Updated: December 3rd, 2020
Just passed my 3rd year working on Codeable and still loving every second of it. If you told me I would have a successful freelance career when I started on my own in 2017 I would have been skeptical to say the least. Not to mention Codeable has helped me endure this COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainly that's come with it. Even after losing my biggest client (80% of my income) in March, I've managed to keep up the status quo and am on track for another 6 figure year. Which I should eventually write a full blog post about, but currently I'm too busy!
If you’ve been following my blog or know me personally you’ll remember that a little over a year ago I was forced to quit my job, but it ended up being the best thing that’s ever happened to me. How it that you ask? Read my Codeable review below to find out.
How I Became a Certified Codeable Expert Developer
To give you a proper explanation we have to go back a little bit to how I heard about Codeable in the first place.
Back when I still had a “normal” job I attended WordCamp Seattle in 2016. I believe it was the last session block of the last day — or at least I don’t remember anything that came after it, because the session I chose to go to was so compelling it was all I could think about for the rest of the afternoon (and subsequent long drive back home to Canada). That session was Six Figure Freelancing by Nathan Ello. In retrospect I’m not sure why I attended a “freelance” session when I wasn’t currently nor thinking of becoming one anytime soon, but I guess fate works in mysterious ways. At the time, I chose to daydream about how awesome it would be to have Nathan’s life instead of taking action and doing something about my current situation.
A few months later when my job had reached a particularly low point, I remembered Nathan’s session and decided to apply to become a Codeable Expert. Days went by and then weeks. Those weeks turned into months and I resigned to the fact I hadn’t made the cut.
Now is where the music plays, the montage rolls, and the words “a few months later” appear on your screen — If you haven’t read my original post on Why Quitting was the best decision I never made <--- now you can. The fast-forwarded version: I Quit, then I embarked on an Epic Adventure with my sister. After a long day of riding roller coasters, I was checking my emails before bed and there it was **Cue Codeable Angel** an invitation to join the Codeable Community. A community as it turns out, that is comprised of only 2% of the developers that apply. This was not going to be an easy party to get into…
The 5 Step Interview Process:
- Create A Test Project
- Customer Service Interview
- Live Coding Test
- Interview With The CEO
- 45 Day Trial Period
Rigorous, thorough and at times a little nerve racking, I made it through step-by-step and was awarded my Codeable Expert Developer status in October of 2017. Since then I’ve completed 81 tasks through Codeable with an overall rating of 5/5. You can read my Codeable Reviews here on my website or directly on my Codeable profile.
My Codeable Journey thus far
As with almost anything you need to take baby steps. As you can see from the following chart, I started off pretty slowly during my trial period and the few months that followed, until the snowball effect kicked in and things started to pick up.
I was gaining confidence in the ability to scope out a project on my own, which clients picked up on because I was landing more and more tasks. I did such a good job, not only at scoping the project itself but delivering on that project. I had clients come back and specifically request to work with me, which lead to subsequent completed tasks.
In the beginning I took on a lot of smaller tasks, things I could complete in a day or two. This helped to get used to the Codeable system and also boosted my total # of projects completed. Now that sounds kind of 'schemey', but I promise you it’s not. Even though all Codeable developers go through the same process to become an expert, some clients subconsciously still choose a developer that’s completed 100 projects vs. someone that’s completed less than 10, so starting out can be little rough.
As time went on I started bidding on larger (and more expensive) projects. If you compare the following chart to the one above you’ll notice that my income doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of jobs I was working on during that period.
As time went on, I received more and more project requests from repeat clients. One of them even asked to work with me on a part time basis. At Codeable this is what we call a Retainer Task. This client relationship has been the major catalyst in achieving a monthly average income of 4k. Which keep in mind is in USD and I’m Canadian. Money aside, it’s been a fantastic experience and great opportunity working with some awesome individuals I otherwise would never have been connected to without Codeable. I can’t say if landing a retainer task like this in your first year is a common occurrence at Codeable, but I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.
I had hoped to be at 100 tasks in my first year at Codeable, and you may be wondering why my tasks per month have been lacking lately. That’s because Codeable hasn’t only given me a platform on their system and helped me to become a better developer for Codeable clients, they have helped build my confidence as a developer in general. This new found confidence has been a driving force in landing local jobs in my own city and surrounding areas. Look for a post in Dec/Jan where I’ll chronicle all this as well, for now I’ll stick to the topic at hand as this is a Codeable review.
5 Reasons Why Codeable is so amazing
1. They Go To Bat For Developers
As I mentioned above, when you start at Codeable it can sometimes be hard to nail down your first few jobs. Up against other developers with hundreds of projects completed, your big fat ZERO doesn’t scream hire me.
The dedicated support team at Codeable is stupendous. They will promote jobs to you in the beginning to help get you over the hurdle of having a big fat goose egg under 'completed projects'. My first promoted client actually became my first repeat client. We had such a good rapport with one another that even after she let the company go (for which I was doing the work on) we still kept in touch via LinkedIn to follow each others career successes.
Not only does support's “happiness heroes” help out at the beginning of your journey, but they are always a click away if you have a question, need help, or just need someone to give you a virtual high five.
