Somebody needs to build a dating site to match WordPress freelance designers and developers with agencies. Not a job board where you can merely post a job and have freelancers apply. Not a portfolio site where freelancers can post their work for agencies to browse. More like a dating site where you can connect based on common interests and philosophies—sniff each other out for a while and really get to know each other before climbing into bed.
In the meantime, freelancers need to rethink what their job actually is if they are servicing agencies.
The problem is not that there is not enough work to go around. The problem is not a shortage of WordPress developers or designers. The problem is most of us look, sound, and smell the same. This is evidenced by the sheer volume of blogs published by WordPress freelancers talking about their processes, workflows, tools they use, favorite plugins, frameworks, payment gateways, shopping cart solutions, jQuery sliders, CSS3, HTML5, Backbone, Functions, and the list goes on for eternity.
Apart from other WordPress developers, I’m not sure who this information is useful for. On the surface it may appear as if it proves credibility and indicates to an agency that the freelancer has the ability to perform the tasks required, however it is not differentiating the freelancer from the thousands of others out there.
The result of this is that freelancers compete on price to get the agency work and that hurts everyone.
Help Me Help Mine
As a business owner looking for potential team members (employees or freelance contractors), I’m not particularly interested in your technical ability. I assume that you are technically capable and if you are not this is something we will discover very quickly before we let you loose in the wild. What I’m more interested in is how you can help my business. Perhaps you have some amazing technical skill that no one else possesses, but unless I understand how that is going to help me build better relationships with my existing clients or attract new, high-quality clientele, it’s a vanity metric (something that makes us feel good but doesn’t mean very much to others—a bit like cosmetic surgery).
The freelancer that will get my attention is the one who demonstrates how their technical prowess can help me build a new product offering (a premium grade maintenance plan for example) that I can offer to my existing clients. Here’s another example that came from a conversation at a recent WordPress Meetup Christmas drinks event in Melbourne: if you are a gun developer using Kissmetrics infographic to get started)
- Produce a video explaining why your template will help conversions and how easy it is to manage for the uninitiated using WordPress
- Send this video to agencies you’d like to work with with a short note explaining why you think there is a market in designing and developing landing pages for clients
- Include some relevant statistics or your own info graphic (use Infogram to make a free one) to help the agency understand the opportunity and communicate it to *their* clients (I’ve included one I knocked up in 10 minutes at the bottom of this article)
I promise you, so few freelancers are taking this approach that even if it doesn’t land you a dream project with your dream agency, you will be remembered.
It’s simple, helpful and you can do it fast.
So please, stop blogging about how much you know and start educating agencies about how that knowledge can help them.
Anybody want to start helping me build that dating site? How about PressMatch?
Troy Dean is co-founder of Video User Manuals and WP Elevation, the world’s 1st business accelerator program designed specifically for WordPress consultants. He speaks regularly at WordCamps and is also a professional musician and voice over artist.