. We ended up agreeing on a fixed price and he started work. The designer had a great portfolio, but said he was new to odesk.
He started working, but then after a week or so came back to me and said that the work is more than he thought and that he needs more time and money…
Again, I was stuck, I had to pay a bit more, but it seemed like we were both not enjoying the relationship anymore, so we ended it.

Lesson: new designers will most likely underestimate the amount of time it takes them to finish up a project. Either budget that into your project or make sure they show you why they think their estimate is accurate. It pays to start a bit higher rather than start low and then have both sides disappointed when it doesn’t work as planned.

Designer 4: The messy one

The next designer I worked with was very talented, but quite a mess.
The quality of his work was good and he did have experience, but he ended up delivering the final product in a zip file and I didn’t make sure that I could use it as is in my game.
What I mean is that he did deliver all the character files I asked for, but they were all in different sizes, and they weren’t set up so I can just drop them into my game. I had to spend a lot of time, resizing, matching them up with the rest of their set, and positioning so that the moving animation would line up with the shooting animation and would be usable with the other characters in the game. Again, lots of work that I shouldn’t have been doing.

Lesson: make sure you set expectations as to what deliverables you want and how you want them delivered, even down to file name. For example: enemy_walk_iPad_1.png, enemy_walk_iPad_2.png etc.

Designer 5: The Long term designer
I had a small project idea in a very specific niche and hired a designer for it. He quoted an estimate of 3 weeks to finish the project.
I paid upfront, and 6 months later, I’m still waiting. It’s not like he’s vanished or anything, but he just keeps saying that he’s working on it…
If the project were important, I’d push harder, but I don’t have time to work on it anyway, so I’m not in a rush.

So there you have it, 5 lessons I learned working with freelance designers. I’d love to hear from you, do you have any interesting stories to share about working with freelancers? Good or bad?

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