Freelance wordpress dev who loves new challenges
Andriy helps people build & launch membership & e-learning sites
1. Hey, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi. My name is Andriy Haydash. I’m a WordPress developer & consultant helping people build and launch successful membership and e-learning sites.
I’ve been working as a professional developer for almost 6 years now.
I started my career in July of 2014 as a full stack web developer in a polish company called Ideo and later at another company called 1INS.
During the first years of my career, I was mainly working on building small to medium size apps rather than basic websites. This helped me develop good programming skills that I can rely on these days.
I’ve been able to gain a lot of experience working with technologies like Laravel, Symfony, Vue.js, and React.js.
Having worked as a software developer until around July of 2017, I’ve switched to building mainly WordPress websites.
At first, I was mainly doing front-end development, but then I transitioned to becoming a full-stack WordPress developer and consultant.
2. What motivated you to choose remote working?
I’ve always wanted to become a solo entrepreneur and freelancer to be able to have more control over my life and my income.
That’s why I made that leap in July of 2017 to become a freelance developer.
The first month was a bit weird for me as it was tricky to get used to working alone and not having anyone to talk to.
But as time has passed, I’ve become accustomed to it and now I love it.
Like anything in life, there are good and bad things about being a freelancer.
To me, the best things are the following:
- Flexibility - Being able to control my own time and my own schedule was a great deal for me. Especially in winter, when the days are shorter. I hated having to spend all of the sunny hours in the office and not being able to see the sunlight.
- More control - Being able to be my own boss has been great for me. I’ve known that it requires more responsibility, but I wanted to be able to have control over the clients that I work with, how much I charge and how I structure my work process.
3. What were your initial months like? Did it live up to your expectations?
As I mentioned above, the first few months were a bit strange to me. At first, it took me about a month or so to get accustomed to being alone.
Luckily, I didn’t work on larger projects, so I was mainly working alone.
I think it was and still is a benefit for me because working remotely on a larger project with a team is very difficult for me.
Personally, it’s much easier to be in the office and talk to team members face-to-face than on a video call.
When I went solo, I didn’t know anything about marketing, sales and building an online business in general.
But luckily, I had a connection with one agency that I had work from on a regular basis.
And that helped me make money for a living.
About a year ago, I joined Codeable and since then it’s been a great journey. I’ve been working with some great people, awesome clients, and projects.
4. How did you find remote working roles?
So for the first 1-1.5 years I’ve been getting projects mainly from my past connections.
My former employers have also been great in helping me and sent me some projects when I was just starting as a freelancer.
I’ve tried some freelancing sites like Upwork, but that didn’t work out well for me.
I feel like the amount of effort and the time you will spend working on cheap projects to get your first reviews is just not worth it.
So anyway, at first the majority of my work came from my past connections.
But then I’ve started looking for other opportunities and found Codeable.
I’ve always wanted to work on short to medium size projects and work directly with clients, so I wasn’t looking for a remote position at a certain company.
I didn’t want to be made to always work during certain hours, having to ask for my holiday time in advance and most importantly not paid by the hour.
Since those were my criteria, I felt like Codeable could’ve been a good choice.
So I applied and the rest is history.
5. What have been the best, good and worst aspects of remote working for you?
For me personally, the benefits of working remotely and being a “solopreneur” outweigh the disadvantages by a lot.
Many of my friends who are also developers don’t like this model, but I personally love it.
So here are some of the advantages:
- Being in control of your own time: In my case, I typically work directly with clients so as long as I finish the project on time, I don’t have to report to a boss or anybody above me. I’m fully in control of my time. But it definitely requires more discipline.
- Not being paid by the hour: The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I understand that hourly billing is a bad idea. Ultimately, you should be paid for the amount of time that you’ve spent delivering results. I love this model a lot because I’m not forced to work longer to make more. I just have to create more value or optimize my work process to work faster.
And here are the disadvantages:
- Discipline: Managing your own time, not being distracted by social media or other things requires more discipline in my opinion. If you’re your own boss, you have much more responsibility to manage yourself. And this can be hard at times.
- Not having someone to talk to: I sometimes miss having the ability to chat with a colleague, share a joke or to talk about something that is a common interest. Those things aren’t productive, but they help to keep you in a good mood and relieve stress.
6. What tools do you swear by while working remotely?
It’s a tricky question. I don’t have any that I swear by. The tools that I typically use are:
- Visual Studio Code. It’s a good lightweight editor that has a lot of features that every web developer can benefit from.
- Slack. It’s a good tool for communicating with your team and your friends. At the same time, if you have multiple channels, then it’s easy to get distracted. So you have to watch out for it.
