Meet Chris, a TOP Cert front-end developer who has over 20 years experience of freelancing! Having worked with some fantastic multinational companies, this guy has a CV to be envious of!
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I am a web developer specialising in front-end development and online strategy. I love working with complex designs, making sure they work well across the myriad of different browsers and devices in use today as well as ensuring that my clients gain as much benefit to their business as possible from their website.
I fell into freelancing by accident, I was ‘temping’ for a large corporate after leaving university and was drafted into doing some writing for their travel Intranet site, they gave me the opportunity to create some of the actual pages and, so I was sent on a HTML course.
That was in 1996 and I’ve not looked back since.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
The only previous jobs I had prior to becoming a freelancer were temping, holiday and Saturday work.
Freelancing has always been my ‘proper job’.
How did you come across PPH?
I was looking for some freelance assistance on a specific project and found PPH, so I decided to register as a freelancer as well, this was back in 2009 and I’ve been serving clients here ever since.
What was your first job like on PPH?
A really good experience, like many freelancers on PPH it took me a long time bidding on projects before I was finally successful.
The first job I was awarded was for a fantastic company, about 25 miles from me, and was on-site full-time for three months. I had an interview and testing prior to being awarded the project, it felt like I was applying for a proper job.
This is the closest experience I have had to working a 9-5 role, it made me appreciate the flexibility freelancing brings even more!
The great feedback they left for me made winning further projects much easier.
What is a typical day like for you?
I do have quite a set routine, up at half six to make the teas, and I spend the next hour and a half making breakfast, reviewing the WordPress sites I manage (seeing which ones need updating and actioning these), clearing out my inbox, reviewing PPH listings and updating my task list – that’s just me generally getting ready to work!
After breakfast I head to the office, I’m usually at my desk for just gone 9.
Morning for me is always about communication, this is when I’ll schedule my calls, usually 3 or 4 a day, I’ll respond to PPH listing that look like a good fit and any other proposals I need to write, I also follow up on important emails and check in with the people I need to.
The afternoon is where I work on the current main project, the work being done will depend on what stage the project is at, so it could be strategy, planning, coding, testing or a combination of these, this takes me through to 16:30 or so.
I spend the final hour catching up with emails and any smaller updates that have been requested and usually leave the office at around 17:30.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
In many ways freelancing is a 9-5 job, I need to be available and working when my clients are.
Of course it does offer flexibility, I can take a day off if I need one and do things e.g. get a haircut or go shopping when places are much quieter, so this saves time.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
Access to a wealth of client opportunities and other freelancers is magnificent, I’ve worked on some amazing projects with some very talented clients.
Being UK centric also helps with communication.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing, however I’ll be increasingly focused and continue working with the clients I believe I can add the most value too.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1. Be honest about your abilities and complete your profile and portfolio in as much detail as you can.
2. Understand where you excel and can add real value, then work out who your ideal client is and focus on these projects only.
3. Personalise your bid, even if you use a template to save some time make sure you address the client’s specific requirements in the bid.
4. Don’t focus on price, focus on delivering quality, the money will come.
5. Persevere, you will eventually find the right project.
What are your top 5 tips for front-end development?
1. Plan. Properly plan your projects and time, you should always know exactly how a project will progress before any code is written.
2. Specialise. Pick a CMS or framework and become an expert in it.
3. Stay current. The web is changing continually, set time aside to keep yourself up to speed with current developments.
4. Keep communicating, a site being launched is not the end, it’s the perfect time to talk with your clients. Can they recommend anyone you should be speaking to? Are they happy with the outcome? What other services can you offer them?
5. Test, test and test again, use real devices if you can, even create a device bank with developers in your area, so you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of money to build one up.
What web browser do you use?
My browser of choice is Chrome, but because of the nature of the work I do, I use all of them all of the time.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
Mantis Shrimp, why, well because The Oatmeal.
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