Meet Pavel, a TOP CERT freelancer offering valuable advice that we should all take the time to read…
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I was born in Ukraine, and grew up and studied there. In recent years I was living in Switzerland, Austria, but last year I moved to Slovakia and reside here for now.
I got into freelancing when I was studying in college. Those days I was impatient and went far beyond the education plan we had in college. Adobe Flash was the technology I used and loved the most, and by developing strong skills in it, I started to look for real life projects and ways to earn money. It seemed that freelancing was the only option for me to get into the business before getting an official diploma.
The first projects I was rewarded were simple animated flash banners, but then it quickly turned in to a consistent flow of requests for more complex Flash sites and apps.
I’m not sure why, but after graduating at University and getting a diploma, I went walked in to a stable job.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
Between leaving my initial freelancing business and getting back in to freelancing again, I had two jobs. The first one was a team leader for a Ukrainian web development company outsourcing nice PHP/JS/Flash projects. In the following year I had been hired as a Flex/AS3 agile developer for an American company, at which I was promoted to Director of Reputation Management. So, after programming, my activities shifted to organising marketing campaigns, negotiations with clients and team management.
How did you come across PPH?
After leaving the American company, I decided to go back to freelance. I was searching for freelance websites and found PPH. I thought it stood out and seemed simple and comfortable. I felt like it was a quality company with a high standard of freelancer and buyer, so I thought that this was the platform I should focus on.
What was your first job like on PPH?
It was very exciting! Those days I dived very deeply into Google Analytics and its custom reports and API. The job was to set up eCommerce tracking across multiple websites.
What is a typical day like for you?
Coffee is the first thing 🙂 Then reviewing emails, Skype messages and performing some simple tasks to wake up completely. Then breakfast or lunch – I’m not sure what to call it because it’s usually noon when I get to the kitchen! After that, I start working on the serious tasks until the end of the day. Every other day I take 30 minute to 2 hour breaks to eat, walk outside and follow my fitness regime.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
9-5 doesn’t work for me at all, because it’s too limited and not effective for both my clients and myself.
I have clients in the EU and USA. My flexibility means that in the afternoon I can work mostly for my EU clients, and in the evenings I can work for my US clients, giving them the benefit that I can update something on their website at night, when the traffic is very low.
Another thing is that my productiveness and concentration levels can vary from day-to-day. By having a flexible schedule it means that I can always re-plan (when possible) to rest when I can’t effectively think, so I can do a job when my efficiency is at its highest. It helps with two things: balancing my stress levels and also spending less time on a project, which therefore means lower costs for the client.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
1) It’s extremely simple and easy to communicate with the client.
2) The ability to raise invoices, get paid and withdraw money quickly.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I dream of bringing my projects to a serious level and start hiring more people from PPH to help me. I do love all of my clients and what I’m doing now, however, I’d love to utilise my skills more efficiently by satisfying more clients globally.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1) Honestly, you need to care about client needs. Forget about money, ratings, efforts and everything else, and prioritise the clients needs. Your client is not just someone there on the other side of PPH, but is a very real person, like one of your friends! Therefore, treat your client as if they are your friend. Suggest ideas like you would your friend, do the job as you would do it for your friend and be honest with them, like up would with your friend. In other words, build true relations. They start from the first message and could last for much longer than you can imagine.
2) Order services from other freelancers. This is the most effective and cheapest investment you can make to learn and grow to TOP CERT status! Being in a buyer’s shoes allows you to see things differently and helps you to see areas you need to improve.
3) Organise and balance your life. Think about your life over the course of the next 5 to 10 years. What are you goals? What are you going to do to stay productive? How are you going to ensure you are productive and happy at all times? How are you going to implement these things? Treat life as a marathon, not a sprint!
4) Develop yourself. Being a freelancer means having more responsibilities and more roles, so spending some time to learn new things in your field of expertise is a must! Learn how to communicate with people, how to manage time, projects, organisations, etc. Take courses and read books. This will help you to serve better, work with more people, be more responsive and feel happier.
5) Determine your business. At the beginning it’s more likely you take each project you can, but over time you will not want to do everything and may not even have the time to. So have a think about
a. WHAT you’re NOT comfortable doing.
b. HOW you’re NOT comfortable working.
c. Which conditions are NOT suitable for you.
What are the top 5 tools that you use?
1) Toggle – the fastest and easiest way to track time.
2) Trello – easy to visually organise tasks
3) Evernote – easiest way to organise information
4) Dropbox, Box, One Drive, etc. – must have if you need to share important info!
5) Microsoft Office or Google Docs – because spreadsheets are a must have 🙂
Which web browser do you use?
Google Chrome forever and ever! It’s fast and can handle ~100 opened tabs easily, which I often have. Also, it has wonderful and irreplaceable developer tools.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
I would be a Tiger. I love the freedom of having to hunt for my work, and work alone. I’m not the strongest or fastest, but strong and fast enough to handle high stress levels and deliver a job on time. I have a wide range of hunting expertise 🙂
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