Freelancer Insides: Arber Braja, Freelance Web Developer

19.11.2018

Arber Braja is a freelance Web Developer from Albania. Braja works part-time, so he provides a fresh perspective on freelancing versus traditional employment. Read more for his insights on freelancing, web development, and more!

Hello Arber, thanks for being here to share your freelancing story with us. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what are you up to right now? 

I’m Arber Braja. Part-time freelancer and Web Developer based in Tirana, Albania. I have been working as Web Developer for almost 7 years now. Started as a freelancer, then I started working as a Frontend Web Developer for an digital agency located here in Tirana. Currently I work as a Frontend Team Leader, a job with a lot of responsibilities, but it also helps me keep up with my love for technology and the latest trends in my domain. I’ve also been working as a freelancer for around 2 years now.

 

How and when did you become interested in development? When did you realize that this was going to be your career?                                             

It’s hard for me to say exactly when. Probably because Web Development and well Programming more in general give you something that not many other areas of work can give, the pleasure of creating (kind of) your own world from scratch. My first introduction with the programming world was in middle school where I started learning Pascal programming language and from there began my “attraction” for programming firstly … and then, I discovered Web Developing and I fell directly in love. It was love at first sight for me.

 

What was your inspiration and when did you actually decide to become a freelancer on the side? Have you ever considered working only as a freelancer?

I started freelancing around 2010. At that time, I was working also as an IT technician and wasn’t really feeling like I was expressing myself at my current work. It’s not like I wasn’t good at it but personally I was feeling like I wasn’t fully completed, something was missing. I wanted to start working as a programmer (more specifically as a Web Developer), so this is how I started working as a freelancer. It was out of necessity, my necessity to express myself in an area that I loved.

 

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?

When I think about it, I started working as a freelancer locally. I had my connections in the local business community and that helped. I did my first couple of jobs pretty quickly, even though I had not much experience developing websites.  With the time passing and my experience in both programming and managing client relationship growing, I started noticing how things could be improved.

Freelancing in my opinion is all about building trust. Clients need to trust you with their ideas and they trust that you are the person that can develop them. But to build trust for us as freelancers, is hard. What I noticed working for such a long time though, both as a freelancer and/or full-time Web Developer is that the more clear you are with the client regarding fees, difficulties you are having or even ideas on how to improve their idea (clients are rarely tech-savvy) the more they will like working with you. 

My advice to young freelancers would be to:

  • Always be clear when it comes to your work fees, prepare a well written invoice in which you specify what is included and what’s not included on that invoice.
  • Be proactive when it comes to the project. Be involved, do things with passion, not just because you are paid to do it. We all know when we get bored with a project and the only thing we want to do is to dump as sooner as possible that project, we stop putting passion into our work. The more we work, the more we have to work (because well the client is never happy with our final product).

 

Freelancing in my opinion is all about building trust. Clients need to trust you with their ideas and they trust that you are the person that can develop them. 

 

What kind of services have your clients asked you to provide? Are there any particular projects that you really enjoy working on?                           

Through the years I have been involved in a lot of projects. In most of them I built websites from scratch, complete backend and frontend (especially if it was a small presentational website). Some other times I just had to create a WordPress theme from scratch, or a WordPress plugin.  Other times I had to convert something from PSD/Sketch into HTML/CSS, integrate a specific plugin on their website, make their website multilingual, improve their website’s performance, etc.

One of the biggest projects I have worked on for a client of mine was a clone website of a very big deals company, everything based on WordPress. Had a big responsibility there, since I had to work as a Frontend Web Developer but also as a Backend Web Developer…and that project involved a lot of logic.

 

Do you use other freelancers or companies to provide skills that you don’t possess or to delegate tasks that you don’t enjoy that much such as maybe accounting?

I do collaborate with other freelancers, mostly Graphic Designers and Backend Web Developers because of the work procedures that connect us all while working on a project.

 

 

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

I have my own website and also have profiles on different freelancing platforms, but haven’t really used them extensively. I have been really lucky with business-related social networks but more then anything I consider word-of-mouth to have helped me more than any other online website/network.

  

What are the top three books, blogs or magazines you read to stay up to date in the IT-market?

You can find some of the websites I read here on OwnFeeds.

  

What are your top tips for web development?

Read, learn, update yourself, repeat. Honestly Web Development and Frontend Web Development is evolving not on an annual basis, but by months/weeks, so try to always update yourself by reading and learning a lot. Don’t forget to repeat the process every day of your life.

 

Freestyle! Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?

Thanks for reading until now. Hope it was worth it.

Currently I’m involved on my personal big project. Setting up my startup business, offering support, development and digital marketing consultancy, Tasketing. Sign up on the newsletter to gain the first discounted prices on all offered services when we launch!

 

 

Where to find Arber

 

Arber Braja Freelance Web Developer
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