In this new episode of Changing lives, we'll meet with Surendra Shrestha, an experienced WordPress developer working with Codeable since 2013. He's specialized in many areas like Plugins and Themes Customization, Theme Development, Event Calendar, WooCommerce, just to name a few.
During the interview, he'll share with us his insights and thoughts about:
- what he likes about freelancing
- what he thinks are useful skills for anybody interested in becoming a freelancer
- how and why he decided to become a Codeable freelancer
- what is like to work as a freelancer
- 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 #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 #12: Marius Vetrici.
Changing lives #13: Mitchell Callahan.
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Matteo: Hi everyone! This is Matteo from Codeable, and in this new episode, we are going to meet with Surenda Shrestha, who will share with us his story and experience as a freelancer. He will also tell us about working as a Codeable expert letting us know how this experience, in a way, changed his life. Hi Surendra! Thank you for joining us on this episode of Changing Lives. We really do appreciate it!
Surendra: Hi! Yea, thanks for having me here. I’m really excited to participate in this new life changing segment.
Matteo: Cool! Thank you for being a part of it. I’m really looking forward to knowing more about you and your story. So, to get the ball rolling why don’t you start by saying which part of the world are you right now, where you’re from, and, most importantly, how long you have been a freelancer.
Surendra: I am located in Nepal, and also, I was born in the city of Kathmandu; the capital of Nepal is Kathmandu. The weather is very cold here and sometimes I think I was born in the right place of the world.
Matteo: And how long have you been a freelancer?
Surendra: Actually, as a freelancer, I have been working, maybe (not exactly) more than 5 years.
Matteo: Ok, more than 5 years. And would you mind telling us what do you like about freelancing? I mean, why did you choose to start working by yourself and not end up in a regular 9-5 job?
Surendra: I like freelancing. The most important thing is: I see myself as a boss. I don’t need to work with someone, and I don’t have to get permission from anybody to get something, some new changes and new things to do in life. I have to give some good time to my family and suppose I have to go somewhere – in a regular 9-5 job I have to get permission from the boss, some discussion, and I have to explain why I’m going, what is the thing…everything except trust.
The best thing I like is I have flexibility to do whatever I like. And most importantly, when I want some good money, I can work like 2 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours – whatever I like. So this is the best thing in freelancing that I like.
Matteo: Ok. So, long story short – it’s about freedom and flexibility of the way you work, right? Yes, this is really empowering. Even if we are at the beginning of the interview I’m going to ask you a super tough question right away. Are you ready?
Surendra: Mhm, yea, sure!
Matteo: So, what does it take to be a good freelancer? And, do you think anybody can be one? Just to clarify my question: off the top of my head, I think dealing with clients is natural for many. So, tell us about it – what does it take to be a good freelancer?
Surendra: To be a good freelancer…basically, most of the people think that freelancing is very easy and a quite good job. But, I feel it’s one of the challenging jobs in my life. Challenging in terms of like we have to face different clients from different countries. We have to know their language, their communication levels... all kinds of people in the world they come to us to work together.
To be a good freelancer, first thing, I think, in my opinion, language is the most important thing. Because, if you know better English then you will get good job. And also, if you have a different language knowledge you will... multi-language knowledge will be beneficial to get jobs from different countries.
Surendra: Besides that, communication level – it means to give prompt response to the client. Like, suppose a client is sending the email and you are not responding in the 2 hours or 3 hours, then the client will feel unsafe because you are not responding. So, even if you are on the drive, just respond quickly and say "I am on the drive and I will talk in 2 hours or 3 hours", that type of thing. So, it will mean that clients are more comfortable to work with you and everything! So, if you are not responding on time then the client will try to get you out of the project. So, most important thing is communication.
And besides that, in my experience, I get more returning clients because of my tips. Because even if I get a one hour job I will give clients free tips like about the security issues, about the site optimization, about the site SEO and more. So they feel like this guy knows more than whatever they need. So, they come back to me for security, maybe for the site optimization, maybe for maintenance. So, this is a basic tip...
Matteo: This is a smart move and good strategy.
Surendra: Mhm, yea!
Matteo: Thank you for sharing that. Let me ask you this: what made you look for something new in your freelancing life, in fact, like Codeable? Was there a specific reason? Like you didn’t like where you were working before? Your previous jobs – in a way you felt like you were missing something in your professional life, for example, or what else?
Surendra: Actually, yea, this thing is new for me and different from others. I didn’t find Codeable, but Codeable found me. I have to say it. In middle of September 2012, I guess, Per sent me the first email saying that "Surendra, I found you somewhere, and it seems you are the perfect man to work together as a first Codeable expert, one of the starters".
So, maybe the end of October he sent me the next email, we joined in on Skype and got involved on different communication. For that kind of communication, we got very close to each other and we shared what I am and how I work, as well as the ideas of Codeable – how the platform works and how it will be in the future, what is the long-term vision of Codeable and everything he has said to me. Per, one of the co-founders of Codeable, I would say, is one of my best friends now!
Matteo: Really?? Wow!
