Last year on this day, I wrote the first yearly review of my freelance career. Now it is time to review my second year of freelancing.
During the last year, I have been working on a dozen projects with eight different clients. Half of the clients came from the Toptal network, and the other half engaged me via my website.
Every project was delivered with success and on time. Every client had positive feedback for my work and some of them returned to me with new projects. I have been collaborating with clients from Spain, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and the United States.
I am really pleased how my portfolio looks this year. Every single project was challenging and fulfilling in its own way.
Last year I was building static pages and styleguides for:
- International, IT software & services client, and
- Saudi VPS servers and cloud hosting company.
I have been building and maintaining websites that are powered by static page generators like Jekyll and Hugo on:
I have been working on developing, maintaining, and optimizing WordPress themes for:
I could say that building static sites, pages, and styleguides are the main requirements for my services.
I would even go that far and say that my primary skills are HTML and CSS, just like my favorite sticker says.
I have been working on my own projects, too. I have published SPRO, a package for creating a perfect Gulp development environment. It is a spin-off for my previous package Starter Project with some really cool terminal extensions.
I have published two not-so-successful courses on Skillshare. The first course is about using SPRO package, and the second course is about making a website with Hugo static page generator.
During the last year, I have put a lot of effort into my website. I have rebranded and redesigned the site. I have optimized it to be even more performant, and dev.to community helped a lot. All I had to do is ask for a little bit of help. Also, I have migrated my website to a new domain, silvestar.codes. I must say that I am thrilled with the final outcome. 😊
Away from the computer, I like to do stuff around my house. My favorite is carpentry.
This year I have built a playhouse for my daughter. It is something that I enjoy doing. Getting away from code and getting my hand dirty from time to time makes me appreciate my everyday job even more.
If you are a remote worker, you should know how challenging it could be. Working from home is full of distractions. When you have a kid, that distractions are multiplied by 100. That is why I rented an office last year. I am working from my office for a year now, and I think it was an excellent idea. Separating home and work environment helped me a lot to focus on the job more clearly. Plus, my family and friends respect my work time now that I am not hanging out at home all day long.
“Most clients respect my schedule as long as we have at least one hour of overlap where we could have a daily standup or a meeting.”
The other significant advantage when working from the office is that I have a schedule. I am most productive in the morning, so I tend to work in the morning. When negotiating with my clients, I try to communicate this as early as possible. Most clients respect my schedule as long as we have at least one hour of overlap where we could have a daily standup or a meeting.
I got a decent amount of availability requests from my clients directly. That made me start keeping tracks of clients in a simple spreadsheet. I keep track of negotiating status, project type, start date, expected delivery date, and rates, as my prices are not constant for every client and project. That way, I could avoid double-booking myself.
Unlike the year before, I had no trouble finding engagements, but I did have a problem with overbooking. For about a month, I was working on multiple projects. It was very exhausting, and I had a difficult time to manage my time. Fortunately, I was able to resolve these issues and meet all deadlines.
“My free time and sanity mean too much to me.”
It was a good lesson for me, and I don't think it would happen again. My free time and sanity mean too much to me. And I don't believe any project, no matter how inviting it could be, could be more important than my family or health.
I feel like my career is going in the right direction. I could say that I have enjoyed working on each and every project. I was lucky to collaborate with the most incredible professionals. And I look forward to meeting other amazing people on my journey.
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