Featured Freelancer: Julia Hames, freelance WordPress developer

Meet Julia Hames, WordPress developer and digital marketer, and our latest Featured Freelancer.


Like many, Julia turned her development side hustle ‘Coding Cottage‘ into a full-time gig during the pandemic. Now 3 years on she’s tackling massive projects and even branching out into other services.

We love a pandemic-win, and I’m sure you do too. Read on for more wins, tips, and to maybe even find your next collaborator.


What is your name and what do you do?

Julia Hames.

I am a WordPress developer and provide SEO/digital marketing services to businesses and charities.


How long have you been running your business/freelancing and why did you start? 

I started in 2018 to supplement my tourism business that I was running, however during covid my main business closed down like many others and I started building Coding Cottage to help me get by. I mainly built and did troubleshooting on WordPress websites and honed my skillset by working on a huge variety of sites. Now 3 years later this is my full-time business and I have learnt some additional skills to run alongside the web development element. I love marketing and helping others understand the importance of a good marketing strategy.


Finding clients is one of the biggest concerns for people starting out working for themselves. Where did you find your very first client or customer? Where do you mostly find them now?

My first client was myself! I built my website for my bed and breakfast and once I had learnt all the necessary skills, I started networking and gained my first paying client through meeting people at different events. During the covid years most of my business came from these connections that I made in 2018/2019. During this time I also teamed up with some Virtual Assistants who had clients that needed website work and built a portfolio through them as well.

Now I mainly get my clients from referrals and organic reach on Google and social media, although I am looking to start networking again very soon!


What does a dream client look like to you and why?

My dream client is a business or freelancer that has been established for a year or more with a solid product base, and a defined target audience. This helps with the design, branding, content writing and SEO implementation and makes it easy to get the website right the first time. I also love working with charities as they are incredibly passionate about their cause and the work that they want in their website and marketing is filled with very targeted messaging at specific audiences. Some of these sites are super exciting and I get really into the different causes…


What app or social media platform could you not run your business without, and why?

To be honest I could run my business without social media (I can hear a lot of gasps!) A lot of my business comes from in person interactions and referrals, but I do use Facebook and I am now venturing into the world of LinkedIn to expand my client base.


Is working for yourself what you expected? How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?

Working for myself is harder than expected and trying to find a work life balance is really tough, and finding the balance is something I am yet to master. There is also this constant battle with imposter syndrome and whether I am good enough! There are so many elements to working for yourself and you really must be a jack of many different trades.

I think learning to outsource is a big thing to help with the overwhelm and that work/life balance. Also realising that you don’t have to take all the work, especially if it doesn’t align with your business.

The one thing I have learnt is just be yourself, you will align with some people and not with others and this is ok, there is enough work out there!


What has been your favourite project to date?

Building an e-commerce platform for a local charity who help entrepreneurs with their start up ecommerce businesses.


What is your biggest win of the last 12 months? 

A massive international charity website redesign… Turning a 40+ page website with a ton of educational papers and technical findings into a streamlined user friendly website where information can be found easily and the charity mission is front and centre.


What is it about running your business/being a freelancer that you most enjoy?

I love the flexibility and working from home. I have a small farm and that is my main priority so being able to work around the needs of that is incredible!


If you were given a free £1000 to spend on your business, what would you spend it on?

I would buy some merchandise and business cards and invest in some ads on Google and LinkedIn.


What is your ONE top tip or piece of advice you would offer to other freelancers/small business owners?

Make sure you have a marketing budget! Having a tip top website and SEO strategy could save you thousands in the future. Also build yourself an email list, this is the key to getting your product out to people who want what you offer! Having a quiet time, send an email, you are more likely to get sales this way than a social media post and no ££ spent…


And finally, is there anything you’d like to shout about right now?

I am branching into SEO services, audits and advice and would love to bring some new businesses on board who want help in growing their reach organically and getting more leads!


You can connect with WordPress developer Julia on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and via her website.


Visit our other Featured Freelancers here and, if you’re a UK freelancer and would like your profile in our freelancer directory, access to all our events and workshops each month, plus more, then sign up and test drive us for a week for free here.

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Julia Hames

Julia Hames