1. What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Arvid Silic; I am a Senior Back-End Developer.


2. How long have you been freelancing and why did you decide to become a freelancer?

I have freelanced for 15 years as the income was better comparing to being an employee of a local company. Also, I was very keen on learning new skills to grow within the industry to become a better engineer, and I believe freelancing would give me the opportunity to do that. Also, I wanted to be involved in more challenging work and interesting stuff, and be able to travel, meet new people, etc.


3. What support did you have from family and friends? Did anyone advise you against becoming freelance?

I have been lucky enough not to find myself in that situation as most of my family members and friends support what makes me happy and, of course, if income is stable and consistent, lesser the hindrance.

4. How would you describe your clients or ideal market?

This has never been an easy question for me, but what gives me the most satisfaction is completing projects that I know have been very time-consuming and repetitive for my clients. I see that companies are failing to fully incorporate the efficiencies that digitalization offers, and are wasting a lot of time and effort without automation. I love working with people who have scoped out their project proposal before they get started, and have investigated any assumptions they’ve made; I think it’s great when clients get right the balance between communicating their needs and allowing you solve their problem creatively.


5. Why do you think your customers choose you over your competitors?

My portfolio manages to convey the style and images we can implement, which often fall in line with the client’s personal tastes and vision. I normally get on the phone/skype with my clients for a free chat about their expectations before things get kicked off; I am honest about the project challenges, and I try to have a friendly attitude to help them settle in comfortably.

Also, availability. My business practices need to be convenient for my customers; I enjoy the flexibility that working remotely and being a freelancer offers, but I also like to have a routine and to be accessible when needed so people can rely on me.

Finally, the right price point is also an important factor. I am very competitive across all markets considering the years of experience I have, and I keep my finger on the pulse of the latest trends, tools and techniques to offer my customers services they can be confident are competitive.


6. Is being a freelancer what you expected?

It is sometimes what I expected and sometimes it is not, but one cannot expect everything to be as imagined! There is an immense freedom that comes with being a freelancer, but it also requires you to broaden your skill set and to be a bit of an all-rounder.


7. What application, website or tool could you not do your job without, and why?

For my everyday job, applications to communicate with my customers and partners such as Skype or Google Hangouts are fundamental, and Project Management and Team-organisation sites like Trello, Asana & Slack have made remote working, work. On the other hand thinking as a programmer, the Integrated Development Environments apps like Oracle Netbeans 7 or Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Pro are a must.


8. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a freelancer within your area?

Amongst the millions of other pieces of information that people can find online, I would like to add that if a person wants to become a freelancer, he or she must thoroughly manage their expectations and what they could and can offer to stand out from others.


9. What are the most notable things you have learnt since starting your business; either about running a business or about yourself?

The ones I cherish the most are: that I learned how to communicate better and how to listen better. By doing so, I have come to adapt and transform to streamlines of work, services offered, quality assurance, risk assessment, etc. I have learned that I can be very good at negotiations and great at understanding business needs.


10. What is it about being a freelancer that you most enjoy?

What I enjoy the most is that I can manage both my time and money in a way that suits my needs, and that I have the possibility to face challenges whatever the risk.


11. What is your ultimate professional goal?

I have a lot of goals and ideas, but if I had to settle on one, it would be to build upon my network of developers collaborating on projects and sharing ideas for a more efficient production cycle.


12. What one thing do you wish you had known before you became a freelancer?

One of the things that I wish I had known is that I should be ready to manage and maintain my boundaries firmly. I do whatever it takes to make my customers happy, and this can be taken advantage of at times. Also, I wish I knew that I should be ready to have my personal life turned upside down sometimes! As I said before, dimensioning a project scope of work is a fundamental aspect of being a freelancer, and you need to attune your business instincts so that there are no surprises with what has been agreed to and what it is expected. If you think this is going to be an issue, I would recommend structuring your proposals around day rates for a degree of flexibility.

Arvid Silic
About Arvid

As a senior back-end developer with 15+ years of experience, Arvid's motto is to design, create and develop software that will create a positive impact in people's lives. A highly customer-oriented professional, always eager to learn and keep up with the latest industry trends to offer exceptional service.