How 99designs changed one designer’s life…

September 5, 2008

We get a lot of email from clients and designers encouraging us to keep up the great work. We often circulate these messages amongst the team — it gives us a real kick.  Here’s one we received earlier this week that really resonated with the team…


I just wanted to write you and say “Thank You” for developing 99designs.  It has been truly a life saver for me. I would say that most of the designers are young an upcoming, while I am old enough to be their mother.  I started studying art and design in high school many years ago.  Because of family commitments, I wasn’t able to pursue my dreams of becoming a graphic artist.  I still tinkered with web design whenever I got the chance between being a parent, full time professional, cooking, cleaning, children activities, etc., etc.

Now that my children are grown, my husband gone, and I’m disabled, I found my true passion again.  I found SitePoint by chance and started entering contest.  I started with logos, but found that wasn’t my forte.  Then I started entering web design uncoded contest.  It took awhile but I started winning contest.  I even won 5 contests for the month of February.  I was even getting invited to enter contest.

I couldn’t believe how well this was working.  Because of 99designs, several design firms noticed my work and I now have more offers than I can handle.  In the last 4 months, I have made over $20,000 from designing websites outside of 99designs.  I haven’t had time to enter but a couple of contest on 99designs because of the outside offers.  I owe this all to SitePoint and 99designs.

Being disabled, I am unable to go out and chase down new clients.  I depended on word of mouth and clients viewing my designs on 99designs.  I understand a lot of designers feel that sites like 99designs undervalue their work and talent.  I have to disagree.  Sites like 99design give individuals with talents, whether young or old, able or disabled, schooled or unschooled, an opportunity to display their art and demonstrate their abilities.  It isn’t easy.  It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience.

Again, Thank you 99designs.  Through your contest my dream is finally coming true.  It may have took 25 years, but better late than never.

Kindest regards,

It’s easy to get caught up in the technology and the business of making things bigger and better, and forget about the people who are actually using your site…

We try to stay as connected as we can to our users, we talk to you regularly via these blogs, private message, email, and of course our user voice page, but we never expected that this site could have such a profound impact on one persons life. It made our day!


19 Responses to “How 99designs changed one designer’s life…”

  1. 101designph Says:

    Waah! I hope I can win a contest ASAp, I need money badly right now. I want to improve my pc and help my family.

    Just saying somethin..
    That’s all..

    Congratz to Sheree..
    I hope I can achieve where u are right now..



  2. avan Says:

    Hmmm… I wish my mother knows web design and photoshop, too! LOL

    All the best for 99designs.

  3. Jay037 Says:

    God Bless her…. i’m very happy for her… thank you too 99designs….

  4. Eugenia Says:

    Hi guys,
    It´s really nice to have read this letter, thanks for sharing.
    Me and my “husband” Daniel(we are not married but we have a daughter and live together) also discovered Sitepoint by chance and it has also changed our lives.
    I mean, perhaps this sentence has a really strong meaning, but after thinking a bit how and why we are living now as we do, we can´t deny that Sitepoint had a huge role to play in our lives.
    We are graphic and web designers, and Daniel has at least 20 years working as a designer. The same as Sheree
    we started entering to logo contests but we found out that we were stronger contenders in website design contests. We started winning contests and being invited to join others… It is not easy, because we are always fighting with the feeling that other may win the contest and our whole work will be useless… but in the end, I consider that this is an endless training, and entering contests is a tough but good exercise.

    What really changed our present was meeting David. He was the contest holder of two of the contests we won, and after winning and receiving our prize, we forged a beautiful relationship in which we became his “design providers” for every single thing that he organizes. He has also recommended us with everyone he knows. He has become our friend too, a really nice person that we met through you.

    This fact together with the possibilities that came out of 99designs and some customers that we already had, allowed us to completely emancipate ourselves from offices and bosses. We now work from home being our own chiefs and that is a great satisfaction.
    We don´t know if we could have done it without 99designs, but we have done it thanks to it, so we want to thank you for this great opportunity you had offered us.

    We live in Argentina, South America.

    And we totally agree with what Sheree says:

    “Sites like 99design give individuals with talents, whether young or old, able or disabled, schooled or unschooled, an opportunity to display their art and demonstrate their abilities. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and patience.”
    I would add also that it gives individuals with talents throughout the world, no matter they religious beliefs, nationalities or languages (well, we must know a little english ;-) the chance to showcase their work.

    Thanks and have a wonderful day.

    ps. the improvements you have made to the site and the whole contest system are great. Good job!

