There was once a passionate Pakistani who was tired of the 9-5 job culture and the toxicity of the workplace. He thought that Pakistan has potential but the lack of resources keeps them on ground.
So, he came forward with the idea of creating the community of Freelancers, designers, coders and digital marketers so they all can work in collaboration and create golden opportunities for themselves. He named this community as Qpro.
Being an opportunist one thing that was killing him was that despite having so much talent in Pakistan, the freelance community was only 9% who were generating 1 billion US per annum which was far less than it should be.
He started his community with the team he had at the moment but as the community grows the need for freelancers evolve.
And the luck strikes when an elephantine design project hit his company. But this project demanded a creative expert who can describe things through visuals in a style that the need of the words doesn’t remain. The project was a documentary on Pakistan so the requirement was to have a designer who is a good absorbent of the Pakistani culture and tradition.
He accepted the project for the success of the company but he needed one creative expert for the job to end it flawlessly.
He has the time but not the designer.
So, he ran ads on job-seeking sites, fetched CVs, conducted interviews but none of them came true on his requirements.
“The need for a Local Pakistani designer who is prolific in giving the wings to the ideas – the search continues.”
After giving up all the routine hiring process, he with his team come up with an idea to run a contest.
Yes! A creative contest to get the creative geek on board.
And they come up with ‘Idea Logo Ka.’ The title subjects to attract Pakistani designers only so they thought of going relevant. The winner won’t land with the cash prize of Rs,15000 only but also the golden opportunities that will come under the umbrella.
The competition was launched on 25th Dec 2019 and it was open for all.
Qpro had great hopes for the competition because it was a competition for the participants but the company was in the hunt of that one brain who will take the stage and later the project.
In the stats of 40% of the Pakistan freelance community of Graphic Designers only 774 registered for the event. It was the first hit to their hopes as they were expecting a great deal of registrations.
In the first round, 350 registrations were straightforwardly knockout because of incomplete requirements. And more than 100 designers don’t know what a portfolio is. Umm, Shocking Stats!
And this is how the judges reacted (sigh)
Now out of 774, the judges only have 424 portfolios in hands. Will they find the one designer in between these portfolios?
If this contest would be running in India or USA, they would be receiving a plethora of portfolios because with only 24% of the freelancing community they are generating a revenue of 400 billion dollars per annum.
Back to the Competition…
Out of 424 submissions, only 200 contestants submitted their logos on time. To break the stats more, 25% remember to send logos after the deadlines closed on 11th Oct 2019.
40% of the submissions were received from Lahore and the rest from nationwide. While on an average a specific age group of 18-38 years took part in which only 11% were beginners and 21% fresh. 68 % were found to be professional but it was shocking for judges to see the plagiarized logos from the professional designers.
Due to the less number of participants, judges give the leniency by considering the late portfolios.
With these 200 submissions, they have to take out that one creative mindset or else they would be missing the huge opportunity to grow their company. It was the do and die situation for them.
Majority of the submissions were missing the knack of creativity which they were hunting for.
Like the silly mistake they found the most is that if the title is Purple Cow, all the designers were making it obvious by making a purple cow. If the text is already telling you that it’s a purple cow then how can you put the same in the icon? Point!
A logo needs to be creative, so creative that it itself completes the whole job, no need of the text. Take Nike for example just a tick mark, apple logo for example, only the icon is enough to deliver the brand values.
It wasn’t only the creativity that was lacking but also professionalism and commitment. Although the participants tried to put their best efforts in the logo design but very few of them follow the out of the box approach to win the competition.
But on TikTok the youth shows so much creativity…!
Does that mean we are creative only for the sake of entertainment, quite bad?
So the judges started sorting the 200 submissions and their hopes were shattered completely when they came to know that 70% of the logos were copied. Just a little tweak in the already existing logos, addition of fonts, change in the colour and nothing else.
A very small ratio of the participants made the effort to create the Purple Cow by telling the other side of the story.
Though this was a competition but this raises a question about the future of Pakistani freelancers.
Are we the change-makers or we think that a slogan is enough to bring the change?
Doesn’t the educational and creative contest don’t deserve the same creativity we show on TikTok and KikiDance?
Only three days prior to the announcement of results, the poor stats of the competition proved convincing enough to close the competition. “But the show must go on”, said the Qpro management.
Since they don’t get that one winning portfolio, so they decided to pick the portfolios who were close enough to their criteria.
And when results announced on 19th Oct 2019, only 5% of the participants were found to be actually Creative.
