Interview with Goran Markovic - Freelance Designer from Bosnia and Herzegovina

11.03.2019

Goran is an experienced and a well-known mutli-disciplinary designer with 14 years of experience in the filed, out of which he's spent 7 years working as a freelancer. He was moonlighting for a long time, and says that he'd start freelancing earlier if only he know it would be such a great experience.

 

Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what do you do?

I am a 38-year-old multidisciplinary designer from Bosnia & Herzegovina. I have 14 years of experience in multiple design disciplines – from print to UI. My freelancing career started in 2012.

What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer?

It was an interesting idea since I’ve heard of it for the first time- can’t actually remember when it was – and it seemed like the right path to follow. I used to work in several companies prior to becoming a full-time freelancer. All those jobs helped me to develop my skills but, also, convinced me that I should become a freelancer as soon as possible.

It took me several years to reach the level I needed to be able to transfer from a moonlighter to a full-time freelancer – it happened in 2016. Of course, I didn’t get much support from anyone because that whole idea of working on your own, without a registered company sounded very abstract to people around me.

 

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Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Is there anything you wish you had known before?

It was very, I’d even say extremely difficult to start without having anyone to point me in the right direction. I had to learn everything from scratch: how to find clients, how to negotiate, how to set my prices, how to invoice, how to prevent not being paid etc.

I gradually learned all those big and small things that every freelancer must take care of on a daily basis. Besides that, I had a full-time job back then, so I was basically working two shifts every day, without any rest. It was very exhausting.

Looking back, I wish I knew it would be so good to freelance; I would have definitely started it earlier.

 

“I used to work in several companies prior to becoming a full-time freelancer. All those jobs helped me to develop my skill but, also, convinced me that I should become a freelancer as soon as possible.”

 

What kind of services do you offer the most? What kind of projects do you most enjoy doing? Any particular work you’re especially proud of?

I provide different design-related services: from identity, through branding, ad design, print design, to UI – both mobile and web. I love print design, but I enjoy UI more so yeah, I could say UI is my favorite discipline.

I am proud of many pieces I have done (haha). All jokes aside, I could emphasize working with Pomfort GmbH, a great company from Germany whose software is used virtually in every professional movie production. I am really proud of all the work I do with them.

 

 

Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess?

Yes, I do. I am a big fan of work specialization and I'd rather collab with another freelancer or a team of them than struggle with some big project myself – if I know that I lack some skill which is important to finish the project or any of its tasks properly. That speeds up the process a lot and results in a much better final product.

Most of the people I work with I have known for years – either in real life or online. Some of them were recommended to me by one of my friends who guaranteed their quality.

I never delegate admin tasks, even though I hate spending time on them. Instead, I work with other developers, animators, video producers, illustrators, and other designers. That way I can accept big projects that I wouldn’t be able to finalize on my own.

 

“I am a big fan of work specialization and I'd rather collab with another freelancer or a team of them than struggle with some big project myself.”

 

Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services? Is there a marketing strategy that has worked for you?

I found most of my clients on Upwork (ex oDesk), and we have been collaborating for years. Besides that, word of mouth is very important to me. I’ve scored so many projects on a recommendation. I mean a lot. Basically, I don’t advertise anywhere. Clients usually find me, because of my good reputation and/or rating.

When it comes to social media, I get projects via Twitter. I have a decent follower base, so people recommend me to their friends etc when they need a designer. On the other hand, LinkedIn was totally useless to me. I’ve closed my account a while ago.

 

What does a typical work day look like for you? Do you work 9-5 or how do you organize your time? Would you say you manage to have a work-life balance?

Well, for a start I don’t work on Mondays. I’ve decided to try a 4-day work week a few months ago and got used to it so well that I’ve continued to work that way. I usually get up around 06:30 and work from 08:00-09:00 to 17:00-18:00. During those hours I negotiate with clients, send offers, prepare and send invoices, do taxes and, of course, work on the projects.

I don’t have some strict routine, so if I feel tired, I go outside and watch the sky, walk around, drive my bike, grab a coffee/beer or whatever I feel like until I recharge a bit. Unless I must meet some deadline of course. I would never miss a deadline.

And yes, I do maintain a nice work-life balance. I have enough time to do whatever I want, I go on vacations, I spend winters snowboarding etc. I am really happy this way.

 

Are there any apps or websites that you couldn’t live without?

Adobe Creative Cloud apps, as number one of course. Spotify for music, I never work without music. Meistertask for project management makes my life a lot easier. I also really like Instagram. It relaxes me.

 

What are your top tips on web design? And generally, your tips for new freelancers? Do you have a particular tip for people considering freelancing from Bosnia and Herzegovina?

If you’re considering the life of a freelancer as an option – don’t hesitate. Try it out as soon as possible to see if it fits you. If it does, welcome to the club. If it doesn’t, ah well, it’s back to corporate life for you.

When it comes to local clients, my advice is to avoid them. I mean, I have a few of them and our collab is great, I couldn’t recommend them enough to anyone really. But in general, it is better to avoid the local market and shoot for the rest of the world.

 

Is being your own boss what you expected? Do you sometimes think about going to full-time employment?

Absolutely. Even better than I expected. I am really enjoying this way of life. The answer to the other question is NO. Not an option at all.

I mean, I do have an idea to maybe gather all the freelancers I collab with and start some kind of business, but it would still be closer to a group of freelancers working together than a company. I don’t want to go back to corporate life, that’s for sure.

 

Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?

Llamas rock.

 

Where to find Goran?

 

Goran Markovic Freelance Multi-disciplinary Designer

 

You can find Goran on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/goghie_m


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