24 Weird Ways to Find New Gigs as a WordPress Developer

24 Weird Ways to Find New Gigs as a WordPress Developer

There are plenty of people and businesses in need of a WordPress developer’s assistance, even if they don’t know it or aren’t ready to admit it to themselves yet. Whenever they do become ready, you’ll need to be in the right place and the right time in order to deliver your pitch and land that new client.

The problem remains then in how you can possibly be everywhere at once in order to maximize those opportunities.

For starters, you can go the traditional route in finding new clients. This means using job boards, gaining referrals from friends and family, and making sure your WordPress development portfolio is up-to-date.

What may surprise you, however, are all the creative paths you can take to find new gigs as a WordPress developer. If you want to liven up your search, then think about trying some of these unusual ways to find new gigs.

1. Use an Agency to Do the Work for You

Let someone else do all the grunt work.
Let someone else do all the grunt work.

If you think of your work as a developer like you would an artist, you can approach your job search the same way. In other words, hire an agent to do the leg work and take a small commission whenever they successfully land you a new client.

Companies like Hired offer these agent-artist type arrangements so you can focus on working while they dig up the best-fit clients for you to yea or nay.

2. Intern

When you’re still new to the game, an internship is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience in the real world. But even if you’re long past the days of school, an internship with a minimal time commitment each week might not be such a bad idea.

You can use this to work on real projects, advance your skills, and potentially leverage the unpaid position into something more (if you like working for the company, that is).

3. Take a Side Job

Whatever your other strengths are, take advantage of them to support your budding development career.

Until you’re able to make ends meet as a WordPress developer, you might want to think about taking on side work in other areas of WordPress. Do you have design skills? Are you generally well-organized and regimented and able to manage WordPress-based projects? Or perhaps you’re a photography hobbyist and want to sell your photos for use on WordPress websites.

4. Take a Side Job… Not in WordPress

There are obvious benefits to taking a WordPress-related side job; the primary one being that you’ll gain more experience in WordPress. However, finding supplemental work that gets you outside of the house and talking to new people might lead to unofficial networking opportunities.

Think about people like bartenders and Uber drivers who talk to people all day long. You never know who you might cross paths with.

5. Build a WordPress Tool

For those of you interested in building a WordPress plugin or theme (or even a third-party app that integrates with WordPress), why not go for it?

Rather than while away the hours, hoping for a new client, you could invest some of that extra time into building something useful for your target audience. You can use it now to build your brand reputation and then down the line as a value-add for clients.

6. Set up Alerts

What is your dream gig? Maybe it’s building websites for one of the top agencies in Los Angeles. Good, start there. Set up a Google or social media alert (you can use tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for this) and let their search tools do the work to locate new development opportunities and pass them your way. It obviously doesn’t have to be your dream gig, but the more specific you get, the better search results you’ll receive.

7. Run an Ad

Setting up an ad is a somewhat old-fashioned way to attracting new clients.
Setting up an ad is a somewhat old-fashioned way to attracting new clients.

While this option will require a little money spent upfront, it might be worth it if you’re not seeing the organic traffic you need to keep your business running.

There are a number of routes you can take, including pay-per-click Google ad runs, social media ads on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as well as remarketing on your website.

8. Buy a Billboard

Okay, okay… This one is a little far-fetched and definitely the most expensive option on here to find new gigs, but, hey, it’s worth throwing out there!

9. Hang out on Quora

Grow your rep on Quora.
Grow your rep on Quora.

If you’re not familiar with Quora, this is a pretty cool platform that allows users to ask questions and receive questions from the community at large. It does have a page dedicated to web development-related questions, so this is a good place to spend time establishing your thought leadership and expertise in what you do.In turn, your reputation as an expert will grow and you may one day receive a new project request from someone who saw something you responded to on there.

In turn, your reputation as an expert will grow and you may one day receive a new project request from someone who saw something you responded to on there.

10. Contribute to Online Portfolios

This one’s for when you have web development pieces to share with online portfolio sites like Behance and Dribbble. Perhaps you recently developed a mobile app for a client or you built a new WordPress theme in your spare time. These are good spots to share them (in addition to your site) if you want to improve your chances of getting seen.

11. Share Your Photos on Social

Social media websites that are visually centric (like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook) might be a good place to also share snapshots of your web development work. Now, I’m not suggesting you give anything away for free, but it may be beneficial to share photos of your workspace, of a prototype in progress, or of someone on the train looking at one of your websites from their smartphone.

