Build Your Freelance Web Design Business Using WordPress – My Story And Lessons Learned

July 25, 2019 posted by

hey guys it's Spence the evil genius from lab secrets Danis and I have gotten together to do a series of videos to try to help you understand a little bit more about the business of being a freelancer and what's really specifically my niche is the business of using WordPress to succeed in monetizing your freelance lifestyle so if you got a couple minutes today I'd really love to share some time with you and give you a little bit about my background online as well as I'm going to leave you with ten takeaway tips today that'll help you start thinking about how you can get your monetization strategy going as a freelancer and hopefully if you enjoyed today's video we're going to do a series of videos that are going to be presented over a first web designer that are going to give you step-by-step everything you need to understand how to get customers how to use WordPress how to think like a businessperson and in the bigger scheme of things to succeed because that's what I've been doing for the last six years let me just jump right in in fact I actually have been in a number of hard businesses meeting offline businesses things real estate law development entrepreneurial endeavors but the best thing about being online is that unlike any other type of business you don't need a physical structure you don't need a physical presence in any particular place you don't usually even need startup capital if you're a person like myself who likes to bootstrap and best of all your customers are wherever you find them so they could be in your backyard or they could be across the entire globe so specifically about WordPress the reason I'm so enthusiastic is a little bit to do with my own history so let me jump in my passions in life have always been about gadgets and I've always been into photography and my teens and 20s videography became available and those visual arts were always a great alternative to the things I might have been doing with school or with any kind of other business type things and as the technology progressed and I'm talking out I don't know many of you might not know this I'm 46 as we said here today in twelve of December of 12 when I was a teen we we had you know black-and-white photography color photography you had to develop it and I learned how to do that I had a little mini darkroom in the bathroom the whole thing it was expensive and time-consuming and very analog and then slowly but surely in my teens and 20s computers came about and inch their way towards a completely new way of doing things and I like to use the word democratization that technology has been accelerating ever faster and so now in 2012 any of you have the tools available to you to do things digitally that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars maybe even millions of dollars back in the 80s early 90s even into the 2000 and so that democratization is open up this freedom to express yourself so again jumping back and forth a bit when I was growing up and doing these kinds of businesses I was always excited about these visual arts and as I get older and I did achieve another passion of mine which is flying I achieved a pilot's license very young at 16 I became interested in a particular type of flying after I was done with law school that was called trike flying it's a microlight in Europe and basically this is like a motorcycle with wings and if you can imagine the panoramic view really got me going as far as the idea that I could do photography and videography from this machine birth of my first child actually helped a little too because I started to look into getting digital video cameras long story short is that I had two outside passions that were unrelated to my business at the time which was real estate and I started to tinker around with them and became really excited about the idea of posting videos from the trike that I was flying as well as you know family type videos of my son at the time online but the technology was expensive it was complicated put up a website there was nobody doing this stuff so it was really kind of tinkerer mode and I had a happenstance where came across one of the first social networking software products out there and this is after my website had been going for a couple years the site was called Trek pilot calm and I put it up originally I think around 2000 maybe two thousand 2001 and it was always me just posting these tiny photos and tiny video postage stamps because it was so expensive to host and complicated you need hardware and all kinds of stuff across the desktop to even make a little postage stamp around 2006 when the social networking idea started it was a company called Ning it was funded by Marc Andreessen and a group of investors and it was run by lady Gina Bianchini this was the idea even before Facebook was really that big outside of campuses where you could actually have other people share by posting their own videos and photos and stories and all that stuff so what happened was the idea of little hobbies come together with the technology advance and coming together with the software meant that all of a sudden the environment was available that I could share with the people interested in the subject they could share with me and we had a social circle now obviously all this stuff is a little passe as far as social networking we all have that in everyday every part of our life but the same kind of democratization of the equipment that enabled me to start hosting videos for free from other people and allowing other people to really make HD quality videos from these little things they mount on their head or mount on the trike has really accelerated in the last couple years so that now the videos that are being produced at this little hobby site that I think we have about 3500 people now um are as good as any cinematic experience you might have found 10 years ago in fact the equipment in a postage stamp site sized camera produces as good as a big old Sony did ten years ago and anywhere bringing it back to WordPress which is my point WordPress is so exciting to me as a freelancer and that's why I told Danis that I really want to focus my video tutorials on WordPress in the