Moving from client work to selling products

I’m running a small web development agency. We’re two people (myself and Andreas Larsson) working full time, and another two who’s doing a few hours per week. Most of the time we’re developing WordPress websites for small and medium sized companies in Sweden.

Extensions for WooCommerce

It’s a great way to spend our days but ever since the launch of WooCommerce we’ve also developed extensions for this great e-commerce system. At first it didn’t take much of our time and focus, but step by step the amount of extensions have grown and so has support hours and time spent on development/maintenance done.

In January 2013 we decided to switch our focus from regular client work to selling products (the WooCommerce extensions and a couple of other plugin ideas).

Switching focus was a very inspiring decision but it has been very tough to execute. I think the reason for this depends on the two following factors:

  1. We are a bootstrapped company. We have no loans. We like that, but at the same time we have no extra funds that allows us to only focus on this new path. We still need to take on projects that puts food on the table.
  2. I have a hard time saying no to clients. This is probably the main reason why things hasn’t changed in the phase we had hoped for.

How to get from point A to point B?

The easiest and most straight forward would of course be to start saying no to new client requests. Or refer them to another web development shop. We’re getting better and better at this. But at the same time I can’t help thinking that they come to us because they see some value in working with us. Perhaps it’s a better idea to hire more staff and take on both client work and selling plugins. There are companies in the WordPress eco system doing that as well.

Our goal is still to move towards a strictly product based business. But I would love to hear your thoughts about this.

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