We’re starting a new series of interviews with WordPress freelancers, taking stock of how far they’ve come.
“Learning and being aware of these constant shifts is one of—if not the most important—part of being a freelancer.”
We’re going to talk freelance success and failure, and find out where a pro like C.Bavota needs to grow.
What was your greatest success as a freelancer?
A few years back, I was lucky enough to be involved in the redesign of TechCrunch. I’ve been a big fan of the site for years so being a part of that was pretty cool. It was a tight deadline so there were a lot of teams working in tandem all over North America. I was sub-sub-sub-contracted as one of the many programmers. In the end, I was responsible for the sidebar widgets. Might not sound like much, but it required a lot of clever and efficient coding in order to pass the strict standards put in place. Now every time I go to the site, I make sure to play with the sidebar for a little while, though my code has probably been updated since then.
That was one of those moments where I worked on a site I was a big fan of, so for me it was a big deal. Though when it comes to the greatest success story of my freelancing career, honestly I would have to say it was the release of my first WordPress theme, Magazine Basic. That started me on a path as a WordPress theme developer, which ended up turning into my career over the past few years. Since then, I’ve taken on fewer clients and focused mainly on selling themes through my website.
What was your greatest failure as a freelancer, and what did you learn from it?
Over the years, I’ve had my hand in a few startups that never really managed to make it past the initial stages. Many of the projects were satisfying in the challenges they presented, but I was always disappointed by the fact that all that time and effort didn’t really go anywhere.
These types of failures are obviously good learning experiences, mostly as examples of how not to do things. Though each one helped me understand what my strengths were in regards to being a part of a development team. They gave me confidence in my own ideas and abilities.
Looking ahead, where do you need to grow as a freelancer?
Recently, I realized that I’ve been a little lazy about staying up to date with what’s been happening in my field. Popular theme functions and design trends are constantly changing and I feel like I’m falling a little bit behind. I blame it on outside interests slowly taking over my life, but I need to better divide my time in order to make sure that both me and my themes stay relevant in the current market.
Learning and being aware of these constant shifts is one of—if not the most important—part of being a freelancer. You must be your own advocate since you don’t have someone constantly on your back making sure you’re on top of it. Once again, I need to immerse myself in order to regain my focus. That will not only keep me moving in the right direction but it might help me somehow lead the way.