last three years I've become somewhat of a niche expert and how to use WordPress as sort of your Lego block system or if you know what this company is called it's called IKEA furniture they make modular furniture that's extremely popular around the globe especially in the United States so that if you're not interior decorator you could still reasonably make a beautiful household for yourself you just pick the components and the components all have a certain integrity with each other so that you could buy one here today and another tomorrow I know they'd still work again like Lego blocks kids a Lego block from fifty years ago still works the same with one bought today and that means that even if you're not an expert toy designer you can really have fun with that and people can buy and sell and trade WordPress to me has had that same capacity and so in the last three years been working on perfecting a system over at lab secrets and now a labs it that lets people who are not WordPress experts not PHP coding experts they don't know what javascript is from anything don't even understand the concepts about hosting a site to basically take a business idea for themselves or business idea that they want to sell to others ie freelance work or design work or creative endeavors or task type endeavors and be able to get online with it start making money with it without any hassles just like you can buy couple Legos and just know how to snap them together without having to design the spaceship or the car or anything in advance just follow the directions now I'm going to take you one step further because I did jump ahead a little bit to me what's so fascinating about WordPress is that my company originally got started because in this trike flying network on Ning we found that they had a great environment but they were missing some of the key components that would have made it possible for these other businesses like mine my own or entrepreneurs like myself to succeed so they didn't have some basic things like chatting and some advertising and some other plugins and I had a great accidental encounter with a person who became my partner and he's fantastically talented person and designer his name is Mick Balaban and he one day out of the blue cuz he was a trike pilot sent me a logo and said you know this would be something if you're interested in for Trek pilot and I obviously thought it was terrific but it also triggered in me an idea about asking him whether he wanted to do a business of building accessories for this name community which the time had maybe eight or twelve thousand sites that were basically networks of people maybe hundreds or thousands who were doing things on a niche maybe it was advertisement maybe his photography maybe it was music but there was no tools required that were available I should say to let them take it to the next level so again forgive me for bouncing a little back and forth but that encounter with me was something that to me triggered an idea that I want to impress upon you which is that there was an opportunity that presented itself that had I not been open to might have passed me by passed us by instead it did trigger in me maybe because I've done this before and I was always looking an aha moment and the idea being that you've got a community people who love a certain software that needs certain things made easier or a pain point solve and when you put those two together a business was there and for us we did extremely well for the time that we were doing it in selling these accessories we call that widget laboratory we call these widgets they were just little accessories but people were so hungry because they're already invested with their time and their soul and their energy into this whole idea of their network that when we provided them away in the closed sort of fishbowl to get these extra accessories they were ready and willing to buy and that went to another opportunity after the Ning situation was over a company called socialgo where we ended a building specifically those kind of things for them upon request and all of that led to around 2010 where WordPress came basically out of the woodwork and that changed everything because whereas those were sort of closed networks that allowed people to do things only in a certain way WordPress is an open source platform and WordPress has been built from the ground up in such a unique way that today I believe as of December 2012 there's more than 18% of the entire Internet I believe more than 65 million people or companies using it for their sites and that means a couple things to you as a freelancer number one it is the most concentrated potential area for you to find customers anywhere forget about Dreamweaver forget about Drupal forget about Joomla forget about any other kind of CMS WordPress has so many customers on it you will never ever ever ever run out number two these are customers that because WordPress is so easy on the user interface side our low technology people which means they're ripe for getting to a certain point and then getting a little frustrated where you can jump in and make happy instantly with whatever little niche or business opportunity you want to take and run with and I'm going to explore that in a second number three besides those two points WordPress by itself has so much development energy and resource energy in the way of code and accessory plugins and themes plugins for example there's more than twenty thousand at last count available and all that code is open source so you can take something that's closed and you can tweak it a little whether it be style or some of the features and even if you don't you can almost inevitably find some plug-in that solves each little particular quirk that your client wants to have set up because the user interface to them is still simple they appear oblivious to how what you did but you look like a hero it really gives you a great return on investment because the client is always happy and you look like the smartest person and it enables you to build a relationship with them so those are three reasons big reasons why I particularly have built my business on WordPress since 2010 have no intention going anywhere else now let's talk about ten points that we're going to get into more