3 Things for a Success Mantra : Hard work, Determination and Dedication

Brief background

You will always reap the rewards of hard work, determination and dedication. If I can do this, so can you. My first taste of programming was in 9th Standard, when we were taught C / C++ – I just loved it! Myself and my friends used to get the permission of our class teacher to skip school assembly and prayers so we could sit every morning for 20-30 minutes in the computer lab and play with ‘for’ and ‘if’ loops. My passion grew further When I passed my qualifying engineering exam and was admitted for my BE; I fell in love with Java and multithreading and built some really cool projects, and I won a Software Impact award for one project.

Soon after completing my Bachelors of Engineering degree in Computer Science in 2007, I joined a software and consulting company called Accenture, where I was further trained in web application development and J2EE technologies. I was placed in the Java team as an Associate Web Developer. Here, my passion for programming grew in leaps and bounds. I was a hard worker and in my very first year I was given the opportunity to lead a team of 7 in automating the Assembly Testing process; it went well and I was named employee of the year (Achievers Award 2008). It was a great feeling.

I worked in Accenture Chennai for 30 months as a Web Developer, but then home began calling and I joined Aon Hewitt Gurgaon in my hometown of New Delhi. It was here that I learned to work as one-man army. I was assigned to an internal web application development project, which initially comprised of 2-3 developers, although I was later solely responsible for the entire project. I won a couple of ‘X-tra Miler’ awards at Aon Hewitt, too.

During my last 12 months of employment I was assigned a research and development task for a new tool and CMS – Liferay. I taught myself about this project independently, with no training whatsoever, and later worked with and mentored expert vendors, with whom I was on a par, even providing them with a few tips and tricks to get it working and aligned to company guidelines! J

After working for 5 years as a Web Developer for Accenture and Aon Hewitt. I left my job with Aon Hewitt when they failed to agree to my requested pay hike. I decided that I would never work for someone else again, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I would do.

What were some of the challenges you faced when starting up your software company?

Getting clients was a major challenge; I had to travel to shops, showrooms and events to build a professional network, promote the company’s services and win work. In spite of this, the work we secured was not enough to sustain the company; moreover, we were restricted to a local area, but we wanted to reach a global market.

Why did you join PPH, and when?

For more than 18 months after leaving my job, while we were working on our products, I earned next to nothing. My savings were rapidly driving up and things were looking bleak, until one day, while browsing the Internet, I came across PPH. In the past I had set up profiles on several freelancing websites where a strong profile is required to win work. In comparison to these sites the PPH ‘hourlies’ were unique and I thought the site was amazing. I loved the idea of not always having to find the work, you could simply create an hourlie to sell your expertise and skills and clients would come to you. However, it still wasn’t easy to stand out among the 20,000 hourlies listed.

I created a pretty unique hourlie, website development for $100, and then waited. I didn’t hear anything for couple of weeks. With only $30 left in my bank account, I had a decision to make. Should I ‘Feature’ my hourlie? In my bid to attract clients, I decided to go for it. I featured the hourlie once, and received a request, for which I worked tirelessly to ensure that my first client was 200% happy with my work. My hard work paid off I received 150 words of fantastic feedback.

After that, there was no stopping me. From that moment until now I have been inundated with requests to develop websites. I have sold more websites than any other hourlie on PPH. I am ranked 32nd out of 600,000 freelancers and my $100 10-page website is a trend setting hourlie, which many freelancers copied, and still do now. They are making a good return using my original sales copy, something that I feel very proud of.

Fast forward to today, and we are now 4 employees and a registered company – Credofy Solutions Pvt Ltd – here in India, serving clients across the globe.

How have you managed to win a steady flow of work on PPH?

I use three top tips, which I have listed for you below: over delivery and quick replies; honesty and commitment; high quality and complementary services; and, under commit and over deliver

How does PPH affect your business?

