Introducing Elisabeth Mayr, UX Designer

3 min readNov 19, 2021

What is your role and current job?

I’m a freelance UX Designer. Currently I’m working for an agency that hired me to help out on a global website for a startup that is backed by one of the biggest breweries.

How did you get into tech?

I got into tech by accident. I’m originally from Austria and moved to the UK to study Advertising and Brand Management at Staffordshire University. I was doing a bit of copywriting while still in Vienna and my goal was to work for one of the big agencies in London. Then someone saw my portfolio at the D&AD New Blood Festival, we’ve had a chat about my work — which was all copywriting — and he offered me an internship. I remember I was so excited but then on my first day I was introduced as the design intern. I did it anyway and luckily it turned out I really enjoy designing. From there, I worked at start ups, came across UX and haven’t looked back since.

What have the biggest challenges been as a woman or non-binary person in tech?
Imposter Syndrome — I’m suffering from it a lot myself since I’ve learnt most of what I know on the job. Design isn’t like maths where there’s only one answer, there’s so many different solutions to the same problem, so I always wonder if I provided the best solution. But then, can you call yourself a UX Designer if you’ve never experienced some sort of imposter syndrome?

Another challenge is being undervalued and underpaid. You can say this is because women don’t tend to negotiate their salaries but however it started, we need to change it.

Have you overcome any of these issues? If so, how?

Imposter syndrome is still haunting me, but not as much as it used to. It might sound silly but I take screenshots of positive feedback I get from clients and teams I’m working with and every time the imposter voice is creeping up, I have a scroll through these screenshots.

Regarding being underpaid, I’ve definitely learnt from that. Going freelance means you have a chance to negotiate your day rate with every new project. Freelancing has increased my income quite significantly so ‘being underpaid’ sounds a bit presumptuous from the position I’m in now, so I guess I’ve overcome that issue. But it wasn’t always like this. One of my first roles in London was at a startup which paid me £20 a day on a freelance basis, I’ve definitely learnt from that.

What advice would you give others in a similar position?
For me personally, taking screenshots of positive feedback for when the imposter voice is creeping up has helped me a lot, so I recommend doing that. If that doesn’t work, try to negotiate the assumption of that imposter voice in head by looking for 3 arguments that confirm your case and 3 against it. Then read them out loud and most of the times you’ll realise that your negative assumptions are ridiculous.

Regarding the underpaid and undervalued situation: If you’re in a permanent role, negotiate when starting a new job. Adding 10% on top of what they offer is a good way to start if you’re unsure how much to ask for. If they’re tied to a budget, a salary isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. Ask for more annual leave or a higher match to your pension contribution.
If you’re freelancing, check the average day rates for your industry and see how you compare to that, ask other freelancers how much they are earning if you feel comfortable to do so.

Are there any resources you recommend sharing?
If you want to learn more about money and negotiating your rates, I can definitely recommend the podcast The Wallet.

When did you first hear about Triangirls?
Triangirls was recommended to me by one of the people in an agency I freelanced for.

What have you learnt about yourself in the past year?
Puh, I think the past year was a learning curve for everyone. I guess what I’ve learnt about myself is that I am very privileged to be able to work from home and keep my job during a global pandemic. I also learnt that whatever worst case scenario your brain comes up with, it’s very unlikely to happen.