detail on during these video courses and I really number one want all of you to let me know let Dana snow are these videos that I'm doing helpful obviously there's about 350 more videos of mine you can go watch over at lab zipper lab secrets but this series is specifically about you as a freelancer with no previous expectations of either being an expert developer or PHP code or CSS person I'm going to walk you step-by-step how to make a business using WordPress as a freelancer all right let's talk about a couple I have some notes here first of all people are people whether offline or on so build a relationship and what that means is that again in real life you wouldn't walk up to a complete stranger and just go give me money because I'm a great guy or great girl you need to have some sort of a relationship they need to know who you are what's your personality nothing annoys me more than these companies that do really well but hide behind a complete anonymous wall in fact ironically some of the most successful theme authors on WordPress specifically in this area called ThemeForest um they sell without anybody knowing their name or face or anything else so there are exceptions but in general my opinion is in this very big world of six billion people people should know who you are and don't be afraid if you're one person living in under a rock somewhere in the desert or out in the ocean that's who you are and that's what people remember because people want a relationship with somebody they know is there no trust and know that there's a mutual sort of symbiotic situation they need you you need them alright find some pain or pain a pretty picture that's where the money's hiding and I described this already but WordPress presents so many opportunities because a good majority of the folks using it are intending to build some kind of a business or use it to support some kind of a business so that means that you can go out and do a search for various types of niches that might interest you and you will inevitably find forums or areas where people are discussing their problems and by becoming somewhat of a little expert on using WordPress you can go into that community become a part of the community become a welcome part and offer turnkey solutions built on WordPress that solve those things and it doesn't mean it has to be all technical it could be just design elements you could be somebody that knows how to modify themes that are being used by I don't know a photography site so that the other people can display their photos as nicely as you show you can do you can go into a gaming site and show people how to do rating systems so people can vote on their favorite video games you can design logos you could do themes the list goes on and on find the community of people that already exist and basically see what pain they're talking about go back to what I'm teaching you Danis and teaching you we're showing you a first web designer and apply that to develop your own solution to the pain the reciprocal to that is called painting a pretty picture and you can do that also which is to say there's a lot of people that don't have pain but they're just not sure what they want to do and they want you to just be the cheerleader hey look what I did look at my customers look at the people who I helped build these beautiful sites do you want one of those I can do that too no problem and with our system we're going to show you you can do this like that simple you don't even have to reinvent the wheel for every come client the next one is in a world of six billion people or more you only need a thousand fans thank you Seth Godin if you've never read any Seth Godin I encourage you to do so it's one of the most famous and really I think intelligent marketing experts out there and he says that in a world that we live in today which goes along with relationships you don't need to have six billion people to be successful if you're a single freelancer or small company even a thousand people who are fans will make it a livelihood let's do the math you have a thousand people that's enough if you got depending on your lifestyle choice if you got a hundred dollars a month or some subscription and believe me in WordPress that is not unusual because you can include hosting you can do all kinds of themes or features just bear with me if you got a thousand people let's make it easy let's do it a thousand people paying a hundred dollars a year that's only like nine dollars a month it's a it's a hundred thousand dollars right and if you have a recurring revenue model which is even better let's say they're paying you $10 a month ten dollars a month times a thousand people so it's ten times twelve is a hundred and twenty dollars a year per customer times a thousand that's a hundred and twenty thousand year in and year out if they're using you for hosting or support or other kinds of design uh technical questions that you become good at you can see very quickly you'll never need to go anywhere else now it's a simple example were going to go more details on it but I just want you to see how the multiplication factor can be so powerful don't be afraid to share your own personality but try not to kill off your brand either and so this is interesting because as a freelancer there are a lot of people that become well known for their graphic or artistic skill but they never think about the idea that maybe I'm going to be more successful than I thought and down the road I might want to bring an investor I might want to sell the company so be sure to always be thinking about this and I'll go into more details in the other videos about how it is you can build up your own personality and your own relationship but not lose sight of the fact that you've got a bigger brand in mind because you want to have a company that yes people understand is basically you in your closet the first year or two but they down the road like many other successful businesses might grow out of that area into something much larger so don't end up putting it necessarily you know Spencer Foreman's website design maybe you need a brand name and it's just Spencer Foreman happens to be the well heard founder okay that's what I try to do obviously with the lab brands but it still spends right so if I ever