WooCommerce opened doors for many business opportunities but only entrepreneurs with vision and determination were able to make the most of them. Today, we have one such entrepreneur with us who managed to create a successful business out of WooCommerce through his dedication and persistence.
Rudolf Melogi, started his WooCommerce freelance business when he developed his first bakery website. He realised he is better off making websites than making cakes. Let’s hear the amazing success story from the man himself.
Cloudways: Hello Rodolfo, and thank you for your time. Let’s start with the traditional question: Please tell us about yourself?
Rodolfo: I’m an environmental engineer and the story began with the recession in 2009. I was living in Ireland at the time; when I was let go in 2011 I got offers from Australia and Canada but honestly, I wanted to stay in Ireland and take some time off. I’m Italian and one of the craziest ideas I came up with was opening an online bakery in my town because one had just closed down. I had no money to invest in a physical store, so I built my eCommerce site with Google Sites and PayPal and launched my little brand. I enjoyed building that website so much that I said to myself – hold on! – I could do that for a living (as opposed to baking stuff nobody would buy). And so my freelance web design career got started. I’m still here!
Cloudways: It’s the crazy ideas that open doors to new opportunities, isn’t it? You have been working as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2012. Is there any project that you are proud of in particular? Can you share the most interesting project you have worked on?
Rodolfo: Honestly, I specialized myself in small WooCommerce development jobs (after spending the first few years developing full WordPress websites). This means I’ve worked with maybe a thousand clients from all over the world, hence there is not a single project I’m more proud of. What I’m happy about is that it’s amazing how I can work via email without ever meeting or talking to my clients, I don’t even know their faces. I managed to optimize my workflow and that’s probably the best thing about my business.
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Cloudways: What is the importance of Business Bloomer for people interested in setting up passive income?
Rodolfo: “Passive” income doesn’t exist. I do work every day, I’m always “active”, and revenue is a consequence of that. Those things you read online or on the books are difficult to replicate and I believe only a few entrepreneurs have been able to achieve their “27/7/365 on holiday” lifestyle business. Besides, not working at all is quite boring in my view! For sure, you can optimize your client base and come up with specific performance rules; you can therefore reduce your working hours, make sure you don’t work weekends, make the most of the evening, and be flexible. But, once again, in order to reach “passive” income you have to work at least for 10 years in a row, Monday to Sunday, very actively! Maybe.
Cloudways: That’s an amazing insight on passive income! So Rodolfo, besides Business Bloomer, what other projects are you currently involved in or planning to start?
Rodolfo: Pandemics are awful, and my country right now is in deep trouble. Thankfully, it seems we’re slowly getting better in terms of numbers. Let’s hope this madness ends soon! Well, this is to say that I’ve spent some of my free time brushing up on two of my favorite personal projects (because freelancers always have MANY projects on the side!). One is my “author” career – I’m currently writing a necessary update of my paper and digital book I published in 2014 called “Ecommerce and Beyond”. I hope to release version 2 in one month’s time. Also, I’m working (finally) on my sicilian marketplace/affiliate website, “A Piece of Sicily” – I built this to entice sicilian entrepreneurs to start selling online, because we’re quite late technology-wise here. Some people I spoke to don’t even check their emails – they just go to local fairs and markets but have 0 presence online. It’s hard, so I’m also starting to add some Amazon products so the shop “looks” full of products 🙂 I still believe in the project though, so let’s see how it goes!
Cloudways: Few are able to pursue their dreams and very few are able to turn them into a profession. What inspired you to be a WooCommerce instructor and what kind of tutorials do you offer?
