Our latest Featured Soloist is a talented freelance developer and engineer from Denver, CO
Before becoming a full-time freelancer, Paul Craciunoiu worked in San Francisco as an entrepreneur and as an engineer for technology startups. He was drawn to the freedom of freelancing and decided to team up with his brother to launch their own freelance development firm.
They work together to solve problems and build products for a variety of companies. Their two-man shop has become so successful that they’re now looking to expand and bring on other freelancers to help them handle incoming projects. Craciunoiu wants to help other freelancers achieve the same level of success and is on the lookout for opportunities to share his knowledge and mentor others.
What kind of services do you offer and what’s your speciality?
We focus on solving difficult technology issues, develop high quality custom software solutions, and build stuff that lasts and that the companies can maintain.
What platforms/languages are you seeing your clients ask for these days?
React, Node.JS and Django.
In your profile, it says that you’re based in two cities–San Francisco and Denver–why?
We both live near Denver. But I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years and my family is there. So I have many clients there and go there often.
You have a partner in your freelance business, what are the benefits of that?
I created it with my brother.
There are many advantages. We work well together. We both have a strong work ethic. The fact he’s my brother is just a cherry on top. We have the personal side, but also the professional side. We can handle a full application because I’m back-end and he’s front-end. So we can take on more complex projects. We can reduce the work hours and share the work, this lets us not get overworked.
Describe your journey that led you to freelancing
Started out of college with Mozilla and got a bug to try and do a startup.
It didn’t quite work out, so I joined some smaller startups to learn. Then I moved into freelance to have flexibility and steady income.
What’s the best thing about freelancing to you?
I can work about half the time and make the same money, or make double what a full-time job would pay.
This allows me to focus on other things as well. Clients also value me and empower me to do my best. When I was an employee, I hit lots of walls in climbing the ladder. As a freelancer, delivering great work is what makes the client happy. Full time employers don’t always recognize and appreciate your value, but direct clients do.
What’s some advice you can offer to other freelancers?
Many freelancers undervalue themselves.
You don’t want to just decide what your full time salary was and shoot to make that. As a freelancer, there are more things you need to do other than just the core work. Keep in mind the work you need to put in on business development, accounting, etc.
I went through Brennan Dunn’s rate course, which was very powerful. It gave me the confidence that I’m on the right path. (You can find a deal for this course in your LocalSolo Perks page). Also ask other friends who have been freelancing for a while to get their perspective. Also, don’t take on shitty clients, it’s not worth it.
What recent work are you most proud of?
A lot of the work I do is confidential, however, I recently built an interface that connected map and video data and reading of sensors. Connecting all of this together in real time, it was an intense data management project. It blows my mind how powerful a browser can be these days to deploy applications. Wish I could tell your audience more about it!
How do you keep the work and new clients coming in?
I have gotten clients through LocalSolo and Hacker News. My website has given me some cold leads as well. I go to conferences and have some clients I have met there.
Personal connections and my own network over the years keeps delivering more work.
What’s your advice in dealing with clients?
Sometimes you have a client who is delinquent on payment. One time a client paid after 6 months.
We kept persisting and eventually they paid. Stay in contact with them in this situation. Sometimes go around the finance department, and ask other contacts in the business to go ask on your behalf. Connecting on a human level will help you get paid.
What’s your freelance tool stack, the tools you can’t live without?
Quickbooks Online for accounting. Slack and email for communications. I still use Freshbooks to track time. My brother uses Timely. We use Trello for our own internal task management.
For client work, it depends on the client, what they are comfortable with. Sometimes Google Sheets, Jira, Github issues.
What’s next for you?
This year we started sub-contracting. We’re looking for kick-ass engineers on React and Django. We’ve started to turn down work, so need to bring more people on.
Another goal is to build a product on our own. We are reserving time this year to do this as one of our projects.
What are common challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
I love being a freelancer and have no problem staying motivated working for myself. I’m really interested in mentoring other freelancers, so down the line it would be cool to use a freelance community to get an audience to help become better freelancers.
Check in every few weeks when we’ll highlight another LocalSolo Freelancer. If you’d like to be a featured Soloist, just send us a message.