My name is Ivan Popov, founder of Vipe Studio. I live in Sofia, Bulgaria, and I have been doing WordPress since 2009. Before becoming fully dedicated to WordPress, though, I was actually studying Journalism, which I have a degree for.
I first started learning about Computers in 2003 when my parents gave me a Windows-based computer. Later, I became interested in web development.
Back in the early 2000s (when I was merely a kid), there were popular kids’ shows on Bulgarian TV like ‘Pokémon’ and ‘Power Rangers’.
However, there weren’t any Bulgarian websites for those shows at the time, so this inspired me to start learning about web development and creating my own sites.
The Journey Began
Back in 2009, I started working with WordPress. In fact, the first website I made at my school was built on WordPress. Then, I created my first professional website in 2013, which officially made me a certified WordPress developer.
I put a halt to my aspirations of becoming a journalist and then I was freelancing for a couple of years as a professional developer.
As the technology shifted, though, the projects became bigger and bigger, and so, to make my job official, I founded Vipe Studio in 2016.
The Need for Vipe Studio
Vipe Studio Logo
Because of my experience with big and complex projects, more and more clients started sending inquiries to Vipe Studio.
At the time, I was still working a full-time job as a Technical leader in a hosting company, and I started juggling between that and being a web developer.
Eventually, I quit my full-time job and started to work on my own venture, Vipe Studio.
As we were getting new projects, we managed to offer our clients a really strong catalogue of solutions and services that can cater to the needs of small, mid, and high-level enterprises alike.
Very quickly, we established something truly unique and fresh, which showed me that I was indeed on the right path.
As of now, I am fully committed to Vipe Studio, and my main focus is nurturing successful and long-term relationships with our clients.
I truly believe that offering solutions and services that work in the long term are always better than any half-baked offer out there.
Myself with My Brilliant Team
I have no investors or partners. I made a business decision on my own and set out to offer solutions for clients as quickly as possible.
When I first started, I worked for 10 to 16 hours a day on my own, but now I have a stellar team, that helps the company become stronger and we achieve our goals together.
I’ve actually added 15 new members to my team in the last two years. A glimpse of our talented team.
Vipe Studio Team Members
I have also attended WordCamp Europe (WCEU22) this year, and I was fortunate to give a chance to speak about, the most trendy topic in WordPress ‘How Headless WordPress Benefits Enterprises’.
Ivan Popov with Mustaasam at WCEU2022
Advice for Business Owners
My advice is to try as much as possible. A lot of talented freelancers out there want to establish their own companies, but they find it hard to transition from a developer to a CEO of XYZ company.
In terms of the actual work, I love it when my colleagues train my future developers and I also do everything I can to take my team to the next level.
As a leader and trainer, I also advise them to work in different and smart ways so they can go higher and higher.
So my advice to future business owners is to get in the mindset of a CEO, rather than a Developer.
WordPress & Beyond
WordPress’ scope will be challenged in the upcoming five years because there are many new technologies and advancements that have been introduced recently. WordPress’ open-source nature has a lot to do with that.
I have noticed that a lot of developers have been working on a service-based model for the last three years.
Looking at the bigger picture, it is pretty clear that product tech is becoming more widely used, so we need to focus on a product-based model rather than a service-based one.
This is the biggest challenge that WordPress (as a platform) is facing right now.
WordPress has always been a very enthusiastic platform, but it needs to be updated in many aspects. We’ll need to wait and see whether its progress will go uphill or downhill.
My Love for the WordPress Community
The WordPress community, I think, is the best part about working with the platform. It’s not about WordPress or open-source or anything, it’s all about the community.
I know it’s pretty hard for professionals to stay experts and continue to evolve their skills and knowledge. For instance, there is so much to learn about new tech such as Headless CMS.
But, if you actively participate in the WordPress community, you can easily find solutions to problems and further educate yourself.
Even if it’s outside of your personal connections with people who work within the WordPress community, you can still gain valuable knowledge from the wider community. Plus, you can make friends for a lifetime.
Ivan Popov at WCEU2022
How I Keep Myself Updated
I read a lot to gain knowledge and update myself in every domain. What’s important, though, is to share our knowledge so we can help others.
This is why our website, Vipe Studio, also has a super well-maintained BLOG where we write articles, share knowledge, and update content regularly.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
Long ago, I used to be a pro athlete who regularly took part in various marathons locally and sometimes internationally. And in the last two years, I actually got back to my hobbies.
Now that I’m almost 30 years old, I still enjoy doing sports activities at my own level. Sports really keep my life balanced, which is why I always find time for them in my free time.
My Biggest Accomplishment
Looking back 10 years and seeing where I’m now, I would say my biggest achievement is that I managed to run a successful company and be a semi-professional sports player while keeping a healthy work-life balance.
Proactivity and consistency helped me get to where I am today.