Rodolfo: WooCommerce changed my professional life. The turning point was when I started blogging about WooCommerce snippets. I still remember when I started posting those “plugins” online because I wanted to save them for myself, so that I could reuse them in the future on other clients’ websites. From that moment on, traffic skyrocketed. I kept being consistent with one new snippet per week; then I had the necessity of capturing leads, and so my live WooCommerce customization video webinar career started. After more than 13 lessons live on Google Hangouts (miss it!), I realized I didn’t want to stick with live events. I turned those 13 videos into 45+, and launched my first asynchronous online course, “CustomizeWoo”. In 2019 I re-recorded all videos and spent a full summer to fully revise it. Now, I’m working on publishing more and more courses because they are really a great business model. Unfortunately, I keep on giving priority to client work, and I never find the time to work in that direction. I hope to change that trend soon!
Cloudways: Can you tell us how WordCamps help the WordPress community? How does speaking at WordCamps help your career? Do you have a group of buddies that you love to hang out with at WordCamps?
Rodolfo: I’m quite an introvert. I spend most time at home, I work from home, I don’t have many friends, I do play sports but I wouldn’t define myself as a very social person. WordCamps and Meetups turned my life upside down: I got myself out of my comfort zone, decided to start my own ecommerce meetups back in Ireland, joined WordPress and WooCommerce meetups as co-organizer and also organized, spoke at and attended several WordCamps. Now that I can’t attend them because of the pandemic, I miss them even more – I spend 8 hours a day online so going to physical events is something magical. I have many “WordCamp” friends I only see around Europe, and I really hope to make it to WordCamp US and WordCamp Asia one day. I keep applying as a speaker but haven’t had luck so far. Maybe see you there next year!
Cloudways: We miss WordCamps too Rudolfo and really hope to meet you in one. Rudolfo, what are your views on managed cloud hosting providers like Cloudways? Do you think non-techies can leverage the speed and management advantages to compete with bigger players?
Rodolfo: I’ll be honest here – I’m not a Cloudways customer but I’ve worked with many WooCommerce clients who are hosted with Cloudways. I’m not a server expert, I’d define myself as someone who specializes in WooCommerce but the rest is a bit of a blur. The problem is that hosting, unfortunately, is a kew to WooCommerce success; many store owners think a standard hosting platform is enough, but they’re missing the point there. What really scares me is “understanding” the hosting features and requirements, so I believe Cloudways has a unique USP: selling advanced server setups while also speaking “plain English” with their customers. In the hosting world, that’s a winner. Overall, no matter the hosting you’re on, it’s important to have great support, performance tools and scalability – I put Cloudways amongst the top hosting providers for a scalable, fast and reliable WooCommerce website.
Cloudways: It’s hard to take out time from work, but we all need to relax once in a while :). What do you like to do in your free time?
Rodolfo: Good question. I love playing tennis and 5-a-side or 7-a-side soccer. In the summer, I move 3 miles North to my family’s beach house – when I can and when I’m not busy I also love paddleboarding. Because I’m Italian, I also love genuine food, especially pasta, pizza and cakes (thankfully I keep myself fit to compensate); I like cooking occasionally too. Other than that, I’m getting ready to get married this summer, pandemic permitting, and I think that will keep me busy for the next months alright!
Cloudways: Wow that’s great news Rudolfo! Congratulations! Rudolgo, we would have loved if we could talk more but a short interview doesn’t allow us to. If we’ve missed out on anything, feel free to discuss it here. 🙂
Rodolfo: Well, first of all I’d like to thank you for the opportunity – it feels good to tell my story sometimes. I hope this article can inspire others, can motivate freelancers and can also bust some myths. What I didn’t say so far is that at some stage during my freelance career I got lost – I realized I wasn’t making a living and that by the end of the year I needed to make a decision. Then, WooCommerce happened to me and I found “my direction”. If I can say anything, that would be “never stop what you’re doing as long as you enjoy it”.
Cloudways: Just to acknowledge our readers, can you please send us an image of your desk or workspace?
Rodolfo: Sure, as you can see, I’m a minimalistic kind of person.
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Saud is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Saud is responsible for creating buzz, spread knowledge, and educate the people about WordPress in the Community around the globe. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and learn new things on the Internet. You can email him at [email protected]