Can small, independent WordPress makers still make it?

Two women working with a laptop in a cafΓ©

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.

Indie WordPress shops and people you should know

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.