Despite the polite decision-making and ignoring a lot of mistakes, there wasn’t still a 5-star rated logo that judges can claim “Perfect.”
The idea workout in finding the designer for the project but the alarming stats which the company received turn their excitement into disappointment and they came to the conclusion that the mindset is the real problem amongst the youth of Pakistan.
Reasons Judges Find Out After the Unsatisfactory Results
- I Know Everything
The contestants showed the mindset that they don’t need to learn anything like most of them follow the outdated design techniques. This happens when you feel that you know everything.
Nobody knows everything, even the maestro of the field has the room to grow. If you keep the mindset that you know everything, your learning will be limited and it will be easy for anyone to come and take over your place.
2. Staying Happy with What you Earn
People with a full-time job get satisfied with what they earn and don’t wish to maximize their earning through freelancing. Although it’s a great opportunity to make a six-figure income per month.
This mindset kills your ability to grow in your field. The correct mindset is to learn new technologies, skills, tips and tricks so you can increase your earning as much as possible.
3. Finding Shortcuts
Instead of going to the freelancing sites, we wait for the projects to come to us. And even if we get successful in getting the project, we try to find a shortcut to accomplish it. It’s unacceptable!
Success has no shortcut. Learn from the greats like Steve Jobs who started his company with two persons in a garage and then later evolved to $2 billion company with more than 4000 employees. Had he look for a shortcut, he wouldn’t have achieved this big success yet.
4. Following What’s Trendy
In the direction of following the trends, we miss our passion, skills and interest.
Trends will come and go but it’s your skills and interest that define how to leverage those trends. So, more than trends we should work on our interest and skills we have.
- Missing Opportunities
Small or huge, opportunities make us one step close to our success. Ignoring opportunities with the thoughts that more will come in the future is bad for your career development. So, challenge yourself with every opportunity that lies ahead of you.
Start now even it’s a low-cost project, give it a try.
- Lack of Professionalism
60% of the success depends on our behaviour and the way we deal with the people. We missed golden opportunities when we don’t show up. A simple example is committing for the interview and not showing up later. This practice is mostly followed by those who are not committed to their career and themselves.
When you have committed once, show up. Staying strong to your commitment depicts professionalism and makes you reputable.
- Staying in Comfort Zone
“If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
- Not Expanding your Creative Mindset
In the competition, 70% of the portfolios were copied which is a sign that we have rusted our mind and don’t challenge it to grow big.
Instead of copy-pasting, take the ideas and mix it with yours to innovate something worth having.
- Happy with Low Paying Jobs
Because of the fear of skipping the comfort zone, some people feel satisfied with what they have; be it low paying jobs. However, if they work in upgrading their skills, they can improve their lifestyle along with their career.
If you’re happy with low paying jobs and don’t want to improve your skillset, then you’ll always be asking this one question.
How to get projects from a freelancing website?
So, the competition not only opened the eyes of judges but also revealed the surprising reasons behind the failure.
In the future, your full-time job won’t be enough to bear your lifestyle. If we keep on going with these stats, we all can face dreadful consequences.
These results are an alarming situation to compete with the international market. The decline in creativity can keep us limited to beginner-level jobs and can also resist us from boosting Pakistan’s economy.
Hold on and think for a moment, where we all are standing and what’s the future?
After experiencing the dreadful situation of the freelance industry of Pakistan, Qpro took the initiative to promote the freelancing community by improving the quality of the work. But How?
They came up with three huge ideas; meetups, workshops and contests.
i) With the mission to emphasize the importance of learning they are arranging Free Meetups so people with a diverse skillset can connect with each other and learn. The beginners can be treasured by the professionals and the professionals can also interact with like-minded people. From graphics designing to marketing, coding or blogging, the workforce from every industry can connect and create opportunities.
ii) They also organize Free Training from the industry experts so students and professionals both can take notes and benefit from the knowledge shared. This also plays a strong role in inspiring people and promoting talent.
iii) In the story above, you can see how Qpro explored the creativity level of Pakistan and give the participants a point to think that where do they stand. That’s why contests are so important. So, they run creative competitions to promote talent and enhance their skills. Their logo design winner Maaz Afzal gave a 3-day workshop on graphic designing through their platform. That’s Great!
The one passionate Pakistani who started with the vision to boost the freelancing community is now affirmed that he will change the fate through his outstanding efforts. They are working day and night to improve the skill set of the youth of Pakistan. Let’s help them grow by improving ourselves and the community.
What’s your take on the story? What would you suggest to improve the freelance ratio in Pakistan?