Best And Worst Months As A WordPress Freelancer
Are you just getting started as a WordPress freelancer? If so, you may be crunching numbers on how you can make ends meet while getting your new business up and running. I have been managing my freelance business for the greater part of a decade and for the last four years it’s been 100% of my income. I’m very happy to report that I’ve had some great success being my own boss but it has taken time and hard work to get here.
Just like any business, I have definitely noticed patterns in my work load throughout the year. Some months you can’t respond to the emails and quote requests fast enough, other months you’re wondering if you need to pack up shop and go find a full time job.
These days, I’m pretty used to the fluxuations in work and it has helped me pack on upcoming jobs when I know work load tends to fall while keeping my schedule lean when I know more work is on the way. Today, I wanted to share my break down of the typical year and trends I’ve noticed over the last several years. I hope this helps other WordPress freelancers better take on their work loads.
First, let’s start out with a basic graph. This graph was taken from my billing system, WHMCS (which is awesome by the way). Get your own license HERE.
Some notes on this graph: First, this is only inclusive of the last two years or so since I started using WHMCS. Second, during the first six months, I wasn’t committed 100% to the new billing system so the income data is not exactly accurate but it gives us some good points of discussion. With that said, let’s jump into the months:
If you are looking at the above graph, you may think January can be a bit slow. However, that wouldn’t be further from the truth. January is probably one of the busiest months as far as generating new quotes and taking on clients. Why? Everybody is back from holiday vacation with New Years resolutions to better their website or online presence. Why is income so low? It’s because most of the billing for these new clients won’t take place until February or March. So while business is soaring, we won’t realize that income for a little bit. Overall, be ready to grind come the first of the year.
It doesn’t slow down. Here is where the real work sets in. You’ve built up a bunch of jobs throughout January, it’s time to grind them out and get paid. Income starts to go up as you collect for these new jobs taken on.
Typically one of the best months of the New Year. The rest of the January income is realized and new jobs continue to flow in as marketing budgets for larger companies are set.
April & May
I’m bundling both of these months together as they are very similar. Business is typically good, consistent flow of new websites, residual clients continue to contact you, and there is almost always more work to be realized. The beginning of the year is starting off strong!
June & July
From my past experiences, these are the BEST months of the year. You are finishing up the remaining jobs acquired during the beginning of the year where a lot of income is realized. However, towards the end of July new clientele begins to falls and there are less new projects on the books. We’re setting up for the slower months of the year.
August, September, & October
Here is where the dry spell sets in and can make you a little uneasy as a freelance developer. August is probably the month where the least new clients are acquired. While residual income and existing client requests are still on the books, it is a good time to reflect on your business, find areas for growth, and develop your own internal marketing which can sometimes be neglected when business is booming.
This may depend a little on your freelance clientele. For me having a good bit of e-commerce sites under my control, business tends to pick up. Everybody is gearing up for holiday sales and Cyber Monday which tends to draw additional marketing and landing pages. I still don’t feel like new clientele rises much in November but general income definitely does.
This can be a strange month. I’ve had some of my best months all year in December but I’ve also had some of my worst. Why? End of year spending! This is really going to depend on your client base. If you have larger businesses under your control many of them will push changes to their site (or design new aspects) in the ending months of the year to realize the expense for tax purposes. This is great but it can also lead to serious end of the year deadlines and billing. Overall, I typically expect to grind out the final few weeks of the year while preparing for the rush of new business that is January.
Overall, I hope this general guide assists you in preparing for your freelance year ahead. While it can definitely fluctuate year-by-year, I’ve found this to be pretty accurate over the last 7 years in terms of new clientele vs existing clientele requests. Coming into the slower season, it can sometimes be a blessing to take a step back, reassess your own business and make plans for the upcoming holiday season and New Year ahead.