In this new episode of Changing lives, we'll meet with Bogdan Dragomir a Senior WordPress developer with 12 years of coding experience and a solid design background. He's specialized in many areas like WooCommerce, custom plugin development, Foundation and Genesis Framework, Migrations, SAAS, just to name a few.
During the interview, he'll share with us his insights and thoughts about:
- what he likes about freelancing
- his past working experiences
- why he decided to go freelance (and apply for Codeable)
- how he's able to continually improve himself (professionally and personally)
- how being a Codeable expert changed his life
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Want more stories from WordPress developers? Check them out here:
Changing lives #1: Spyros Vlachopoulos.
Changing lives #2: Nathan Reimnitz.
Changing lives #3: Alexandra Spalato.
Changing lives #4: Raleigh Leslie.
Changing lives #5: Alex Belov.
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! This is Matteo from Codeable. Today we are here with Bogdan Dragomir, who will share with us his story and experience working as a freelancer. He will also tell us more about working as a Codeable expert, letting us know how this experience, in a way, changed his life. So, hey Bogdan! Thank you for joining us today in this new episode of Changing Lives, we really appreciate it.
Bogdan: Hi Matteo, thank you for inviting me to this interview.
Matteo: Ok, thank you; and you’re welcome, of course. And I’m excited to know more about you and your story, and of course, your experience. So, why don’t you start by saying in which part of the world you are right now, where you’re from and most importantly, how long you have been a freelancer?
Bogdan: Ok. I’m based in Romania, Eastern Europe, and I’ve been a freelancer for more than 3 years and a half.
Matteo: Oh, ok. Nice things to know. So, you have been a freelancer for quite some time. Would you mind telling us what you like about being a freelancer? I mean, why did you choose to start working by yourself and not end up in a regular 9 to 5 job?
Bogdan: Before being a freelancer I was working in some development agencies, and I had regular clients with regular needs and so on. So, there was a moment when I felt that I wanted to do more interesting stuff, and I wanted to diversify my working experience. And so I started to work with WordPress, and that’s how I started to become a freelancer.
What I like most is written in the word "freelancing". It’s actually the first part. The freedom that it offers, the freedom to choose what projects to take, the freedom to choose when to work and the freedom to learn what you like and pretty much everything around freedom. That’s the answer to this question. That’s my answer because I think any developer has their own answer to his question.
Matteo: Yes, yes. Most of the developers and experts like you that I’ve interviewed, most of them do appreciate the freedom of being a freelancer. But yes, other people also have different opinions, of course, and that’s the good aspect of this question. So, even if we are at the beginning of this interview, I’m going to ask you a super tough question. Are you ready?
Bogdan: I’m ready.
Matteo: What do you think it takes to be a good freelancer? I mean, can anybody be one? Just to clarify my question – just on top of my head: how about dealing with clients? This is like something that you really need to improve, or maybe it’s not that natural to you… So, tell us about it. What does it take to be a good freelancer?
Bogdan: It’s indeed a tough question. As the other question, it could be answered in many ways. So, I guess, in my opinion, first of all, you have to know what you’re what you’re doing. So you have to be technically good enough to deal with freelancing projects. Then, what makes a freelancer a good freelancer is a sum of attributes – a sum of attributes that can be improved all the time.
And I think the other important thing is the will to get better every day. That’s the second most important part of what makes a good freelancer. Of course, dealing with clients is super important, but it can be improved. We all make mistakes, so the best attitude of a freelancer is to start digging and learn from his mistakes, never do that again and try to get better with every step you take.
Matteo: Yes, that’s super true! I totally agree with you. What made you look for something in your freelancing life, in fact, like Codeable? Was there a specific reason – like you didn’t like your previous jobs, you felt, in a way unfulfilled, or what else?
Bogdan: When I first started... Before I was a freelancer I worked for some web development agencies, and then I chose to be a freelancer, but then I still had collaboration contracts with them. At one moment I had the idea that I wanted to do more, I wanted to take more challenging projects, and I started looking out in the world wide industry. I found some freelancing platforms, and I wasn’t pleased about their model. They were encouraging not quality, but low price. It was something that didn’t work for me. And so, I found an article on tech crunch where Codeable was mentioned as a new startup, I applied and in a short time I got my interview with Per, and I was approved...
Matteo: Ok, so you remember where you heard about Codeable? Ok, so, on a blog post on tech crunch. Ok.
Bogdan: Yes, on Tech Crunch.
Matteo: And then from that moment on you applied to Codeable?
Bogdan: I applied and sent them into the Codeable team, and after a short time I got a reply. I talked to Per on Skype, and I showed him my portfolio, I talked a bit about myself and I got approved as a contractor. And I think I still got the record - when I first got approved I took a project in 20 minutes and half an hour it was already finished.
Matteo: Do you remember which project it was?
Bogdan: It was a small customization work. Something regarding fixing a menu or… Something small.
Matteo: Ok, ok. So, in 20 minutes, no half an hour...
Bogdan: It was finished in half an hour; that’s 20 minutes after I got in
Matteo: Wow. Unbelievable! Do you remember how long you have been a Codeable expert?