PPH does so much for our business; it really is invaluable. Beyond finding customers, it also provides us access to other quality freelancers to whom we can outsource work when we are overloaded. In this way it helps us to make good connections and grow our network.

How difficult is it for you to manage your workload?

Now, with 4 of us working for the company, it is not too difficult. Our success and high volume work load does provide us some unique insight into potential features, and we think it would be great if PPH considered adding a feature to book hourlies, an alternative to instant purchasing, or at perhaps give the seller more control over confirming that the completion requirements have been met. Although all sellers mention their requirements in their hourlies, these are not always fulfilled immediately on purchase, which delays work and adds to the communication and administrative workload. Clients often change or add to their requirements as the work is in progress, and to sustain our rankings and ratings we sellers are under pressure to meet these requests, which are sometimes unfair. It would be great if PPH should need to work on something that would protect their top sellers from exploitation by opportunistic buyers. Raising a dispute is often penalized, and in the past I have incurred significant monetary and time losses by refunding clients rather than risk negative feedback that would affect my ratings.

What are your top 3 tips for managing/working on PPH?

  1. Over-delivery and quick communication: We always make sure that we over-deliver, even if the client adds to or changes their requirements We never raise the fixed fees that we have agreed, and we always deliver the work. This builds trust, and so we either win more work from same client, or they recommend us to their circle. We do set a limit for this over delivery; the maximum we over deliver by is 50%. We reply almost instantly to all of our clients who respect workmanship and are professional. This again helps to build trust. We always make sure to answer all client questions in detail, and never leave a question unanswered. Again, this builds trust, and so our clients come back to us again and again. After working with more than 150 clients, I have noticed that an instant reply to an enquiry means that the chances converting the enquiry into a sale is three times more than a reply sent after 24 hours or more has passed.
  1. Honesty and commitment: We are completely transparent; we never hide anything from our clients. If we cannot fulfill their requirements, we will refer them to other freelancers. As a result, our clients trust us, rely on us and keep coming back for referrals and more work. We are 110% committed to the work that we undertake and will deliver it before time, unless there is a delay from the client side. We always follow up with a client if we do not hear from them.
  1. Quality and complementary service: We never compromise on the quality of the work that we deliver. Instead, we go beyond the scope of the original request to make sure that what we deliver is of the highest standard, without focusing on payment. In return we are always rewarded with great client feedback, which in turn gets us more business.  Alongside our hourlies we offer freebies and complementary services, which attract new customers and help us to beat the competition.
  1. An extra tip – Under commit and deliver more: I read somewhere and always try to follow. We never over commit just to win a job. Rather, we under commit and over deliver; this again builds trust and secures either repeat work or referrals from all of our clients.

In short, I was a trend setter; I created an initial hourlie for developing a 10-page responsive website for $100, which now has been revised to offer more services, including a fully secured and fast loading website for $199 with pretty cool and competitive add on like on page SEO, keyword research, paypal integration etc; which is now the hourlie that has given us most business and repeat clients.

I would also like to take this opportunity to put forward a proposal to become affiliated and associated with PPH, to promote their brand and have a chance to give back. Here is my proposal:

We would like to promote PPH in all 196 countries in person. We would like to suggest that PPH select their top sellers to travel across the globe and set up development camps where services will be sold, and products will be designed and developed instantly sitting next to the client, very cost effectively. I would love to be a part of that team, to sell my website development services and search engine optimization service at a very cost effective price. We have designed and developed websites in 24 hours, and would love to be a part of that journey. With PPH acting as a backbone to offer financial security, create a buzz with their global outreach and secure bookings for various services in advance (perhaps even collaborate or partner with Evanto for finances and source some pre-made templates and plug-ins to quicken the design and development process – if not we can arrange that in our service fees), and us, the freelancers, turning the end users’ dreams into reality, quickly and cost effectively.

We could even share the expenses from the earnings, or invest to make event a success. This has the potential to be a fantastic collaborative venture to promote all involved, a win-win for us all.