Let me Explain to You What I Do

A question often asked to me is what I do for a living. For example, last Thursdays, at the airport (Where I was once again treated like if I were a criminal), the lady who was kindly going over all of my stuff, unpacking everything, and asking a lot of questions, asked me what I did for a living. I told her I am a freelance web developer. I would think that was enough, but it wasn’t. She was not happy with my answer, so she asked: “What do you do?”, and I explained that I build websites. It wasn’t until she READ a contract that I had printed out that she suddenly realized what I do; “Oh, you build software!” She said. I just agreed, not really willing to explain to her what kind of software I build: web-oriented software. But, do I really do that?

Not really.

I don’t like it when people ask what I do, because even if I tell them, they don’t get it. My friends are not techies. I have a bunch of friends, most of them in my home country (unfortunately), but non of them are web developers. They don’t understand what I’m talking about when I say that I create websites. Well, I might be exaggerating now, some of them do understand. However, sometimes I find my self trying to explain to people what it is I do, and why I charge so much (not really, but my hourly price is really high if you compare it to a regular Mexican salary). But maybe, the real reason why I don’t like it when people ask what I do, is because I don’t really know what I do.

I do not create websites. I do not create complex systems. I could, but I don’t. I spend my days coding, that is true, but there is not a website that I can say “Look, I built this site”. All I do is fix bugs, and extend existing systems. Many times I work on wordpress plugins, and many times I work on wordpress themes. In fact, I am trapped in a wordpress world.

I never wanted to be a wordpress developer. In fact, I don’t quite like the idea of a site built that way. I do believe wordpress is an amazing piece of software, but I think websites should be more personal, and with wordpress that personal touch is often times lost. But I think that is material for another rage post.

Sorry if I disappoint you, but that is the plain truth. I do not build complex stuff. I just fix somebody else’s screw ups. Would I like to build complex stuff? Maybe, maybe not. I would like to build websites. I don’t want to create the next wordpress super theme, or plugin. Not even build the next wordpress that runs on node.js. I just want to build websites for people who love what they do. Maybe you have a local bakery, maybe you grow your own carrots and sell them on the local farmers market, maybe you are a photographer that travels around the world taking nice pictures that you hope to sell and make a decent living out of it. Whoever you are, and whatever you do, I want to build your website. Maybe we use wordpress, or maybe not, but I don’t want to use a template, and I don’t want to build you a template. I want to create a website.

But, why don’t I? Because I am too busy. People continue screwing up, and clients continue wanting their current plugin to do more. They continue asking for upgrades, and custom features. And for as long as my clients are loyal to me, I am loyal to them. That is the way it works. Would I build your website? Yes, I would. Maybe one day I stop being such a lazy boy, quit my current clients, and look for people who need a website. Or maybe not. I love my current clients, they are the best I could wish for. They come back again and again, they pay promptly, they don’t ask for lower prices, and don’t complain when the prices change. I am happy doing what I do, that is true. But sometimes I just want to really build websites.

Do I blame anybody? No, I don’t. I am quite thankful for all I’ve got. I thank God for my clients, and for the work I have. And maybe, one day I will be building just websites, but for now, my clients need me, and I need them. That is the way it works. And for now, I am happy with that.