How I became a Shopify developer: Roberto Senabre
Welcome Roberto! So when did you first start playing around with computers?
That’s so young! Where did that desire come from?
In many ways it just came out of curiosity - and boredom (laughs). I wasn’t born into a family of engineers. But I used to like to spend a lot of time on the computer. So, I decided to create my own site in WordPress - and over time, that’s how I continued to get more exposed to new technologies & ideas.
Did you use the blog to express yourself? What was the motivation behind that?
I created many blogs about different topics. But one of them which really motivated me to continue on it was a blog for my classroom in high school. I was around the age of 12-13. I wanted to create a way to publish homework results and notes with classmates (laughs).
That’s hilarious! So what happened next? Did you study engineering in college?
I actually studied business (though I was already starting to do some freelance dev work on the side).
And during a study abroad program at Warwick in the UK, I started a vegan leather goods business with 2 partners. That ended up being a lot more complicated than we expected - so I decided to shift focus and lean into my coding knowledge. At that time, I also started to pick up on the fact that even the computer science students lacked some real life implementation skills. So I knew my skill-set was in high demand.
That’s when I joined forces with a friend, Joaquin, who was connected to many large eCommerce clients in Spain & started to really develop my skill-set even further.
Eventually - you decided to start your own business/practice. What made you do that?
After working for two years in my friend's Shopify agency, I wanted to start my own business again to offer services and start making apps for the Shopify ecosystem. Besides, I had been receiving many inbound dev requests as I was a Shopify developer, and there is high demand in Europe. So eventually, I decided to make the jump and start up Mushdesk with my partner, Alberto (who was, at that time, the CTO of another company) to focus exclusively on building products for Shopify. Since then, we have released our first app, Orbe, which helps merchants have an excellent international Shopify customer experience.
Beautiful. And how have you enjoyed being on the Storetasker network?
It’s been great! What I like the most is the community that you are building. If I get a project that I don't like I can easily pass that onto another expert. It makes me more relaxed in my business, knowing that the client is always going to have a good customer experience.
Great to hear. Any brand that you’ve particularly enjoyed working with?
I’ve really enjoyed working with the Luxtra London team, based in the UK. We have a great relationship and it’s easy to collaborate with them. They look to me not just for implementation work, but also strategic & business guidance on things like “how to improve conversion rate”. They’ve been great.
Last question: What's one thing that other freelance devs could learn from you?
Don’t reply to emails at the same time you are receiving them. Take your time to respond - don’t put yourself in a position where you’re at the mercy of your clients. That one took a while for me to learn.
Secondly - when you create quotes: Don’t just estimate your hours in the project - also factor in “risk”. Risk is the buffer you need when something goes unexpectedly - and you need to do a lot more research than anticipated (for example).
Brilliant tips. Thanks Roberto for all your insights!