Kim Barsegyan is a freelancer, specialized in logo/brand identity and UI/web designer from Nieuwegein, Netherlands.
You can find him here:
- Hi Kim, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?
Hi Jernej, thanks for having me!
I’m a specialized logo/brand identity and UI/web designer. I’m also passionate about some gazillions genres of music, playing guitar, astrophysics and reading science fiction.
- How long have you been working as a freelancer now?
Been doing it for 7 years already, before that I worked with creative agencies and futuristic tech startups.
- What made you become a freelancer? Have you thought about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
The biggest factor I think is that I always had an inclination of making all the business decision myself, whether it would be choosing clients, choosing the industries I want to work with and specializing in design categories that I’m truly passionate about.
- What is your competitive advantage because of which clients hired you?
Based on my clients’ feedback, it’s first of all uniqueness of my work (Duh!) and the thorough research, willingness to really stand in my clients’ shoes before producing anything.
- Who is your competition? What does it have that you don’t have?
Non-local freelance designers and creative agencies that share similar skillsets. Most of them have Mac’s and dare I say it, I’m designing on Windows!
- Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?
A “lot” is an underestimation, there are legions! Which is good, I definitely like the shift happening in organizations (mainly in tech sector) that operate on a virtual basis. Digital nomads is the new cool.
- What do customers expect from you?
Definitely not some lazy uninspiring work.)) You always want to exceed your client’s expectations, even if he was a pain in the a…challenging to deal with.
- Who are your typical clients?
Majority of my clients come from tech and software industries which is intentional, I’m a big futuristic tech enthusiast.
- How has your business changed over time?
The biggest change I think is that I no longer invest my time in fishy bidding sites like Upwork and instead I build my own following.
- How did you gain your first customers?
Good question! (travels back in memories). Ok the very first ones were actually my friends that I helped for free. I found my first ‘actual’ clients by randomly applying to dozens of remote logo design project openings on online job boards and searching through Linkedin and Twitter. I also used to selling my unused logo concepts on sites like Brandcrowd.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; The trouble is, I do not know which half. Are you gaining your clients by advertising or in any other way?
Never spent a penny on advertising. The vast majority of my clients either come as a result of referrals from satisfied customers and networking. Another portion of potential clients stumbles upon my online portfolios and goes from there.
- The best marketing move you’ve done?
Breaking the stereotype of “formal tone” and becoming more approachable and less formal. The type of clients that I work with appreciate if you’re clearly a human being and not some corporate AI. Being active on social media sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Twitter and niche social media (Behance, Dribbble) also paid off.
- The biggest marketing challenge which you deal with?
The biggest one that I think I overcame is the “feast or famine” situation. Basically it all boils down to not being a lazy ass and allocating at least an hour each day to your marketing/networking efforts, instead of doing it only once you’ve finished a project.
- Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services for which you believe your time is not worth it?
It might sound a bit paranoid but I do like being in control of everything in my business and do all myself. Given the abundance of tools that automate the repetitive tasks, it’s actually not that hard.
- What does your typical working day look like? What about other days, when you don’t work? How many hours / days per week are you working?
Waking up > going outdoors and running + exercising > cold shower > responding to emails, networking while having breakfast > (the exciting part!) project work > playing guitar > random stuff.
I work 6 days / 6 hours a day. Hiking and playing more guitar is always refreshing on day offs.
- Which books do you recommend to freelancers?
My favorite design-related ones are the “Thinking with Type”, “Graphic Design Thinking” by Ellen Lupton, “Logo Design Love” by David Airey and the “Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design” by Giles Colborne. If you’re running out of ideas I’d recommend any book of the genius Isaac Asimov.
- What is your current inspiration in this business?
I mostly get inspiration from the “outside” activities like nature, music, science fiction, astronomy. That is not to say that I don’t like to get mind-blown by browsing through other design minds.
- What would you do differently if you could start again?
I’d just skip the stage of working on Upwork-like marketplaces, didn’t do much in long-term.
- What would you advise someone who has an idea but no money?
Find a way to pay your bills while working part-time on something that doesn’t drain your energy so that you can give your all to your passion.
- What was the best business advice you received?
Never put all your eggs in one basket, never!
- Do you regularly use some online resource? Which one?
- Behance, Dribbble, Logopond for inspiration
- Unsplash,Pexels, Pixabay, Picjumbo for nice high-res photos free from copyright restrictions
- Designcuts for amazing font bundles and mockup freebies
- Skillshare for quality online classes
- Creativemarket for all kinds of design assets
- What are you often dreaming about when you’re not working?
My biggest dream is that we get together as a truly intelligent and civilized species with no artificial boundaries to hold our curiosity and progress.
- The place where you find peace?
Nature, meditation, forest, music.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
Behance, Dribbble, Quora. Machinarium (game), it’s a work of art!
- What do you do in your free time?
I’m driven by curiosity, I like to learn new things on guitar, trying to musically improvise, reading quality science fiction, hiking.
- Your last vacation?
Last summer in Caucasus Mountains, the scenery and forests were awesome!
- Business plans for the future?
Generating passive income with design products in addition to client work.
- Your plans for the future?
Getting better at guitar and being a better human.
I’d like to thank Kim for share with us his story of success. I wish you all the best in your future projects and personal life!