September 26, 2023


Moving Forward

I Swapped Freelancing for Selling Digital Templates and Now Make $250K

  • Ali Rahmon is a Syrian refugee who moved to Romania as a graphic-design and style freelancer in 2014. 
  • He’s since built a small business marketing customizable Photoshop design templates and mock-ups on the internet.
  • He shares how he pivoted from freelancing to selling electronic products and solutions that have been made use of by ESPN.

This as-instructed-to essay is based mostly on a dialogue with Ali Rahmon, the owner of Sports Templates. Rahmon’s profits has been verified with documentation by Insider. This essay has been edited for length and clarity.

I started out my occupation in 2011 as a freelance graphic designer in Syria, where by I grew up. 

In 2012, I began advertising templates on GraphicRiver — a market the place you can promote digital templates, vectors, and Adobe insert-ons — to diversify my earnings.

My money as a freelancer intended I could move to Romania 

I moved to Romania in 2014 mainly because of the consistent war in Syria. My freelance earnings and qualified portfolio had been sufficient for the refugee visa.

In Romania, I pivoted my freelancing attempts from making printable graphics to coming up with templates for clients’ branding, world-wide-web style, and 3D design and style. 

A printable graphic, these as a emblem or illustration, is a static visual asset. It is really a lot less pleasing to purchasers mainly because they can use it only once and there is certainly a threat other jobs use the exact graphics. 

After two several years in template designing, I made a decision to concentration on sporting activities templates as my market. I was motivated by the significance of visual id to American sporting activities teams.

I posted a sporting activities template on GraphicRiver and received an mind-boggling reaction. My $15 design has 1,600 profits on the platform, which places me in the top 20 sellers. 

I designed a website and centered on sports activities graphics

I always viewed as showcasing my do the job in just one put, and my sports-template profits gave me the press. I paid out a skilled site developer $2,000 of my price savings to make a custom WooCommerce web site. 

The site went are living in February 2016. I bought Photoshop templates and mock-ups for the sports activities field, such as for helmets, sporting activities jerseys, and tickets. 

In the first month, I stopped doing the job as a freelancer and little by little pulled absent from my very long-expression consumers to focus on marketing and advertising my digital product.

I begun Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, all joined to my site, and shared demos of how people could use my templates. These posts attracted some early revenue.

Also, I reached out to YouTube influencers in the layout and athletics house who experienced about 50,000 subscribers. I paid out them $50 to $100 to market my perform in a online video. This helped me get credibility and believe in in the market. 

In 2017, I was approached by the imaginative director of ESPN, who discovered me through a Google research. He requested for a custom made template.

ESPN paid out me $2,500 for the template. I set a good deal of hard work into the template, and even though the payment didn’t deal with the time I place in, it was really worth it for the trustworthiness of owning ESPN as a customer.

Soon after I worked with ESPN, the Minnesota Timberwolves used 1 of my templates on their internet site in the course of the 2017-18 NBA period to screen their new jerseys. They acquired the template for $60 off my web-site.

I marketed that I would worked with these massive names on my site, which assisted me bring in other shoppers.

The Phoenix Suns used my “Slam dunk basketball uniform template” to reveal their new uniforms. The Los Angeles Kings applied my hockey jersey template for articles and consumer engagement on Twitter

I was earning 5 instances as significantly from my template organization as I was as a freelancer and it was considerably less stressful. 

TikTok aided skyrocket my business and boost my profits

I began experimenting with TikTok in 2020 to scale my business amid the pandemic. I designed a “What if NBA logos had been minimalist” sequence to demonstrate off my templates in use. 

I transformed NBA logos into minimalist styles and set them on my templates to clearly show how my reimagined brand would seem on a lover T-shirt or a jersey. These video clips went viral, with some getting in excess of 4 million sights.

When a online video went viral, I would recognize my web site income maximize among 20% and 40% in the times after. 

The NBA teams begun partaking with this information on TikTok. I got about 20,000 to 30,000 followers within two months of remaining on TikTok. 

I also reused the material to improve my followers on Instagram, Twitter, and Fb. I now have almost 200,000 followers throughout Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. 

Just after developing a effective on line presence, I was generating among $10,000 and $15,000 every month

It was adequate to hire a compact workforce to aid diversify my item offerings. We now make a whole lot of animated graphics to compensate for social media moving into movie formats. 

My crew grew from a single designer to five performing remotely. 

Now my do the job consists of checking my site day-to-day for updates, conducting in depth analysis, examining market tendencies, and informing men and women about what is new and worthwhile. I spend two to four several hours on day by day updates and 8 to 10 several hours when releasing new template designs. 

I was thriving since I discovered a specialized niche that mixed my adore of sports and graphic-style and design techniques. I could leverage my private desire to make a excellent solution.

In all my years of having difficulties to make this small business, I’ve uncovered the value of owning a personalized existence on the world-wide-web, primarily as a graphic designer. Investing in a qualified on the internet presence was also essential. A properly-designed website showcased my function and lent credibility to my small business, helping draw in shoppers and create belief. 

It is really also extremely essential to continue to keep up with field developments and customer desires and be geared up to adapt your offerings. 

I adapted to artificial-intelligence trends and developed a startup that could produce sports activities logos in seconds from text prompts.