Guide to Navigating Your First Client Experience as a Beginner WordPress Developer

Breaking into the WordPress development field is exciting and intimidating, particularly when you’re about to take on your first client. 

Things can quickly become overwhelming with no portfolio to showcase and many considerations to weigh in. But don’t worry – I’ve got you covered! 

This article provides a roadmap covering project proposals, client management, contracts, and pricing strategies. Let’s get started!

Initial Client Engagement

The client relationship typically starts with a brief from the client. This brief outlines the client’s vision, expectations, and specific deliverables they are looking for. 

However, you might encounter clients who need help to draft a comprehensive brief. 

If a client provides a one-liner brief (useful to nobody), this is where your role extends beyond just development. You’ll need to guide the client, asking relevant questions to extract the necessary details.

Consider facilitating a discovery session, a focused conversation designed to help your client clarify their needs. The goals here are to understand what they aim to achieve, why it’s important to them, and how the project will transform their current situation.

Crafting a Proposal

Once you have sufficient details, respond to the brief with a proposal. 

This proposal should outline the project scope, your obligations, the expected outcomes, deliverables, payment terms, and conditions. Ensure the proposal is clear and concise and leaves no room for ambiguity. 

If you need clarification on contracts, various templates are available online, like this sample contract which you can customise to your needs.

Pricing Strategies

As a beginner, cost-based pricing, where your price covers your time and provides a profit margin, is a straightforward option.

But as you gain experience, consider transitioning to value-based pricing, which anchors your price on the value you deliver to the client. 

My “How I Increased My Project Pricing From $3K to $20K+ Using Value-Based Pricing” article provides an in-depth exploration of value-based pricing.

Building Your Portfolio

If you don’t have a portfolio yet, don’t fret! You can impress potential clients by listing your qualifications or work history. 

Furthermore, don’t shy away from undertaking small projects on your own. Documenting these personal projects can serve as a valuable proxy for a portfolio, demonstrating your abilities until you secure more client work.

Client Management

A critical part of freelancing is maintaining open, honest, and consistent communication with your clients. 

Never overpromise. Always keep your commitments realistic. If issues arise (as they often do), tackle them head-on rather than hiding them. 

Use a project management tool like Trello, Jira, or ClickUp to track tasks and deadlines efficiently.

Using Templates

Using templates to show potential clients what you can create is perfectly acceptable. Templates save time and allow you to focus on customising features to the client’s needs.

If somebody says you’re not a real web developer if you use templates, politely smile at them as you bank your next $5k client project for that month.

Website Hosting

Hosting your client’s website might seem daunting, but platforms like Wordify offer free developer sites with sufficient storage and privacy features, making it ideal for client staging/dev sites.

Get It Done

Launching your career as a WordPress developer can be uncertain, but with the right mindset and tools, you can turn the challenge into a fruitful journey. 

It all begins with understanding your client’s needs, crafting a thorough proposal, managing your projects effectively, and communicating honestly. 

With these strategies, you’re not just working as a developer but building long-term, valuable partnerships with your clients.

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