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  1. I love your point about not viewing other freelancers as competitors, but seeing them as co-workers in the same big space. I have a wide network of contacts and we learn a lot from each other and gain a lot of support. We very rarely end up head to head on bids. There is a lot more to gain than to lose by being openhearted towards fellow professionals.

    I think this is one of the lessons I learned early on in local business networking after I exited the political dog eat dog corporate world. It’s a different mindset.

  2. I think you gave two great ways to enhance development skills as well as enjoy work more: connect with others and blog.

    These are separate tasks that each take it’s own energy.

    Yesterday I published a piece about how to come up with ideas for your WordPress development portfolio, love to hear what you think of them (some of the ideas are pretty out there)
    http://blog.pojo.me/plugin-ideas/

  3. Hey Carrie
    This was one of the best articles I read about Freelancing with WP. It went beyond the typical “be your own boss” reason. It was also a good smack on the head for anyone not willing to see freelancing for what it is; rewarding but risky too!
    I have been doing some aside my job for the last couple of years and even if I recognize quite a few of these skills on me, (especially the Customer service aspect), I’m still hesitant to take the leap and leave my regular job.
    Just started my personal blog, and contributing to the WordPress community in support forums and translations if WP. Perhaps these are voluntary efforts one has to take also, to see if he really likes working with/for WP before diving into freelancing?!

    Thank you

  4. I really enjoy having my boundaries pushed. The “Are You Up for the Technical Stuff?” section of the post speaks to me. I would like to be at the point where I understand which pain points are being addressed in core, and contribute to the community. The road leading to this level of understanding seems unclear.

    The past 5-6 months I have been machete’ing’ my way through my first WordPress project that turns WooCommerce into a product flip book using the vimeo api. It has been a great learning experience.

    http://repeatingpictures.com

    I’ve enjoyed this so much that I’m turning my attention to finding a position doing WP work. I’m now going back learning best practices, creating a site without genesis while focusing on workflow.

    I’m still feel very far away from being able to understand the links you referenced. To learn about core I search apply_filters( ‘ and do_filters( ‘. Not to mention elusive topics like WP REST API, XLM, JSON, MySQL, coding patterns, and front end frameworks.

    *wipes sweat off brow*

    I’m hoping there is an intermediary step to get hired, perhaps on a salaried position. However, I don’t see much talk about this on the interwebs.

    Thanks Carrie for such a thought provoking post!

    • Hey Drew,
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. It is absolutely overwhelming to step into WordPress and not know where to start. My recommendation would be to narrow it down by your interest (i.e. do you like the creative stuff, the coding, are you more drawn to e-commerce or projects similar to what you just completed, etc.)

      There’s certainly something to be said for understanding “what WordPress can do” on a broad level, but once you know that, think about going deep rather than wide.

      As for learning, you may want to check out Lynda.com (it’s where I learned). Below is a link for a free 10-day trial. There are lots of great WordPress courses in there.

      http://lynda.com/trial/Carriedils

      Cheers,
      Carrie

  5. There’s a niche I want to get into, but don’t currently have WordPress/Coding skills. Do you know of any freelancers who work closely with people who are better at the business, customer service, UI side of things?

  6. Hi, really great article. Thank you for this.

    I have a situation and I feel a bit stuck. I work in a restaurant and have been trying to learn code for a few months. I was a website tester for a couple of years too. I understand HTML and CSS fairly well but I have always had a lack of confidence when it comes to competition and clients asking for things that I don’t understand like using APIs or editing a website made with .net. But i’m working on my confidence with my therapist.

    I have a degree in graphic design specialising in illustration and would love to make websites that have a storytelling element to them.

    I don’t know PHP or Javascript and feel as though I need a mentor to keep up momentum.

    What would your advice be, if any, for someone in my situation.

    • Hey Adam,
      I really appreciate your comment. When you say that you want to “make websites that have a storytelling element to them”, I would say to write down what that looks like (i.e. is it a particular industry that lends itself to that sort of website, is it a non-profit, who is it that needs a site that tells a story). Going down that path a bit can lead you to the type of client or type of project that would be most satisfying for you.

      Then there’s the question of technology. You need to feel confident in some technology in order to offer your services (if you want to offer development services versus, say, consulting services). The technology you choose is secondary (in my mind). I say that the tech is secondary because your clients probably don’t care what tech you use (assuming you’re not trying to go in and fix up an existing site on .net, Dripal, WordPress, whatever). There are few developers that can bounce from one software platform to the next, so don’t worry about boning up on a million different things. Go down a learning path that helps you achieve the next sort of project you want. And make it something that’s interesting for you. 🙂

    • I would also add to your question… see if you can find a local group or two at meetup.com that meet on wordpress or some other sort of web tech. Or even get involved in social media groups. Those can be good places to find community and ask questions on topics that you feel less confident about (i.e. WTF is an API). 😉

  7. Hello Carrie and thanks a lot for the great post.

    I would like to ask a general question. I really love programming and I know how to work with WordPress but I feel I’m not very gifted in designing. Do you think WordPress development still has a place for freelance developers who are not comfortable with designing?

    Thanks in advance!

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