Looking for ways to ramp up your freelance income, increase what you make with each client, or capitalize on skills you already have? Read on developer friends, read on.
If you’re a Shopify developer, or have been thinking about taking on Shopify projects, you should know that Shopify Partners is one of the absolute best ways to continue capitalizing on work you’ve done, long after you’ve done it.
When you create a Shopify Partner account, you’re given access to a development site where you can build and test your clients’ sites before they go live. When the site is ready, transfer ownership to your client, and voila - the project is complete. Surely you’ll then be paid by your client for all your hard work, but rest assured, the fun doesn’t end there!
Once the site is live, you will receive 20% of the fees your client pays to Shopify every single month. This is an excellent incentive for you to do your absolute best on the project, ensuring your client receives as many sales as possible. It’s a win-win for both of you. Shopify is one of *the* best platforms to build recurring revenue - I’m going to talk more about some of the ways below.
As a web developer and designer, you probably have a few tools in your belt that you share with and recommend to your clients. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t get paid for these recommendations.
A surprisingly high number of web hosting, email service providers, and other services offer affiliate and partner programs and will pay out generously when you refer new customers.
This is not your Mom’s pay-per-click revenue strategy that I’m recommending here. Banner and sidebar ads are bunk, and your blog would have to have mega traffic (and perhaps dim-witted traffic) to actually make money this way.
I am talking about real life, consultant-to-client referrals and recommendations on the best tools - the tools you would use if you were them. This is an easy way to add potentially hundreds of dollars to your per client earnings without doing anything. Some suggestions:
Full disclosure: Some of the links above are my own affiliate links. I only refer people to services I have used for a long time and would recommend to others even without incentive.
Shopify and Wordpress offer excellent ways to rack up cash for those developers out there who love to kill two birds with one stone. Metaphorically, of course. Please don’t kill any real birds with stones.
There’s no guarantee any of your themes will sell, but there’s a good chance they will and a few well priced sales can easily pay you back for the time you spent developing.
The benefit of building themes for sale is that you have ultimate control of the design and functionality, and no pesky clients telling you how to do your job.
For those interested in devving for Shopify, to sell themes on their marketplace (the Theme Store) you must go through their rather rigorous review process. First, you design a home page, a collection (product listing) page, and an individual product page for both desktop and mobile.
It’s recommended that you thoroughly explore existing Shopify themes on the marketplace and also study the template requirements you’ll have to abide by. When you’ve got your designs, email the images to Shopify - you can find more info about all of this here - and wait for them to say yes. After your design has been approved, you can start developing. According to their website, they have pretty high design standards.
I’m not sure what happens next as I’m still in the process of designing a few themes for initial submission, but I’ll update when I know more.
Once your theme is in Shopify’s Theme Store, you’ll likely be on their 70/30 payout option, which means you’ll receive 70% of the theme price every time it sells. You’ll also be held responsible for bug fixes and customer support.
That might seem like a lot of work, but consider that one theme could serve a very high number of clients, and as time goes on additions to the theme and improved documentation could likely reduce the associated workload.
If you don’t want to go through all that application process, feel free to build your themes and sell them on your own website (might I suggest a Shopify site!)
Wordpress, on the other hand, is more of a free for all. There are a whole bunch of existing marketplaces to sell your Wordpress themes (if you’re a masochist who chooses to willingly develop for Wordpress). Such marketplaces include Themeforest (via Envato), Creative Market, WP Eden, Codester, plus several more. Also don’t forget Etsy and your own website.
Each of these marketplaces have different payout schemes and review processes, and they also have varying rules and expectations regarding support, updates, and extensions. But considering Wordpress is the Wild West of web development, this should come as no surprise and you can probably find multiple marketplaces that meet your needs and whims.
And for those developers that just love to fix shit, why not give plugins or CMS apps/add-ons a try?
Depending on your CMS of choice, these products go by different names, but all do the same thing: provide additional plug-and-play functionality to CMSs.
After working with clients for a while, or spending enough time tinkering with various CMS options it’s likely you’ve found bugs, lapses in functionality, or features you wish existed. Add-ons are a perfect opportunity for freelancers to pursue a project of their own interest, add some wow factor to their portfolio, and solve a problem for recurring cash.
Conrete5, Shopify, and Wordpress are three options to start with but there are many more CMSs in existence that you could look into. If you have one that you typically use, are an expert on, or recommend to your clients, that would be the place to start.
These can usually be sold through marketplaces maintained by third parties or the CMS itself, much like themes.
So there you go - some great ways for you freelance web developers and designers to boost your income, increase your per client earnings (long after you’ve finished working with a client), and keep you afloat during cash-poor months. All without doing a whole lot extra.