Randi Dumaguet – Freelance Designer and Developer from the Philippines

17.03.2016

Randi started freelancing at university to earn some extra money and provided a range of different service, from fixing electronics to graphic design services like designing business cards. His career as a website designer and developer only started when he got his big break developing the website of a world-renowned furniture designer. For him, minimalist interfaces and lightweight code are two important factors for a good user experience...

1) Firstly, can you tell us bit about yourself! Who are you? Where are you from? What are you doing? How long have you been freelancing now?
Hello, my name is Randi Dumaguet. I am a freelance designer/developer, designing and building beautiful and functional websites and applications for the last 10 years. I’m from the beautiful island of Cebu, Philippines.

2) If you would search for your profile on Google, which are the three keywords you would type in the search bar?
If you would search for my profile on Google, you just have to type in two words, “dumsdei” and “portfolio”. The first search result is my website, at least at the time of doing this interview. To best describe myself, I am a self-taught web designer and developer. I love clean, minimalist interfaces and lightweight software. For me these are the key ingredients for perfect user experience.

3) What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer? What was the occasion to start freelancing? Do you freelance fulltime or do you work for a company besides? What were you doing before you started to freelance?
I’ve been a freelancer since my first year in university, about 1998. I did a number of different jobs from designing business cards, fixing electronics and appliances, whatever I can do to earn to help support myself through school. To be honest, I didn’t even know I was already a freelancer back then, not until about 2001 when I stumbled upon the term on the internet. I freelanced fulltime from then until 2006. I work as technical support for a web hosting company, helping customers with issues on their domain, websites, servers, and everything else in between. Just recently I went back to freelancing fulltime.

4) What kind of services have your clients asked you to provide?
My first big break was building a website for renowned furniture designer, Kenneth Cobonpue. I believe it was about 2005 or 2006 that I built their website in Flash AS3. It (Flash websites) was the biggest thing at that time. The project was under the creative direction of Conrado Velasco, who did work for big name fashion brands. From there, I’ve had a number of website projects, mostly in Flash but some in HTML/CSS too. Nowadays, I provide design and build services to companies and other freelancers. I also do mentorship to other freelancers and to those who want to get into the industry.

5) Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess?
Yes, I do work with other freelancers and companies, to provide services for skills that I don’t posses. This is really important if you are a freelancer. You have to have a great network of people that you can call to back you up on large projects as much as its important to find people you can trust. If the project is small and it involves a skill which I don’t posses, I usually just refer it to a friend who is more perfect for the project.

6) Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services?
I look for projects in freelance network websites like freelancermap, among others. I apply to those which allow me to work remotely. I have my own website for my portfolio which I usually update about twice a year. In social and business networks, I usually get referrals for projects but not that much. I don’t do cold calls and cold mails which I have been meaning to try out for quit some time now :)

7) What about freelancermap.com? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with our IT-network? What is your impression of freelancermap? Suggestions? Feedback? Achievements?
To be honest, I haven’t been active lately in freelancermap. A friend of mine, a fellow freelancer told me about it last December and by the time I joined, I had another friend who proposed a website project to me and I got occupied. So far, my experience with the platform has been very good. The support team ( especially Doreen ) is really great at what they do. She’s my primary contact and she always ensures that queries are answered within the next 24 hours. I’m amazed at how efficient she is and it’s sad that she has to go, I wish her success in her new adventure. Also, I don’t understand German, so when I get messages from companies in freelancermap, it’s almost always in German and I have a difficult time answering them :D I did try translating the message in Google Translate and reply in English, but I haven’t been lucky yet :) I think one thing I can suggest is to make it easier for non-German speaking people. I’m not sure if that is the primary target of your platform though.

8) How do you set yourself apart from your competitors? What makes you special? Special services? Marketing activities? USP?
I’m a very dedicated person and always do my best to produce the perfect outcome for the project. I can say that what makes me special is that I understand the whole project process of building a website or application. I have first hand experience with the different stages of the project as I was a graphic designer, a website designer, developer, systems administrator, a project manager, and a company director. The experience and knowledge that I gained these past few years have really helped me provide the best service to my clients.

9) What are the top three books, blogs or magazines you read to stay up to date in the IT-market?
I have subscribed to Smashing Magazine’s newsletter since 2008. It’s my go to blog to read up on the latest news, techniques and new ways of doing old stuff. Recently, I’ve been frequenting Medium as it’s content is more diverse. There’s reading stuff for professional and personal development so I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet.

10) Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?
One tip I can provide to other freelancers is to always keep trying. It is a very difficult career path as compared to being a fulltime employee, but the rewards are also much better. Talk to other freelancers, ask for advice if you’re stuck, offer solicited advice to others as well. To potential clients looking for your next designer, to work on your website, or mobile application, I am providing 10% discount on my freelancermap rate to the first five projects I get to close if you use the code “freelancerinsides”. 

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