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Two Great Ways to Build Your Freelance Web Design Business with iThemes

Many of us like the prospect of earning more money!  And with the current financial crisis in America (and around the world), including layoffs and overextended credit, it may be more of a necessity than a luxury.

Over the weekend I had time to reflect about this financial situation, and if I was in the need to start a new business, what would I do?  I would honestly start customizing iThemes and installing them for clients.

Why? Because before I joined iThemes I had my own, very successful branding and design firm. However, custom design (both print and web) is a long and difficult process.  It also takes talent, knowledge, loads of time and money to get launched – and it takes a while to generate adequate revenue.

But theme customization and installation is faster and simpler.

You can plug in the graphics, finish the work quickly, and move on. You don’t have to wait weeks to finish or get paid and our themes are so dang easy, even a dummy like me can learn minor WP skills and CSS to make the changes clients want.  I am constantly asked by stay at home moms and other entreprenuerial people what they can do to make extra money.

My ideas are what follows…

Please Note: I do want to say that while there is no quick and easy way to make an income, there ARE plenty of ways in which you can use iThemes to generate side income or revenue without a ton of hardship or a huge financial investment.

It’s a perfect opportunity for:

  • Website and Blog Designers (or those who would like to be)
  • Stay at home parents
  • Bi-vocational pastors
  • Entrepreneurs wanting to launch a new business
  • Any person who would like to earn some extra dough!

Here are two great ways you can use iThemes Premium WordPress themes to build your freelance web design business:

1. Offer Basic WordPress Web Services

There are many people who want a great website or blog.  Most of these people don’t know how to get started or they don’t want to mess with the do-it-yourself approach.

This equals a huge opportunity for you!

If you learn basic skills in WordPress or how to install our themes onto a hosting account (and we have the tutorials for this) you could easily offer services for WP and theme set-up or basic website maintenance.  These services would allow you to earn a much higher income per project and could present you with a nice lucrative part-time or full-time business.

Here are a couple of ideas for WP and Theme Install Services:

  • Basic Install: iThemes always has clients who need help setting up their blog but we don’t have the manpower to offer this service. Instead, we refer it out to people who charge $100 – $300 for installation.  A little knowledge and time is all it takes.
  • Theme Modifications: Most of our clients want their themes tailored to their individual needs.  This could include uploading new pictures, adding plug-ins, setting up the navigational links, designing a header graphic, and importing content.  Depending on what’s included, you could charge $500 – $1500 for this type of turnkey service.

The main hurdle for this option is learning basic WP and FTP skills, but again, iThemes provides you with resources to learn it.

The best way to get your feet wet is to get a theme and web hosting account and install it.  Once the theme is loaded on a hosting account you can tweak the design and features.

Since iThemes has the easiest to use themes on the planet, minor customizing will be a snap!

A little elbow grease and effort will go a long way on this option!

2. Build Custom Websites and Blogs From Our Themes

Websites are absolutely essential these days and good designers are in demand.  Personal and business blogging is exploding and people need help. With approximately 80 million websites or blogs online (and more starting daily) you could effectively carve out a small percentage of those and do quite well!

If you want to build an awesome business and happen to love web technology or applications, you now have an opportunity to get into business without investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it – and maybe you should consider becoming a website or blog designer.

How iThemes Premium WP Themes can kick start your business:

iThemes sells various packages that can give your website/blog business instant designs and credibility.  These packages are diverse which is great for potential clients.  All of our themes integrate the easiest to learn features that allow you to make immediate changes to the design.  Most don’t even require CSS or coding knowledge, but if you do learn CSS basics, the sky is the limit…not to mention it adds income potential!

But that’s not all…

  • iThemes provides an active support forum for no fee with your theme purchase.  If you run into a problem, you can post it and get an answer from one of our professional moderator’s quickly.
  • We offer unbranded tutorials (in our Theme Combo Packages) that you can share with your clients so you don’t have to train them on how to use their new site.
  • We sell multi-use licensed themes meaning you buy the theme once but use it for as many clients as you like.

So what’s your investment?

Besides your time, sweat equity, a domain name and hosting, and some marketing all you really need to start is the themes.  You can start off purchasing one theme or you can get a better deal by purchasing a developers pack.  It’s up to you but you will save money with the bundled deals.

Still think $80 for a single theme or $300 for a developers pack is too much?

