MEET #59 KEREM SUER
1. How long have you been freelancing?
I’ve been full-time freelancing for 609 days, so 1 year 7 months and 30 days. But that’s from the date I left my full-time job at Fitbit. I can probably comfortably say I’ve been freelancing here and there for over 7 years or so.
2. Is there a time or place that you feel most creative/have the best ideas?
You know I used to be a serious night owl. Since my wife is a nightshift nurse, I used to match my hours to hers, so I would be out and about during the day, come home around 5pm, sleep for 7-8 hours, start working a little past midnight and work until the sun rises. But I started to find out there are other times of the day I’m really productive, too. So now I’m trying morning hours. I start my day around latest 7am, be super productive for 3-4 hours, enjoy the day, come back and work more. This also has shifted with the client base I have. Some clients do need me during the day, sometimes onsite, sometimes just FaceTime calls. But I think I still prefer night owl hours to be honest. A lot less distraction, no emails, no phone calls, just quiet night time, good coffee and work.
3. What's your ideal Working:Not Working ratio?
Well, this ratio was the core reason for me going fulltime freelance. So I can work hard, but then take time off and enjoy earth with my little family. I’m still exploring how to optimize this ratio, but I can say I work really hard for a month then take a couple weeks off, doing things I enjoy more than work. I guess I work to live, not the other way around. But again, this changes quite a lot. It depends on my wife’s schedule for bigger vacations; it depends on my clients' important product releases. But being outside the system made me realize there’s a whole world out there.
4. Do your parents understand what you do?
Let me be optimistic here, I think they understand what I do a lot better than … let’s say 5 years ago. They still don’t know exactly what I do. And when I told them I’m quitting my fulltime gig to start freelancing, they thought I was crazy. And for a year or so my dad wanted me to find a “real” job. But now I guess they see I enjoy my life, work and can make a living; they’re realizing the world is changing.
5. What scene from a movie makes you laugh just thinking about it?
I find myself snorting to many Old School scenes. Especially Frank the Tank! “Once it hits your lips, it’s so good” — after doing a beer funnel. Many Office Space scenes make me laugh so hard because it’s so freaking real. We all had that asshole boss who says “Yeeeeaaah, I’m gonna need you to come in tomorrow…” So good, I might just watch that movie again.
6. If you were stranded on a desert island, with your computer, what 3 websites would you take with you?
I think I know what websites I wouldn’t take. Facebook and Twitter. It would be a hell of a time if I was stranded on a desert island. I would enjoy nature, find ways to make things, survive. I would probably want YouTube so I can YouTube how-to videos. How to make a raft on a desert island. I would also want some sort of a blog so I can write entries for archival purposes. It sounds like I’ve been waiting to be stranded on an island but I’m just being real, guys.
7. What do you do when Not Working?
I spend lots of time outside with my dog, when my wife is not working she joins the pack too. Outside is what I like. Nature, hikes, camping. California is an unlimited source for hidden gem places, so I like to explore a lot. I take lots of pictures, I like to document things. And yes, we travel a lot.
8. Do you have a hidden talent?
I can sort of play classical piano. I don’t play as much I would like to, and I don’t have a real piano where we live right now. But I took lessons when I was 6, and still remember some songs. So sometimes I take out my MAudio and play old songs to zone out. I also like to take pictures, but I’m not sure if that’s a talent or just what I do to get better at it.
9. Any tips or advice for fellow freelancers?
Break your routine, change your office layout every now and then, meet as many people as possible, make human interaction, go out, have fun, do things you couldn’t do if you were to have a full-time job. And keep learning. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
10. What's your favorite thing on the internet this week?
For the last couple months I’ve been enjoying two similar Twitter accounts a lot. They both post historical pictures, and they are AMAZING. Here ya go:
Thank you so much for this little interview. It’s been an honor.