There are many types of professions, but design professions are definitely among the most sought-after in the IT industry. Without designers, there wouldn’t be enough good apps to use from which users are satisfied.
We talked to one of our most successful designers. A person who tries to give the best of herself when it comes to a job, an object, or a person, who knows how to motivate people around her to be the best versions and to achieve their potential, not only as beginners but as persons as well. We are talking about Maja Atanasoska, known in the digital world as percalus design.
In her free time, she likes to cook or go to concerts at the philharmonic, where she completely disconnects from the outside world.
Content creator, UX|UI designer, influencer, mentor, freelancer, are the words that best describe your career path. Tell us about your work experience.
I have been dealing with graphic and UX/UI design for 5 years. Everything started spontaneously… from the creation of digital illustrations to the moment when I create my course in Macedonian for learning the skill of UX/UI design as one of the most promising job positions in IT. I started as a volunteer designer at SP FINKI, where I later got my first design internship, then I worked in several marketing/design agencies, as well as working with Macedonian and foreign clients… to finally create my design profile and collaborate with sponsors, and create my course for UX/UI design in the Macedonian language.
In the digital world you are known as percalus design, a name that is now your brand. Where did that idea come from?
Ever since I was in high school, I wanted to have my own alter-ego and a recognizable and unique name by which my work (then illustrations that I shared) would be remembered. From choosing a spartan name (percalus is a spartan princess name) to use on my then Tumblr blog (which was quite popular in 2012), to the point where I realize that whatever brand I’m building, this is a name that doesn’t get forgotten.
How did you decide to be a freelancer? In your experience, what are the benefits of freelancing? Where do you usually work?
Simply the pursuit of being one step ahead with my career as well as financially independent and free led me to my freelance career. The advantages are that you can use the day to complete private work duties, to travel without asking for approval from work for days off, to meet the different staff of clients who, if and only if they are satisfied with your work and relationship, will start recommending you to other customers. But just as there are positives, there are also negatives, namely: staying up late to complete tasks, having different clients every month (sometimes more, sometimes less), you don’t have health insurance. Most of the time I work from my home, but I can sometimes work from a coffee bar or while traveling outside of Macedonia.
What does your design process look like? In addition to having a lot of experience and being a creative person, where do you get your inspiration from?
First of all, I have a meeting with the client where I get to know him/her as a person because it is very important to me whether our relationship is okay or not, intuition never lies. If the person is difficult for me as a character, I usually refuse the collaboration, even if the payment is great. The experience takes its toll 😊 . Then I get to know the idea behind the project, start brainstorming and researching, and dive into the design process. I get inspiration from all around me. I often know when I’m out observing designs and ask myself how I could make that design better – which in a way gets me into the game of challenging myself and my skills.
Share with us some interesting clients you’ve worked for and freelancers you’ve hired to help you with some projects. We believe that there are certain challenges when working for a client, so when you are in the role of a client, what advice would you give to those hiring freelancers for work, but also to freelancers applying for that work?
There are quite a few clients that I would not like to separate from others and with whom I am quite satisfied. I have mostly hired freelancers for UX/UI projects if I don’t have time to catch up with other projects.
If you are a freelancer:
- listen to your intuition about collaborating with the client, whether it is good or bad;
- Macedonian clients are difficult to collaborate with, so be careful with whom you are working on a project;
- build such a good marketing brand for yourself that clients will come to you and ask for your service. Social networks are great platforms for self-promotion.
If you are a client:
- listen to the freelancer you hired, because you have chosen him, so you have to trust him;
- do not set micromanagement and conditions, or as we say “breathing down their neck”;
- and we have a private life, which means no messages after 7 pm. Respect the boundaries we’ve set.
A few days ago, your UX|UI design course became officially available. Tell us more about the course. Who is it intended for, what is the price, what is studied, will the participants have support from you and practical projects?
The course is available in Macedonian, and there are more than 40 recorded video lessons. The course is aimed at beginners in the UX/UI world and can be studied by anyone, regardless of their age or background. Being fully recorded, participants can learn wherever they want and whenever they want at any time without being pressured. In addition, there is a discord group for mutual learning, homework assignments, support, 1-1 mentoring, as well as a notion template to track their progress. It is a template to motivate them to learn more often and establish discipline because I realized that most people start learning something, but do not progress more than 3% due to lack of a discipline & consistency.
The course teaches Figma, user experience, user interface, creation of design systems, and creation of web and mobile applications, followed by 4 projects to build their portfolio. The course costs 100 euros.
Registration link https://maja-atanasoska-s-school.teachable.com/
You have impressive work experience that can serve as motivation and inspiration for all of us. What are your future plans?
Thank you 😊. My next plan is to improve even more in the direction of mentoring because I think I have the potential to get the best out of the people around me… of course, to graduate, so I can fully immerse myself into the process of creating my business (aside from the course)… because I realized that when I put 100% into one thing and not multitasking, the results are far better.
Share with us something you’ve learned over the years and some tips for anyone who wants to work as a freelancer.
That discipline cannot be overcome by any motivation. You have to constantly challenge yourself, be consistent and persistent in whatever you do, and give value to the environment because that’s how you learn more and progress. Everything happens at the right time, so don’t give up when it’s the hardest.
If you are a beginner as a freelancer, be patient with your first clients, give them value and gain their trust. Build your brand image for yourself and just watch how clients will come to you on their own (or through the old word-of-mouth marketing trick).