1) Hello Jonathan, thank you for your participation in our freelancer insides series. It’s a pleasure to have you on our blog. Before we get to the questions, can you tell us bit about yourself?
Thanks for this opportunity and I'm honored to be featured on freelancermap. I'm Jonathan Danylko and I currently live in Columbus, Ohio, USA working full-time as a Web Architect and part-time as a freelancer. I was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, but I moved to Columbus in 1999 and have experienced a large number of opportunities since the move.
2) Where did your interest in IT and programming come from? When did you first start programming?
When I was 10 or 11 years old, my parents bought me a Commodore VIC-20 and I started to write programs in BASIC with it. Since we didn't have the Internet back then, I always wanted to go to the grocery store with my parents and would read computer magazines like Computer Shopper, Compute! (for general computers), and Compute!'s Gazette (for Commodore computers).
After a while, I outgrew the VIC-20 and my parents purchased a Commodore 128 which was a combination of three computers (C-64, C-128, and a CPM mode).
While in high school, I realized at 16 that programming and working with computers was the future and I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Since then, I've always been writing code.
3) You have been programming for over 30 years. What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer?
My inspiration was watching the future take shape with languages, the PC industry coming of age, and watching companies like Microsoft and Borland take shape as I was continuing to learn how to program. That kept me motivated to learn more about computers and languages, and while I kept learning, more people realized that this future was becoming real.
4) Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Did you face many problems? Could you share with our readers the most important lessons you learned along the way?It wasn't hard at all to get started with freelancing. Someone asked me to write them a program to manage real estate and their contacts. Not only was I excited to code something for them, I was even getting paid for it. That is what got me interested in becoming a freelancer. Someone had a need and I had a solution. Also, one of many lessons I learned is that nothing is ever simple.
5) Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess or to delegate tasks that are not related with coding?
6) You have your personal website: danylkoweb.com where you share ASP.NET MVC Best practices and also business lessons you have learned over the years. Was this initially part of your marketing strategy as a freelancer? How has your site helped you in your freelance career?
When I started DanylkoWeb.com, I wanted to post programming articles to help other developers with solving problems for clients. At first, I wanted to use DanylkoWeb to monetize the site directly, but instead, DanylkoWeb is indirectly making me money. It's considered my business card and people ask me for freelance assistance because of the website.
7) Can you provide any marketing tips and tricks for freelancers? How do you set yourself apart from fellow freelancers?
I would focus on three things:
- Always be marketing yourself with highlights from your career - my LinkedIn.com profile shows a number of screenshots of projects I've worked on in the past along with side projects. This should become your digital resume. You only get out of it what you put into it.
- Help people without regard for compensation until the time comes - For example, I'm on Quora.com and I'm a top writer in ASP.NET MVC. I answered questions without even thinking about receiving a penny, but because I've answered questions in a knowledgeable fashion, people have sent me emails requesting help on projects.
- Make yourself known - While Quora is a Q&A site, visit StackOverflow, make a profile on Freelance sites (like freelancermap.com), and start providing value to readers and customers and making connections.
8) What’s your typical day like? Do you work 9-5? Are there any great apps or tools that you use to plan your day or that are a must for your work?
My typical workday is M-F, from 6:30-3:30 at a full-time job as a Senior Web Developer. Once I'm done, I head home, grab some supper, relax a bit, and start working on either 1. DanylkoWeb enhancements or articles for the week (M/W/F) or, 2. Work on a freelance project or side-project.
For scheduling, I absolutely rely on Google Calendar. For Document management, I use Google Docs along with Google Drive. While I'm old school, I use Mozilla's Thunderbird along with GMail.com. For invoicing, I use Harvest.
9) What are your future plans with regard to your career? Will you continue working as a freelancer?
One of my friends asked me if I hit the lottery or hit it big, would I still write code and continue to freelance? I said absolutely. I've been doing it for this long so why stop? I love solving problems with code and I love what I do. Of course, I would freelance with my laptop from a beach. Heck, who wouldn't? ;-)
10) Last but not least, what are the top three books, blogs or magazines you read to stay up to date with the industry?
For Books, I recommend any of the Addison-Wesley Signature Series when certain subjects are released, APress.com books (geared towards your career), and any O'Reilly books (also geared towards your career).
For Blogs, I've been with DZone.com for a while and they have some amazing writers for every part of the technology industry (like mobile, cloud, big data, etc). Since I was born and raised on Microsoft technologies, I tend to visit MSDN Magazine for the latest in C# coding. Finally, Linkedin.com to follow influencers in the industry, read their posts, and make connections (which is extremely important).
Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
I have a couple tips for the freelancers out there.
1. Have confidence in your skills, but know when to ask for help or when you need to study more.
3. Be open-minded to what's available out there. If your clients see how flexible you are, more work will gravitate towards you.
4. Sometimes, it's ok to say No.
Where to find Jonathan:
Freelancermap.com Profile: www.freelancermap.com/profil/JonathanDanylko
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Pic: © Jonathan Danylko