A senior developer for a telecom IT company in Italy, Salvatore Balzano moved to Spain and began searching for a flexible work solution that would allow him to travel and earn a good living. Unfortunately, his move coincided with the global economic downturn, and he found that the companies in Spain were unable to compensate him appropriately.
Then Salvatore turned to the online workplace. He joined oDesk, landed a few projects and now works with clients from Denmark to Portland. “I had interviews with companies here in Spain, but because of the economy, the offers were not compatible with what I could earn on oDesk. Having clients from throughout the world means my earning potential is not tied to the economy locally.”
After joining oDesk, Salvatore began a shift away from telecom to iOS mobile app development. “The mobile apps were totally new for me when I came to oDesk, but I identified iOS as a business opportunity and started studying it. I took a few jobs just to get the experience, but now I earn a good living doing iOS on oDesk. I’m working with people from all over the world, learning about them and their culture. It’s not like when you meet people in person; here, I have to gain a client’s trust by producing results.”
Salvatore’s successful transition to online work reveals two key pieces of advice for new freelancers: One, don’t market yourself as a generalist but instead pick a topic that interests you, like iOS mobile apps. Two, once you have decided on a focus area, it’s important to actively grow your skills in that area. Salvatore found success through studying on his own and choosing small projects that would grow his skills.
Several years later, Salvatore now almost exclusively focuses on iOS mobile app development on oDesk. He continues to improve his skills, growing his business (and income!) along the way. Online freelancing also provides Salvatore with the freedom to travel back and forth from Italy whenever he wants. He says, “I can go home and see my family and keep working.”