go somewhere else the brand itself hopefully will live on beyond me democratization of tools has arrived anyone can be the Wizard of Oz now I touched on this originally The Wizard of Oz story if you don't know of course all of his great power and control and everything it turned out was just a facade it was just this machine and he was manipulating the knobs well as I mentioned in years past videography was really defined by the equipment that you owned and it was extremely expensive and so was hosting and computer stuff now those barriers are gone I don't have it in front of me but a an eighteen year old kid with an iPhone can make a full-length HD movie a kid on a laptop can make 3d special effects that are better than Star Wars for God's sake the tools are no longer the barrier to entry which means that you better get your content together your marketing together get your brand together because only by that will you be able to achieve some level of a relationship and some level of a business that goes on you can no longer just say well we happen to own the very expensive equipment so you can't go anywhere else those days are gone all right your clients can be in your backyard or eight thousand miles away we talked about that too basically we've got a situation now where you don't have to worry like oh I saw Bob down the street or oh my only client is in America you can live on an island you can live on a mountain you can be a nomad like Dana's who takes vacations and travels around with a laptop wherever you may be your clients can be right there on skype email directly through your support forum and that also means that you can look for your clients in America especially corporate America which I'm going to show you in another video where you literally got three places I'm not going to tell you in this video I want you to come back three places you go I guarantee you you can make $500 in one day if you go to these places guarantee and I'm going to show you another video so please do come back alright be a symbiotic parasite and that is to create an accessory in a thriving marketplace now in my experience I kind of went fast through it but I accidentally stumbled upon making accessories for this close network of Ning and obviously my partner developed them all and he did an outstanding job I marketed and then sold them and in later years I became more proficient in the WordPress world with development but the idea was that we didn't reinvent the whole social network we didn't try to make the main market place the main business we found someplace where people were already congregating think of the metaphor of the water in the ocean there's a whole ocean out there but yet maybe all the fish are all in just one little Cove go where the fish are see what's going on find their pain paint their pleasure and service them by being a very well that's the word I could look for a welcomed member of that community by not being a spammer or sprog or or taking away but contribute how pal pal find out what people need and then only then graciously try to make an invitation to say hey I've got a solution here for somebody if you're interested not at the expense of the host of course ok buyers have egos choose the best product service names to maximize your product this is a whole video series by itself if you have a person that you're selling to versus a small company or a large company the naming convention of your products and services is hugely important no corporate buyer is going to buy a product from you that's called hobbyist no individual person is going to buy something called enterprise because those imply consciously or subconsciously pricing and egos that you may not realize yet but I'm going to show you how important this can be especially let's say if you're selling to small business or medium business there's usually two people or more in the decision chain and if it's something that they're going to rely on for their business they can't have a naming convention that implies something less than perfect and professional ironically this leaves you open to some incredible advantages in pricing your product because the same thing that could be the hobby version you can change the name and add a couple other service components to it and charge five or ten or twenty or thirty times more and they'll gladly pay it just the same way that maybe I don't to say women in particular men too but like if you take a car or a handbag you could have the same comparable quality and products in many cases and yet one of them is the well-known you know luxury brand and they charge five or ten times more nightclubs do this too and they put up the velvet rope and put a bunch of people in front even though the club is empty it's to give you the perception that something must be going on last one I'm going to leave you is you are a programmer you just don't know it yet awaken your power and learn how to code and I'm not going to ask any of you to be a PHP developer and start from scratch but remember we're dealing with a Lego block type system so just like with my own particular learning curve you can learn snippets here and there to make you feel and actually seemed your clients to be supercharged and that's going to make it really easy for you to take a variety of different disparate blocks or IKEA furniture pieces whatever you want to say put them together make these really amazing solutions charge a premium price and have a happy customer a long term relationship and a recurring revenue as a freelancer which will free you from the typical thought of I must work by the hour I'm a slave to my freelance job absolutely not you'll build a brand you'll build a product you'll have relationships you'll have fans you'll be able to do something that I can point to dozen people that I actually will in some of these videos have done just that thing I'm over my time limit but it's been really my pleasure to introduce you to this new concept this new series we're doing for first web designer and I'm really looking forward to your feedback so please comment comment comment tell me what you like or don't like about what we're going to be talking about so I can kind of change your manipulate things the suspense the evil genius I'll see you next time


