About 4.5 years ago, my life changed…
Affiliate marketing and passive income was all the rage. Who doesn’t want to make money while they sleep? So I gave it a shot, and started building these simple sites on something called WordPress. I started using WordPress simply to get good looking sites up in a couple of hours. However, I quickly realized I loved building the sites more than the marketing. I started customizing themes with basic CSS and some copy-paste snippets. Then I found the Genesis Framework and followed a tutorial to build my first custom child theme. I was hooked!
Now, I’ve been mostly self-taught since then, hacking my way through development and using my client work to pay for things like Lynda, Udemy, and Udacity along the way. I’m an avid learner and achiever, so tutorial, workshops and bootcamps are incredibly helpful and motivating to me.
I love WordPress because:
It’s funny: in high school, I took a Computer Programming class and aced it. I loved it, and thought, “Hmmm… maybe there’s a career here?” However, when I approached my teacher about it, he asked, “Well, why would you want to do that?” I didn’t have a good answer for him other than I loved his class, the subject matter, and coding. I ended up not pursuing CS, and have spent almost 15 years coming back around, getting reacquainted with everything. A lot has changed and so have I.
To be honest, freelancing more chose me. While I could have applied for an in-person job at a company, I do not have a visa to work here in South Korea, and my wife has a great job, so there’s no reason to leave.
BUT, if I had to say why I would choose freelancing, I would say the following which is taken from the job posting for toptal WordPress developer here:
Freedom to choose your own schedule and choose from a variety of hourly, part-time, and full-time projects.
This is perfect for me! I love working, and working from home. Also, we are expecting our first child this Christmas. Working with a company like toptal and as a freelancer allows me to scale up my work load when I have the time, and back off for important life events (like a new child!).
The ability to work from wherever you want. Whether you prefer traveling and working from exotic beaches or spending time with your family and working from home, the choice is yours.
My wife and I (and soon our baby girl) love to travel. Also, as a teacher, my wife gets extended time off in the summer and winter. The ability to take my work with me, even on vacation and visitng family, is key. I really love work (borderline workaholic), so stepping away from work, even for a few days makes me a little jittery:-).
Access to a thriving, collaborative community of talented peers.
This is probably one of the most important aspect of being a freelancer, and working with a community like the toptal Web Freelancers Group. I have access to folks like me: driven, trying to be better every day, and collaborative. Whether it’s a freelancer meetup or working together with a distributed team, I like producing something bigger than I can do on my own. As they say, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
So, I’ve applied to work at toptal and some other organizations that support freelancers and the freelancer lifestyle in a unique way. I’m looking forward to my next project.