The idea of becoming a freelance WordPress developer can sound like an amazing job. Being your own boss, working your own hours, working the projects which interest you, and having the ability to work from anywhere are perks that everyone wants. So how do you go from just working on your own website to becoming a professional WordPress developer? Leaving your 9-5 job to become a freelancer can certainly be a leap of faith. Today, we’re going to answer some of theses questions and give you some tips on becoming a professional WordPress developer.
WordPress developer challenges
Even though the freelancer position has many awesome perks, it is not all easy.
On call — Most people don’t think about this when going from the 8-5 to a full-time freelance position. No matter where you are or what you have going on, your clients can call you. Running your own business means that you have to be available to take that hard call when a client’s website is giving the white-screen-of-death.
Job security — Even though the WordPress development market may be strong, there is not any guarantee that you will have a paycheck every month. This brings a challenge as you always have to be working to advertise and sell your services while working with current clients.
Contracts and negotiation — When you start with your first client, contracts and negotiations don’t seem to be a big deal. You can set your price and email them an overview of the process. When you have ten clients, contracts are very important as you will find that each client has a different understanding of the development process. Negotiating your price wouldn’t seem like it would be a concern, but the actual process is a bit more involved. Unfortunately, as a freelancer, there can be times where it feels that customers don’t value your service.
We bring up these points not to intimidate you from becoming a WordPress developer, but to give you a realistic picture of what is involved.
You might not be a freelance WordPress developer
Being a freelancer is not for everyone and there are two areas which can help determine whether this would be a good fit.
Customer service — If you do not enjoy explaining and teaching, hearing from the same client several times in a day, and constantly fixing “user-error” issues, becoming a freelance WordPress developer would not be for you.
Technical aptitude — If you struggle with technical problem-solving skills, problems caused by user error, and issues caused by core files and plugins, becoming a freelance WordPress developer isn’t recommended.
Setting your rate
If you are just starting off as a WordPress developer, it can be hard to know how to set your rates. Instead of charging per project, charge per hour. This is an easier way to be sure you are compensated for your time. This also gives you an idea of the time you are putting into the project.
Finding your clients
A very common question is; “How do you find your clients?”
There are several methods to finding good clients.
- Local business events – Attend local business events and talk in-person to as many people as you can about what you do.
- Network with companies who work to start businesses – Reach out to companies who help businesses get started and see if you can place a sign and business cards in their lobby.
- Finding websites which are outdated and sending a follow-up email – Spend some time online finding websites which are outdated and need to be updated. Send a personal note to the website owner and see if they would be interested in a free mockup. If they agree, create a mockup and then follow-up.
- Referrals – Reach out to clients who you have already worked with and see if they would be willing to refer you to their friends and family.
As you complete client websites, start to build a professional online portfolio for websites you have built. This brings credibility as well as gives new clients the ability to see styles and features that you’ve designed and developed.
Update your website. As you learn new styles and features, build them into your own website. Your website speaks for itself. If it’s professional and impressive, your future clients will be a lot more likely to work with you.
There are many perks of freelance WordPress development. Being your own boss, working your own hours, working the projects which interest you, and having the ability to work from anywhere definitely are advantages.
Today we looked over the positives and the negatives of becoming a WordPress freelancer. Get started with building your own website using the power and speed of WordPress Hosting from InMotion Hosting.