Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards

Today I am proud to announce a new section here on Guerrilla Freelancing – Interviews! Every couple weeks we’ll be featuring a new interview with a successfull freelancer who’s not only making kick ass work, but also making an impact online. Building up a portfolio is one thing, but building up a reputation in the design/freelance community is another.

Todays interview is with the always talkative and highly talented Andy Sowards. So check out the interview and make sure you let Andy know what you think in the comments section.

What does your typical work day look like?

Busy? :) Ok I will be a little more detailed. Well, every morning starts off like pretty much everyone’s morning does. Email. Once I get through the pile of email that was received while I was sleeping then the work starts. My typical workload for each day changes drastically, as I am a designer, developer and a programmer (Triple threat?). I can be creating a web application with MySQL/PHP one day, moving a blog from blogger, typepad, etc over to a new wordpress setup with a new design the next, and programming a custom order page with dynamic options using javascript/jquery and a 3rd party shopping cart on another day, or all in the same day, just depends on the day :). There are the constants of every day that keep me going though, like starbucks, design blogs, mt. dew, xkcd.com, call of duty 4, and twitter, to name a few.

I love the twitter picture of your and your kid. How has it been juggling all of the projects you have going as well as your personal life?

family-pic

Thanks! I actually get a lot of positive comments for that picture, and I need to update it because I have 2 other little boys(that one is my oldest). It has been very challenging to say the least to juggle everything that I am doing and still have a ‘life’ and time with the family. I try to schedule my workload around them so that I don’t miss any moments, and if a project deadline is quickly approaching I usually end up losing sleep rather than time with them. It is definitely a lot of work to juggle these things, but it is definitely worth it! I love what I do, and I love my family!

I’ve seen you working on projects recently from Virl to Tweet a Prize. Anything else on your plate you’d like to give exclusive sneak peeks to?

andy-sowards-logo

Glad you have been keeping an eye on those! I have definitely been busy in the past few months with those projects, and right now I am working on a few more things like that (none that can be seen yet, unfortunately) so definitely stay tuned! One of the things that I can share with you however is a sneak peek at my new Logo for AndySowards.com, I have been working on the redesign to my blog site, and it is really close to being launched, I am very excited about that. I am cleaning up the design and adding in a lot of functionality to give my readers some cool stuff to play with. So keep an eye out on the blog for the new redesign and you will get a chance to see some of the new projects I am working on from there!

Are you currently a full time freelancer or do you also work for another company?

I do work for a small web agency in my city that does work for some well known authors, entrepreneurs and online marketers. We build custom wordpress solutions as well as direct response websites, sales letters, event promotion websites, and pretty much anything and everything else you could think of needing on the web. Freelancing started as a pet project and has quickly grown into a sustainable side business.

When did you realize you wanted to be a freelancer and was your first role as a web designer or something else?

Well, as I said in the previous answer, Freelancing started as a pet project. When I first started, my first role was just a web designer, I did not know much html, knew no css/javascript or any programming languages at all. Over the years, I first conquered Photoshop as I started to learn HTML. Once I had HTML down I then started to practice with CSS and Javascript. Once I had mastered all of those, I began working with PHP as my first programming language, shortly after, integrated that knowledge with MySQL for database interactivity. Over the course of 3 years(just about) I had mastered all of them. The reason I started freelancing was because I was looking for a new challenge, a new skill to add to my skillset. At my job as a web designer/developer/programmer I was pretty much in charge of my day, I had clients assigned to me, and I did everything for those clients, including phone calls, coordinating with them to get them what they need, when they need it, and providing quotes, feedback to their questions, etc. It was basically like I was already running my own freelance business. So I did the research and started building up my own brand on the side, and it is now growing into a successful freelancing business in a little under a years time.

In five years from now, how do you envision your business model being?

In 5 years from now I will Definitely be fully self employed, and I see my business model being based upon several different things. First, I want to have my freelancing design/development/programming business fully stabalized and have a few employees to help manage it and build the brand, would also like to see AndySowards.com become a key pillar in the design community as a resources/tutorial blog. I also will have several side projects going as passive income and hopefully build them all up to be successful startups in their own right.

If you could give five pieces of software as “must haves” for freelancers, what would they be?

dreamweaver, photoshop, illustrator, FIREBUG(for Firefox), Billings 3(invoicing software on mac) (if not using mac Zoho Invoice is good and simple invoicing software)

Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at Guerrilla Freelancing?