Surendra: Because, all the time, whatever I face – some kind of issues with the clients, or any kind of issues – I will freely tell him and I will give some suggestion also. Suppose something is missing or something is wrong, we have good communication with each other. So, what I’m saying is, Per sent me an email to get involved in the Codeable, and maybe even you don’t know (I’m not sure) but before Codeable it was carbivore.com. So, from the beginning of the Codeable, from the first day I have been working as a certified Codeable developer, so it means I have all the knowledge. I know all things about Codeable – how it goes, how it was marketed, and today, how the Codeable platform is working.
Matteo: Ok. So you really have that knowledge about us. That’s cool. Do you remember how long you have been a Codeable expert?
Surendra: Yes. It’s from the first day. So, it means more than 3 years.
Matteo: Congrats! Would you mind elaborating as little more? I mean, how are things going?
Surendra: All things are going well, I think. I’m so happy here. And I’m not only happy, I have my own business and I get the customers from Codeable. So, it’s everything for me today, Codeable giving all the clients, all the work. So, I would say Codeable changed my life.
Matteo: Oh, really!? That’s a really great testimonial and a great sentence to say out loud. How, in a way, did it change your life? I mean, do you have any examples in mind that you would like to share?
Surendra: Mhm, yea. Today I see most of the developers trying to be a Codeable developer, because they know that being a Codeable developer is a kind of honor to the WordPress developer. I can see the people who are trying to be Codeable developers and they are not getting through here. So, I think it’s very exciting and I’m very proud to be one of the first Codeable developers.
So, for life change, I can say I have my own business from Codeable. I have my own house...
Matteo: Wow, that’s unusual.
Surendra: And there are lots of things that I have done after joining Codeable.
Matteo: Ok. Thank you for sharing this, it’s really inspiring. So, let me ask you this: if you look at your past freelancing life and then you fast-forward to today how have things changed for you? I mean, are they any different?
Surendra: There are lots of different things that I can say. One of the most important things is that my living standard is totally different!
Surendra: Before joining Codeable I had been working as different kinds of junior developer, developer, senior developer, different levels I have crossed. I have worked with local agencies, different multinational companies and they have their own rules and regulations. I have crossed everything and I know how the changes are affecting my life.
So, the basic thing is that I have my own decisions to do whatever I like. I have my own way of thinking to discuss with different kinds of clients, different kinds of customers. I manage this in communication level. I have changed my skill. Suppose I’m discussing with you... I mean, I’m interviewing with you. This means this is also a kind of achievement for me.
Matteo: Likewise for me. It is really super... I feel like I’m improving my own knowledge when I hear about your story as experts, because you are always so kind to share with us your story and, to me, it’s like improving both my professional and personal level. Your story is really so great and awesome!
Surendra: Thank you for that!
Matteo: You’re welcome! Do you remember how many projects you worked on and completed? Even a raw number.
Surendra: Yes. 410, I guess.
Matteo: Wow, that's a really huge number! Congrats. That’s interesting to hear. I guess you must be super happy about this new freelancing life that you are building up with Codeable.
Surendra: Honestly I say, I’m so proud and I’m so happy with Codeable!
Matteo: Thank you. And we are happy to have you on board, of course. But let me ask you one last thing: I know some other experts like you, after working with us for some time have been able to, let’s see – buy a motorcycle, travel more, put down a deposit on a new home, or they just invested in improving their freelancing business with better software and gears, for example. How about you? Did you do anything like that, and are you planning to do anything like this?
Surendra: Yea. I have already explained to you that I have lots of things that I have done after joining Codeable. So, I am explaining in detail…
Matteo: Just some anecdotes or things that you would like to achieve or buy or travels that you are planning, you know...
Surendra: Well, yea. Before joining Codeable I got very little time to visit. And one of the things was financial issues also. So, after joining Codeable I have visited lots of local areas in Nepal, because Nepal is a rich country for natural resources and natural places where we have lots of Himalayas; Mount Everest is in Nepal also. So, I have visited one of the best places and very near to the Himalayas. So, it’s like Gosaikunda – one of the best places where I have hiked or where I have trekked.
Matteo: Aha, that sounds good!
Surendra: Actually, this not related to Codeable or anything like that. But if I worked a regular 9-5 job then I wouldn’t get time to go there. So, after joining Codeable I got time and I managed to visit those places. So, this is one of the best things I have ever seen in my life!
Matteo: Wow! That should be something astonishing!
Surendra: Yea. Besides that, I would like to say, I have a boy now. Before joining Codeable I have discussed with my wife about it: "Let’s not get a baby for a few years, until I get financially strong". After joining Codeable I decided let’s get a boy and now we have a two-year-old boy!
Matteo: Wow, congrats! So you’re a dad?
Matteo: I didn’t know about this. Congrats mate!
Surendra: Thanks man!
Matteo: That’s really like a huge change in your life!
Surendra: I must say - I have changed my life and I am so happy!
Matteo: Thank you Surendra! That was really kind of you to share with us. So personal, but really astonishing. To me it’s inspiring. It was super interesting hearing your story, and thanks for sharing it with me, with us. And once again, I would like to thank you very much for spending your time with us. I wish you a great day and talk to you soon. Cheers!