This is not a hate letter to UENO in any way. This is more of an open discussion.
I currently run 60% of my freelance/consulting from Dribbble. Obviously I have not put all my chips into Dribbble, but it is a great source of income for my agency. Over the years I have become friends with some of the top Dribbblers in the game. There seems to be a sense of monopoly with how people find designers and hire them. Im going to be honest. This use to be my agency, Knife and Fox. For a quick minute we were ranked number one, and had about 5-10 new inquiries a week from Dribbble. We were the only ones in LA that had based their company as a product / ui + ux agency.
About 6 months ago, an agency called Mossio, changed their location to LA to pull in more leads. Totally makes sense, I would do the same thing to be honest. We actually tested changing our location to a few places. Including SF, NY, and Seattle to see if we could pull in leads from these locations even though we didn't have an office there. We landed 3 clients from each of these locations.
Once they made the change to LA, we would joke around the office. Like ," Oh we only need 1500 more followers to be back on top. A very difficult task unless you are publishing once a day, and every other day is a gif.
But then last week BOOM. UENO had recently opened an office here in LA. Couple things, the team at UENO crushes it. Hands down has the most talented team in the game. This is no way a bash at them. But we went from needing 1500 followers to be back on top to now needing 55k lol.
To be honest I don't really care.KF is pulling in the same amount of clients as we were previously on other platforms other than dribbble. Not much has changed on our revenue. We are still ranked 3 on Dribbble in LA. I will say a big part of those emails came also from being consistent on Dribbble.
About 6 months ago, I would never of mention any of this. I was pulling in more leads then we needed. It was great. But recently have slowed down my involvment in the agency world and have gone full time with private consulting and my own start up. So Im way more open sharing my thoughts on this subject.
This is more of a discussion on how the smaller designers that are just as talented can get noticed. Right now its impossible to find the small guys with a ton of talent on Dribbble, unless you know what your doing. There are a ton of designers that are super underrated on Dribbble, partly because they don't know how to run the game. They quickly get pushed away from Dribbble because every recruiter and their moms are hitting up these designers and offering terrible job offers/ salaries with spam.
Ueno Isnt the only company on Dribbble running game:
FocusLabs posted an article about how much they generated from Dribbble: http://focuslabllc.com/digest/high-fives-a-toast-to-dribbble
When we were on top we brought in about 300k from Dribbble in our first year, and that was because we were ranked 1 at one point. But those leads have taken a pretty huge dip. I couldn't imagine how many leads are brought in, when you have 50k+ followers.
So I guess I want to end this on a couple of questions:
How can we generate more leads for the little guy?
What ways could Dribbble even the playing field for location based skills?
Are there better ways for searching?
Also if you are a designer thats having a hard time finding leads there are a great amount of resources out there to get leads.
Check out my homies site: https://www.designinc.com/. Great place to put your money where your mouth is and land gigs. Im no way affiliated with them.
Also Dribbbble recently acquired Crew. This could be huge for lead generation, and Im really excited to see how this could be integrated with Dribbble.
If you have any questions about how I ran our agency through Dribbble or anything along these lines let me know. Im an open book on these topics. Also while I am at it, if you can help get me to 50k followers that would be dope! :P It still generates business to me to help consult on.
Agency site: www.knifeandfox.com