Let us paint a picture. You can start your freelance web design business with over 20 professionally designed, easiest to use templates that are proven best sellers for blogs and websites. If you get just one client ever and you charge the average rate of $1,000 for a customized blog or website, you have just made an extremely nice profit ($700 – $920) and have themes to play with!  Keep the business going and you could make a wonderful living.

Compare that with starting a website business from scratch.

You could easily invest $25,000 and up to start a web development business – with no designs or portfolio, no support team or tutorials, and no guarantee your sites will work on the web a year from now.  You would have to learn HTML, CSS, and other intensive programs to keep pace with other designers.  Not the best way to go in my book.

Wanna Get Started?  Here’s a plan:

Start by watching our extensive library of tutorials even if you know WordPress.  This will give you an overview of what would be involved.

Purchase a theme and upload it to HostGator or if you are ready, consider the All Access Pass.
Let people know you are in business and start offering your services!

If you still need more assistance in considering becoming a blog or website designer using iThemes products, stay tuned to the iThemes blog where we’ll be thinking about doing some webinars and Q & A sessions.  We are here to help! In the meantime, leave a comment with topics you’d like us to discuss.



  1. Since purchasing the ithemes templates in December, I’ve been going crazy creating lots of my own websites. I’ve started creating blogs for my friends and I love doing it so much that I am going to start my own web design business using your templates. Thanks for the fantastic templates and the great ideas on how to build that business!

  2. Hi James,

    I looking forward to the “more business building ideas to come” with iThemes and WordPress.

    Some ideas that would make a good beginning for a webinar or video:
    – checklist for prospective blog/website owners who want “us” to build it. This checklist could include: strategic goals, marketing goals = the WHY they want a blog or website to begin with.

    I build that without such a checklist blog/website building, even with iThemes, is a very time consuming affair. It is essential to know:
    – where the person wants to go,
    – how they want to get there,
    – why they want to get there,
    – and how much they want to spend to make the online journey….


  3. Hi James I really like your websites. I also would like to start my own Freelance Web Design Business.
    I guess I need to create my own blog to advertise. Any idea on the context for the blog,would you have an examples for me to start.
    I think this is great idea.

  4. Eileen – these are great thoughts and I’m trying to put together these types of resources in my spare time…maybe in the next week I will be able to get this completed.

    Michael – You will definitely need to start off with some sort of website and themes samples to show people.

    I don’t think a blog is as important from the start. Focus on loading a theme, customizing it, and building a few sample sites. Once that is done you can do things to promote your business.

    My recommendation is the Architect Theme which will be simple enough to highlight your services and then you can start your blog on it later. As far as content, write tips on website design, social media or blogging.

  5. Love your stuff and your ideas. Here’s a question with the ‘build your business on ithemes’ model.

    At the risk of appearing dumb I need to know these 2 points.

    1 – You’ve white labelled the video tutorials so how do they get viewed by the clients?

    2 – With the huge range of themes in the big kahuna pack ($499) but how would we go setting up a theme display on our own site.

    Look forward to your response.

    • I also would like to know more about how to “build your business on ithemes” — how do you go about setting up a theme display on one’s website? Also did you create the check list mentioned Eileen above? I bought Builder.

      • Hi Joni,
        At WebDesign.com there is a whole category of webinars and trainings that talk about building your web design business. If that’s what you’re asking about, check out the free webinars at http://WebDesign.com/events/.
        You can attend them live, but there are also 200+ hours of training recordings in the library you can access when you become a member.

        We also have the flagship WordPress Developer Course coming up May 11-14, 2011. That will be a huge help to anyone looking to build their business since the focus is on skill development as well as business tools. Check out the free preview webinars on the events page listed above. They are coming up soon, so be sure to sign up.

  6. I’m very interested in building a business creating custom WordPress themes utilizing your themes. I love your site and I’m very interested in the Builder theme after reading your marketing copy and watching the videos. I would like to see an example of the theme and what it can do before I make a purchasing decision. I noticed in the tutorial on child themes that you were planning to have a downloadable example of a Builder child theme. I’m looking forward to seeing it!


  7. The Builder suite of Themes and Plug-ins is brilliant. Have been using this extensively and almost exclusively for my clients and would highly recommend any WordPress designer/developer to utilise this framework.

    Looking forward to the future of WordPress design and development…



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