Branko is a Front-end developer from Croatia who loves the experience of front-end development because you can see your creation come into shape each line of code at a time.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what are you up to these days?
Hi, my name is Branko, born German but living in Croatia since elementary school. And, as most of the people on this platform, I am a freelancer. Who would have guessed that one, right? 🙂
My dedication in the past few years is mostly based on WordPress, Front-end development in global, some IT consulting and GDPR compliance.
Long story short, I am one of those freaks that work every day, not because I am a workaholic or such but because I hate boredom 🙂
What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer?
I kind of decided to become a freelancer very early in my career. There were always single tasks to be taken care of, since most of my clients didn’t need a full time employee. Instead, they needed someone who would, upon request, take care of some of their workload. Those small tasks were exactly what got me “onto the map” and which showed me that there is potential and of course profit from being a freelancer.
While I was still employed, I always kept freelancing on the side in my off hours, and after some time I decided to go freelancer full-time. So far my clients are satisfied with my work, which is great 🙂
Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Could you share with our readers the most important lessons that you have learned on the way?
Every beginning is difficult, and freelancing is not an exception. Hmm… Lessons I learned along the way? That is a good question. These are my top 4 lessons learned:
- Communication: Always communicate with your client and never presume anything. It’s better to ask and sound stupid then presume and have to redo it.
- Honesty: Always be honest with your clients and clearly state if something is not doable. Same goes for situations when you can’t do something, or if you have some suggestions regarding their ideas. Don’t overpromise and don’t give the client false hope, you would be surprised at how much people appreciate honesty these days. If you give a promise to a client, stick to it, if you can’t just be honest about it.
- Don’t be greedy: I guess this one is self-explanatory 😉
- Don’t be an asshole: If you give someone your word, then keep it 🙂
You define yourself as a Front-end Freak. What kind of services do you offer the most? What kind of projects do you enjoy most doing?
My most offered services are Front-end development, WordPress development, IT consulting (web-oriented) and GDPR compliance consulting and corrections (web-oriented).
I like to do all of the above because every one of these tasks is interesting. They all have a specific workflow which keeps you intrigued, interested from the beginning to the end of the project 🙂
But front-end is my passion, I am not really a person to work for 2 hours at something in the back-end just for something to happen, that’s why I love the front-end. Every single line of code already makes a difference. I love the process, the creativity, the feeling you get when you take something raw and slowly shape it into form 🙂
I guess after a few years of dedication to something you get called a freak… why not, just own it 😀
Front-end is my passion. Every single line of code already makes a difference.
Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess?
Actually, I do most of my work by myself. The only exception is the bureaucracy. I actually rented a company – why open my own company if i can just rent one 😉 – I did it mainly because of the invoices and taxes and such. And I gotta admit, I am actually quite satisfied with them 😀 Especially since I don’t have to pay additional costs that appear during regular net payouts. Feel free to contact me if you want to know a bit more regarding the rented company solution. I’m always glad to help 🙂
I already have a network of freelancers and I first get in touch with them to see if they could take on new projects. I also use LinkedIn to connect with new freelancers.
Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services? Is there a marketing strategy that you’ve proved to be great so far?
You can always find websites dedicated to freelancers: the one that you are browsing right now, some local or national freelance listing, pages on Facebook and other social media, etc… But word-of-mouth is still the best form of recommendation you can have. A satisfied client that recommends you to some acquaintance is the best way to slowly build up something.
I would also like to add that the 3rd rule, don’t be greedy, helps a lot regarding your online opportunities. Be cheap BUT good and you have a higher probability of landing the client who pays twice as much as what you usually charge.
Word-of-mouth is the best form of recommendation someone can have.
What does a typical work day look like for you? Do you work 9-5 or do you organize your time differently?
Yes, I typically work from 9-5, of course with breaks and time away from the PC.
Of course, if there is work that needs to be done I work longer or after an hour of resting I get back to work. Some people tend to start even earlier, around 7 or so, but I wouldn’t recommend you do that. Take your time in the morning to start the day, otherwise you will burn out way too fast.
Are there any apps or websites that you couldn’t live without? Any books, blogs or magazines that you never miss to read to stay up-to-date as an IT expert?
Actually it is quite the opposite, most of the things I read are not IT related at all. Things like psychology, fantasy, sci-fi, novels, … In short: everything that seems interesting and keeps the imagination vivid.
And let’s be honest, after a hard day you gotta shift your focus at least a little bit 🙂
What are your top tips on web development? And generally, your tips for new freelancers?
Top tips on web development? Sure, if you find any let me know 🙂
Just kidding. My tips for web development and for new freelancers are the same, be patient, do what you can do, do it the best you can do it and stick to the 4 rules mentioned above, especially the last one 😉
Is being your own boss what you expected? Do you sometimes think about full-time employment?
Every client of yours is actually your boss, you might be your own manager but the client is always the boss in the end. Who says I am not currently a full time employed freelancer 😉
Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
Well first of all I would like to point out that you have got to take care of your health. While in regular employment you always have sick leave, as a freelancer you won’t have that luxury. If you are sick you aren’t working, ergo don’t get sick 🙂
We freelancers spend most of our time sitting at a PC which is not good for the body at all. Stretch from time to time and don’t skip meals (yeah I am not really the one to comment on that since I eat breakfast around 1pm thanks to the workload and my own lazyness xD ).
Secondly, love what you do and do what you love 🙂 I guess this one is self-explanatory, but very important at the same time.
Thirdly, be kind to everyone as you never know when you might need them. Ok, this might sound a bit rude but it is the truth. You never know when you might need a favor, someone else’s services or anything else. If you left a good impression, the chances of getting them again are better 🙂
Here’s an anecdote: I remember once when a client of mine forgot to extend his domain and thus, his whole ecommerce was out of order. I called his hosting company and talked to the customer support guy, explained the situation and he speeded things up a bit. After the talk I told him that I’d be happy to buy him a drink for the help provided. Guess what? Me and that guy are best friends today 😀
That’s all from me, I hope this interview wasn’t too boring… oh yeah, I should, like, take this opportunity to reel in clients…
So, for possible clients:
Hi, if you have read this interview then you know who I am. I’m sure you noticed that I really value honesty, so if there is anything you would like to know or anything that I can help you with, feel free to contact me directly, I am available for any and/or all questions 🙂
You will hear back from me soon, I always reply within minutes! (well, sometimes It might take me an hour…;) ).
Where to find Branko:
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