Mitko Kockovski is the founder and CEO at WebPigment, a Macedonian-based WordPress and WooCommerce development agency. He is also a Codeable expert, lead organizer of WordCamp Skopje, and a prominent member and speaker of the WordPress community.
In this interview with Cloudways, let’s get to know what Mitko Kochkovski has to say for our readers.
Aleksandar: Hi Mitko, it’s great to have you with us today. We would love it if you introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us a little bit about your background and what you are working on nowadays?
Mitko: Hey Aleks! Nice to hear from you, buddy! It’s been a while since we saw each other. As you mentioned my name is Mitko and I come from Skopje, N. Macedonia. I’ve been working with WordPress since 2010 and at the moment, I’m the CEO of WebPigment, a WordPress-based digital agency that works remotely.
Aleksandar: How did you start working with WordPress? What led you to think that WordPress should be a part of your career?
Mitko: Ha, has anyone had the answer to this question? I guess in 2010 when WordPress was starting to become a thing, and as a freelancer, at that time most of the projects were WordPress-based and simple WordPress tasks. I remember that my first WordPress project was building a search functionality for products of the WordPress plugin WordPress ecommerce plugin.
Aleksandar: As a WordPress developer, what projects do you work on regularly?
Mitko: Most of the time we work on WooCommerce projects that are ongoing. We also have a WooCommerce plugin — Express Checkout for Woocommerce, that adds up to the revenue.
Aleksandar: Speaking of WordPress as a career, how did you get involved in the WordPress community? And how long have you been a part of it?
Mitko: This is a really funny question for me. The first WordCamp I’ve attended was WC Europe in Vienna 2016. I wasn’t a fan of conferences at that time, but I decided to attend it. There, I met lots of WordPress contributors of the contribution team. For me, a guy who comes from a country with no local community, and seeing the nearby huge Serbian community, I decided to reach out and ask for help. I was more than welcomed by my Serbian friends. As a result of these connections, the first WordCamp Skopje happened in 2018 with 150 attendees.
Aleksandar: Tell us about WebPigment. How did you get the idea to start your own agency? What inspired you to take this decision?
Mitko: Since I’ve started working as a freelancer early in 2010 I realized that there is one pattern that repeats itself with each client. They all loved the work I did. As I started to grow the business and couldn’t afford to sleep, I decided to open my own agency and hired the first employee to help me with QA and is now helping with the development team.
Aleksandar: What were some of the challenges you faced while setting up WebPigment? How did you overcome them?
Mitko: I realized that whatever you do, no matter how good you are, transferring from a freelancer into an agency could cause loss. Not all clients are happy to work with an agency. It’s simply because they are used to working with you so when you introduce yourself as an agency they might go somewhere else. But that always leaves time for you to get new clients. 🙂
Aleksandar: I see that you have organized a few WordCamps. What is the important thing that you learned after organizing these events?
Mitko: Short answer — the tickets will be sold in the last week. 🙂 The long answer is that you can’t make everybody happy and should be prepared to learn from mistakes. The second WordCamp in Skopje was organized much better than the first one, we might have lacked sponsors but we had two tracks – one local and one English and 200 attendees.
Aleksandar: Would you mind sharing with us some anecdotes you remember? 🙂
Mitko: I can say with certainty that one of the craziest things that happened to me was WordCamp Nis 2019 and WordCamp Bristol 2019. Both events were organized on the same weekend and I had a crazy flight schedule. I got lucky and got to both camps in time, but ‘kids don’t do this at home’.
Aleksandar: Coming back to WordPress, why do you think WordPress is so popular considering it now powers around 40 percent of the web? What is that cutting edge that WordPress has and other platforms don’t?
Mitko: Community. As simple as that. Looking at it from a developer perspective, I can take over any WordPress project and implement whatever the client needs within the same time as if I did the project myself. The community not only helps grow WordPress, but it also helps organize WordPress. Having a coding standard and most of the companies following them makes taking over projects easy. That calms the clients in case the developer/agency goes AWOL.
Aleksandar: According to you, what do you think is the future of WordPress? Is it going to gain the same success as it has over the years or is there a slump around the corner?
Mitko: As I follow and keep up with the WordPress Core chat, I can definitely say that it will gain the same success and I think somewhere in the future, it might even get up to 50 percent or close to ‘owning’ the web. The reason for that is because WordPress gets improved over the years and it keeps improving.
Aleksandar: If you had a magic wand to change instantly one thing in WordPress, what would it be?
Mitko: Fix the code that was created inside the core before the coding standards thing appeared.
Aleksandar: Keeping WordPress aside for a little bit, what do you think about remote working? Since almost everyone is working from home, what are some of the challenges you face with remote work?
Mitko: I can tell you that my dream was always to have a remote agency. When the COVID-19 hit Europe, I set up a meeting with the team and we decided to start working from home. This happened in March. As time passed, we realized that we could continue like this. Everyone accepted we’ve ‘closed’ the offices and gone remote. That gave us the flexibility to hire the right people that are not limited by their location and now we have members of our team based in Serbia and Israel.
Aleksandar: Online or virtual events are replacing offline events and it seems like this year the story won’t change much. How has your experience been organizing and attending online events? Are they a good substitute for offline events?
Mitko: ‘Hey guys can you hear me?’ I prefer doing actual meetups to online ones. Hosting online events is more complex than hosting offline events. There are way more things that can go wrong. Just imagine losing the internet connection. 🙂
Aleksandar: Lastly Mitko, what advice would you like to give to people choosing WordPress as their career? What are some of the things they need to look out for?
Mitko: Working with WordPress without being part of the community is like ‘rakija bez meze’ or ‘podrum bez ajvar’ as we like to say. But what I mean is like having a phone without a battery or internet. You can use the internet to search for things but being part of a meetup or going to a WordCamp basically can do the searching for you. At WordCamp Europe in Vienna in 2016 improved my WordPress skills by 100 percent in 2 days.
Aleksandar: Thank you for this interview, Mitko!
Mitko: You’re welcome! 🙂