33 Replies to “Build Your Freelance Web Design Business Using WordPress – My Story And Lessons Learned”

  1. Home Team says:

    Great video, thanks!

  2. Michelle Beth says:

    this video was so motivating, thank you!

  3. iMancha Studios says:

    Start Your Own Web Design Business For Less Than $110 :

  4. Cobalt Jackson says:

    Hello, I'm new to this and am curious to talk to anyone who has worked as a content moderator. If you'd be willing, please email me at: [email protected] Thanks!

  5. Michael Lavoie says:

    As a young college student I didn't know what I would want to do in life but after watching this video it really opened my eyes. I feel like I have been lost trying to figure out how all this "we designer" vs "hosting site" vs "programmer" stuff works. Just like with any business you are totally right about building a brand and a relationship. For example I see myself like the little auto mechanic who will get a ton of business because I have built relationships; that equals long-term income. A auto mechanic service like "Goodyear" will be the one people recognize however because they too have built a brand or expectation. While I won't be a big company I can still make a good income if I just have a small amount of people who keep coming to me. What I mean by all that I guess is what you were saying about all you need is 1000 people. While you may not have a large company but just showing what you can do for a couple people and building sites for others and charging them a fee yearly or monthly when you multiply it over the years it really will add up. Surrounding yourself with a community of people who want to host their content and then making yourself present and showing that you care will equate to more clients who want you to build something for them. Just want to say thanks and definitely will be subscribing and watching more!

  6. Victor Mendoza says:

    To me a real web developer uses Dreamweaver and codes along with designs in a small setting. But these videos are helpful. Keep it up. I may just watch all of them.

  7. Rohan Ghosh says:

    I am a software engineer and have basic knowledge of Java,J2EE,MySql etc. I want to work as a freelancer but as I have just completed my Bachelors and don't have any experience in developing wordpress projects so how can I start?Without experience I know I'm not going to get any project so how to get that 1st project?


    Hi. Im A beginner. Is it okay to start WordPress business to make website without any knowledge of coding? and if yes? How should I present WordPress themes tto clients without showing its price? and if the Client wants specific changes to the theme how can I change it?

  9. WPLaunchify says:

    @Jeff Wallace – Sorry to disappoint, but we're not only HERE, but we're thriving, and have over 15,000 other freelancers at who have also succeeded with the Freelance Lifestyle. Maybe you should come over and try for yourself before you count us out? And, btw… we demonstrate almost daily our own freelance success and clients… nothing "over" about it 😉 (ps – I'm going to be 50 this year… and Freelance allows the kind of life that promotes a youthful outlook ). Spence

  10. Jake says:

    When I design a website I use notepad++

  11. Asar Morris says:


  12. patkellyt1 says:

    This was helpful

  13. Anthony Meszaros says:

    boss tingz!

