The first "graduated" freelancer of Gnonce, Hari Adhikari, began his journey with Gnonce in December 2021. Meet Hari through his story and learn how he successfully transitioned from paid employment to software freelancing. This story is originated from an interview with Hari.
I’m Hari Adhikari, originally from Nepal, but I have lived in Finland for over eight years and reside in Espoo. In 2019, I completed a bachelor’s degree in Metropolia on information technology, majoring in software engineering. I began my career as a software developer in 2017 and have since worked as a software developer and consultant for two different companies.
Spending time in nature is one of my favorite things, especially in the summer. In the evenings and on weekends, I enjoy picking wild berries and mushrooms in forests, swimming in lakes, and hiking. Besides that, I work on small side projects and brainstorm projects for the future.
When I was in high school, I was interested in becoming a mechanical or automation engineer. However, I realized that it was not for me when I first came to Finland, living in Valkeakoski and studying automation engineering. It was always my nature to be hardworking and challenge myself at work and school, so I began to think about what would suit me best in Finland. Since it is infamous for its mobile games and is home to Nokia, Finland excels in the IT industry. So, I decided to take a chance on myself in IT and applied to Metropolia for software engineering in 2013.
The way I see it, there is nothing permanent in life, and things change all the time, so if one thing doesn’t work, I can always try something else. The universe does not decide your fate. It is up to you to determine it. If you enjoy it, continue, but move on if you don’t. Even though my first two years of software engineering studies were challenging, I finally got the hang of it, and suddenly it all clicked.
Most of my work goes into developing backend and frontend web applications. At first, I primarily built frontend applications before jumping into advanced stuff like AWS and serverless integrations. In the process, I learned about marketing automation and CRM tools and built integrations across platforms. As a result, I became familiar with backends like Node.js, and databases like MongoDB and PostgreSQL. My toolbox has grown a lot as a developer over the past 4 to 5 years!
About two years ago, I heard about freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr, but I had no idea how to become a freelancer other than going through those websites and applying. So, I signed up for a few sites, but the rates for freelancers were pretty cheap. The projects ranged from $5 to $20, which didn't work for me.
I’ve always been passionate about software development, and I spend a lot of my free time automating complex parts of my job or improving my daily life. Then, when I was in Metropolia, a few of my friends started working on a product of their own. I watched their journey as they created a new software product from scratch. I could see the passion and drive of entrepreneurship up close. Ultimately, that inspired me to do something of my own. It was my turning point where I realized that I could do it too, and I was motivated to start my own company and make it a reality. On LinkedIn, I came across Gnonce, and the rest is history.
First, one of the things I’ve learned while living in Finland for the past eight years is that I can trust its people. I’ve also realized that Finns stand by their words, which alleviated many doubts and uncertainties. Living here has allowed me to grow and change as a person, and I’m very proud of that. In terms of work, I was unsure whether to contact Gnonce since I had a stable and safe job, so shifting into freelancing, which I didn’t know anything about, sounded a bit risky because I didn’t want to jeopardize my monthly income. However, the benefits of freelancing outweighed my fear of risk, so I contacted Gnonce. After Kasper from Gnonce sent me an email, we had a video call and moved forward.
I had high expectations for my first project because I wanted to be flexible, taking on only part-time work during the evenings and weekends since I had a full-time job. I was amazed when Kasper was able to find me a project with those requirements because those are hard to find, but I wanted to play it safe and not take too many risks. So, I worked part-time for three months before switching to full-time, and I’ve been freelancing full-time for about a month now.
I would have had a difficult time if Gnonce hadn’t helped me. Both Kai-Markus and Kasper kept in constant contact with me, and we created a plan for my onboarding. Our approach was to move slowly, step by step, because we weren’t in a rush.
On my own, I’m sure I would’ve started doing something but stopped before reaching the end. I would’ve quit. Also, I have never created a company in Nepal, so doing so in Finland was even more challenging. Finland’s website for starting a business isn’t very intuitive or friendly to international users. The online forms would have been impossible for me to fill out independently. Thankfully, Gnonce made the entire onboarding process and all phases a breeze.
At first, it was a bit challenging since I decided to learn an entirely new technology than what I was using at my former job. Although I had to spend a considerable amount of time learning new things, I was already delivering for my client within one month of starting the project. I enjoyed this process because it wouldn’t have been challenging if I didn’t learn anything new and used the same stacks as in my previous jobs. Also, my freelancing client makes me feel like I’m an employee, even though I’m outsourced, which means a lot to me.
It’s nice to have my own company now because I can choose where, when, and how much work I want to do for clients. Gnonce makes it easier to start a freelancing business, from setting up the company to providing support. And, I must admit, I genuinely enjoy Gnonce’s culture. It fills whatever gap you may have as a freelancer and doesn’t feel like you’re working for another company. Also, I don’t have to commit 100% of my time if I don’t want to, and I can change my project if I’m not enjoying it, which isn’t always easy in paid employment. For me, there are no cons.
Lastly, I want to mention that when I joined Gnonce, the company language switched to English, including all Slack channels and conversations. Currently, the whole website is converting to English, which means a lot to me.
Likewise, I think there are a lot of foreigners living in Finland who would like to start a freelancing business and do something on their own, and I believe that Gnonce is the right solution for them. This process has been effortless and smooth, thanks to your assistance.
If you would like to say hello or contact with Hari, you can do that here on Linkedin.