Hello. My name is Karen Grigoryan (I’m a dude by the way) and I am a professional programmer living in Stavropol, Russia. I started learning iOS development relatively late, when I was 29. Before that I worked as a civil engineer in Moscow. I quit my job and spent one year learning iOS development. Then I got a programming job in Moscow. After working there for one year I relocated back to my home city of Stavropol to work remotely for the same company. I’ve been living in Stavropol for more than a year now. In the spring of 2018 I quit my job and started freelancing full time.

I’ve been doing it for 2,5 years already. I haven’t made much money because for most of the time I refused to work with teams.

The thing is, I wanted to build my freelancing business in such a way that eventually I could hire other developers to do the actual coding. If all I do is work as a frontend developer in someone else’s team I can’t see how that may lead me to building my own team. Also, I don’t want to be ‘managed’. I want to work on my own schedule.

So, instead of just working as an iOS developer I did some experiments. Each of those experiments  lasted for several months. First, I just tried to develop my profile on Upwork. It took me 6 months to become Top Rated freelancer there. Then I tried to build a team of freelancers. I successfully completed several projects with my team. But I wasn’t making much money so I closed my agency. The agency phase took 6 or more months. Then I decided to learn cross-platform development. I did React Native projects for several months. Also I learned back end development and developed a social network mobile app for one of my clients.

Now in July 2020 my goals are to focus on marketing and find my first foreign client outside of Upwork. Once I have a few such clients I will probably start building an in-house team.

If all that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably start looking for a full-time job as a tech lead. After all those experiments and learning different technologies I know too much to be just a frontend developer. But hopefully I will never have to look for another job.

You can follow me on Twitter at @karen__dev

Page last updated: July 18, 2020