We’ve been talking with WordPress freelancers, taking stock of how far they’ve come.
One of their projects is the “professional life wrangling” plugin, OptimaList. Sarah also does project management for SeverPress and PlainMade, volunteers with the WordPress Developers Club, and has spoken at recent WordCamps.
“I’ve learned that discernment is one of my strongest personal gifts, and I need to trust it.” -Sarah Pressler
The conversation covers finding the right project for you, trusting yourself and focusing.
What was your greatest success as a freelancer?
Standing up for myself. We had a potential client email us with terms that were undesireable and his budget was low. I basically said, “I see your terms, negate them, and double the hourly rate.” He signed a contract four days later, and we’ve had a lot of fun working together.
The other greatest success was walking off a lucrative project manager job for a huge project for a state government site. Within just a few days of the initial scoping call, I knew the project was not the right fit for me. But walking away from it meant saying goodbye to a contract over $10,000 for just project management. That was hard to do—but as soon as I did it, I felt so much better about everything at hand. I thought about all the things I’ve heard from other successful freelancers about the power of saying no and the importance of doing so. I trusted in their wisdom, and it turns out they were right. Two days after walking away from that project, we signed a $15,000 retainer agreement.
What was your greatest failure as a freelancer, and what did you learn from it?
When I first started freelancing, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t trust my gut. I didn’t trust my instincts to lead me to the right clients, right projects, right coworkers. I jumped into every opportunity, and I saw the world with rose colored glasses. I’ve learned that discernment is one of my strongest personal gifts, and I need to trust it.
Looking ahead, where do you need to grow as a freelancer?
Cindy and I are really focusing on getting focused on the OptimaList plugin for WordPress. We started this last year, but client work took precedent. CodeBrainMedia.com has large clients, and we have a responsibility to make sure they are taken care of. That is good for the bank account too, but it has caused a significant delay in our ability to launch the OptimaList.io plugin. We’ve crowdsourced enough money to cover all the operating costs associated with the build, but we could use a good $10,000 injection of cash so Cindy could take three months completely off from client work to focus on the build. Bootstrapping a product is hard, but we are determined to get it done in 2016!