12. Record a Live Video

With enough notice and planning, you could use live video to leave your mark upon people you know or with total strangers that are in need of a website. You can share something insightful you recently learned while working on a project, give others tips for creating a minimal workspace, or you could, as a last resort, outright beg for new clients (though I don’t think it’ll ever come to that).

13. Learn a New Language

Whether you are fluent in another language or you’re interested in learning a new one, this might be a good time to start looking for gigs abroad. As a WordPress developer—especially a freelancer who works remotely—a small language barrier might not matter much if you have the skills to support your clients’ needs.

14. Join a Co-Work Space

While co-work spaces tend to serve the purpose of giving freelancers a place to get out of the house and work around others, they’re also a great way to meet new people. By joining a local co-work space, you may meet someone who’s in need of help with building their own website or who needs a developer partner for their WordPress business.

Meet other developers like you at coworking spaces.
Meet other developers like you at coworking spaces.

15. Leave Your Mark

As a WordPress developer, how often is it you get to leave your physical mark with prospective clients? Probably not often. So why not take a creative approach in leaving your resume, business card, or some other one-sheet of your services with interested parties? For those of you who are good in the kitchen, you could bake a cake and write your business card information or minified version of your resume on top of it. Then send it over to the agency you’re interested in working for!

16. Offer a Discount

You know those refer-a-friend deals apartment communities offer? It’s supposed to encourage loyalty from their current residents while drumming up new business. If you currently have a reliable list of clients you enjoy working with, why not offer them a similar special?

17. Teach a Class

Do you enjoy teaching others how to use WordPress? If so, teaching an online course or one at your local college might be something worth looking into. It’ll give you a chance to showcase your skills and possibly meet someone (or someone who knows someone) who wants your assistance in building a new website.

18. Attend a Conference

Professional conferences are always a good way to learn more about what’s happening in your industry, connect with like-minded individuals, and make new business connections. If you haven’t attended a WordPress conference (like WordCamp) or one run specifically for web designers, consider checking one out this year.

Dozens of WordCamps are held around the world each year.
Dozens of WordCamps are held around the world each year.

19. Visit Local Businesses

Have a favorite local restaurant or retailer that you visit frequently? Take a look at their website before the next time you plan to stop by. If they don’t have a website or what they have looks like it came out of the early ‘00s, you could use your “frequent flyer” status at the business or your personal insight into the local scene to pitch your services as their trusted web developer.

20. Network without Networking

...sit at the bar and eavesdrop until you hear someone say how much their business sucks and/or how they need a better website. Then give them your business card and run...

This is one of my favorites for the introverted web developer who likes the idea of networking, but whose sweaty palms and racing heart make it difficult to ever do it. Basically, think of this like a stakeout. Go to a restaurant or bar that’s holding a business networking event. Then sit at the bar and eavesdrop until you hear someone say how much their business sucks and/or how they need a better website. Then give them your business card and run.

21. Take Advantage of Queues

At some point during the week you’re going to end up in a line somewhere. Take this opportunity to be more social when you’re out and about, especially when you’re forced to wait in a line with people for more than a few minutes (like at the movies or grocery store). If the subject of what you do for a living comes up, who knows? Maybe you’re the person they’ve been hoping to run into.

22. Go to a Party

Obviously, I’m not talking about going to a raging kegger or anything. But parties full of adults? Definitely take advantage of this, especially if they’re filled with adults trying to temporarily escape from work, family, and life obligations. If they’re that stressed and desperate, they may need help with their business and website

23. Keep Up with Old Classmates

For many of us, keeping up with old classmates is the furthest thing from our minds. But leveraging previous school affiliations to make new connections may end up being a surprisingly fruitful way to land new gigs. If you’re not feeling bold enough to contact fellow alumni in your school’s register, then just keep your eyes peeled for the next high school or college reunion.

24. Research Your Dates

I recognize how outlandish this suggestion may be, but I’m going to throw it out there because you never know where your next lead comes from. So, for those of you currently on the dating scene, do your research. Check out your Match date’s website or professional background before meeting up. Even if it doesn’t end up being a love connection, you might be able to suggest a professional connection if approached the right way.

Wrapping Up

Whichever route you decide to take, be it traditional or a little more outlandish like the suggestions above, just keep in mind that this is about connecting with as many people as you can. You never know where you’re going to meet someone who needs web development assistance, or who is a friend-of-a-friend or someone who does.

Brenda Barron
Over to you: What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever made a new professional connection?