Tomas Minarik is an UI&UX designer from Slovak Republic.
You can find him here:
- Hi Tomas, tell me who you are and what do you do as a freelancer?
I’m 27 years old Digital designer. As a freelancer I’m primarily UI&UX designer, but I also provide other services for my clients such as Marketing consultations, UX analysis, Project management, Logo design, Presentations design, etc.
- How long have you been working as a freelancer now?
I’m freelancing from very beginning of my career and event though I’ve had several full time jobs, I’ve managed to keep freelancing on a side. So far it is almost 8 and half years.
- Why did you decide to become a freelancer? Did you think about it for a long time or did your decision come suddenly?
Well, as I said, I started as a freelancer, because I wasn’t skilled enough to get a job at a beginning. After couple of years and full time jobs, I’ve realized that working 9 to 5 isn’t for me for several reasons. Mostly I missed freedom of picking clients I want to work for and time when to work. That’s why I started freelancing for full time.
- What is your competitive advantage, which makes your clients hire you?
I don’t think there’s any major advantage. Every designer has something different. I have strong UX background and I’m able to assemble and manage of team of other people (developers, copywriters, etc.) if it is necessary for project, which is something that can be seen as advantage. Also my advantage can be the price, because my hourly rate is rather below market average.
- Who are your competitors? What do they have that you don’t?
My competitors are other freelance designers, sometimes small agencies. In case of agencies, the advantage is having a flexible team of skilled people. In case of other freelancers it can be many things. Some of them are just better designers as I am, others have skill I don’t have (for example drawing Illustrations), some of them have better marketing.
- Are there a lot of freelancers in your business?
I’d say that market is quite competitive, but it is still growing market so there’s still enough of jobs for talented freelancers.
- What do your clients expect from you?
Each client has different expectations, which is one of the first things we discuss. Usually clients don’t know what they want and need, and my first job is find out what it is and explain it to client.
- Who are your typical clients?
Startups, small size companies an advertising agencies
- How has your business changed over time?
Business evolved, not changed. As I gained more experiences and skills I was able to satisfy more of my clients needs, so all changes are linked to my personal and professional growth.
- How did you gain your first customers?
My first customer was my last employer. After I quit the job they hired me to continue to work on some projects. We are doing business together till today.
- John Wanamaker said: Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I do not know which half. Do you gain your clients by advertising or in another way?
I’ve never spent a single cent on marketing. Only money I invested to marketing was when I accepted less money for project, for client that gives me nice case study or good recommendation.
- The best marketing move, you’ve done?
Don’t advertise yourself. Let your work be your advertisement.
- The biggest marketing challenge that you deal with?
How to let clients know I’m here and how to get more clients from abroad.
- Do you hire outsourcing service providers for services, which you believe are a waste of your time?
If I believe something is waste of time, I don’t waste time to hire someone to do it.
- How does your typical working day look like? What do you do when you are not working? How many hours/days per week are you working?
My day depends of amount of work that needs to be done. Usually I wake up at 9:30AM, checking social networks, watching TV shows and having breakfast until 11:00AM. Then I’m ready to start working and I work until 18:00PM with short break for food. If there are too many thing to be done I use the day part for communication and scheduling – skype calls, emailing, meetings and nigh part (after 18:00PM) for actual work, since there are no distractions in my way.
- Which books would you recommend to freelancers?
I’ve never read a book for freelancers. I don’t ready many books in general and from business books I would recommend two books. Leaders Eat Last from Simon Sinek and Restart from Jason Fried.
- What is your current inspiration that drives you in the business?
My inspiration is internet itself. I get mad on poorly designed sites and also get excited when I see great design. My drive is fueled by desire to rebuild bad stuff and to be able to compare my work with the best stuff.
- What would you do differently if you would start again?
I would prepare myself better for start, because I started freelancing without any preparation of any kind.
- What would you advise someone who has an idea, but no money?
You don’t need money. Show what you can do. Nobody is stoping you from doing your own projects. Start your own business, or work on some NGO project or as a designer, redesign some popular website you don’t like that much. In other words, do something and let you work to speak for you.
- What was the best business advice you received?
The best number of partners in company is odd number and three is too much.
- Do you have an online resource which you use regularly? Which one?
Again, it is internet itself. By using it every day you can get unlimited source of ideas.
- What do you often dream about when you’re not working?
My biggest passion is travelling, so I dream about places I want to visit.
- The place where you find your peace?
Nature. I like hiking, it’s the best way of recharging myself.
- Top 3 mobile apps on your smartphone?
Dropbox, Instagram and Google Maps.
- What do you do in your free time?
Travel is the biggest part of my free time. Also I like watching movies very much and from time to time I do some sports.
- Your last vacation?
Broumov, Czech Republic.
- Business plans for the future?
I don’t really have any plans for future. Last months were the best since I’ve started freelancing and I’d like to keep it that way.
- Your plans for the future?
I’d like to go to live in a different country and travel as much as possible.