WordPress is much more than a powerful blogging and website content management system. It’s also a platform to start and grow a successful web design business. In this post, we’ll outline how to start a WordPress business in eight steps.
How to Start a WordPress Business: 8 Things You Need to Know
Don’t assume you’re late to the party. The web development industry constantly changes at a rapid pace. The person who has been doing it 5+ years and does it the same way now as when they started, is behind.
Coming in now gives you an advantage on the competition because you are fresh and have the potential to offer modernization. Use your “newbie status” to your advantage.
The following are eight detailed steps over how to start a WordPress business. All it takes is some time and initiative.
1. Create Your Business Website
If you haven’t already, you will need to create a business website. Clearly.
Considering we are discussing how to start a WordPress business, it makes sense that you would want to create your website using WordPress.
Getting started with WordPress is easy.
- Purchase a domain name.
If you don’t already have one, most hosting sites allow domain name registration when you purchase hosting.
- Purchase a hosting plan from a reputable hosting company that specializes in WordPress sites.
It is essential to purchase hosting from “WordPress friendly” hosting providers. Use our checklist for how to find the best WordPress host.
- Install the WordPress software on your server
Most hosting companies offer thorough instructions on installing WordPress or services to install WordPress for you. The downside is it does leave some security holes.
For that reason, you may want to consider installing WordPress manually.
Learn WordPress and discover how easy it is to use. If you get stuck, reach out to the WordPress community for assistance.
2. Create a Portfolio To Show Off Your Skills
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a portfolio, there are a couple of ways you can remedy this and continue to build your experience, knowledge and confidence.
You can design some sites pro bono, or, design sample sites that showcase your skills. Develop different types of sites emphasizing different design techniques.
Remember, quality over quantity. Spend time developing sites that showcase your talents.
People do not want or need to see a dozen different average websites. Instead, show them 2-3 excellent sites that showcase an intuitive user experience, aesthetic appeal and innovation.
3. Gather Necessary Equipment & Software
Gather the tools and equipment needed to run your business effectively.
The computer you own will most likely work just fine. You may decide to upgrade later. Have a dedicated space to work in, and make it your office.
iThemes offers a WordPress Web Designer’s Toolkit with all the tools you need to build and run a WordPress business. The Toolkit includes plugins, training, themes and more.
4. Create a Plan to Promote Your Business
You will need to get the word out about the services you offer and how to contact you.
Create a brand for yourself.
- Design a Logo
- Build a Social Media Presence
- Craft Your Mission Statement
Go to networking events and put yourself out there. Tell friends and family what you are doing and listen for any potential client opportunities.
Once you have established a client base, don’t stop there. Make plans to continue grow your business.
5. Establish a Price Point
Three major things you can base your rate on:
If you’re lacking in any of them, you’re not going to be able to charge as much. It’s as simple as that, increase your rates as your value increases.
This should happen as demand for your services increases.
You will also need to decide whether you plan to charge hourly or per project.
Pros & Cons of Hourly Rates:
- Ideal if you don’t know how long the job will take.
- Protects you when clients ask for above and beyond the needs of the job, which they often do.
- Can make it easier to estimate your own financial needs.
- Boosts your perceived value.
- If you work fast you’re robbing yourself of additional income.
- Clients might be turned off by the open-ended nature of an hourly rate and the potential cost.
- It’s tempting to take your time and dishonestly milk the clock.
Pros & Cons of Per Project Rates:
- A flat rate makes everything clear to everyone involved and makes negotiation easier.
- You can easily outsource work and mark up the cost.
- You can make substantially more money if you work fast.
- You can also lose money a number of ways, from working too slow, to a project that gets out of hand to making a bad call on how long it will take.
- You have to spell out deliverables clearly and be able to draw the line with a client asking for more changes. This is absolutely critical.
6. Get an Accountant
Talk to a professional about any and all financial questions about running a business. Ask about what tax benefits are available to you as a small business owner.
Calculate your expenses and create a budget with help from a financial advisor.
Creating a system to track all financial transactions is crucial for a successful business. Fortunately, tools are available to help automate your accounting.
Set up working contracts in order to protect yourself. People may seem like they have the best intentions, but a handshake will not do. Get things in writing.
7. Find a Lawyer
Protect yourself legally by setting up a separate business entity. This step protects you and your family.
Talk to an expert about legal advice. It is absolutely worth the money if you are serious about starting your own business. Laws vary by state so getting an expert opinion is beneficial.
8. Simplify Your Life
Project management tools offer aid to businesses and the right one can simplify your life and work flow.
Trello is a free and easy way to manage many different projects and organize everything.
Asana is another way for teams to track their work and organize projects.
Beyond just the organization of projects, you can also manage multiple WordPress sites using iThemes Sync. Sync offers the added bonus of selling monthly WordPress maintenance plans to your clients so you get steady, reliable income.
More Information Over How to Start a WordPress Business
Checkout our Free WordPress Ebooks. You’ll find a ton of free resources you can use to learn WordPress and how to start a WordPress business.
The web industry is one that works together. It’s amazing. There is so much work to do that educational information is shared freely. The amount of resources available is overwhelming.
If you’re young, don’t be intimidated by the thought of running a business. Web development is recognized as a young industry, but one with a ton of growth and revenue potential. Work hard, create a good product and confidently promote it.
Saylor writes blog posts and designs/develops various projects for iThemes. Saylor loves gardening and is currently at war with all squirrels (if anyone has tips on how to get rid of squirrels, she’s all ears). If she’s not traveling or hanging out in OKC, there’s a good chance she’s in southwest Oklahoma doing manual labor, including roofing, or as her father likes to call it – “building character.”