Making money isn’t hard in itself…What’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.

So says Miquel Moliner, a character from bestselling Spanish novelist Carlos Ruiz-Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind. These words, in a nutshell, describe the life of graphic designer Maria Todorova.

“Life and my work have taught me to become competitive,” reveals Maria. “It’s nice to get satisfaction and recognition for your work; it’s not just about the money. This is an inner need. There’s nothing better than to turn your hobby into a job. Earning a living with pleasure is a privilege few people have and I’ve always aspired to that, to work with pleasure and do what I like.”

Maria is referring to the Freelancer® Contests, several of which she has joined and won since joining the world’s most preferred online crowdsourcing platform in mid-2011. She recalls her first victory that took place winter three years ago just before the new year: “My first successful contest was like magic—I was at the right place at the right time. It was so amazing! The competition was for a logo and banner design for a new online homeware and lifestyle store. I didn’t think of it as a competition, but rather as doing something nice in my spare time, sort of watching an interesting movie. I did not expect to win. I was on vacation and when I got home, I thought ‘Oooh, I participated in a contest; let’s see what’s going on.’ Imagine my surprise when I saw that I won! I jumped for joy and thought what a nice gift it was for the new year.”

What interested her in participating in this particular contest was that the company belonged to the same industry as she was. Maria currently works for her parents’ private business that serves the interior requirements of shops, restaurants and hotels. She has dipped her hands in upholstery fabrics, hand-painted glass, printing and prepress, outdoor advertising, engraving and 3D projects.

“I decided to work for my parents and in the city where I grew up to have more options and more freedom in what I do,” she explains. “I learned a lot and developed professionally. In Bulgaria, the more things you can do, the more chance for career development you have.”

Fine arts has been her passion since childhood. At the insistence of her parents she took and graduated with a degree in Economics, but the call was too great for her to ignore. So she decided to take private arts lessons for two weeks just so she could take a drawing admission exam for Industrial Arts at the University of Blagoevgrad. Despite not expecting a miracle to happen, she passed. “That’s when I realized that talent and desire are most important. I should pursue my dreams even if they seem impossible at the moment.” She has been doing graphic design for over a decade and the love affair remains strong.

Maria has participated in guaranteed contests on the platform that assures the winner of payment for work done. Several of her clients have been so pleased that they hire her again. While freelancing is not her only source of income, she considers it a great addition, a new challenge, and the direction she’d like to pursue. “It has many advantages with regard to work and establishing contacts. That’s what I like about Freelancer®–it all depends on you. You choose when and which project to take. I can work at home, which is a huge advantage. There is no need for initial capital in order to earn some money; just time and talent.”

Is she worried about the future?

“I’m not worried so much about the future because I know that there are many employers who need my services,” she confidently states. “When there’s nothing else to do, just log on to Freelancer.com. To this day I prefer to work on Freelancer® than elsewhere—there’s that feeling you get when you know something you create will be used by another on the other side of the world, that sense of freedom and limitless possibilities, and the best part is, you are not tied to a specific place.”

Nikki Hernandez
Nikki Hernandez Staff

Wired and Inspired | Content Coordinator, Freelancer.com

I'm the coordinator of Freelancer's Case Study Program. I write inspirational success stories of employers and freelancers. When not busy writing, I play video games.

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