Want to start your own WordPress freelancing business? I k now it can seem rather scary, and you probably have a gazillion questions: Where do I start? What services should I offer? How do I get clients? Well, in this article, I want to share what I learned from starting as a freelancer and turning it into a nice, healthy business.
I’m going to walk you through the following steps:
- Determining what kind business to start
- Developing services
- Finding clients
- Growing your business
In each step, I’ll explain what I did, and give you advice on what I recommend you should do.
Please note: there are many different ways to start a business. Some probably have different opinions than me, which is fine. But what I’m sharing here is what worked for me.
So with that, let’s jump in!
Step 1: Determining what business to start
For me, this was the most important step in the process.
I remember the moment I decided to start my business: I was sitting at my mom’s dining room table with my laptop and a blank Word document on the screen. I started listing 1) what I’m good at, 2) what people need, and 3) what I enjoy doing.
It was a huge, jumbled mess of ideas, but three ideas stood out:
- I’m good at fixing WordPress websites
- People need help with their WordPress websites
- I enjoy anything tech related
That’s when I decided to start a business helping people with their WordPress websites.
What you should do:
Create three lists, like I did, and find the commonalities between the lists. When you start a business, you obviously want to be good at whatever it is you’ll be doing. Also, if you want to actually make money with your business, you need to do something that people are willing to pay for.
And finally, you want to enjoy what you are doing. If you don’t enjoy it, not only will you not be happy, but it’s MUCH harder to keep your business going.
Step 2: Develop service offerings
Step 1 was about determining what kind of business to start. But now it’s time to come up with the actual services to offer. I spent a few days surfing the web, imagining that I was someone with a WordPress website that needed to be fixed.
There were three main solutions I came across:
- Hire a freelancer online
- Buy a book or course
- Get help on the WordPress support forums
This is when I noticed there was one service missing: live support.
I had previously talked to some WordPress users who had complained: “I just wish there was someone I could call up when I need help.” There was no solution!
So I created it: I began offering support sessions via phone and Skype.
What you should do:
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is “look for a problem within a certain market. When you find that problem, create a solution.” That solution is your service.
Sometimes the solution is right in front of you. For instance, if no one is offering WordPress development in your town, start offering it. Sometimes, however you need to dig a bit deeper to find the problem and solution.
One thing I do know is that there are always problems in a market, even when it seems like there isn’t. They just need to be discovered.
Step 3: Finding clients
Once you have your service offerings, it’s time to get clients.
When I was doing my research in step 2, I was searching Google to find WordPress support. I would type in “WordPress help” or “WordPress support.” I realized that many of my potential clients were probably doing the same thing. So I started running Google Adwords.
When people clicked on my ad, they were taken to a very barebones landing page with a video of me explaining my service and a form to fill out.
If it seems simple, that’s because it is. I didn’t have to do anything fancy because of the previous two steps: I had found a problem and I had a solution to that problem. It’s much easier to find clients when you have these.
What you should do:
I like breaking down this task into two simple parts:
- Find where your potential clients are
- Get your service in front of your potential clients
For me, it was Google. People were searching for WordPress help, so I placed ads so they would see my solution. But if you are trying to attract local businesses, geographically targeted Facebook ads may be a better solution. Alternatively, if you offer WordPress consulting for bloggers, find a blog that those bloggers are reading and offer to write a guest post.
The process of finding clients is easy. But it does require either grunt work (public relations) or money (advertising). But, when done right, it can launch your business.
Step 4: Grow your business
I’m of the belief that a business can’t grow on advertising alone. Here’s how I grew my business. Repeat business: My clients kept coming back. In fact, many of my current clients have been with me since I started.
I get repeat business because I go above and beyond for my clients. Many times, going above and beyond doesn’t require that much. For me, I learned many of my clients had hired other WordPress developers who were rude or never responded. Simply by being polite and responding in a timely manner, I was going above and beyond.
I also kept in touch with my clients through an email newsletter where I provided useful content. I can’t tell you how many times I would have a past client email me saying, “You know, I just got your email, and I’ve got some new work I’d love you to help me with.”
What you should do:
To get repeat business, you should treat your clients like you’d treat family members: Exceed their expectations and keep in touch. Do this, and your business will continue to grow.
If there is one thing I want you to get from this article, it’s that starting a WordPress freelancing business doesn’t have to be complex. It’s very simple (as evidenced by the number of times I wrote “simple” in this article). What you need to do is take action.
Look at me. When I started my business, I was less than a year out of college. I had no idea what I was doing. I just set up a landing page, ran ads to it, and delivered a service as best as I could.
Really. If I could do it, you can too.
Brandon Yanofsky is a freelance WordPress developer and troubleshooter. He also shares WordPress tips, tricks, and tutorials at www.mywpexpert.com. You can email him at [email protected].