Hello, I am Matt, a freelance WordPress developer with years of experience in WordPress development. I have worked with WordPress projects of all descriptions.
I have always wanted to build a digital agency that would provide great value to all the clients. Like all dreams, this was fascinating and very vague. In order to convert it into a reality, I had to start my own WordPress freelance career and slowly build it into an agency. I have kept my code writing skills very up-to-date because I knew that they would be my go-to tool for achieving my dream.
Here is a brief overview of my journey so far:
- Why Successful WordPress Freelancers Don’t Say YES To Every Project
- WordPress Project Management And Agile Methodology For Freelance Developers
- Best WordPress Workflow Management Tools For Freelance Developers
- How To Hire WordPress Developers For Your Agency
- This Is How I Transformed My Freelance Career Into A WordPress Agency
Here I would like to clarify an important misconception about freelancing. Many people still think that freelancing is a not a real career like an employment. In fact, a freelance career is more challenging than an office job because a freelancer is often a one-man army who has to take care of several things simultaneously to ensure the successful continuation of the freelance jobs.
In a nutshell, freelancing is as much challenging (if not more) as a regular office job!
Now when I decided to go freelance, I already had a good position in a great organization as a Senior WordPress developer. The role included significant elements of training my teams and dealing with clients. Both these skills proved to very useful in my freelancing career.
Here is my most important advice to anyone who is thinking of starting a freelance WordPress development career:
Have a Plan. Do Not Make a Blind or Uninformed Jump.
My Action Plan
One bad thing about action plans is that they are very individual. Thus, instead of presenting my action plan, I will highlight the major steps that you need to include in your action plan:
- Build your personal and professional network. This will help you build rapport in the industry and find new jobs.
- Hone your WordPress skills including documentation and project planning.
- Make room for learning new skills and professional development.
- Build a website and a portfolio. Make sure both these territories reflect your WordPress skills.
- Be an active member of WordPress community. Contribute code and good advice. You will be surprised how much this goodwill will help you in your freelance career.
Now about the implementation part. Again, it depends upon your action plan and what tools and platforms you choose. Here is how I implemented my action plan:
I began by an extensive research on freelance marketplaces. After reading a lot of blogs and articles, I first decided to focus on two places: Upwork and Hired. I found that Upwork charges 20% for the first $500 bill with the client and Hired charges 15% of your first-year base salary. But I moved on for a free option like Hubstaff Talent. The newest freelance website to hit the market with no fees and no markups.
The next stage was building my personal brand. I decided to use social media for building my personal and professional brand and network.
First, I went to LinkedIn (the de facto network for professionals of all sorts). I updated my profile and added information that brought my WordPress skills and experience into the limelight.
My next platform was Facebook. I replicated my LinkedIn profile on the Facebook and then joined several WordPress groups and meetups to increase my networking.
In the end, I started using Twitter and Quora, two places frequented by clients in search of freelance WordPress developers. I also started participating in open source WordPress projects to increase my visibility in the community.
My first challenge was to understand the freelance WordPress job market and the type of jobs available.
Freelance WordPress Jobs
During my research, I discovered that the bulk of WordPress freelance jobs comprises of either development or administration of WordPress websites. I spent a lot of time talking to friends in the industry, recruitment managers, and WordPress experts to really understand the market dynamics of freelance WordPress jobs.
I decided that I will take only four types of WordPress jobs in the beginning. These four top WordPress job categories included, development, migration, support, and affiliate marketing.
During my research, I discovered that many customers had no clear idea of what they really want of their WordPress websites. This is where my customer dealing expertise really help me out.
The majority of freelance WordPress jobs involved customizing themes and plugins for WordPress websites. This is a huge category that involves both major and minor code alteration and production tasks. In essence, I had the opportunity to work with very good (and bad) code and developers.
The WordPress support jobs mainly included migration of WordPress websites to new hosts and platforms. In addition, there was a huge requirement for competent website managers who could take on a day to day activities to make sure that the website remains functional and optimize. WordPress support job also includes small and mid-sized projects that focus on the integration of various plugins and cache technologies.
Finally, I discovered a whole new world of affiliate marketing that involves selling WordPress themes, plugins, and hosting solutions for a (decent) commission.
I decided to start with development and support jobs and then branch into affiliate marketing as soon as my freelancing careers developed into a full-service agency.
At this point, I was on my way in establishing my WordPress freelance career. However, I still had to win my first WordPress project.
If you need further help in starting your WordPress freelance career or know a great resource to help fellow freelancers, do leave a comment below.
The next part of this Freelance Developer to Agency series is The Art Of Creating Perfect Bids And Winning Customers For Freelance WordPress Developer.