Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alchemy

There's an area on Etsy called "Alchemy."  People can request custom made items there. The idea is to give a description of the kind of thing you're looking for (and obviously can't find elsewhere), a deadline for getting it done, the ideal price, and any pictures that might help illustrate your idea.  Other Etsians are then able to bid on the job, telling what they would charge, details of what they would do, when it would be completed, and shipping details.  The person who put in the Alchemy listing then decides whether or not to accept any of the bids.  It actually seems like a good idea, but it doesn't always work according to plan.  Some people are just to lazy to go looking for things that are already available. Some seem to have no real clue of what they actually want.  Many that know what they want just want to see how cheap they can get it since they figure people will try to low bid each other or they put a ridiculously low ideal price on their listing.  I've been bidding on some of the Alchemy jobs just so I can get some feedback for my shop.  It's kind of hard to get continually rejected for your work.  I mainly put in bids on graphic design jobs, especially simple ones for shop banners and avatars.  These people want you to send them a mock up for the job they will only pay you $1 or $5 for....IF they decide to accept your bid. So you put in an hour of throwing something together and they reject you and say it's not what they want.  You don't even get the $5!!  But they won't pick your bid if you don't send a design sample...

I did eventually do a few banner jobs really cheap just to get the ball rolling.  The buyers were very happy with the results and it didn't take too long to put together. Since it only involved time I was spending watching TV, I figured it wasn't really a loss.  The graphic design community on Etsy hates what this process is doing to prices and expectations, but these sales are generally made to those who wouldn't pay for real design anyway.  I don't mind too much since I'm pretty much a dabbler or hobbyist and I can deal with the Walmart crowd. People who would pay $50 an hour for graphic design are going to want someone with much more experience. Once I get more established, I'd like to get at least $10-15 per shop banner.

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