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Ghosted, Scams and Time Wasters. How to recognise and a little advice from a new illustrator.

The curse of being more visible as an illustrator is the increased amount of time wasters, spams and scams I am experiencing.

As I started to be more visible on social media, my inbox started to be flooded with messages trying to buy my art as an NFT, to promote things and it is amazing how overnight I have started winning so much! The worst part is the messages look like they want to hire you and you end up engaging and maybe even getting a little excited that this may lead to something paid, then hope dashed when cotton on you have taken the bait!

Each one of these is robbing you of a valuable asset, which is our time.

I do stress that I do not mean enquiries, this is something to be expected as an illustrator and can result in being ghosted after a few emails. (I do have some tips to help with this - which I will include below) The ones I am talking about, are people who set out to waste your time or scam you out of your money and data.

I do find that social media these days are quite good at picking spam messages, however, many will slip the net. I have discovered a common method is to ask for a commission for a set amount of the bat. Not enquiring about the prices and the way that it feels that they never have looked at your work or what you have to offer. It is a case of feeling it is too good to be true, it often is.

Instagram can also hide genuine enquiries (so I always recommend checking these anyway) So we even just ignore the spam in boxes!

The other day, I got a message on Facebook. This is actually what prompted me to make this post, At first glance it has come from a friendly-looking profile, with a "safe" profile picture and a request was fairly professional wishing to discuss something. Something felt off and I did a little background research, something I try to do when it is someone who is unknown to me. This started with a simple look at their profile… 16 friends RED FLAG. Job search - leads to FIVVER - Another RED Flag. Reverse image search - Another name, which is a famous Spanish actress - HUGE RED FLAG - I just blocked.

It is worth stating most professionals will state why they are reaching out. So when this message didn't, that was the first red flag!

If a message request or email ticks three or more red flags I move on.

10 examples of red flags

1. Nothing personal about the email other than your name. (It is a general standard email)

2. They do not tell you why they are contacting you.

3. Simple Hello.

4. Offer a tempting sum of money.

5. Ask you if sell your art (nft)

6. Limited friends

7. Job role does not really check out (such as working for a company that does not exist or fivver)

8. Name does not check out

9. Reverse search of profile leads to different names / famous persons or stock images.

10. Spelling and poor choice of wording.

I do say keep an open mind on spelling, English is not everyone's default first language and people such as myself have a disability meaning it can be a little harder.

Do you know any more red flags? (let me know in the comments below)

I think trusting your gut is hugely important, if something does not feel right… you shouldn’t force it.

It can be disheartening that this happens, more so when in need of the next project and having this waste your time and get your hopes up.

How to deal with being ghosted.

Putting yourself out there as an illustrator is a lot like fishing, you are not going to get a hook every time you cast. If someone reaches out with an enquiry, see it as they owe you no reply. (Yes, it is nice to get something) Stay professional and maybe have something in place to streamline the enquiring process.

I advise that you set up basic templates that can be copied and pasted that will cover important information such as


*Time frame

*How you work

No full commitment is made to a project until the contract is signed/the first payment is made.

If are ghosted after this remember it is not you. After all, we do not truly know what is happening on the other side of this.

*You could be out of the price range.

Some people find it hard to say “I cannot afford you” or just a simple no.

*They have gone with another illustrator.

*Not 100% ready for the next stage.

*Personal reasons or just life is busy.

*Communication overload.

And yes, sometimes you both are not the right fit.

I would like to say I am guilty myself of imaginary replying, I could be taking a little longer to think of the right words that I actually forget along the way (kids have a habit of making me forget the digital world.)

There was a time I would have taken this all very personally, I know there are conditions and disabilities in the world that make rejection harder. It is years of building myself up and to be honest CBT Therapy (Cognitive behavioural therapy).

Try to remember that rejection is a natural response, everyone feels it, the difference isn’t the level of hurt caused, it is a method of dealing with it. Acceptance that this is all part of everyday life, it will never be a good feeling so being honest and compassionate to yourself is always a good first step.

It is not something we can control, only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and learn from things.

I personally like to focus on the things I can control.

Such as self-improvement (streamlining my communication)

Working on my portfolio (is something missing that would sell my services better)

Write about it, in a diary or blog. (Please do not name and shame, as may backfire on yourself professionally)

It is not a nice experience being scammed or ghosted, be kind to yourself and when needed amp your self-care.

Blog Disclaimer

Everything in this blog is my own opinion and I mean no offence.

Words may be misspelt or grammar a little off - I have a broken mainstream education as a deaf person - I am working on it (in stage I am learning from my mistakes and writing more)


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