We have all had that thought, whether it is sitting at our work desk, or stuck in traffic. Being your own boss. Controlling your own time and having the freedom and flexibility to perhaps have a cheeky little lie on come Monday morning, or go home early on the days when you just aren’t with it.
In reality, the prospect of waving goodbye to the security of a full time employment role and having to fend for yourself is enough to stop most taking the thought any further. Let’s face it, with the current economical climate; people would kill to have your job. Do not let this put you off!
We are going to take a look at CodeRevolution, my start-up WordPress plugin development business and see how within 2 years, the thought of waving goodbye to work became a reality.
The first thing to point out is that starting up as a WordPress plugin developer outfit is not easy. Competition is high and unless you can make a name for yourself, work is not always hugely profitable.
Where Do I Start?
You start when you are still in full time employment. Yes that sounds crazy, but if you can secure just one client in the time you are still working for someone else, this can ease the financial strain when it comes to taking the plunge. This also ensures you have the skills and determination to do what it takes to have half a chance of surviving as a company. Don’t worry though; we will explain how you do that.
First thing first, you need to learn to develop WordPress plugins. For this, it is recommended that you allocate from 1 to 6 months (depending on your previous experience with programming).
To get things going with plugin coding, I recommend starting with this online course I built, that will help you create your first WordPress plugin and also get an idea about how to sell it.
Also, you shouldn’t dive directly into creating WordPress plugins, but instead, it is recommended that you start up your online work using some simple freelancing jobs – to get a better understanding what clients want and how their mindset about the WordPress industry is built.
I’m Only Good In One Area?
That is fine! Play to your strengths. There is nothing worse than seeing a company shouting from the roofs that they do everything, when in reality they have one guy sitting in an office. Small businesses especially like working with small terms with areas of expertise.
How Do I Market Myself?
This step is optional (but highly recommended), and may have a knock on effect further down the line for your business. You can choose to market yourself as a freelance WordPress developer, or any other trade, but the transition of moving from a freelance to company when you already have a reputation is very difficult. Say for example you are marketing yourself as freelance; the title alone makes you think of cheaper rates. So the first rate you set a customer is going to be the rate they expect to pay for the rest of the working relationship. Be prepared to lose existing clients if you decide one day to tell them you are now charging double.
How Do I Get My First Client?
Experience has taught many that the best way is through family and friends. Look at your Facebook page, you have at least 200 friends on their, who all have at least 200 friends each, who all have at least 200 friends each, and the cycle goes on. Speak to your friend X who’s Dad runs a company or is involved in marketing. The fact is we all know somebody who could pass something our way. The best way to make it work through Facebook and social networks is to incentivize. Offer something back. You will find people are a lot more helpful if something is in it for them, even if they are your friends.
Email local small businesses offering your services for a cut-price rate. Tell them you will come in and work on site for 1 trial day, or complete some work free of charge so they can see the quality and skill set you have.
This really is all down to using your imagination, and once you think about it, it’s not half as terrible as it sounds.
Once I Have My First Client?
OVERSERVICE, OVERSERVICE, OVERSERVICE. It really is that simple. It’s not brain surgery to know that a small business owner will know other small business owners, who know other small business owners. You provide an excellent service and deliver great results; people will naturally want to talk about you. By doing this within 6 month you can literally have people approaching you left right and center for work.
Ok, now what?
Now that you have your first client, you can go ahead and create your first WordPress plugin and sell it online – for this, you can use a marketplace like CodeCanyon, or sell it on your own website. For starters, I recommend selling on CodeCanyon, because they have a huge amount of traffic, and sales will come much easier than if you would sell your plugins on your own site.
So When Is The Right Time To Leave My Job?
Only leave your job when you are confident you have enough income to sustain yourself, as well as paying yourself so you can survive.
CodeRevolution is a prime example of how to start up from home with nothing more than a computer. A timeless piece of advice is to make sure you focus on keeping existing customers, and spend only a small amount of time recruiting the new ones. Loyalty is everything.