A friend of mine sent me the following message on Facebook today:
I have a buddy of mine that is an aspiring WordPress dev. I was curious if you had any linkage or inside info on perhaps ways for my buddy to find work.
While I don't have any inside information, I can tell you a few of the things I've done over the past 18 months to build up business for my company, 9seeds.
These are in no way scientific and in no specific order:
There are several sites out there like jobs.wordpress.net and rent-acoder.com that have a stead stream of WordPress related projects up for grabs. Since you'll be bidding against several other developers, be prepared to work for less money than you normally would on the initial project. But once you prove yourself to a client, you may be able to turn it in to a longer term relationship.
Give Away Free Help
There is no better way to endear yourself to somebody than by teaching them something! Hang out in the WordPress IRC chat or use a program like TweetDeck to monitor several search terms on Twitter. When somebody has a question on how to fix something in WordPress, answer it! Send them a link to a tutorial or to the codex or whatever seems appropriate. Heck, if you have the time, write a blog post about the solution and respond with a link to your own site. We've had several people ask for assistance up front and then pay to have us do additional work down the line. By giving away free help you are letting them know that you know your stuff. That's way better than any resume could ever do.
Write A Plugin
Did you know that anybody who wants to can submit a plugin to the WordPress repository? Write a plugin that will help somebody do something quicker/better/faster/etc and release it to the repository. Yep, give it away for free. Next time you have a client asking for examples of work you've done, you can point them to the repository to see check out your work.
As an aside, after you write the plugin and release it to the repository, submit it to WebLogToolsCollection.com. They constantly post about newly released plugins and their feed is seen by 20,000+ people.
Network, Network, Network
Stop what you are doing right now and go check out wordcamp.org. View the schedule and find an upcoming WordCamp event near you. Now go register for that event.
WordCamp events are an excellent opportunity for you to meet other WordPress developers. Notice that I didn't say potential clients? While meeting clients is the ultimate goal, getting to know other developers in the space is FAR more important. The developers who have been around longer than you probably have more work requests than they can handle. Take 9seeds for example. When a request comes in that we can't handle at that time or isn't a good fit for our skill set, we try and match that client up with one of the many developers we've met at WordCamp events around the country.