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Building Your Business as a WordPress Freelancer

Written by Nox Dineen-Porter on
Woman of color freelancer wearing glasses in front of laptop

Being your own boss is great, but it’s not all 4 p.m. happy hours and working in your pajamas. Managing your business as a WordPress freelancer requires dedication and hard work.

To help you build and grow your business, we put together this list of the best tips and advice for WordPress freelancers, but don’t worry… You don’t have to put on real pants. You can implement most of these tips in your PJs, though you might want to wait on that margarita.

9 Tips for Managing Your WordPress Freelance Business

Let’s be honest. Most of us didn’t pick web development as a career because we had a deep passion for business administration. But how you run your business and manage projects is as critical as the quality of your work if you want to be a successful WordPress freelancer. Use these tips to streamline and grow your business.

1. Get the Right Setup

You need to take care of the basics, like setting up your business, opening a bank account, and finding clients. The simplest route is to run a sole proprietorship under your own name, but depending on where you live, there might be some benefits to incorporating as an LLC. Read this post for a more in-depth look at how to get started as a WordPress freelancer.

2. Don’t Neglect Your Site

Don’t get so busy building other people’s websites that you never build your own. Would you go to a dentist who doesn’t brush their teeth? People won’t take you seriously as a freelancer if you don’t have your own website. Build an impressive site and keep your portfolio up to date.

3. Protect Yourself

Get everything in writing. Handshakes and verbal conversations can bite you in the rear as a freelancer. Every project or ongoing arrangement needs a contract with clear terms of what work will be done, when it will be done, and how you’ll be paid. Seasoned freelancers have horror stories about clients with never-ending revisions or extravagant requests for additional work. Use your contract to define how you’ll handle out-of-scope requests and place guardrails on the revisions process.

4. Know Your Worth

Setting your rates as a freelancer is nerve-wracking. What if you charge too much and lose the gig? What if you charge too little and end up hating the project? You need to charge what you’re worth. It’s OK to say “no” when a client’s budget doesn’t match your rates. To give you more confidence in asking to be paid what you’re worth, we put together this post on how to price building a WordPress website.

5. Develop a Kick-Off Process

Projects will be easier when you get off on the right foot. Establish an onboarding process for clients that includes getting to know them and committing to how you will work together. Ask questions to determine your clients’ expectations and get their buy-in on your process and timeline.

6. Generate Recurring Revenue

For full-time freelancers, the transition from a predictable paycheck to unpredictable self-employment can be challenging and frightening. Freelancers can add stability to their income by introducing recurring revenue streams.

Ways for WordPress freelancers to generate recurring revenue include:

  • Bundling maintenance and support packages
  • Selling web hosting to their clients
  • Offering SEO or content marketing services

This post on recurring revenue for web agencies walks through each of those options. You don’t have to be a multi-person agency to offer them. A solopreneur could add all three of those ideas to their business.

7. Automate and Simplify Your Work

Time is money when you’re a freelancer. When you automate your work, you can earn even more. It’s like cloning yourself. You can still bill the client for the work you automated while working on another project.

For example, maintenance and support packages are profitable because the work is predictable and scalable. Part of a maintenance package includes updating sites to the latest version of WordPress. Updating every client’s site individually wastes a ton of time.

At Pressable, we built our managed WordPress hosting services with freelancers and agencies in mind. You can easily manage multiple WordPress sites from a single dashboard. Update them all with a couple of clicks or even automatically install updates.

8. Pick Your Preferred Plugins and Themes

Take the time to vet a set of preferred plugins you’ll use on most of your builds. Then you won’t waste time trying to find a plugin in the middle of a build-out. We’re biased, but we think Jetpack belongs on that list. We even give the premium Security version to our clients for free.

You also can save time by working from a set of customizable themes you know and like. This post lists some of our favorite themes and our tips for finding the best WordPress themes.

9. Stay Current with WordPress Development

WordPress is constantly changing. You can’t build sites today the same way you built them five years ago. Building a successful WordPress freelancing business requires you to stay in the know about the latest WordPress developments.

Ways to stay up-to-date on WordPress include:

Bonus Tip: Pick the Right Partners

Being a WordPress freelancer is a solo job, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Pressable is the perfect partner for growing your business. We offer the fastest and easiest-to-use hosting for you and your client’s websites. We also offer unlimited staging sites, so you’ll have instant access to a development environment for every new client project.

You also get access to our team. Stuck on something or run into an issue? Our experts are here to help. To see why Pressable is the top choice for freelancers, schedule a custom demo today.

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Nox Dineen-Porter

Nox has been using WordPress on and off since it was originally released in 2003, first as a blogger and later as a software developer. Her work on the Pressable support team blends her interest in technology, culture, and communications with her love of solving puzzles. When she's not at her computer she enjoys hiking, running, yoga, and street photography.