Contact: Wylie Elise Beckert
email@example.com • +1(805)500-6111
hire an illustrator (hai!) - a review Posted on 09 Aug 2011
UPDATE 3/12/13 - I've had a lot of illustrators ask me for a follow-up on how my HAI membership has fared in the year or two that I've had it. There are a few updates in the comments below, so please take the time to read them if you're curious!
As of March 2013, the status stands about the same as it was in November - I've had one or two additional inquiries from my HAI portfolio, but so far no work has come of them.
However, I do want to add that the staff over at Hire an Illustrator is extremely helpful - I've had to ask them questions on multiple occasions, and every time I've received a quick, thorough, and friendly response directly from one of the site owners. If you have any concerns about their customer service and reachability, my own experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
Original review from 2011 below:
I'm psyched to announce that I now have a profile and small portfolio listed with Hire an Illustrator (hireanillustrator.com), a paid online & print promotional service for illustrators (and hiring resource for art buyers). I originally intended to write a quick blog post to the effect of "look where I am now! review to come in X months;" however the response I've received from my listing makes me confident that I can move the review up and say a few words about the service. Is it worth the subscription price? Only a week or two into my membership, I can now say it's more than worth it. I came across the service (or rather, it came across me) when I recieved an email from Jenni with HAI inviting me to check out the site. Since emails asking me to spend money never catch my attention quite as much as the ones asking me to accept money, it sat in my inbox for a few days before I found time to look into HAI. A hunt on Google found some vague, sporadic positive reviews by illustrators who had used and liked the service; I tried pestering a few illustrators with similar styles who had joined in the past or blogged about their membership; the responses I received ranged from helpful, well-thought-out breakdowns of costs and returns, to silence, to a rather chilly "try it yourself if you're so interested." Since the price isn't outrageous (about 350/year), I decided to give it a try.
I signed up July 18th. I will admit to refreshing my email every few minutes for an hour or two, checking for the flood of job offers. Four days later, after all hope had been abandoned, I did in fact receive my first inquiry from a client who had located me through HAI; within the space of a week two more came in. Happily, all three resulted in contracted work, making my HAI membership an outrageously good investment in the first month alone.
Admittedly, all the inquiries came in while my portfolio was amongst the new illustrators featured on the front page. Because I'm now a seasoned member of several weeks, I've been elbowed off the front page by some impertinent upstarts who had the nerve to join up after me. Since being relegated to the bowels of the site around the first of August, my HAI portfolio has drawn only one additional inquiry; however the month is still young, so I'm waiting to see what will happen next. Meanwhile, I'm fighting the inner demons that tell me to cancel my subscription and sign up again for that coveted front page spot.
At any rate, Hire an Illustrator has paid for itself many times over in an alarmingly short period of time. I have yet to make use of some of their other promotional features (mail packs, front-page news features) but even without these I'd definitely recommend the service to any illustrators looking to get their portfolios in front of prospective clients. As for art buyers looking to find new illustrators, there is some amazing talent on the site. I've killed many hours browsing through other artists' portfolios and being consumed with awe and covetousness.
I plan to post a follow-up review of my experience after a couple months with Hire an Illustrator; until then, go browse the brief glory that is my HAI portfolio. And don't forget to hire an illustrator... Preferably me.
Hi, Wylie! Thanks for your thoughts on HAI, I posted a few of my own on my blog:
In short, I've been with them more than a year and haven't gotten a single job offer through them, and it doesn't drive traffic to my site. Glad to hear that it's been working for you!
06 May 2012 04:34 am
Thanks for adding your input on Hire an Illustrator - I'll admit that after the initial flurry of job offers in the first few weeks, I've gotten only a handful of inquiries, only one or two of which have resulted in jobs. I get a small amount of referral traffic to my site each week from my listing there.
It seems that having my profile on the front page (in the New Artists section) for that first week or so directed a lot of attention to my work; now that I've fallen off the front page, it seems that my portfolio is lost among the other artists (and there really are a ton of them on Hire an Illustrator). I have been on the front page a few more times with news items, but these don't seem to generate the same level of interest.
Still, the work I have gotten has paid for the listing many times over; so hard as it is to part with the cash up front, I'll probably be buying membership next year as well - all it takes is one client finding me to make the membership worthwhile.
I'll probably let my subscription lapse, though, in hopes of getting that front-page exposure when I sign up again.
Thanks again for passing along your experience, and thank you for posting your own promo site reviews on your blog - you have some that I haven't run across before, and it's very helpful to hear about another illustrator's experiences.
And I love your illustration style, by the way!
06 May 2012 08:21 pm
Thanks for posting this review of HAI. I've been checking this out myself. Would be interested to know how it's panning out longer term as it's now been a few more months since your last post on this? I'm also trying to find out how it's worked for international artists too.
28 Oct 2012 06:24 am
Thanks for checking out my review. Since my last update in May, I don't think I've received any new inquiries from my HAI listing except for the occasional zero-budget self publishing project.
Not a promising development, especially since within that time my portfolio was featured on the front page again... I guess it's really hit or miss. To get work, you have to count on 1) the right client finding HAI and 2) that client finding your portfolio amongst all the others, so the odds aren't fantastic.
In the past few months I've had a much better hit rate seeking out clients who might be able to use my work and sending them a link to my portfolio - it's a lot more proactive than the waiting and hoping that seems standard with listing sites like HAI.
Nonetheless, I've renewed my HAI membership - it isn't outrageously expensive, and if I get one job from it a year it will be more than paid for. I think it would take a year or two of zero return for me to call it quits.
07 Nov 2012 03:14 pm
I really appreciate this review as well and was wondering if wyliebeckert.com is the site you got through HAI? I am considering paying for the personal site/portfolio as a big part of the yearly investment. At the same time I have a fear of being dependent on the membership to maintain the life of my url. Could you comment on this if you have time?
I also need to say that I do love your illustrations and wish you lots of luck in your career <3
09 Mar 2013 05:33 pm
Thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad the review was of some help! Do take the time to read the updates (mine and others') in the comments - the initial rush of business from my HAI account, while awesome, has not continued at nearly the same rate.
To answer your question, my www.wyliebeckert.com site is my own - I purchased the domain name and built the site myself. If you're planning on setting up a HAI portfolio as your sole online location, I would REALLY recommend purchasing a separate domain name (ideally www.yourname.com or some variant - this will only cost about $10-20 a year), pointing the URL to the HAI portfolio, and using your own purchased domain name on any marketing materials or links that you send out. This way, even if you end up abandoning your HAI membership, you'll still have control of the URL you've been promoting, and can set up your own site there if need be.
Hope this helps, and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions!
11 Mar 2013 11:59 pm