In this new episode of Changing lives, we’ll meet with Mircea Sandu, a full stack web developer with 8+ years of experience developing custom WordPress plugins. Mircea has specialized in several areas such as ACF, Custom API Integration, Custom Plugins, Plugin Customization, SearchWP, Sensei, Theme Development, WooCommerce Subscription, just to name a few.
During the interview, he’ll share with us his insights and thoughts about:
- why he started to work as a freelance developer
- what things and skills are required to be a good freelancer
- what types of project he likes to work on
- how being a Codeable expert changed his life
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Want more stories from WordPress developers? Check them out here:
Changing lives #1: Spyros Vlachopoulos.
Changing lives #2: Nathan Reimnitz.
Changing lives #3: Alexandra Spalato.
Changing lives #4: Raleigh Leslie.
Changing lives #5: Alex Belov.
Changing lives #6: Bogdan Dragomir.
Changing lives #7: Ray Flores.
Changing lives #8: Zach Nicodemous.
Changing lives #9: Oliver Efremov.
Changing lives #10: Bruno Kos.
Changing lives #11: Surendra Shrestha.
Changing lives #12: Marius Vetrici.
Changing lives #13: Mitchell Callahan.
Changing lives #14: Puneet Sahalot.
Changing lives #15: Onur Demir.
Changing lives #16: Jonathan Bossenger.
Changing lives #17: Justin Frydman.
Changing lives #18: Robin Scott.
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Matteo: Hi everyone this is Matteo from Codeable and in this new episode of Changing Lives we’re going to meet with Mircea Sandu, who will share with us his story and experience as a WordPress freelancer. But that’s not all: he will also give us an insider’s view of working as a Codeable expert, letting us know how this experience, in a way, changed his life. Hey Mircea, how’s it going? And thank you for joining us in this new episode of Changing Lives, we really appreciate it.
Mircea: Hi Matt, hi everybody, thanks. It’s great being here. What is your question?
Matteo: Let’s just start.
Matteo: So let me give you an easy one to start with. Why don’t you start by telling us in which part of the world you are right now, where you’re from and most importantly how long have you been a freelancer?
Mircea: Bucharest, Romania, born and raised here so never actually moved. I don’t know, I’ve been a proper freelancer since I started on Codeable. I never actually had a 9-5 job but I was part of a let’s call it a small local agency here. Before that, I did some small freelancing jobs but not so concentrated as I’m doing it now.
Matteo: Okay, and would you mind telling us what do you like about the freelancing world? I mean why did you choose to start working by yourself?
Mircea: I was always attracted to this freelancing side of the world. In a way, I was doing some sort of freelancing before but only in a team. The most important thing for me was gaining independence so as it all started when I was in high school I wanted to be free. Then I just kept at it and ended up here. So mostly it’s the freedom.
Matteo: The freedom of setting up your agenda yes, your schedule and your clients you’re working with…
Mircea: Yeah! The thing is I’ve always been attracted to building websites so it started when I was very young and it came in a way very natural to me… I mean, building things for the internet; it’s easier to work on the internet, easier than other jobs.
Matteo: Yes, and even if we’re at the beginning of this interview, I’m going to ask you a super tough question right away. Are you ready?
Matteo: What does it take to be a good freelancer and do you think anybody can be one? For example, off the top of my head, I think maybe dealing with clients requests you know that my fall off the scope of a project or you know having tight deadlines or having continuous requested like revisions or planning your time and resources things like this might look like challenges. Tell us about it: what does it take to be a good freelancer?
Mircea: I think yeah being a good freelancer most importantly you mentioned, I mean the most important thing is being able to self-modulate. So…
Mircea: Yeah getting motivation from yourself because in most of the situations there won’t be someone to motivate you to get working. Even if you work with clients all the time which makes it… I mean you get pressure in a way to finish things, you always have to keep on getting new clients, getting new jobs and that’s very important. Keeping a constant flow of work. And also in part with this, you have to have a good time management. You have to be able to assign effort constantly in a way that makes sense.
