How to Launch a Profitable Side Hustle as WordPress Implementer or Web Designer—NEW for 2021.
by Doc Kane
Updated: May 12, 2021
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1. Ready to Your Side Hustle as a WordPress Implementer, or Web Designer?
I have a friend who is an amazingly talented designer. When I was the marketing communications director at RevenueWell in Chicago and writing hundreds of health articles a year, he really made my work come to life. So much so that when I first met him after working remotely for four or five months, I literally gave him a hug. And people who know me know I’m not inclined to hugs whatsoever. He was such a creative force in my work that I respected him that much. I still love the guy, but, these days…
… he’s no longer a designer. He’s a coder. And, he’s a coder because years ago he saw the writing on the wall. He saw design being templatized, outsourced—commoditized. And, so he made a choice to start studying Python after work at night, and working on a project he thought he might show to the founders of the company if he got it to work—a way to prove his chops and switch out of design and into coding. It worked. It was a smart move considering what designers and web designers were making when I first started out in the internet space in 1994, when compared to the rates one can charge now. When I think about them myself, I’m still shocked. Website builders, lead page creators (like Leadpages, and Instapage), themes, and full on marketing automation suites like Kartra, Active Campaign, Infusionsoft (now, Keap)… the list goes on, make the IDEA of web design seem simple to most people. In 1994 you could charge tens of thousands of dollars for a website that today looks great just off the Elegant Themes assembly line.
But (!) assembly line looks are deceiving. Good design is FAR from simple. And, NOTHING is as “drag and drop” as they say it is. Web design, web development, web creation… all the things you need to start a blog, or a small business, are a royal pain in the ass. And that’s where you can make a difference. Website design is hardly a set it and forget it experience, and it is hardly a “get your website up in minutes scenario as sites like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace might suggest. These are all great tools, but they’re hardly simple. Weebly’s “Entrepreneur’s Checklist to Selling Online” is a good guide that outlines all the necessary steps you’ll take in the beginning setting things up. Even exclusively using a theme like Divi from Elegant Themes like I do, has a steep learning curve, and there are problems I run into every single day acting (currently at least) as administrator of my own website domains.
And, that is where the gold lies. Pick a platform, learn it well by starting your own blog. Then, hang out your own shingle, and consult with others who need the same sort of support. You can find them all over Twitter and in Facebook learning and side hustle communities.
There is a magnificent tool called BuiltWith that I’ll also share with you below in the call out box below that allows you to see what sort of technology a website is using. Leverage that tool to find out who uses the tech you’ve mastered, and reach out to those companies using another tool like Hunter.io which helps you find email addresses, to see if you can win their business. If they already have a website, they’re going to need maintenance.
The other thing you can do to make your self more than just a web designer, is to learn the other tools that make a website hum (Mailchimp, Kartra, ConvertKit, Rev, etc.) OR, have someone in your arsenal who is the expert. Then, like I did with my own agency back in 2005, you start contracting out to the pros that handle the things you can’t or don’t want to handle, and again provide a service that is far from a commodity.
What else do you need to know? Or, better yet, if you’re sub-contracting this stuff out, what tools help businesses most? These are all things I cover in my how to start a blog in Japan post, but simply, email software like Mailchimp, funnels and campaign creation from tools like Kartra, ClickFunnels, LeadPages, design (yep! important), from Adobe or Canva Pro, and on the back end I exclusively use WPMDU to help with premium plugins and on call WordPress support. They are AMAZING.
You can really set yourself up as a remote mini agency. Label yourself as a virtual admin if that’s more appealing. Trust me this support is needed. Likewise, you could offer to refer this sort of work out by creating an Angie’s List of sorts for design in your area. Just find the contractors and build an online list. Sell it as a newsletter, maybe.
Help other hustlers on or off base, or do it remotely in the with clients big and small from the U.S. or around the world. This way, when you’re transferred to your next base, you just switch the phone number. Or, better yet, use a global number, and don’t switch a darn thing. As always… below are the goodies. Enjoy.
- Why website design is a commodity, and what web designers can do about it. From, Mode Effect.
- How to launch a web design business… from soup to nuts, from Maddy Osman at CodeinWP.
- Need some inspiration? How about this from StreetShares—the “Top Ten Most Influential Military Spouse Business Owners.”
If you can build websites–even using a page builder like Divi. You can earn a substantial side income helping other small business owners. Even today in 2021. And the best place to start, is Shopify. Yes, Shopify.
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