Bogdan: I think I’m an expert for 2 years and a half
Bogdan: It was a long time since
Matteo: It’s almost as old as Codeable itself. Recently we got our third birthday, so, yeah…
Bogdan: I was among the first lucky ones.
Matteo: Yes! And, would you mind telling us how things are going? How do you feel here at Codeable?
Bogdan: It’s very cozy, to be honest. I’m very excited about the opportunities I’ve had so far. The most important thing is that I managed to groom some clients. To be honest, at this moment I don’t have any other new projects, I only work with recurring clients and those clients were my clients for more than one year.
Matteo: Wow! Would you mind elaborating on this a little bit. I'm curious – this kind of client, do they ask you like so many things to work on, or they are more specifically related to, I don’t know, landing page development, server side set up, or...
Bogdan: We do a lot of things with them. The most important thing, I think, my advantage is that I started as a designer, and I have the design background, and I also provide design for those clients and consultancy. So we are a growing business, and we are working on fine tuning the aspects of the business.
Matteo: Ok. Also consultancy...
Bogdan: We are launching new products, new websites; we’re designing new identities and so on.
Matteo: So, you also take care of branding and all that stuff?
Bogdan: Fortunately, fortunately. Most of the people say that’s impossible. I don’t want to praise myself, but I’m only based on how clients are content with stuff I deliver.
Matteo: Ok. Yes, yes. Sure. I have another question: if you look at your past freelancing life and then you fast forward to today, how have things changed for you, are they any different?
Bogdan: Yes! Now I know to do more things than one year ago or two years ago and so on. I’m trying to learn new things, I read a lot, I’m watching trends, and I think that’s the secret to keeping in shape.
Matteo: Yes, of course. Has Codeable helped you or led in a way this new life? Or is it all up to you and your efforts and your personal improvement and all that stuff?
Bogdan: Of course Codeable helped a lot. First of all, Codeable selects clients, only the qualified lands on Codeable. So, I never had issues with any clients on Codeable, issues that weren’t solved. It’s helpful to know that the support team at Codeable is working hard to make sure that any dispute is solved, if any. And keeping that mental health helps you a lot to focus on improving yourself and doing your job well. So, I don’t have to be an accountant, I don’t have to make sure the clients pay, I don’t have to be scared about any dispute because Codeable staff is always eager to help and you can count on them, so those things are huge in your mental health. So, that’s my point of view.
Matteo: Yes, yes. Sure! So, do you remember how many clients you helped out, even though you just told us that you’ve been working with mostly recurring clients, but do you remember how many clients you helped out totally?
Bogdan: I didn’t track the...
Matteo: Or at least, sorry to interrupt you, or at least how many projects you worked on and completed.
Bogdan: Ok. That's a more relevant question. I didn’t track the number of clients because that’s irrelevant. But I can tell you that I finished 429 in Codeable.
Matteo: Wow! 429? Congratulations! That’s a huge number!
Bogdan: It was a lot of hard work to reach that number.
Matteo: Yes, but 400?? Come on! It’s the biggest number I've heard since we started this segment. So... ok. Joking aside – I think that it’s time for our last question because I’ve bothered you enough. So, I would like to ask you this: a silly question, but I know it’s an interesting one. I know some other experts like you after working with us for quite some time have been able to, let’s see, buy a motorcycle, or Alex, from Russia, who moved to Thailand with all his family. And other guys and gals are just spending more time traveling the world. How about you? Did you do anything like that? Are you planning to do anything like this?
Bogdan: Yes, I travel a lot
Matteo: Ok. That’s the best.
Bogdan: That’s the best experience ever! So I try to move from place to place, and I still have everything I need to work from there, so my work wasn’t interrupted, and I was able to move a lot. So that’s the freedom you get when you’re freelancing. Also, started to save some money, I didn’t buy anything fancy. I invested in software and technology and office furniture and bigger monitors and things like that that help me become better.
Matteo: Yes. That’s great to hear. Yes...
Bogdan: And the best investment so far, I invested in a standing desk
Matteo: Really?? So, you’re on a standing desk? Not right now?
Bogdan: Not right now. It’s a standing desk that can be lowered down or...
Matteo: Oh, yes, yes! How is it working on a standing desk? I’ve never tried one.
Bogdan: It’s very interesting. Your mind works differently. You are more focused and proactive. So, if I have focus problems I just stand at my desk and everything…
Matteo: Really?? A great suggestion; maybe I should try it.
Bogdan: You should try it.
Matteo: Yes, yes! For sure!
Bogdan: And it’s also good for health.
Matteo: Yes. I also read about this, and I’m totally sold on this. But I wasn’t aware of the focus thing, but I will try it. I promise you.
Matteo: Ok, Bogdan, I think that’s enough for today. It was super interesting hearing your story. Thank you for sharing it with me, with us; and once again, I would like to thank you very much for spending your time with us.
Bogdan: Thank you.
Matteo: And I just wish you a great day, and talk to you soon, mate.
Bogdan: Ok. Perfect. Thank you so much, Matteo.