2. The CEO Is Very Involved & Invested
In my first year at Codeable I’ve spoken to the CEO, Per (in length) on at least 3 different occasions. First during my interview. Second after my 45 day trial in which he gave me some invaluable advice that I apply to all aspects of my career — not just at Codeable. And lastly at WooConf 2018 where many Codeable Developers came together from all parts of the world for a weekend conference. We had a giant dinner, wore matching T-Shirts and crammed our brains full of knowledge while getting to know each other face to face.
I don’t know any CEO’s, never any that I’ve had before at least, investing this kind of time and effort into the people that are part of their company. It made me feel appreciated and like I had joined a family rather than being another cog in a machine.
3. It's Not A Race To The Bottom
If you’ve ever used a freelancing service before, you’ll know that it’s one big “free for all”. You setup an account and can start bidding on jobs right away. Nothing is regulated and the clients can see each individual estimate, which means if you want work you have to underbid everyone else (including yourself).
Codeable eliminates this model. I’ve already talked about their extensive process to be accepted into the platform, beyond that there are some strict rules and guidelines every developer needs to follow:
- Limit of 5 experts per task
This benefits the client and developers alike. At worst a developer still has a 20% chance of getting hired, and the client isn’t overwhelmed with 20 people asking them questions at once.
- Minimum Wage Requirement
Every developer must charge between $70-120 USD per hour. This prevents the typical “race to the bottom” pricing wars that generally happen on these types of sites. It guarantees that developers are being paid what they're worth which in turn makes them happier and willing to go the extra mile to satisfy their clients. Codeable and their developers are very committed to the Codeable Quality Promise.
- Don’t bid unless you can complete the job
This is the Golden rule at Codeable! Never apply for a job that you don’t know — without a shadow of a doubt, that you can deliver as promised. This seems like common sense, but on other freelancing platforms where developers are being paid so little, they’re just looking for a payday and will tell you anything you want to hear. Heck, even my old boss used to say “we can do that for sure” just to make the sale when she knew full well I told her otherwise. It’s insulting to clients and makes you look unprofessional, which is why it’s not allowed at Codeable. That being said, obviously life happens. Family emergencies, extended power outages, etc. In these scenarios Codeable will step in and make sure another developer is available to take over and complete the project.
On top of the guidelines listed above, Codeable only shows one price to the client. This price is an average of the bids submitted. So if one developer estimates $110 and another prices it at $90 the client would see $100. This allows the client to choose a developer, not based on the cheapest estimate but who communicated and understood their project scope the best.
4. Codeable handles all the billing
Every freelancer knows how much a pain in the rear end it is to track down certain clients and get paid for a completed job. Codeable handles all this for you, they act as an escrow service. The client is required to pay in full for the project upfront, this ensures they can’t just run off into obscurity. That money is held by Codeable until the developer has successfully completed the project and the client marks it as completed. Once the client has completed the task your funds are released, woo hoo! This protects both parties — something Codeable is very good at. And as always if there is any discrepancy or issue raised from either side, Codeable is there to help mediate and get everything sorted out.
5. Codeable is a family
Codeable runs deeper than just a group of developers bidding on jobs and occasionally meeting up for conferences. The biggest example of this is one of my fellow developers who took me “under his wing” so to speak when I first joined Codeable. Being a fellow Canadian he kindly answered all of my (many, many) questions, showed me the ropes, and gave me some great advice not only at how Codeable worked but general freelance tips as well. He’s been a great resource and friend, and to this day still answers my sporadic questions. You should definitely check out his website: Justin Frydman
Mentors aside, the Slack group is an amazing resource. You can post for help on estimating a task, ask a general question if you’re stuck, or even just spam pictures of your new dog cause it’s just the cutest. Whatever it may be, there’s always someone there to lend a helping hand... or tell you to quit it with the puppy pictures.
How Codeable has changed my life
How hasn’t it?
Before I quit my job I was stuck in a meaningless, mentally and physically destructive job that I didn’t have the confidence to leave. Now I’m part of a family of developers that make me strive to be better at what I do every day. I’m lifted up instead of torn down, I have endless resources to turn to if I need help, and most importantly I take pride in my work again because it’s no longer under-appreciated.
Without Codeable I wouldn’t be who I am today, that is to say a pretty successful freelance developer — if I do say so myself. I may have spent the last 4-6 months working more on outside projects than Codeable ones, but Codeable is the stepping stone to my confidence that helped me get to where I am now.
I do want to point out that this article was not commissioned by Codeable in any way. I don’t receive a kick-back of any kind for new developers who join their platform, nor was I incentivized to create this content. I purely and honestly wanted to tell the story about my first year at Codeable and how it jump started my freelance career.
So that’s my Codeable review of year one in a nutshell! I’m hoping I will have many more anniversaries to come and maybe even find a mentee of my own in the coming months. Hopefully I’ve inspired at least one developer out there to become a Codeable Expert, and for any business owners reading this article that may need a little more convincing about how Codeable can help you as a client then please check out these Codeable Review success stories.