Is it still possible to make a living as a small WordPress company, freelancer, or solopreneur? The community says yes!
Last week I asked “WordPress Twitter” if there were small and independent #WordPress product makers and solopreneurs out there who should be better known. I got quite a response:
Here’s what I could take from the thread, although as I write this more are responding. For a full list — catching anything I missed or that might not have fit what I was looking for — check out the tweet thread. If your business was missed, it was not intentional.
- “Alex Rollin with wpapps.io is creating custom apps and he is an expert in GeoDirectory and Google connected map projects.”
- Vikas Singhal is the creator of Instawp.io. Also runs a small WP/Shopify dev shop at expresstech.io.
- “WP Fusion Pro and Fatal Error Notify Pro by Jack of @verygoodplugins”
- Ross M: “Building 3 free plugins and 1 pro plugin on my own (+1 support wiz) for quite a few years as a ‘side gig,’ last year pretty much went full time.”
- WP Translation
- @Kathy_Darling — WooCommerce and WordPress plugins.
- Milan Petrovic — WordPress and bbPress plugins.
- “Lots of small, extremely talented and independent WP devs are in Russia… mihdan, sergeybiryukov or soulseekah.
- Pootlepress: “We’re pushing the boundaries of WooCommerce and Gutenberg.”
- “Mentioning @WPSlay, a small WP support & maintenance firm (WPSlay.com) and @Gbefunwa, also just launched, managed WP hosting for Africans, though anyone from anywhere can host with us (gbefunwa.com)”
- Peter Ericson: “@zeen101 we are focused on subscription software for news and magazine publishers.”
- ewww.io — Image compression/speed service.
- Nick Diego: “Currently a solo operation bootstrapping @BlockVisibility.”
- Andrew Palmer: “We’re certainly independent and small. Owner of comluv, Divi Sorted and acquired 22 Divi plugins in May and elementor DB.”
- Carl Alexander is building YMIR “solo and in public.”
- “@nataliemac and @CroixHaug of @ssappts @JanisElsts of Admin Menu Editor Pro.”
- Vicki Jakes: “I train small business owners how to build their own WordPress websites. Have trained over 400 in the past 2 years and run a big membership to do so!”
- JobReley – Integrate your job board website with job posting distribution services such as Broadbean, LogicMelon and Idibu.
- “WPCharitable has been helping non-profits accept donations for the past six years.”
- Patrick Posner: “Solo dev here. Building Simply Static, Passster and a couple of other plugins.”
- immerseus.com does LearnDash plugins.
- “I started @rexthemeltd with theme in mind but getting traction for our plugins lately.”
- Leon Stafford is helping people publish WordPress sites statically.
- @WPUltimo (wpultimo.com) and WP Admin Pages PRO (wpadminpagespro.com)
- Alexandra Spalato: “Me and @PeHaa just launched @Gatsby_WP.”
- Daniel Espinoza has been running @shopplugins since 2015 building WooCommerce plugins.
- Mikko Saari of Relevanssi.
- David Baumwald is a pro developer doing custom development.
- Wooninjas — “an independent agency since 2015 building online learning, membership and ecommerce sites”
- Sasha Endoh Code & Design: “Small but passionate about building accessible, performant, and of course beautiful websites for nonprofits.”
- Dave Rodenbaugh: “Serving the Woo, EDD, & RCP communities since 2016.”
- Puri.io is a small team building plugins for WordPress and WooCommerce.
- Collins Agbonghama of MailOptin and ProfilePress.
Thanks to those sharing my request online, a broad and diverse range of small businesses and individuals responded or were mentioned. From a managed WP host for Africans to developers building plugins for other WordPress plugins (like LearnDash).
Many of these businesses and individuals make up the “long tail” of the WordPress ecosystem, whose global value is now estimated in the hundreds of billions. We hear often about the bigger players — large plugin companies, hosting companies, agencies that charge numbers in the six and seven figures to build a website or solution built on WordPress. We hear about the big acquisitions. We hear about the companies that are able to sponsor conferences or host their own. Sometimes — but not as often — we hear about the smaller players. So what’s the takeaway for the WordPress professional developer or business owner?
- There is still opportunity in the WordPress ecosystem, especially in niches or on a secondary platform (WooCommerce, LearnDash). Many of the responses came from those who specialized in a particular field. Speaking from experience, many often select areas they have a passion or interest in — realizing they might not get rich but can carve out a reasonable income. There’s still room to do that in the ecosystem.
- Many people who responded referred others by name first, then associated them with the plugin or company. That is telling. These small companies are just as known for their developers and the people behind them — they are not faceless brands. This means if you haven’t been creating and sharing content, participating in conversations (social, Slack, events, etc.), and expanding your network in a tactful way… you should start. Smaller products and companies need a friendly face along with a relatable story.
- Staying small and independent can keep you focused, connected, and pay the bills.