Just keep at it, You have to know what you want, and be willing to work for it! I believe that if you do these 3 things you will succeed (in anything really).

  1. Never stop learning, always improve yourself.
  2. Be willing to go the extra mile, even if you are tired or unMotivated
  3. Be Passionate about what you are doing, have fun.

I believe that If you have those 3 things, then you will crush it. Times get tough as a freelancer, but it is way worth the effort put into it.

Go ahead and plug anything else you’d like – a special thank you for taking the time to be interviewed!

tweet-a-prize

Definitely! I would like to invite everyone to checkout one of my latest client projects that went live, as you mentioned in one of the quesions above, http://www.virl.com, is a twitter based social media web app that lets you quickly and easily shorten and share news, URLs and Photos.  Also, I just partnered up withBrandURGE, as a Partner and Chief Software Architect, so check out our first venture Tweet-A-Prize: The Twitter-based social media scavenger hunt for BIG prizes! http://tweetaprize.com/. Other than that, on a personal level I was mentioned in my fav magazine, Web Designer, last month! You can check out the cover and the mention here, and also check out the interview I was mentioned in the magazine for! Also, of course, stay tuned to AndySowards.com I have a TON of posts lined up for when the redesign launches in addition to the daily nerdy links that are posted everyday anyway!! Its gonna rock! Thanks everyone for reading!

virl

———-

A big thank you goes to the Social Media Machine (it’s my new nickname for Andy) for doing this interview. We appreciate him taking the time to answer our questions and share his wisdom with us here. If any of the readers here have questions for Andy, feel free to drop a comment and let us know.

If you’d like to be interviewed on Guerrilla Freelancing, feel free to contact us and let us know.

Like this article? Share it!

Twitter Facebook Linkedin Google+ Pinterest

Author: Mike Smith

Mike Smith is a WordPress designer & developer at GUERRILLA and the owner and main blogger here on Guerrilla Freelancing. I also run a WordPress gallery and a design blog.

Comments

  1. Congrats on the new section of your website. The freelance life can have its lonely moments — so this feature should be a hit with your readers!

    I’ve added your site to an article on my site, called Practical Resources for Self-Employed Professionals!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Kelli – thanks for the comment and you’re definitely right – freelance can be lonely at times.

      Thanks for adding my site to that article. Headed over there now to check it out :)

  2. Andy Sowards says:

    Mike! Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed! Truly Honored, I appreciate it! the site looks great and I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve next ;)

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Great interview. I am very fortunate to know Andy and I truly admire this person. I have always been inspired by his work and his dedication. I love the three advise for success that he mentioned here and i truly believe that it should be the foundation of everyone not just for designers/web developers. Make it a mantra for success. Great post Mike and congratulations Andy… keep rockin!!

    • Mike says:

      thanks for the comment Misty. I agree, Andy is definitely one of a kind online. Pretty much the reason why he’s the first interview ;)

  4. Andy Sowards says:

    You guys are too kind! Thank you!!

  5. Andy Hayes says:

    Good idea for a new regular spot on GF. Great interview – looks like you keep yourself busy in some very interesting projects!

  6. Rodney says:

    I love Sowards’s stuff. I have been following him since I first found Twitter. He and Calvin Lee were two of the first twitter role models I found.

    • Mike Smith says:

      Hey Rodney, yeah, I have been friends with Andy and Calvin both since the beginnings when Calvin and I were both around the same amount of Twitter followers – I took a couple months off and he blew up (go figure, ha ha).

Leave a Reply

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Here is the original post: Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards [...]

  2. [...] post: Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards | Guerrilla Freelancing Share and [...]

  3. [...] and creates innovative web stuff. In this interview you’ll get to know him a little bit better. Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards – The first in a new series of interviews on Guerrilla Freelancing featuring the always talkative [...]

  4. [...] information about Andy Sowards: Five Questions with Andy Sowards – Web Designer Magazine Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards – GuerrillaFreelancing.com Twitter Face-Off: Calvin Lee vs. Andy Sowards – GraceSmith.com You can also follow Andy on Twitter [...]

  5. [...] and creates innovative web stuff. In this interview you’ll get to know him a little bit better. Freelancer Interview: Andy Sowards – The first in a new series of interviews on Guerrilla Freelancing featuring the always [...]

© 2008-2014. Guerrilla Freelancing. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress & Made by Guerrilla