Belgian-born but Brazilian at heart, freelancer and IT startup owner David Maillard looked away from his computer to watch a surfer get wiped out. Chuckling to himself, David thought he ought to show the newbie how it was done. Not yet though – his focus was on the dozen emails sent by valued clients.
Working where he wanted and riding big waves during breaks were some of the perks David enjoyed since he up and left the nine-to-five job he had as a project manager and office assistant at a large real estate firm in Belgium. It was in 1999 when David left its security. It came as a surprise to family and friends when he said he wanted a career making and designing websites, at a time when the Internet was accessible via dial-up connection and page layouts were horribly cramped. He was 21 when he made this decision despite his family's concerns, saying he was too young to give up any hopes and dreams of a successful career over something not fully established such as making websites.
How did you start freelancing?
Apart from project management, I was also in charge of all matters IT at the real estate firm, which gave me an opportunity to understand and design solutions. I was both curious and excited to try what I can make on my own, and so a year later, I found myself doing websites for clients I found at local classified ads. During this time, everything was coded in Notepad and Dreamweaver. Eventually, WordPress came and I jumped into it. I'm now using WordPress almost exclusively for all my clients.
It is very flexible and comes with millions of themes and plugins. I use it as a base platform framework because it allows me to work almost instantaneously on customer specifics. The result is a nicer and better product for the customer. Since their website is built on a widely used and proven platform, it gives clients the flexibility of doing upgrades and modifications.
I'm also able to code using PHP, HTML and CSS, but I prefer to use WordPress above all.
How did you learn about Freelancer.com?
I discovered Freelancer.com only in 2012 through a friend. It took me a while to sign up because I believed these marketplaces only rip you off and that you can possibly make a few dollars but in no way make a living with them. I was wrong. Nowadays, a sensitive part of my revenue comes from Freelancer.com.
Though I have other clients outside of the site, Freelancer.com is where I'm most active. I have completed about 285 projects since I started. The Preferred Freelancer Program helped greatly with that because employers know they can trust me when they see that shiny gold badge.
Why did you stick to Freelancer.com?
Apart from my good standing here and being a member of the Preferred Freelancer Program, the site has the most exposure in the market. There are a lot of jobs to take on so I feel secure. Of course, it's not easy hauling the clients in. You really have to work hard and be dedicated. Like I mentioned before, I was skeptical with freelance marketplaces but I told myself that I would try and see what happens.
My first job on Freelancer.com was consultation for Amazon Web Services S3. It was an easy five-minute job that paid $5. The client was so delighted with my suggestions and the time I took to explain that she paid me double. I've been addicted to the site ever since.
What's your favorite Freelancer.com feature?
I like the way reputation is calculated because it says so much about the employee. Like it or not, it's one of the first thing an employer looks at so it can really make or break a career. I'm proud to say that I have received no less than five stars in all 174 reviews left by clients.
Lastly, what are your three tips to budding freelancers?
First, make sure to pick your clients with utmost care. You're committed to work with them until the project is done. Second, communication is key! Always keep messages short but straight to the point and always let them know what's happening. Third, write personalized bids. Employers are more likely to give you a chance if you show you're serious about the work.