Tell me about yourself and what it is that you do?
First of all, I would like to thank you for your invitation to join this interview.
To be honest, thank you Szabi. You don’t realize it but your company has probably helped so many individuals to launch their own business, or enabled them to work on gigs and provide a service that could be done while working remotely.
My name is Szabi, I am 34 years old and I am a WordPress plugin developer. I sell my plugins on CodeCanyon, you will find me listed there as CodeRevolution. I selected this name for my business to reflect my drive to revolutionize the way people are using WordPress. I work full time on the plugins I create, mostly because I personally offer also customer support for them. The main scope of my plugins is automation, I like to automate every aspect of a site admin’s typical interaction with WordPress. I also like to focus on autoblogging, the process of publishing content which is automatically gathered and compiled from different sources. I don’t want to sound too technical, so I will not go in further details about this.
Wow, you are only 34 years old, and you have already managed to take an idea and build a multi-million company. That is impressive.
How did you get started in the industry?
I coded my first WordPress plugin back in 2016. Before, I was working as an Automation Testing Engineer at Bitdefender. In other words, I was a programmer who coded tools to automate testing of Bitdefender’s antivirus solutions. Probably from here started my passion for automating stuff. My job at Bitdefender was great, I really enjoyed it, as I was lucky enough to get into a team of coworkers most of whom were of my age and we really were more like a small family than just plain coworkers. We spent a lot of time also after work, at many parties and game nights.
So, socializing was important to you and it looks like it helped you to crystallize your ideas. Instead of sitting in a garage or basement, brainstorming with your colleagues helped you to see the endless possibilities. Right?
Well, things started to changed after I got married and my wife got pregnant, when I started to prioritize family over friends and work. After my daughter was born, I wanted to spend more time with my newly enlarged family, so I decided that I will take a 2 year paternal leave from my work (with my wife also quitting her job) – so we both stayed at home. I decided that I could start learning WordPress programming, as I had a friend who was also creating plugins and selling them on CodeCanyon – so I gave this a shot, as I liked his lifestyle and the fact that he was his own boss.
As a result, I managed to publish my first plugin on CodeCanyon, in October 2016. I was amazed when the first sale came in and I made my first money online. From there on, I was unstoppable in making new plugins, over and over again. Today is also a small celebration for me, as I just published my 120th plugin on CodeCanyon. If you liked this small story, you can read the full version of it on my blog.
Wow, it’s interesting to note that the experience of your friend and colleague who was working remotely at the time gave you the idea to also consider working remotely. You were intrigued by his lifestyle and the independence that working remotely offered. Was that what motivated you?
When did you start working remotely as a digital nomad and how did that come about?
I started being a digital nomad right after I quit my full time job at Bitdefender, as I could have worked from anywhere from the globe (this was before remote work got mainstream, because of the pandemic). Being free of a location and of a schedule helped me a lot also during the first year of the pandemic, as I and my family were able to relocate to the countryside, to live an entire year with my wife’s parents, to stay safe in the unsure year of 2020. Also, recently we managed to take a longer vacation, while still working a couple of hours per day. The family and I went for a one month vacation to the beautiful Croatia, where we stayed also as digital nomads.
Search Remotely is familiar with your products and the superb customer service that you offer. Tell us what makes your company so unique?
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of why my company is unique, is that I personally handle plugin development, customer service and also promotion for plugins. Basically, I am the only employee of my company, I handle everything what is related to it – you can check my “team” here. I also come with new ideas (although I am also listening to suggestions from customers).
The three pictures of yourself as lead developer, founder/lead marketer, and customer success specialist are hilarious!
So, there are lots of benefits to the end user with you wearing so many hats. When Search Remotely contacted your company, we were really and truly impressed with the individualized service. I guess this is one of the reasons that your company has experienced phenomental growth. With your nose to the ground, closest to your customers, you can trouble shoot and create new versions of your product in real time. How amazing!
