In this new episode of Changing lives, we'll meet with Alexandra Spalato an experienced web designer, front-end and WordPress developer. She's specialized in several areas like building custom themes using the Genesis framework, WooCommerce, PSD to HTML and also Foundation, Bootstrap, just to name a few of them.
During the interview, she'll share with us her insights and thoughts about:
- freelancing and what's good/bad about it
- her past working experiences
- why and when she decided to apply for Codeable
- how being a Codeable expert changed her life
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Changing lives #1: Spyros Vlachopoulos.
Changing lives #2: Nathan Reimnitz.
Changing lives #4: Raleigh Leslie.
Changing lives #5: Alex Belov.
Changing lives #6: Bogdan Dragomir.
Changing lives #7: Ray Flores.
Changing lives #8: Zach Nicodemous.
Changing lives #9: Oliver Efremov.
Changing lives #10: Bruno Kos.
Changing lives #11: Surendra Shrestha.
Changing lives #12: Marius Vetrici.
Changing lives #13: Mitchell Callahan.
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Matteo: Hi everyone it’s Matteo from Codeable, today we are here with Alexandra Spalato. She will share with us her experience as a freelancer giving us her perspective and insight on this kind of business path that many of us have chosen. She will also share her experience as a Codeable expert, letting us know how this experience changed her life as a freelancer. Hey, Alexandra thank you for joining us today in this new episode of Changing lives.
Alexandra: Hi Matteo.
Matteo: Hi we really appreciate it, so I’m really excited to know more about you and your story, so why don’t you start by saying which part of the world are you right now, where are you from and most importantly how long have you been a freelancer?
Alexandra: Well I'm French I have been living many years in Paris and now I live in Spain, actually I am half Spanish and yes I love it. Freelancing, well more or less I have always been freelancing. I was working first for a French agency in Paris but as I was working from home and at the same time they were giving me regular work.
Matteo: Okay so you’ve being a freelancer for quite some time, would you mind telling us what do you like about freelancing? I mean why did you choose to start working for yourself and not ended up in a regular 9 to 5 job?
Alexandra: Well freelancing is free. I love freedom, I like to work on my on freedom, I like to choose my hours, I like to work from home, I like to be able to live in the place I have chosen, actually I have chosen to live here but all my clients are remote and that's super important, I can move I can travel and I can carry my work with me that’s so because of the nature of our work. Also I like to have direct contact with clients to make them my proposition and make my own decisions I can be more creative than if I work for an agency, at an agency you have somebody in the middle talking to client and say do that, do that. I like to be responsible, think how to make things my prepositions. The work becomes interesting and certainly other many things so I really like freelancing.
Matteo: Okay interesting, now I’m going to ask you like a one million dollar question so are you ready? What do you think it takes to be a good freelancer? I mean anybody can be one, let’s say on top of my head I think that dealing with clients, for example, isn't natural for many. So tell us about it, what does it take to be a good freelancer?
Alexandra: Well first thing as you don’t have anybody telling you what to do, you have to have boundaries. So self-discipline is important. If you don’t have self-discipline you don’t do the work simple. You have to have a good organization because sometimes you have to deal with several projects, manage your time, and deliver in time for the client. I think you have to be creative because as I said before you don’t have the boss to say "do that, do that". Now you have to take decisions. Some clients know exactly what they want, but some are expecting you to give them ideas, make prepositions and enhance their website, their business.
Matteo: So you need to be like proactive?
Alexandra: Yes exactly.
Matteo: You know, like suggest ideas and better ways to fix their issues?
Alexandra: Exactly because clients are the bosses but is not the boss you might expect, some really know what they want but some expect preposition and not only technical executions. And of course a sense of responsibility. If you are searching for something, you have to search around, have it back checked and that’s not freelancing neither. So some people it’s not possible because they feel insecure etc. It truly depends on the temper of what you need, we are all humans I think.
Matteo: So it’s not for everybody being a freelancer?
Alexandra: I don’t think so like for working from 9 to 5 it’s neither for everybody depends on who you are, what are your qualities and what you like, what you need. It’s a lot of things you can try it if you have never and try and see if it works out. Sometimes you’re going to discover things that you don’t expect to know about you.
Matteo: Yes I agree, let me ask you this. what made you look for something new in your freelancing life like Codeable. I mean is there a specific reason like you didn’t like your previous jobs or you felt in a way unfulfilled or whatever?
Alexandra: I think it’s not that I was not happy because I was working but I am always searching for new opportunity, like new plugins, new coding, you know we are in constant learning you need to research. So every day when I wake up I look new things that happens on the web. It’s like my info and of course even if I have work and of when you are a freelancer okay, even if I’m searching through, I have constant clients and work so searching opportunities.
Matteo: Okay so how did you hear about Codeable, you were doing like a research as you said or you just stumbled upon like you know somebody shared something, or maybe you found an ad?
Alexandra: I found it on a website. Actually a guy was talking about Codeable so I go and I apply. It was really the beginning of Codeable it was a better website and when I applied I was on a waiting list. I had to write several times and then actually I entered.
