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Lessons learned from 7 years of freelancing as a WordPress Designer and Developer

Sonja Leix
April 27, 2016

Lessons learned from 7 years of freelancing as a WordPress Designer and Developer

I’ve made every possible mistake there is in the last 7+ years of freelancing as a WordPress Designer. I lost money, time, and was struggling.

In this presentation I'd like to share my experience and most important lessons learned. It will help you boost your freelance business by implementing small changes, that take you to the next level.

Presented at WordPress Meetup Sofia (April 2016) and WordCamp Bilabo (June 2016)

Sonja Leix

April 27, 2016
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Transcript

  1. Lessons learned from
    as a Designer & Developer
    7 years freelancing
    WordCamp Bilabo 2016

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  2. 7 YEARS AGO
    I worked as a full-time Designer

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  3. Alternative
    FREELANCE?

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  4. SO I QUIT MY JOB
    to be my own boss

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  5. AS A FIRST TIME FREELANCER
    I had no idea what I was doing

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  6. The 3 most important
    LESSONS I LEARNED
    AS A FREELANCER

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  7. Lesson 1:
    IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS

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  8. “If you don’t keep up with
    technology and trends today, 

    you’ll be out of business
    tomorrow.“

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  9. “One of the biggest mistake
    we can make, 

    is to stop learning.”

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  10. SCHEDULE TIME
    to learn new skills

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  11. BLOCK 2 HOURS EVERY WEEK
    and dedicate it to learning new skills

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  12. COMMIT TO LEARN 1 NEW THING
    that has been on your list for a while

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  13. Don’t know where
    to learn new skills?

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  14. codecademy.com
    Free library of interactive courses on how to program:
    HTML & CSS | PHP | JavaScript | SQL | Angular | Git …

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  15. lynda.com
    Extensive library of video courses for business, design, 

    and development:

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  16. wordpress.tv
    Watch recorded presentations from WordCamps 

    all over the world:

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  17. “If you are asked, as the best man, 

    to give a speech at your friend's
    wedding, don't forget to mention
    WordPress REST-API.
    #SoHotRightNow”

    – Luca Sartoni

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  18. JavaScript for WordPress Master Course
    by Zac Gordon
    javascriptforwp.com
    Learn JavaScript for WordPress in depth:

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  19. feelingrestful.com
    28th October 2016 in Boston, USA
    Conference + Workshops: Learn from the people who built 

    the WordPress REST API:

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  20. CONTRIBUTE
    to WordPress

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  21. MAKE WORDPRESS BETTER
    make.wordpress.org

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  22. CONNECT
    to the WordPress Community

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  23. 80+ WORDCAMPS
    around the world every year

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  24. “Everyone you will ever meet
    knows something you don’t.”

    – Bill Nye

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  25. ATTEND WORDCAMPS & LOCAL MEETUPS
    central.wordcamp.org
    make.wordpress.org/community/meetups

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  26. GO TO
    make.wordpress.org
    => community team

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  27. Lesson 2:
    COMMUNICATE YOUR SKILLS

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  28. IS YOUR BUSINESS
    a blank store front?

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  29. If a potential client does NOT
    understand what your skills are,
    and how YOU can help their
    business, they won’t hire you!

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  30. FREELANCERS:
    USA vs. Europe
    VS.

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  31. MY OLD WEBSITE
    didn’t represent my business

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  32. “Can you please tell me
    everything you can do, 

    so I can take full advantage of it.
    I feel like I don't really know 

    about all services you offer.”
    Client of mine a few years back asked:

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  33. Not communicating my skills clearly,
    ATTRACTED
    THE WRONG CLIENTS

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  34. MY SKILLS IMPROVED
    over the years but I never communicated it

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  35. You need to communicate
    THE VALUE
    you provide to your clients!

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  36. MY NEW WEBSITE
    launched 2015

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  37. Clients are willing to
    PAY FOR VALUE!

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  38. BE MORE LIKE AN AMERICAN FREELANCER!
    Tell people how good you are at what you do! Don’t be shy!

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  39. Lesson 3:
    CHOOSE YOUR CLIENTS WISELY

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  40. “Freelance is defined 

    by the projects you decline, 

    MORE than the projects you do!

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  41. EVERY CLIENT PROJECT
    is a different experience

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  42. If you feel like the client
    DOESN’T TRUST YOU
    it’s not fun!

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  43. “I want to work with passionate
    people! Small business owners who
    trust me and are excited to work
    with me.”

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  44. ATTRACTING THE RIGHT CLIENTS
    is the key to be a happy freelancer

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  45. Working with a client
    is all about clear COMMUNICATION,
    TRUST, and COLLABORATION!

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  46. CLEARLY DEFINE YOUR IDEAL CLIENT!
    Make sure they are a good fit for your skill set 

    and your personality.

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  47. LOOKING BACK
    I made the right decision

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  48. LOCATION-INDEPENDENT
    I work and travel the world

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  49. Today, I only work on
    FUN PROJECTS with
    AMAZING PEOPLE!

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  50. MAKE A LIST OF LAST YEAR’S PROJECTS
    Sort them by how good you feel about them,
    then commit yourself to drop the worst project!

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  51. “Happiness is the highest level
    of success! You deserve to be a
    happy freelancer!”

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  52. SONJA LEIX
    happy location-independent
    WordPress Freelancer


    Twitter:

    @sonjaleix

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