Nicholas Sheriff grows from 99designer to business innovator

Maya Lekach

Nicholas Sheriff has been busy. He recently moved from New York City to San Francisco to become a product manager for a client he actually met on 99designs. Now, after designing 15 different apps, he’s taking his career to new heights and starting his own browser app: Quest.

We took a moment to sit down with the charming and passionate Sheriff to hear about his new business, the psychology of designing for mobile, his interest in the world of tech design and how 99designs contributed to it all.

Sheriff was a 99designer when an illness left him unable to continue working. In a time when he couldn’t code and couldn’t design, this natural-born entrepreneur and creative thinker started brainstorming his next project. It was during this time that the idea of Quest was born.

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Images from the browser flow of Quest.

With the help of a previous 99designs client, in the form of investor and partner, Sheriff was able to turn his concept into a reality. In just a few whirlwind weeks, the app was ready for purchase in the app store and has taken off – with positive online reviews to boot.

The name comes from the user’s “quest for information” – and that’s exactly what this app does. Quest functions like a browser, but with better search predictability, more intuition in terms of the information you want, sleek aesthetics and easy copy/paste capabilities to quickly grab links from texts and online messages and drop them into the browser’s search bar.

“I’m just grateful to be able to do what I love to do,” says Sheriff, who will work full time on this project once he wraps up a few others. “I’ve known since a young age that I was talented with developing and coding. But when I design, it doesn’t drain – it energizes.”

He finds putting a pencil to paper is a great way to look at the world and understand things better.

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It was his designing (on 99designs in particular) that brought him to San Francisco and allowed him the opportunity to connect with clients as partners, investors, employers and teachers. He recommends that fellow 99designers take the extra time to get to know your client and get more involved in their briefs and projects. Much of his success came from simply showing interest in his client’s project and asking to learn more. The result has been a fantastic long-term, designer-client relationship.

Sheriff considers the 99designs model to be somewhere in between being a freelancer and running a business. The site teaches designers how to deal with a series of clients on a particular time schedule. It teaches time management in a semi-corporate business structure.

“Starting a business would have been harder without the 99designs learning curve,” says Sheriff.

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Sheriff is a shining example of how 99designs can kickstart a great career in the world of design and tech development. It not only helps designers get started in design and business management, but can provide them with connections to get their ideas off the ground.

We wish Nicholas the best of luck with Quest and all his other endeavors in the future.

Check out Nicholas’ 99designs profile and get more information on Quest, visit here!

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