For this issue of Freedom Creators, we had the pleasure of talking with Andy Hooke, a freelance front-end developer specializing in all things Wordpress. Originally from the UK, Andy has been able to make the most of the flexibility freelance offers and pursue his dream of traveling and living as a digital nomad. Learn more about his journey into freelance below!
How and why did you get into freelancing?
My route into freelancing was a bit unconventional. I started making websites for myself in 2012 for various failed business schemes I thought up. It never actually occurred to me that I could do it for money, it was just something I enjoyed doing in my spare time.
Then in 2014, a family friend offered to pay me to build a website for them, and it was like a light bulb went off in my head! I juggled a full-time job along with my freelancing for about a year, then decided to take the leap to freelance full time and moved to Bali!
I’ve loved traveling since I was a kid, but the ability to travel has always come with the baggage of working for months at home to save up money. When I heard of people working online I knew instantly this is what I wanted to do.
How do you stay motivated and productive when flying solo?
I used to really struggle with my concentration. When I was a kid, my mum had to tie me to my chair so I’d do my homework! After many failed attempts of trying the “latest productivity hack” that I’d read online, I finally found one which works for me. If anyone struggles with concentration I recommend you try it! Here’s the basic method:
- Step 1: Break every job you have down into small, bite-size 5-minute tasks.
- Step 2: Each day, create an excel spreadsheet of all the work you need to complete that day broken down into these 5-minute tasks.
- Step 3: Every time you find yourself getting distracted by something (Youtube!!), just tell yourself “Just do one 5 minute task then you can have a break.”
Now, I know working for 5 minutes then having a break doesn’t seem very productive, but the way it works is you never actually do just one task! The hardest part of work is always the starting, so by saying “just 5 minutes” it’s a small amount that you know you can do, then once you’re in the flow you just keep going! It’s kind of my little way of turning work into a game.
What’s the hardest part about being an indie worker?
When you’re a freelancer you’re not just a worker, you’re a company. You might be really good at your chosen freelancing skill, but that’s only one position within your “company.” You also need to be the sales department, the marketing department, customer service, etc.
“It was only when I shifted my focus to learning how to market myself that I actually saw real progress is my business. Now the marketing is actually something I really enjoy!”
This was something I struggled with at the beginning. I kept on practicing my design and development skills and could see the improvements I was making, but was getting frustrated these improvements weren’t leading to more clients.
It was only when I shifted my focus to learning how to market myself that I actually saw real progress is my business. Now the marketing is actually something I really enjoy!
What advice do you have for others taking the leap?
As cliche as it sounds, just do it. You could spend your life reading blog posts on “The 10 ways to get into freelancing”, but nothing will teach you more than just going out and doing it.
Where can we find you?
You can connect with me through my CloudPeeps profile!
If you’d like to share your Freedom Creator story, follow the above question format then submit it to the publication for review. 👊