Mauricio Gelves Interview

Hello WordPress people, we are back with yet another #WCEU interview. Today’s guest is Mauricio Gelves, who will share his insights on freelancing with WordPress and being a digital nomad.

Before passing the mic to Mauricio, I can’t help but give a shout-out to Sherry Walling – last month’s interviewee – who taught us her secrets for staying productive and healthy at work. Our conversations with WordPress people are even more diverse, so check them all out on the Pirate Interviews page.

Now, back to Mauricio 🙂

Mauricio Gelves Interview
We had the chance to meet Mauricio in person at WordCamp Europe in Belgrade last year and chat about what it’s like to be a freelancer.

If you ask Mauricio, freelancing offers you the luxury of being able to plan the week according to your personal schedule and not your office hours.

Mauricio had his struggles in the past, but once he found the motivation and the right tool (*ahem* WordPress), things started to align nicely for him. He even held a presentation in Belgrade about how to become a freelancer, which you should watch in case you missed it. Maybe it will give you the push you need to begin working on your own.

By the way, the interview is also filmed, so if you prefer watching the video instead of reading the text transcription, you can play it via the embedded tweet to the right (make sure to open the Tweet so that you can see the full thread – each question is a separate video).


Mauricio Gelves Interview – About the Perks of Freelancing in WordPress

When and how did you start working with WordPress?

Mauricio Gelves:
I started in 2012 when I switched from other technologies to be a WordPress developer 100%. But I’ve been using WordPress since 2007. I made a very long trip in 2007 and I needed a tool, a blog to write about it. The only thing I found was WordPress, so I started using it. Then I made some tricks here, a little bit there, and I found that it was really an amazing tool that let me make a lot of changes in no time.

In 2012, I made this decision to change my entire career, leaving the older technologies (so to speak) for WordPress. It was a clever but very risky move at that moment, but I am so happy right now that I did it.

You had some early struggles as a freelancer, what went wrong?

Mauricio Gelves:
I guess the technology was wrong, not me. I was working with the older technology, it was like a company technology, so the decision for business was not in my hands, but I’ve changed a lot when I moved to WordPress because we have a very strong and huge community, we know each other, so they trust in my knowledge. That couldn’t happen in the two attempts before.

What convinced you to keep going?

Mauricio Gelves:
When you have a dream in your head… I think everybody is always following their dreams. I wanted so hard to be a freelancer because I like to be the owner of my time and decide what to do, when to work or when to have spare time. And in order to do that, I needed to be a freelancer. So now it’s been 2 years and a half; I started being a freelancer in 2016 and I really liked it. I’m not saying no to going back to other companies but for the moment I prefer to be a freelancer.

So, the key to success was WordPress?

Mauricio Gelves:
Absolutely. Not only the tool but the community also. Thanks to the community, the tool has been evolving all the time. I’ve seen what they created – the REST API, the WP CLI – amazing tools. And that’s what made WordPress probably the best tool for creating a website and any kind of applications that run over the internet right now.

How do you promote yourself online? How do clients find you?

Mauricio Gelves:
Believe me that I don’t do that much marketing. The only thing I do to expose myself is writing articles on my blog. I also do some kind of videos. It’s amazing because they find me, I’m not searching for jobs. They find me and offer me a lot of projects and then I’m so fortunate to decide which project I want to work on and which not.

Describe the WordPress community in one word.

Mauricio Gelves:
I belong to the Spanish WordPress community and if I have to describe it in one word, that would be friendship.

If you could change one thing about WordPress what would it be?

Mauricio Gelves:
I would really like to see people having the chance to select what they want to download in WordPress. For example, sometimes I’m just working with the REST API and I don’t need all the front-end stuff, so I would really like to have that option. But it’s okay, I’m not complaining, I love WordPress.

Working from the office is not for you, freelancing is your thing?

Mauricio Gelves:
I worked from different offices, it only depends on how I wake up that morning or how I plan that week. If I’m in Madrid or if I’m traveling around, I need the space, I cannot work at home. I do it sometimes but I prefer not to do it because I get too much distraction.

But yeah, I don’t have anything against offices, I love them and I think that it’s a really good place to get focused on what you have to do. This is wonderful because, being a freelancer, you can decide where to work. And that’s lovely.

That wraps up our Mauricio Gelves interview. If you have any questions for him, please leave them in the comments section. Also, if you have any suggestions for who we should talk to next, feel free to give us some names, too!

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