  5. Pink Ink Says:

    WOW! That is wonderful. I know how she feels. I have been waiting for my daughter to off to college so that I could chase my dreams, but now have my step son living with us so my dreams are on hold again! 99Designs has given me an avenue to express my artistic side, and also to develop my skills until I am able to dive head first into this.
    I think it is wonderful that Sheree has been able to come to 99designs and find a career that she can do out of the comfort of her own home. Congrats Sheree!

  6. dorarpol Says:

    hmm…im very happy to for her..keep it forever 99design

  7. LogoRush Says:

    I agree this website is a LIFESAVER! I love 99!

  8. createabit Says:

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments and sharing your own stories. This is a wonderful community with so many talented designers. Plus the 99Design Team has done exceptional work in developing this website and listening to its members. You don’t find this type of dedication very often.

    I wish you all well and the best of luck in winning the contest you enter. Don’t give up on your dreams.


  9. illegalgod Says:

    Wooowwww… Saluteeeee…. May the 99 be with us… ^_^

  10. she’s right, 99designs is a great place for all graphic artists.. I just want to say thank you for 99designs folks who work behind the scenes

  11. Rosiee Says:

    First of all many many congratulations to Sheree.99 designs has affected my life too in a very professional and positive way and I’m sure there are many designers like me who are grateful to the team of 99 designs for giving all of us such a wonderful platform.
    Thank you all
    God Bless

  12. Zhenxy08 Says:

    I agree with her..99designs can rock your world..
    Thank you so much 99designs…

  13. Jill Says:

    Thank you so much Sheree for sharing your story. It is inspiring and encouraging. Like you, I am older and disabled and unable to get out and solicit work from clients…actually, I am dying. But, I was not ready to give up yet. I have been doing design and graphics since 1999 but was self-taught so I begain taking online sollege courses to earn my degree and learn more so that I could do better work. I have just finished my AA and began work on my BSIT in October. I accidently found Sitepoint while researching information on a design issue and then found I have entered quite a few contests and have only won one but I each time I see my skills improving somewhat and this gives me an opportunity to learn more about the trends that are in demand and what the clients are looking for. Sometimes the negative feedback (or total lack of feedback) can be discouraging and it is hard to keep going. But, I remind myself that each client’s needs are different and one cannot please everyone and on top of that, there are some really outstanding designers on this site that are my competitors.

    Anyway…you sharing your experience has renewed my enthusiasm and encouraged me to hang in there and work harder; especially when it comes from someone like you whose life is so parallel to mine as far as age and circumstances.

  14. Ironmike Says:

    All hail Sheree!!!

    Yes we all Agree! Sheree you are truly an inspiration and for 99designs we salute you, without you our talents would never be acknowledge.

    I was once worried of what life can give to someone like me who didnt finish college. I was trying hard to find a job with a better pay but didnt have it. I’ve been a graphic artist for 7 years yet some of my employers didnt even acknowledge my work. Some did, but abuse me too much that i left without sayin any word. Ive been jobless for 2 months and now heres my cousin telling me to enter a contest in 99designs, and so i did. I won 4 logo contest and an outsourcing job from some clients who gives better compensation, who loves our work, and acknowledge a true talent.

    To 99designs, We are thankful and Sheree for sharing her encouraging story.

    Thank You & God Bless!

  15. ten4creative Says:

    I cannot say enough, Sheree.

    Thank you so much for posting your story. We’re about the same age – ok, I’m probably a wee bit older – and I, too, have been dealing with a progressive medical disability for the past 16 years.

    Although my history has been in media of one sort or another since the 70s, the fatigue factor has made it increasingly difficult for me to pound the pavement.

    Your story is a terrific piece of encouragement.


  16. What a wonderfully inspiring story! I am so happy to read successes like this. It makes me happy to be a part of the 99Designs community.

    I stumbled upon the sitepoint web site last year. I was going through a difficult pregnancy and was put on bed rest for several months, so it helped to keep me occupied! I had no idea these types of sites existed! Now I am still plugging away, loving the fact that I am able to be a stay-at-home-mom to my little one now.

    Thank you for sharing your story!
    All the best,

  17. Amen to that. 99designs is pure genius

  18. mimi Says:

    Just signed up minutes ago.. and i’m already inspired by this post.

    thanks to my x officemate who shared this site.

    i am looking forward to a sparkling life here. i am also a home based artist for i have to look after my younger brother.

    God bless!

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