Matteo: Yes, totally agree. What made you look for something in your freelancing life like Codeable? Was there a specific reason? Like you didn’t like your previous clients or your previous jobs or the way you were working before? Tell us about it, what made you look for something in your freelancing life like Codeable?
Mircea: The main thing I think I was working very long hours before and being very stressed. So one morning I said “okay I’m going to try and make a change” so I thought about finding some remote work at that point. Also, I tried it before but now it was a different approach, it was more mature and with more experience. Then I found Codeable and, at the time, I didn’t really understand how great it is… but I applied and I wasn’t really sure I had a chance of getting in.
Matteo: Do you remember how did you hear about Codeable?
Mircea: I think I found a posting on a job board or something like that.
Matteo: Okay, and do you remember how long you’ve been a Codeable expert? It’s been a while but I don’t know…
Mircea: It’s less than 2 years. It will be 2 years in June.
Matteo: Yeah you’re with us for quite some time so congrats! One more question a little bit deeper in your path here at Codeable which is what type of project are do you see yourself strongest at? I mean do you see yourself strongest with quick projects maybe those types of things that can be done in a day or a more complex one that maybe might keep you busy for I don’t know one week, what else?
Mircea: Yeah, I mean one week is not that long but usually… the project I like the most is building a self-supporting plugin so to speak. So building mostly a backend functionality which is helpful and if it’s a whole new functionality so not really supported… I mean not really an extension of an existing plugin it’s even better; so those are the products I like most and find most challenging. Usually, those are like a couple of weeks long.
Matteo: Usually, okay and how many projects have you worked on and completed?
Mircea: I think right now I’m over 210 tasks on Codeable.
Matteo: Wow, so over 200 congrats!
Matteo: Congrats. How are things going here at Codeable?
Mircea: It’s great, it’s been life changing for me, I’ve been able to plan better for everything and I think that’s the most important part! That’s what keeps me going and that has convinced me to become a fulltime freelancer on Codeable. For a long period, I’ve had very few clients outside of Codeable, it’s great. Yeah, I think the most important thing is predictability for me.
Mircea: I was able to plan better and have better work-life balance while keeping my freedom and working on projects which I like.
Matteo: Wow that sounds amazing. Okay, let me just take a little step back to a wider question, which is if you look at your past freelancing life and then you fast forward to today how have things changed for you since joining Codeable? I mean are they any different?
Mircea: Things have changed… I mean I’m able to plan my day better now.
Matteo: You mean incoming work or something?
Mircea: Also incoming work but also because I don’t have to spend that much time running for clients. So it allowed me to work and to have a better schedule and work regular hours – so to speak which sometimes are really good; that’s a great deal. And also I’ve been more relaxed financially because the income is safer, in a way, so that’s great. I’ve grown a lot technically. So I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve been in contact with great projects, which I don’t think I’ve had before, and I was able to see problems and situations which I haven’t met before from websites with big traffic and many products (like eCommerce) or like a lot of sales or subscriptions stuff. All was challenging and a great experience to learn.
Matteo: Yeah okay that sounds amazing and it’s really awesome. So I guess you must be quite happy about your freelancing life that you’re building on. Let me ask you one last thing. I know some experts like you, after working with us for some time, have been able to travel more (my favorite), invest in their business like buying better software and better laptop or better gear generally speaking, and somebody was able to put down some deposit, some good savings on the side. How about you: did you do anything like that or planning to do anything like this?
Mircea: Yeah, well I’m currently saving and planning to purchase a house.
Matteo: Ohh, that’s a huge one.
Mircea: Not a house an apartment.
Matteo: Yes, it’s a huge achievement in a man’s life, right?!
Mircea: Yeah that’s the main plan now and I was also able to buy a new car last year.
Matteo: Oh interesting.
Mircea: It was long overdue.
Matteo: Well that’s lovely. Think that’s enough for today. Mircea it was super interesting hearing your story, thank you for sharing it with me, with us and once again I would like to thank you very much for spending your time with all of us, so wish you a good day and talk to you soon, cheers.
Mircea: Thanks a lot, bye.