Freelancer Interview: Sergio Fernandes, software developer

This week’s freelancer interview is with Sergio Fernandes, a Portuguese software and Sharepoint developer I met while working remotely from  Thailand.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Sergio Fernandes and I am freelancer software developer. Right now I am based in the south of Portugal but last couple of years I was working and traveling to Brazil, Spain, Indonesia and Thailand (where I met Nick).

What led you to start freelancing?

I am freelancing for the last 6 years almost, before that I was working on a corporate job in Lisbon (Portugal capital), but something changed in my life and I start to feel the need to have more time for myself, to have my schedules, to able to be “more free”, so I start to investigate about remote working jobs, freelancing and figured out that in my line of business, the software development area, there are a lot of opportunities, a lot of websites with remote work positions worldwide. It does not matter where you live, you need to have a good internet connection and deliver work on time: that is it!

What three things do you wish you’d known before starting out?

That feeling you have when has been 2 months and you cannot get a new client/project it is hard to deal, still struggling with that sometimes, but it is getting better. Loneliness could be fatal when you only use your home based remote work office, it is very important to work also with other people, to leave the house for a coffee, gym, a beer, whatever (I got a kitten, that is my house project manager so she never let me be on the same place for too long). The last one I wish that I could be a better negotiator when I started freelancing, got a couple of complex works for low money, but it takes time and also it takes experience.

What issues have you had since starting up?

If you do not have a good and solid contract agreement with the client they may not pay you, or take time to pay you, that is very important. Mainly issues that I have, I do not know if I can call it issues, it is the follow up you need to do almost on a daily basis for your clients, new clients, leads, etc., until you have a good and solid client list that can reference to other possible clients and then you turn your clients into your own “sales person”, that is what I am struggling nowadays.

What’s the best thing about freelancing?

Freedom. Mainly that is the thing. You are free to work on your own hours, you are free to work on anywhere you like. You are free to go to the gym or the beach on the middle of the day and came back and work during the night. A lot people work better in the morning, others in the night, so you are free to choose when to work.

How would you like to develop your freelance career in the future?

I have a couple of objectives, to have my own virtual development team and offer better services to local markets (like the one I am living right now) with better prices and the same quality of work. A couple of other things but are still ideas, maybe on a next interview I can “open more the book”!

Anything else you’d like to tell anyone thinking of or currently freelancing?

Hustle hard! It is not easy in beginning, but once you stable all the rules, the clients, a routine, you will start to enjoy and see the beauty of it! Go to co-works, go to meetings, search on websites, add yourself to Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Build a strong CV, prepare yourself for a lot of Skype interviews and… grind! 🙂