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We often talk about how we can make life more easier for entrepreneurs in Sweden, but maybe we are spoiled in Sweden even having the government discussing this issue? Ucar Metin, www.ucarmetin.com, came here from Turkey as an exchange student and is now starting his own company as a web designer. He wants to share with us how he feel about the entrepreneurial climate in Sweden and why he is doing what he loves.

Normally, a person like me doesn’t bother about making points. I’m not here to make any point. I just want to draw your attention to something that I’ve learned through my own experience: “never limit yourself to what you’ve been doing so far, and always leave the door open for new possibilities.”

How I became acquainted with design?
Seven years ago, I wanted to be programmer more than anything else. However, things didn’t work out in the way I had planned. So, I found myself studying mechanical engineering. In the second year of my studies, I discovered the fascinating world of design that is made of shapes and colours and became obsessed with it. Because my studies were not related to this new obsession, I had to learn everything on my own in my spare time. Thus sleepless nights in front of computer started to be a part of my life.

After almost six months, my very first designs were born. They were really amateur, yet drew people’s attention on me. So, first student nations and then local small and medium scale companies were asking me to design websites and posters for them. And I did. In approximately three years, I designed six websites and many posters for various clients and even ranked in the 3rd place in a web design contest, which took place in my university in Turkey, while my mechanical engineering studies were ongoing.

As of year 2007, things began to change in my life. I came to Växjö as an exchange student and discovered a totally new world in every sense. I met simplistic, yet influential and unique Swedish design and plus observed how important role web sites and posters play in people’s daily lives in terms of communication and marketing. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Swedes are more open to new perspectives and ideas in design than in Turkey. All these enticed and made me think why not putting my design skills into practice here in Sweden and build a career on it. So, I started to spread the word and showed my designs to the friends in order to demonstrate I have certain capabilities in web and graphic design.

Well, my attempts to make people aware of me didn’t work out and therefore I didn’t get any project at the beginning. I was disappointed and yet understood that I must use a more aggressive promoting strategy to get a project. I proposed student nations to design their web sites and/or posters. None was interested in giving me such a responsibility, except VIS (Växjö International Students). I designed a website for this organisation in March 2009 and after that I, for the very first time, truly felt the presence of change in my design career here in Sweden. It’s because I received many positive feedbacks regarding my work as well as suggestions regarding starting a web and graphic design company in Sweden.

“Starting a company here in Sweden? No way, I can’t do it! Because I don’t think that I have any entrepreneurial skill to cope with a company on my own” was my first response. However as my friends encouraged and introduced me organisations and individuals who can help me out to start doing a business in Sweden, I began to realise it’s not as hard as it first seemed.

I’m now in the process of starting my company, more specifically building an entrepreneurial base and plan. In the mean time, I’m still studying mechanical engineering and about to receive my master degree soon. Yeah, I didn’t abandon or suspend my official studies. Because, I think my life is meant to professionalise in, at least, these two fields. Isn’t it hard? Yes, it is. What I am doing keeps me busy and I feel comfortable with it. Plus, you know what they say “if you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Why my own company?
So far, I’ve been working as a freelancer. Being a freelancer, to put it in simple terms, means that you’re independent in terms of time and place, when you work on projects. You can work wherever and whenever you want. To me, this is a vital ingredient of creativity and finding inspiration. It’s because inspiration doesn’t often knock on the door when you’re limited to a certain place and time.

The projects I have accomplished have been deadline based and my personal experience tells me that I’m more productive and creative when I’m free of time and an office. By saying this, do I claim that it’s and must be the same for everybody? Definitely, not! Everybody has their own way. And, this is my way. In addition, I must add one more thing that is I prefer to engage in improvised smart, dynamic, and flexible communications rather than fixed ones.

Putting them together explains why I start my own company rather than being employed, I suppose.

Why in Sweden, not in Turkey?
Starting a company in your motherland might sound simple and trouble-free, because you know very well how things work there and setting up a client network is straightforward since you’re already part of a community where you interact with many people. As I’m from Turkey, I’d say it’s quite the contrary there. Many reasons can be enumerated here. But let me mention about two most outstanding ones.

The first one is you have to deal a lot with bureaucratic issues, paper-works, etc., which will seriously frustrate you. The other reason is capital. If you don’t have enough capital to run a small business for let’s say at least six months, you’d most likely go bankrupt. This might sound odd to most people because living in Turkey is known to be inexpensive. To be frank, it’s not, especially if you’re running a business. As an example, two of my close friends were doing business in the same field like me, and ran their companies for almost a year each. But they winded up bankrupted. You must have power (money) and be patience to do business there. It’s sad but true.

There are several motivations lying beneath my choice of starting my own business here in Sweden. I have just talked about two of them above. Here I don’t need have a big amount of capital to run a small business, plus the bureaucracy is not as frustrating as in Turkey. These are not all the reasons. There are some more. But two worth to be mentioned are those:
a) business owners, organisation, and individuals are more aware of how much value web and graphic based promotion can add to their activities
b) encouraging society and government
If you sum these reasons up, you would catch why I chose to start my company here in Sweden rather than Turkey.

Inspiration
To me, we live in a world that is full of inspiration regardless of time and place. I know it sound too cliché, nevertheless I believe it’s the reality itself. So, why only some of us are able to see things differently and thus get inspired by them? I don’t really have an answer for that question. But, I do believe we differ a lot when it comes to our perceptions and as a result of this fact, only some find inspiration everywhere. As I said inspiration is everywhere. All you have to do is to be watchful.

Often I hear the question, “What inspires you?” My answer is pretty simple: “everything in life, but mostly music.” How do I relate music to design and does it inspire me? To me, music functions like a bridge between what inspires me and my designs. It eases to express myself. Mostly lyric-less music, not classical but post-rock, provokes me and so I find myself thinking / imagining every piece of inspirational detail that I’ve recently seen, heard, felt, touched, etc.

What I feel while designing is more or less like this: It feels like as if I’m dealing with a puzzle in my mind. Millions of pieces spread all around and they don’t always fit together. But once they do I grab a piece of paper and pour out my ideas there. Of course, it doesn’t end here. You have to bring to life your sketched ideas and then polish them with extra touches in your favourite design software.

I know it’s been a long talk, but I really did enjoy. Hope you enjoyed too.

Want to know more about me and my work? It’s just one click away. Just visit www.ucarmetin.com or send me an e-mail mtn.ucar@gmail.com and you’ll find out more about me and my work.

I thank each of you and appreciate you for reading my story. Plus, a big thanks to Sara for giving me a chance to tell my story.

I have a small surprise for you. I’ve designed four wallpapers which you can use to decorate your desktop. You can find them below.
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(Click to enlarge)
“God Jul och Gott Nytt År”

/Ucar Metin
www.ucarmetin.com
metin_65846940.jpg
PS. Due to some unexpected problems with my hosting provider, my website is down at the moment. However, it’d be up and running within 2-3 days. I apologise for inconvenience. DS

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