  14. Johnnyboy Gomez says:

    So…… where are the subsequent videos? This one is great.

  15. Mantu Malakar says:

    hello, Thanks for this great video, please give some light over getting clients for my small company . 🙂

  16. Jeff Wallace says:

    When I see someone saying they make money doing this or that, and they want to teach you how to do the same thing…that usually means that the ship has sail, the fairytale is over, too many people figured it out and so the competition is now to make money off of the late arrivals by "bringing them in". I'm afraid this is not going to be your golden ticket Joe pool guy. Go to school, I don't care what age you are, how many years altogether have you spent working your ass off to get through a shortcut to what you want and never got there? Honestly? Cause I'm 35 and I spent about 30 soooooo…don't let culture sell you selling. that's a pyramid scheme and it creates nothing. It just moves money around until it lands in the next guys pocket. Your good enough for the real thing.

  17. KTM says:

    I found WordPress an utter nightmare for the majority of clients. Because of the sheer number of themes and plugins, it's a headache when clients keep coming back complaining about incompatibility issues, why their slider won't work, why they got hacked..etc. I have moved to a simple cms for small business users.

  18. Amine La says:

    you can have you own freelance website by visiting this link :

  19. Rich L. says:

    and the link to the 'Video Series' is ???????

  20. Mirko Marek says:

    Oh my….
    It takes more than just Photoshop and wordpress to create a good side.

  21. Rob Barry says:

    Where's the next video??

  22. S Ventura says:

    How many sites have you built using WordPress? 
    Scott V. 
    Integraphix — #LosAngelesWebDesign

  23. Elaine Duncan says:

    Hello, I have created a small 10 question forum and I was hoping if you could take the time to look over it and answer a few questions it would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

  24. Sean Donnahoe says:

    Just found this series and I have to say I am super psyched. I'm really looking forward to watching more on this subject. Being a 44 year old graphic designer who has been working for someone else for the past 30 years, I am eager to get in some freelance work in order to offset my income.

  25. Abdirizak Hersi says:

    Hey Spence "The Evil Genius" Nice One Mate, Just asking here, Which videos will show me " How I Can Make A $500 Dollars A Day" As Web Designer/Developer, Which I'm, I went to ur Youtube Channel but I can't find it because u didn't say the name of the Video, Thanks Mate, Liking ur Style Mate,

  26. says:

    I like the Seth Godin part, but if you are a freelancer and people hired you because of the price – they usually are not willing to pay extra for some subscription. Actually for over 10 years of web design I recall only one case in which a company agreed to pay a subscription for updates and content changes.

    Nice background light.

  27. Bulumko Papu says:


  28. Ahmed Musawir says:

    Really awesome and helpful for a 40yr old systems analyst trying to break into web dev ….

  29. Tim Gillespie says:

    Do you have any recommendations for helping with putting together quotes for designing wordpress based websites for people?

  30. Priscila J says:

    Awesome vid, very informative, thank you!

  31. zelda9639 says:

    Kudos to you for wanting to share you knowledge and experience… Looking to reinvent myself and with some IT background I'm eager to hear more and learn from your series… Where are the rest of the video's you promised?… Kindest regards and appreciation in advance…

  32. Jairo Cuadra says:

    starting up a small WordPress based business too and this really gave me the push i needed to go on with it

  33. Piyush Chauhan says:

    Hey Spencer, I'm really starting up as a freelancer and heard a lot about wordpress and magento as primary system to be successful. I want to thank you for videos like these and hoping to get more videos from your side. As a starter, it's very hard for me to think about what to do for starting up in this job.

    Thank you for this effort!

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