This week we interviewed Andrea Verri, freelance web developer: he gave his recommendations on how to become successful as a freelance and explained us what led him to choose this ways of working instead of a full-time job.
How did you decide to become a freelance? What are the advantages compared to working in a company?
I’ve always been into coding, I started coding specifically for the web when I was 17, after my bachelor’s degree I decided to make my hobby a real job but quickly realized that a regular 9-5 wasn’t for me.
You eat when you’re told to, you start and stop working when you’re told to which is something I was struggling with which then made me decide to become a remote freelancer.
I then had to figure out a way to get enough work to get a normal salary to live off of.
I feel like the single biggest advantage is being the only manager of your personal time, you have deadlines like everyone else but you can decide when to work and for how long, which for me makes it totally worth it.
What are the secrets to become a successful freelance?
I don’t think there are any secrets, if your work is good enough, and you can relate in a reasonable way with your clients and be precise with your deadlines everyone will hire you again and again.
You don’t need to be the smartest, you don’t need to be the best in the world, you just need to be dependable and reasonable. In my experience companies are scared of having someone thousands of miles away and they would rather have someone in house.
Prove them wrong and you’ll be just fine
What are the “must have” tools you use as a freelance to manage your time and projects?
I personally use Google Keep to keep track of open projects and Evernote to keep track of hours worked.
Google Calendar for appointments and reminders and Dollarbird to keep track of pluses and minuses regarding $
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career as a freelance? What are the things someone who wants to become a freelance should necessarily know?
I would suggest them to try out a regular job first, see if they find it ok. I don’t think freelancing suits everyone I think it’s more a mindset than a way to work.
It’s not a movie so freelancers are not all millionaires on a pristine beach with a cocktail working over wifi in flip-flops.
Building a solid enough client base to be sure to get enough work year-round takes time and effort.
At least a year.
A major suggestion would be to have a little money saved on the side before trying out freelancing as a full time thing
What do you think are the main challenges a freelance needs to face?
The biggest one is having absolutely 0 guarantees of a salary.
You could make 10.000€ in a month and not work again ever for a year if things get rough and the bills don’t wait :).
It’s also much harder to start compared to a regular job because no one knows you and 99% of them will trust someone with previous experience or more feedbacks than you from other past clients.
So if you’re new to a freelancing online platform that’s going to be the hardest time and it’ll get easier and easier to find more clients as you collect good feedback for your work.
What channels do you use to get interesting projects?
I’ve used upwork.com
for a few years, which I would recommend.
Now I’m lucky enough to have a big enough network to be sure I can have work at any time, but it took years and I’ve been a freelance for 9 years now, it didn’t happen overnight.
In 2019 I plan to focus 100% on my own products a cloud SAAS CRM and other software for Industria 4.0 in collaboration with Studioflo, SocialCities and DNA Servizi, stay tuned ! 🙂
I would like to thank the great guys at Meritocracy for the interview, it’s young efficient fresh companies like you guys that are driving the internet we all love and use everyday