Reflections On The Last Three Years As A WordPress Freelancer
Today I wanted to look back on the last three years as a WordPress Freelance developer. I started working with WordPress in 2009 after being turned on to the platform by a former colleague. We were working with a local company here in St. Augustine, FL called Surf Station to develop a surf report (which still exists). It was fun, intriguing, and there was always something to learn, something new to create!
In 2012, I began doing freelancing part time. I thought I had a pretty good grip on WordPress and I was ready to put my experience to work in the real world. Little did I know, I had a lot of learning left to do, but don’t we all. From 2012-2015 my freelance business grew. Initially, it was primarily local clients I brought on but through word of mouth, colleagues, and other freelancers I quickly grew out of state and even internationally working on projects in Canada, Australia, & England.
I have to say, those were the best years of learning and growing I’ve ever experienced. Everyday was a “how am I going to do this?” type of feeling. Fast forward to 2016 and a lot has changed, but why? I no longer find myself learning as much, I no longer find myself asking “how am I going to do this?” but rather “what do I have to do today?” The reason is directly related to growth and the requirements that go along with it. I’m very loyal to my clients, I want them to succeed as much as I do and that’s what makes me a good developer. On the flip side, WordPress is a CMS that needs regular updating and as my client base has grown, so have the residual tasks that go along with maintenance work.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve made a great career out of it. I’ve done it the right way from the start charging customers for WordPress security & maintenance and almost all of my clients utilize a monthly plan. My income is consistent and reliable. The downside is 30% of my day is probably spent on residual tasks such as:
- WordPress updates
- Login lockout issues
- Small maintenance tasks
- Small feature requests
Where do I go from here? This is a question I find myself asking a lot and I don’t yet have an answer. I’ve developed a lot of side-projects such as Two Way Resume, Dock Skipper, Boatzo, & WP Cover which allows me to create, develop new things, and explore deeper into WordPress & general development. On the freelance front, next steps would probably involve bringing in help, at least to take care of the residual tasks that now clog up my day but in my opinion that is a very big next step.
Has anybody else run into this feeling? Where do you take freelance development from here? Or do you maintain current clientele and focus on side-projects to grow a separate business? Feedback welcome!