- Toggl. I don’t use it anymore, but I used to use it when I was billing by the hour. It’s a good time tracker.
- Google Chrome. That’s my browser of choice :)
- Zoom. I typically use Zoom for video calls with my clients. It works much better than skype in my opinion.
That’s about it. When it comes to different apps, I think it’s about trial and error.
You have to test things out and see what works best for you in your situation and your type of job.
7. Your most exciting/ hilarious experience since you started working remotely.
I don’t think that I have a particular one that I can remember, but I’ve sometimes had to work at night to fix something for clients rapidly.
That’s definitely a unique experience and people that had it - know what I’m talking about :)
The most exciting thing for me I guess is the beginning of the project.
I don’t like working on the same projects for too long, I love working on new and fresh things where I can learn something new or come up with some ideas and implement them.
Another thing that I’ve started to love is the sales process before the project starts.
It’s good training where you can learn how to persuade the right people that you can help to work with you and filter out those who aren’t a good fit.
That’s about it.
I guess there is too much routine in my life for something crazy to happen :)
8. What is your golden advice to a new remote worker?
The first thing that comes to my mind is discipline. You have to be able to manage your own time and focus on the work.
When you’re working at home or in a coffee shop, it’s easy to get distracted. These environments usually won’t put you in the “work mode”. So you have to be really aware of that.
The other thing that works well for me is to create a list of things that you need to do on this day. I use a whiteboard and markers to write things out that I need to do. It helps me a lot to stay focused on the tasks and keep my mind clear.
And last but not least, I think that you should be willing to experiment and try different things to see what works best for you.
Everybody is different and what works for me may not be that good for you. So don’t be afraid to try new things and abandon the old ones if it makes sense.
Another aspect of becoming a successful remote worker is to develop a routine.
It will help you keep your momentum, avoid distractions and stay productive.
Although I don’t always follow my own routine, here is what it typically looks like.
So I usually wake up at 6am during work days and I go for a short walk for about 20 minutes while listening to an audiobook or a podcast.
Then I come back home, drink coffee and eat my breakfast.
After that I write down the things that I want to achieve on my whiteboard and start working on them.
The important part of being productive is to not let yourself get distracted by social media or emails too much. If you let that happen, it can ruin your day.
At around 3-4 pm I usually take a short nap and then go for training outside. I train football freestyle and sometimes do bodyweight workouts outside.
Physical activity is a crucial part of my life and if I’m not physically active, it influences the quality of my sleep, my mood and my health.
So I recommend to everyone that you do some form of a physical activity every day.
After I get back home, I will eat my dinner and either do some lightweight work, have some calls with clients or just want videos on YouTube.
This routine is slightly different during winter as the days are shorter, but overall that’s how it looks for me.
I would encourage you to develop your own routine if you want to stay productive and become a successful remote worker.
9. How do you see your career shaping up and your goals?
I feel like I’m doing pretty well lately.
I’ve started specializing in one niche about 4 or 5 months ago and I’ve already seen some great benefits because of that.
The main one is that it’s easier for me to win projects over other developers who are mainly “do it all” generalists.
Secondly, I can gain much more experience in a particular vertical rather than working on a completely new thing all the time.
Since I’m working on similar projects all the time, it helps me improve my process and efficiency and optimize certain tasks to save me time.
And thirdly, being a specialist it will be easier to create productized services or digital products in the future.
That’s because I get to work with the same market for a long time and really find out about their struggles and goals.
So I’m feeling confident about my career.
These days I’m mainly working on building my brand and marketing my services.
10. How do you expect remote working to evolve in the future?
I think that it’s going to become even more popular in the future.
Due to the unfortunate situation with the coronavirus, it’s already happening.
It seems to me that in the future fewer jobs will require a person to be physically at a certain place and more jobs will be done over the internet. That’s because of the development of AI, robots and online businesses.
So I think that more people will have to adjust to this position and learn this subtle art of working remotely.
It’s hard to predict the timeline, but I think that in about 10 years there will be many more people working remotely than these days.
My hope is that people will be able to adjust to it and develop the skills necessary to be an efficient remote worker.
But just like with everything, it’s hard to predict what will happen. I hope that people will love it as I and many others do.
11. Where can we follow you on?
There are a few places where people can follow me:
- My YouTube channel where I teach others about the process of creating online e-learning and membership sites.
- My Facebook group where I also teach people how to build membership and e-learning sites.
- My personal website - Andriy.Space - Freelance WordPress Developer.
My company website - progmatiq.com