Matteo: How long did you spend on Codeable waiting list?
Alexandra: It’s a funny story because I applied and they said you have to be sure because we are passing into a new version that is an actual website and then I heard no news so Ii write 2 or 3 times and then several months passed and I write another time. I said you forget me and they answered yes we forget you. So I write again and then one month later I was in. So I applied just as the moment it was changing so I, so yes that’s the story now.
Matteo: Great, how long have you been a Codeable expert?
Alexandra: Around 15 months.
Matteo: It’s more than a year and how are you feeling, I mean how are things going?
Alexandra: Things are going very well really great and I would say better and better.
Matteo: Ooh cool, so let me ask you this, if you look at your past freelancing life and then you fast forward to today how things have changed for you, are they any different, there are no differences at all, would you mind sharing with us something.
Alexandra: Actually there is lots of things and good things, first Codeable brings (unclear) that I will be always working. It’s drawing me constant work, so it’s like having the best of both worlds you know work from agencies and you have the (unclear) you know that is a freedom. Freelancing we have some freedom and with Codeable I have some freedom and at the same time I have coming work where I have to go to be hired but it’s okay. And more now after a year I have a lot of returning clients. So since 2 months I’m not applying or searching very little because it’s running by itself I have clients.
Matteo: So you were able to get a recurring set of clients that you work with?
Alexandra: Yeah I have clients I work with since one year for example is to build website and running new things through website and things like that also one thing that is really great. It gives me a really nice profile I can share also with friends and external clients so it gives me a lot of credibility and also clients will hire me quickly because they see my track record and things become more smooth and fast and more interesting that’s the first thing. It’s also interest to prepare and to prepare at a fair price.
Matteo: Can you please elaborate on this concept?
Alexandra: At Codeable when clients hire you he pays in the front, we know that is there, so there is no risk to run after the money that can happen in the outside world. But a client as to mark task as complete to give the money to us. So that gives a security for both parts, the client and the contractor so that’s really great and at a fair price. So everybody goes to market place with people that are putting the price lower and lower to be higher, we have to put fair price of the market minimum $70 an hour which is fair and go round and even upper. And also the clients at Codeable are really quality clients nice people. I guess 99% of my clients are really super nice, that’s super appreciable. So having clients all around the world.
Matteo: Is something you like, you enjoy it?
Alexandra: I love it because it is work opportunity, I like my work, Ii like also meeting lots of people, I am a very social person so I appreciate that and it’s more work, if you have the work it’s open it’s more than having only your country, or your region or your city and so that’s good for everything and for your image and for your international profile so that’s really great.
Matteo: How many clients, how many project do you work on and completed?
Alexandra: Actually 128 tasks and I don’t know how many clients because of the sale some clients as I say has (unclear) task and I can have task for $50 and task for $2000 but yes my number on my profile is 128.
Matteo: Okay so it’s great and I just have one last question which is like a funny one. I know some other experts like you after working with us for has been able to let’s see, by a motorcycle, put down a deposit for a new home, book a trip to faraway exotic lands and islands. How about you did you do anything like that, are you planning to do anything? Even stupid like you know buying a Lamborghini or whatever?
Alexandra: Well no, well the stupid things I like to go out and go dinner, I like to enjoy life.
Matteo: We are on the same page in this, I like it too.
Alexandra: Yes I like to go dinner, to go drinks with friends and Ii go a lot and I don’t ask myself oh can I go to this (unclear), I just go. I make travels, but most travels is when I finish the project, let’s go 3 or 4 days to this place and enjoy just living the life like that. And also very important thing some serious investing on myself, I’m going to pay for really high professional course to increase my level and knowledge, it’s very important in our work. Our brain is our first tool at least well that means the computer but of course I am (unclear) 27 inches (unclear) a few weeks ago but yes I like it and I am very passionate to begin this for my (unclear), it’s quite expensive but it’s really really great and again after that Ii will have more task, more work and more restaurants, more travel.
Matteo: Yeah more restaurants but on the other side you are also investing your time and efforts on yourself so...
Alexandra: Exactly and I love my work too so it’s not a pain you know it’s really something that I.
Matteo: And in this Codeable might help you in in a way...
Alexandra: Yes of course, through Codeable my income has increased because I have always work, I have new clients. One thing I have to say about codeable I have learned a lot, not only about coding, in 15 months in coding my knowledge as really increased because sometimes I take task, I know how to do them but I improve myself make me make research of great diversity of things to do and also progress in my communication, we have lots of different clients from everywhere so it has improved my communication with clients how to manage and I have become more professional so at the same time it’s like.
Matteo: Huge improvement.
Alexandra: Yes improvement but everything, it’s (unclear) you know and you can work and invest on yourself and become even better at more work.
Matteo: Yes Alexandra I think that’s enough for today and it was super interesting hearing your story and thank you again for sharing it with me and all of us. Once again I would like to thank you very much for spending time with us, I wish you a great day.