Not many similar companies still have the luxury to allow the developer of the plugins to handle customer support. In most cases, the developer will not accept this job, or he will not be able to take it, as the company will over use his developing skills instead of assigning him to “basic” customer support. However, I strongly think that the best customer support is done directly by the developer of the plugins, especially if he is passionate of his work.
So, you answered my next question. You don’t have other developers, gig workers or freelancers working for you?
What would go down as the biggest achievement so far and what makes you so proud of this?
My biggest achievement is clearly my daughter. However, I also think that owning my own company, which is able to support me by itself, is my second biggest achievement. Being my own boss and not being tied to a physical location for work is also a great thing to have.
What advice would you give to others who are concerned about the poor economy and economic downturn?
Do you have any favourite cafes, places or coworking spaces that you like to work remotely from when not at home and why are these your favourite?
No, I like working from home. I like my own little desk with my own little chair, from where I can work and relax how I want and when I want. Also, in the winter, I really don’t like getting out of the house, as I don’t like cold. 🙂
How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I plan to emphasize more on AI technology and start some advanced AI courses, which should allow me to build some more advanced tools and plugins. I really enjoy learning new stuff and turning ideas into reality. So, I think learning some advanced AI technology will be beneficial for me and my small business.
What does a typical workday look like for you and how do you manage your time and schedule effectively?
Well, usually I get up at 6:30 AM, prepare my daughter for school, I go with her to school (by foot, not by car). I get back home at around 8:30 AM and have breakfast. Afterwards I start work, open up my emails, do some customer support. This might take even until 1 PM. Afterwards, I have a small break, have lunch. If I feel that I have some cool ideas that I want to implement, I do some more new plugin development, if not, I relax and take a break, maybe play some online games. At 4 PM I go to take my daughter from school, after which we get home and I do some more customer support if needed, if not, I handle promotion of plugins and more new plugin development. Usually, I leave work at 8 PM and relax. During the pandemic, I had some fun creating a video showing a typical summer work day from back then, you can check it here.
Do you have any recommendations for software or tools which are invaluable to you as you work remotely?
However, a pro tip: you can make yourself passionate about stuff of which you are currently not passionate. You just need to find a switch to turn your passion on! This switch can wary from person to person, in my case, it was the pleasure of positive feedback from customers, for the plugins I have built.
How do these tools help you to stay productive and/or remain in contact with your customers?
I forgot to mention that I also have a small forum where I offer customer support, but it is just a basic support forum, nothing fancy. I built it just to allow customers to search through existing questions and if the question was asked before, to be able to find it and also the solution for it. Like this, people don’t need to ask the same question over and over again. This is a nice thing to have when you do customer support.
If you could give one bit of advice to anybody out there that is dreaming about working remotely what would that be?
Sit down alone, turn off your phone and any other things that might disturb you. Start thinking about your passions and how can you turn them into a monthly income. If you have a basic idea, go ahead and do it. Work on it day and night until you have results. Don’t be discouraged, as results probably will probably not come from the first day of you implementing your new idea. However, if you are persistent and continue to learn over and over again, you will surely manage to drive your passion to a level where it will also produce you a monthly income. Just don’t give up, this is the most important.
On the other part, if after sitting down and thinking about your passions, you don’t have any usable idea, go ahead and start something – anything. Go ahead and learn programming or cooking or anything else. Learn to create your new passion from this new hobby that you started. After you will create your new passion, start and build it up, monetize it in different ways and you will achieve success in the long run.
I know that anyone can do it, just you need to be persistent.
So there we have it, that concludes our interview! Thanks a lot for your time Kisded and we wish you the very best in future!
If you found encouragement and the remote work experience of Szabi Kisded inspirational as you pursue remote work or a business idea, take a look at some of the articles in the Search Remotely Series: A Day in the Life of a Remote Worker. See below.
A day in the life of a remote worker