Paolo has been interested since he was 11. He now freelances as a Software Developer, taking on projects he enjoys. Read on to learn what he has to say about what it takes to be a successful freelancer and his number one advice for all freelancers out there!
Thanks, Paolo for this interview, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what do you do?
I am Paolo, 27 years old, an Italian software developer and IT consultant. I’ve been freelancing since July 2017, but before that, I was an employee.
Tell us more about your career – where did it all begin and when did you realize you wanted to develop software for a living?
Since I was 11 years old I have always been interested in computers and coding. I created small applications and websites for fun. So, after finishing high school, I decided to go to the computer science university.
My first work experience was in a company where the main customer was Bayer, the well-known pharmaceutical company. Thanks to excellent colleagues I learned a lot. My main role was the full-stack developer.
When did you actually decide to become a freelancer?
After my first work experience, I decided to transfer. In 2016 I started working for TeamSystem where I was a frontend software developer and I had the responsibility to lead the development.
After a year there, I decided to become a freelancer, because it’s really important for me to not get bored and to manage projects with the right time and the best quality. My friends were really happy with my choice, but my parents were a little scared.
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Was it difficult for you to start freelancing? Is there anything you wish you knew before?
The Italian bureaucracy doesn’t help, however, the most difficult thing was finding customers at the beginning. Some things have saved me and still allow me to be a freelancer. The experience gained in the previous years, the colleagues’ references and a little unspent money that allowed me to start without too much haste and stress. The advice I give to those who want to become a freelancer is to understand what services they want to offer to the client and how to find clients.
My best advice for those looking to freelance is to understand what services they want to offer to the client and how to find clients.
What kind of services do clients demand the most and what kind of projects do you enjoy most doing? Is there any particular work you’re especially proud of?
The clients want my IT consulting services, which is the best way to develop a project, my software developer services, especially web apps made with ReactJS, NodeJS, Java, and my teaching skills.
I select clients looking for only those who are serious and have good projects in mind. These projects are often not accessible to everyone or credentials are required, because these projects are closely linked to the Italian Ministry of Justice or the Italian Ministry of Economy.
Do you work with other freelancers or outsource tasks that you don’t enjoy much doing?
I often work with other freelancers who work for my own clients and it’s very interesting because I can learn even more. Invoicing is the task that I don’t enjoy much doing, but it is mandatory to do.
It’s very intersting to work together with other freelancers as I can learn even more on a project..
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?
I find new clients thanks to online platforms like freelancermap and thanks to my blog. In my blog, I explain to other software developers how to create apps and web apps. I think that a good software developers network, a good blog and know how to talk to clients are the key to success. I also have a facebook page where I can communicate directly with those who have chosen to follow me and so I can create an even stronger bond.
What does a typical work day look like for you? Do you work 9-5 or how do you organize your time? Would you say that you manage to have a work-life balance?
I work 8:00-17:30. Every morning I check the emails, my Facebook page, and my website comments. After that, I start to work for the clients. I am free to work as much as I want and when I prefer. The trick to being more productive is passion. I think to have a really good work-life balance, because I like my job and I have the right time, every day, to have fun with my friends or to take a nice bike ride.
The best trick to being more productive is passion.
Are there any apps or websites that you couldn’t live without?
All the emails and chats apps and websites. Can you imagine a world where everyone calls you all the time instead of writing to you?
What are your top tips on software development? And generally, for freelancers? Do you have any particular tips for people considering freelancing in Italy?
My advice for software development is to work well and without haste giving importance also to the security of the software. My advice for all the freelancers is to start the adventure with a little capital or have clients right away. As for Italy, I can say that it is not easy. You can find clients in Italy, in the IT field mostly companies and it requires a bit of luck, but bureaucracy and taxes could create some problems, especially at the beginning.
Is being your boss what you expected? Have you ever considered giving up or going to full-time employment again?
For now, I am happy with the choice I have made, I am much freer. In the beginning, I was afraid and wondered if I had really made the right choice, but holding on I overcame that phase of fear.
Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers? How can our community continue following your work?
On my website, you can find all the news about my work. I am studying all the time to learn something new and talk about it on my blog. It would be really interesting for me to find someone that can help me translate my blog posts.
I am really happy to have had this interview, so if anyone needs a software developer feel free to contact me with the promo code “FREELANCERMAP-INTERVIEW” to receive a 10% discount.
Where can you find Paolo?