Background information of NE
Name & surname: Nina Fortuna
Sector of activity: Graphic design and web design
Have you already started your business? I made a website with a portfolio, but I haven’t started my business officially yet.
Name of business/website: Fortystuff – www.fortystuff.si
What is your (future) business? A business that provides graphic design and web design services.
Background information of HE
Name & surname: Magid Issar Motamedian
Sector of activity: Graphic design and web design
Experience in running a business: 19 years
Name of business: Motamedian
What is your business? A business that provides graphic design and web design services.
Period of Relationship: 25/02/2019 – 15/08/2019
Duration of Relationship: 6 months
How did Nina learn best practices for communicating with clients on a professional level?
I come from Slovenia and ever since I was a child, I wanted my future job to be connected to art. The career path I wanted changed from wanting to be a painter, interior designer, fashion designer to architect. But when I had to pick a college, I chose to study theoretical politics, because this was seen as a more serious career path. I got my degree in political science in 2015 and started searching for a job. I got a job in a pharmaceutical company called Novartis, where I was working as a buyer. Even though my work was completely different from my childhood wishes, art remained to be my hobby. After 2 years working as a buyer, I got the opportunity to paint a few surfboards that a friend made. Because of that, I went surfing for the first time and my friend and I actually started a company of custom made surfboards and skateboards, named Dropin Boards. Soon we needed a logo and a website and so I decided to learn how to do web design and graphic design. I found my passion for design again and quit my job as a buyer in order to gain the skills needed to work in graphic design and web design. I started improving my skills by making logos and other designs for businesses for free and by making designs for the previously mentioned company Dropin Boards.
When a friend told me about the Erasmus programme, I decided to apply, because I wanted to go to another country, learn new skills and go surfing. When I got accepted, I saw that HE Magid Motamedian had a business on Fuerteventura, which was perfect. He told me his company had been mostly working in the field of graphic design and web design for the past 19 years and that he was starting a new project named “Street is culture”. The vision for this project was to prevent youth and children to get involved in criminal activities, through teaching them about street culture such as skateboarding, breakdancing, graffiti art, parkour and bmx. Since I also skateboard and used to breakdance, this was a perfect fit, which is why we decided to work together. I went to Fuerteventura a few weeks before the exchange started for some vacation and in order to have a meeting with Magid. He told me he needed a person to help with graphic design and web design for different clients, but that the focus would be on the project “Street is culture”. I expected to gain experience in managing projects and clients, building my design portfolio and learning Spanish.
Living and working in Fuerteventura
Magid (HE) has mostly local clients from Fuerteventura and clients from Italy. We sometimes worked together – each on our own computer – and sometimes from home. Each day began with a call from him, concerning the tasks that needed to be done during the day. If there was no need for us to meet, I worked from home. Whenever we got a new project or client, he explained the details to me and we discussed how to start and until when the project needed to be finished. I liked that he always trusted in my abilities and aesthetics. Usually, I made a design concept proposal, which he reviewed and then gave me feedback on, proposing possible improvements and changes. In the beginning, we presented the concepts to the clients together, in order for me to learn how to make presentations. Later, I presented and communicated the concepts to the clients by myself. I also gave a lot of input into the project “Street is culture”, because my responsibility was to make a website, manage social media and oversee the team that was based in Italy. The only obstacle I sometimes encountered was being overwhelmed by many different projects at the same time. Through this I learned to manage and organise my time better. Since my wish was also to learn Spanish, Magid decided to give me the responsibility to communicate with some of the local businesses in Spanish and to translate some of the content of “Street is culture” into Spanish. At the beginning, this was very scary, but later, I realised that this was a really good way to learn the language.
I lived in a town called Corralejo, where I met a lot of people and made some amazing friends. My day consisted of working a few hours in the morning, surfing and then working a few hours in the afternoon. Coming from Slovenia, I was not familiar with the “siesta” – a break from 2 to 5 p.m. After a while, I realised that people in Spain just relax during these 3 hours, so I did the same; working until 2 and then again after 5. I fell in love with the way people on this island live their life. In comparison with Slovenia, I would say the environment on Fuerteventura is less stressfull and more relaxed.
My main goal was to learn how to manage my own business and clients. Since I want to have a business that is selling services to people, I wanted to learn about the best ways to communicate with clients on a professional level. Since I already know a lot about design and can do design pretty much independently, it was easier to focus on getting better in communicating and Magid was very helpful with this – I learned a lot. Because I had a lot of different projects, I also learned to organise and manage my time better. I liked that Magid gave me the option to work and talk to clients independently and that he was always available for any kind of questions. Working like this made me even more sure about my abilities and so I gained confidence in running my own future business. Another one of my goals was to learn Spanish, which I could say, was achieved. I do not speak Spanish perfectly now, but I can communicate on a proficient level. Having finished this programme, I am sure now that I will open my own business. The only question that remains is, if I will go back to Slovenia or move to Spain.
Nina Fortuna: “I already knew a lot about graphic design and web design. What I learned during the stay abroad is how to build concepts for design and how to present concepts to potential clients. Also through this I learned how to communicate and organise my work better. I would definitely encourage anybody to participate in this programme. It was a very positive experience being a part of this programme, not only because I gained new skills, that will help me in building and managing my own business, but also because I was living in another country, learned a new language and got to know a new culture.”