Ricardo Salazar - Freelance Software Developer from Barcelona!


This week's freelancer interview is with Ricardo, who has been freelancing ever since he moved to Berlin, 4 years ago. Ricardo's number one piece of advice to other freelancers is to always keep learning and looking for opportunities that will expand your business! Check out the full interview.

Ricardo Salazar

1): Thank you Ricardo for the possibility of an interview. It’s a pleasure for us to have you in our insider series. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thanks to you for including me here. So… I’m Ricardo, I come from Barcelona - Spain (though I was born in Bolivia). And I’m an freelance iOS Software Developer. I’ve been freelancing since I moved to Berlin. A bit over 4 years ago.

2): If you would search for your profile on Google, which are the three keywords you would type in the search bar?

That’s a good reminder to invest some time improving my SEO. I guess it would be: iOS, Freelance, Berlin.  

3): What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer?

About 5 years ago, I was working at an agency in Barcelona for 2 years in the same app, my first one and I was the only developer of the app, so it was my baby, it was a project I enjoyed very much, but I needed some change in my life.

I started considering moving to Berlin, and thinking I should look for a job, suddenly I thought maybe I could just move and become a freelancer, since part of the change I was looking for was to travel much more, and the freedom of being a freelancer can allow that. During this time I’ve been freelancing full-time, thought I’ve had a couple of long term clients that has felt close to a normal job.

“I was looking to travel much more, and the freedom of being a freelancer can allow that.“

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 on the way?

It took more time than I expected to get the earlier projects projects. And I found myself sometimes regretting having spent too much money on things I didn’t really need (example: replacing an iPhone 4s with a 5). I was used to when I had a normal salary to have an stable flow of income. So I would say, learn to save, when you’re employed you can count in the money coming the following months, when you’re a freelancer you should only count in the one you earned the previous months.

5): Now tell us, how do you find new clients that are interested in your services?

In many ways, LinkedIn, introductions through friends, meeting people at events, introduction through previous clients, recruiters sometimes…

6): Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess or to delegate tasks that are not related to development? If you do, tell us how it is to work with them?

I’ve sometimes used the help of designers, it’s been with people I had worked with, so I knew the quality of their work and it was always a good experience.

8): You’re now based in Berlin, one of the Europe’s biggest tech hubs. How do you like that? Do you plan to stay there of would you like more to work remote as a digital nomad?

I want to make a combination of both. I love to live in Berlin, there’s no other city I’ve seen yet (or heard of) where I can think I would move permanently in the foreseeable future. But I also can’t stay only in one place. I want to spend 6 to 9 months a year in Berlin and the rest travelling around.

“Being a freelancer is about being open to new opportunities and adventures along the way."

If the travel is longer than 3 months I would love to work remotely during it. And I would also move short term (6 months or less) to a cool place for a cool project, maybe even more for the coolest place or the coolest project. Is difficult to tell really. Being a freelancer (and a digital nomad), is also about being open to new opportunities and adventures that you would find along the way.

9): Apart from your professional life, what are your hobbies and interests? What is your work-life balance recipe?

Have I mentioned travel already? So travel of course, going, planning, reading about new places… I love music and live concerts, I could go to one everyday. I love cooking, I spend lot’s of time thinking of new recipes and combinations, enjoy buying the ingredients, cooking and having people over for dinner. And the typical: friends, drinks, Netflix…

The work-life balance comes with responsibility and trust, I think as a freelancer you must not relax too much about the trust from people you work for, you have to earn and keep the trust everyday.

10): What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a freelance career? And what does it takes to be successful as a freelancer?

Hire a tax advisor, especially in a foreign country and with a foreign language. Remember that a big part of your “income” is not yours, you will have to pay taxes, and it will hurt.

Try to look for projects that will grow your experience and portfolio, sometimes it’s risky to work in a technology you’re not too comfortable with, but it’s a great opportunity when you learn as you work. And of course keep always learning.

“Look for projects that will grow your experience, and of course: always keep learning.“


You can find Ricardo here:

Freelancermap: Ricardo Salazar on freelancermap

Website: risalba.com
Skype: risalba
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