Who am I?
My name is Nathan da Silva and I am honoured to be a TOP CERT active freelancer on PeoplePerHour (PPH). I would like to share my journey with you since joining the platform in April last year. My passions are frontend and backend development and I love working with technologies such as WordPress, Magento, Squarespace and PrestaShop. I have a passion for learning and I’m always eager to learn more in regards to CMS systems and best practices when it comes to building web sites as technology is always evolving.
Since the age of 13, I’ve always had an interest in technology, music, social media and learning to build web sites. At this age, I always loved to participate in various sporting activities such as football, hockey, rugby, skateboarding, cycling, skiing and many more.
I am half English and half Portuguese (dual nationality). I love to travel and I spent a lot of time growing up going back and forth between England and Portugal and various other places in Europe with my family. I can speak fluent English and a lot of Portuguese, albeit; a bit rusty at times ; )
I’ve always wanted to travel the World and visit places such as the USA (Route 66), Japan (Tokyo) and Australia (Sydney). I’ve always wanted to visit Japan because of my love for technology, but not only that; the culture as well. I love plants/trees, in particular; I love Bonsai Trees. I find taking care of these delicate plants and doing other sporting activities helps me become more productive when it comes to my working day so that I can maintain both focus and productivity.
Although I’ve dreamed of living abroad since the age of 17 and visiting these destinations, I’m yet to visit anywhere outside of Europe. So these things are still on my to-do list. I’m 31 now and there have been things I still haven’t achieved… but that’s not to say I won’t one day; my journey’s only just beginning ( :
Why did I want to become a Web Developer?
Since the age of 13, I used to play a lot of games… a thing I very rarely get to play these days due to work commitment and various other things which I won’t delve into greater detail about.
At this age, I knew a Web Developer was something I wanted to be to; the ‘dream job’ in my eyes. Due to my interest in gaming and Skateboarding; my first projects were building:-
- Building a Skateboarding web site and maintaining it for many years. This was built using ASP and had a very active Forum which was also coded in ASP. This was built with an old friend of mine and we gained a lot of traffic on the web site as SEO used to be a lot easier back then compared to how it is today. I was always very proud of this project as I was working alongside Google Adsense and over time the web site had over 3,000 members on the forum. Unfortunately as years went by; I did not have the time to continue to maintain it, I had to eventually close the web site down and focus on my studies.
- I also used to build clan web sites for various games such as Counter-Strike back in the days of CS 1.3 (kudos for those who remember de_dust and de_dust2) haha. These sites allowed me to learn a lot about HTML, CSS, PHP and Graphic Design at a young age.
After completing my GCSE’s, I decided to study IT, Maths, French and Design & Technology at A-Levels but dropped out after the first year as I didn’t feel content with the choices I made.
I then decided to do a computing course at my local College, this was a BTEC (HND) two-year course in Software Development where I achieved 9 Distinctions and 7 Merits and was very proud. As I was still eager to learn more; I also received a BTEC National Diploma: IT Practitioners honour. I then decided to do another year to receive a First Class Honours in Computer Systems Engineering (BSc) which was an amazing experience and it taught me a lot about everything and anything computer related. I was always disappointed I didn’t learn more about Website Development as this was never an area that was covered as such; even though it was my biggest passion.
After making the difficult decision to depart from this company, I then decided to work for a Digital Agency. I gained a further two years and eight months of experience working solely as a Front End Developer and building bespoke WordPress web sites for some well-known clients. Working alongside a very experienced digital agency with a lot of talent I further developed my knowledge for WordPress and gained a lot of confidence. I worked alongside talented graphic designers, attended important client meetings and much more. I was very happy working for them and they were all very supportive… but it still wasn’t my ‘dream job’.
I always wanted to live abroad, travel more and work for myself. After yet another very difficult decision, I made the decision to leave my old job and move to Portugal to work and be with family. I found it very hard to work and get motivated again and it took me over two months to get that confidence back, and then that is when I discovered PPH…
Why did I choose PeoplePerHour (PPH)?
I used to be a member back in the day over at Elance and oDesk before they re-branded in 2015 and became known as UpWork. I was never really an active member on these sites and couldn’t invest as much time as I would have liked since I had a full-time job working as a Web Developer / Technical Support Engineer and digital agencies in the UK. Working on freelance sites and working a full-time job was always difficult and at times it’s been very difficult; I’m not going to lie, I’m not perfect, no-one is, but I always try and do my best for friends, family and clients of mine; I hate to disappoint.
To my surprise, it didn’t take me long to land my first job on PPH and I can remember being ecstatic about completing it. I did my very best to complete it as quickly as I could to the best of my knowledge. Once complete, the client left great feedback and I was very happy. I then continued to send out proposals, attempting to master the art of writing project winning proposals and then started getting involved in creating hourlies (offers) for services I could provide to potential clients.
