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WEB SCHOOL Sharing My Simple Strategy I've Use To Land Awesome WordPress Gigs For Years

George Appiah

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Aug 16, 2018
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To all of you pursuing Web Design as a Hustle, especially those of you working with WordPress: here is a simple strategy I've leveraged to consistently land WordPress gigs. Use it with care, and your pipeline will never run dry.

But... why am I selling my golden egg at the high-ticket price of $0?

Well, let me quote something from what I wrote in MJ's recent thread on 2019 accomplishments:

By the end of 2019, I will be serving 100+ web design hustlers and small digital marketing agencies in my new Managed WordPress Hosting + Maintenance service I'm launching in January 2019 -- hosting and maintaining your clients' websites and providing all the technical support you and your clients can eat for one fixed, low price --- so you can focus on closing new deals and growing your business, instead of fighting with WordPress and hackers. (Execution/Progress thread coming soon)
Yeah. Even with an amazing team of my own past students (who are super-pumped to finally get to give back and possibly work with Uncle George!), there's still a lot to oversee here: infrastructure herding, support, training, marketing, etc... and I've decided entry-level WordPress design & development will not be part of my service lineup going forward. (I can see... way down the road... creating an in-house concierge service to help my "agency" clients with their larger projects though.)

So, now that you know my evil intention, here is the strategy... which leverages the following two resources: the Official WordPress Support Forum and the Official WordPress Job Board.

STEP 1: FIND AND HELP BLEEDING PEOPLE

If you're looking to serve current or potential WordPress users, where better to look than the #1 place people turn to when they have questions about WordPress or need help with their WordPress websites? I'm talking about the official WordPress Support Forum, of course!

The WordPress Support Forum is surprisingly helpful... for a free, 100% volunteer-run online help desk. I know, because I've been in there for more than a decade, initially as a taker, but more recently as a giver.

You can signup to be a support volunteer and begin helping people right away... there's no gatekeeper to appease and all it takes is an email address and the desire to help. Even if you don't consider yourself technical, there are enough non-technical questions to keep you busy all day long.

With this strategy, your initial goal is to contribute as much as you can. Be genuinely helpful to people asking for help with their current WordPress websites or planned projects.

Be forewarned, though, that the majority of people posting there who are habitual DIYers, fellow hustlers, penny pinchers, and my favourite bunch -- the entitled. I've personally chosen to help anyone the best I can, but if you're time-pressed and/or don't want to really dig deep into the community, feel free to cherry-pick and only answer questions from the kind of people you'd like to serve.

STEP 2: ASK THEM TO POST A JOB AD

No matter how much volunteers are willing to help, there often comes the time when the person at the other end simply doesn't have the technical chops or time to implement what you ask them to do, or they're simply asking for too much beyond what any volunteer would be willing to do for free.

This is the golden opportunity you're after!

Your goal is to get the chance to pitch your paid offer to such people in such circumstances. But you can't ask directly though... you'll go about this in a sort of round-about way. [1]

That's because, to weed out spammers and avoid liabilities, solicitation is 100% forbidden in the WordPress support forum. People asking for help are not allowed to post their contact information or offer to pay for someone to take care of their issue for them. And support volunteers are not allowed to pitch anything, arrange a "meet-up" outside the forum, or offer to connect and directly help someone... even for free.[2]

But there's a loophole you can exploit in an ethical, win-win way.

When people offer to pay, when people simply cannot follow troubleshooting instructions, or when the limits of free support are reached, support volunteers are encouraged to ask the OP to post a job ad at the official WordPress Job Board, jobs.wordpress.net, and hire someone. They even have a stock answer prepared for you to copy and post:

Reaching the Limits of Free Support

At this point, we've reached the limits of what most in the community here are willing to offer in their spare time (everyone here is a volunteer). You should consider hiring someone so that you can give them direct access to the site for a far more efficient fix than we can provide here.

Please try jobs.wordpress.net or jetpack.pro and do not accept any hire offers posted to these forums.

We will keep this thread open, unless it veers too far off course, in case someone from the community is willing to provide further help here for free.
Apart from the forum referrals, the job board also receives a number of direct postings for both gigs and full-time positions (designers, developers, SEO, digital marketing, UI/UX, etc). Here are a few ads I recently spotted:

STEP 3: MONITOR AND PITCH TO WIN

At this point, if you've played your game well, this job is pretty much yours for the asking: you've already done your very best to help this person, for free. You're even the one who suggested they post the job ad, not because you don't want to help them any further, but because the rules make it impossible for you to continue to help them in the WordPress forums.

All that remains is for you to monitor the job board and respond immediately the ad goes live... making sure to include reference to their WordPress thread and reminding them of your earlier help (people tend to forget... shocker!)

There are a lot of threads here already on how to submit great proposals and land gigs at places like Upwork, so I won't go into that here. If you're new to this game, I'll encourage you to dig around, learn some best practices, and make sure you send a great pitch.

You can subscribe to the job board's RSS feeds to be notified immediately new gigs go live. If you don't use an RSS reader or don't check it often, you can use an online tool like IFTTT to push the latest gigs to your email, SMS or even as phone notifications.

Good luck, and join me and let's make a dent in the WordPress universe 2019!

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[1] - There are gurus teaching that you should reach out to people directly and pitch them your services. I don't recommend this approach as the community has zero tolerance for solicitation (for liability reasons) and it's a sure way to get banned permanently. And this is a clear case of these "gurus" not knowing or having done what they're preaching.

[2] - Even after being around and helping folks for free for years, I recently got a stern warning from the community overlords. My crime? After spending 3 days back-and-forth with an elderly man who simply couldn't execute the steps I'd outlined to fix his broken Stripe/Woocommerce integration, I reached out via the contact form on his website, setup a Skype call, and fixed the problem for him in 15 minutes as he looked over my shoulders. I ended up fixing several other issues on his site and even cleaned malware from his computer... all for free. This fellow couldn't contain his joy, and went back to his WordPress support forum thread to express his appreciation... essentially "outing" me.
 

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