It was at this point my addiction and love for PPH began. As sad as it may sound, I was always looking forward to waking up the next day and seeing messages from various clients and discovering that I have some new clients to work with. I was over the moon when these clients kept coming back to me wanting to work with me again, I felt like I must have been doing something right for a change?
During this point, I finally launched my portfolio web site which was designed by a friend and ex-colleague of mine (@dognbonesjones – thanks again buddy!). This project took a very long time as I was trying my best to make sure the development of it was perfect… It’s still not perfect and has the odd bug here or there but my focus was always delivering client requests over my own projects. As I like to say “it’s not a bug… It’s a feature…” ; )
My portfolio web site used to be nathandasilva.co.uk but has now been changed to silvawebdesigns.com and I’m very happy with the look and feel of the web site. It took a long time to do but it got there in the end, just like anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.
What services do I offer?
We are a small and passionate team of digital designers and developers with a lot of experience in all aspects of the digital world.
Collectively; we’ve worked on a wide range of digital projects for clients across the globe; from small websites for business start-ups, to large-scale, complex e-commerce platforms. In addition to web development, we also specialise in search engine optimisation, online marketing and branding – so whatever your project, we’re here to help.
As web specialists, we offer a wide range of web-related services, from the design and build of a brand new site (including hosting solutions) to the audit and upgrade of your existing website; ensuring it looks pixel-perfect on all devices and screen sizes.
In a nutshell, our main focus is offering the following services:-
- Brand design
- Responsive design
- CMS systems
- Email campaigns
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- App development
You can have a look at some of the projects we have been involved with over at https://silvawebdesigns.com/portfolio/
How have I achieved success?
It was always my dream to live abroad and broaden the mind through life experience and doing things that I didn’t feel comfortable in doing. It felt like a huge risk deciding to work full-time as a freelance developer, but now there is no looking back and the PPH platform and their awesome support team have played a massive part in making a dream a reality. I’ve tried other freelancing platforms (which I won’t name), but PPH has always been the best platform in my coding eyes O_o
I was shocked at how quickly I started to land jobs and how quickly and efficient I became working remotely. My friends and family always had their concerns with it not being a ‘guaranteed wage’, and to tell you the truth; I was petrified.
Now I’ve nearly approached my first year working on PPH, I now have this confidence that I’m going to be okay, doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I know now that eventually I might be able to do all these things I’ve dreamed of doing for so long, but like anything; things take time.
I’ve been across Spain (Seville) and Gibraltar last year and have a lot of amazing memories. Where will I go next? Who knows? But I’m finally feeling excited again to see what the future has in store for me.
Right now, I’m working away on various WordPress web sites, catching the rays of the free Vitamin D from the sun, catching up with old and new friends and basically enjoying my life again.
I like to have a laugh and a joke every now and again with my clients, it’s what helps get through difficult times at the best of times, but again, that takes time and also depends on the type of client you are working with.
My work ethos is to start by having clients, but then to further develop these into relationships (friends that you can trust). I believe this is required for anyone in business who wants to have long-lasting business relationships, but everyone’s different; and no two people are the same.
What lessons have I learned? A lot! As a freelance developer I’ve learned that I want to stay small and just continue working with friends… money isn’t everything and as long as you can live a happy life and afford to keep a roof above your head, that’s all you need. The hardest part of it all is learning to say ‘no’, it’s easier said than done… trust me. It’s like a never-ending roller coaster ride and it has its ups and downs but it teaches you valuable life lessons and makes you realise what are the most important things in life. Is the glass half full or half empty? It’s been empty for a long time but it’s starting to fill up again, day by day, task by task…
I thank you, PPH for building such a great platform! Without you, I don’t know if I would still be working in an office at a digital agency, still dreaming that one day I’ll be where I am today.
Thank you PPH team, you guys rock \m/
I’m very grateful for being a part of your great platform which I will continue to use for as long as we’re around.
All the best and thank you for reading my story. I hope that it inspires somebody out there.
Tchau for now!
‘‘ The Crazy & Creative Team ’’
A special thank you…
To everyone that has supported me along the way, you all know who you are!
Here are a few personal shoutouts to people that have made me who I am today, so thank you to:-
- Gordon Freeman (Half-Life / Portal series), the cake is definitely not a lie…
- My family, friends, skateboarders, artists, designers, coders, clients and inspirational speakers.
- Tom from MySpace… ♥ We ♥ to code 😉
- All you creative and hard-working designers/coders that have helped me along the way
- & everyone else that will help and support me moving forward!
P.S. If you’re a music lover, follow our Spotify playlist; maybe we’re on the same wavelength.