Running a Plugin Business: The Struggle is Real!

There’s so many pros to running a plugin business on your own; your work is constantly validated, you’re helping store owners and developers achieve their goals, your ideas are constantly evolving, you get to choose what you’re working on, and your skills are constantly improving. But when you run it alone, whilst working a full-time job elsewhere, things can soon start to stack up.

It’s time for a reality check.

How about a back story?

I’ve been running Iconic mostly on my own since 2011. I’ve had help now and then when it comes to support, but the development of the plugins is all me. It’s been such a great experience; I’ve met thousands of interesting customers, I’ve released a good selection of popular WooCommerce plugins, and my sales have doubled year-on-year.

During this time, I have always been working on other projects full-time, mostly freelance work, but currently I work for a design agency in Leicester. I also ran my own development agency for 2 years with my good friend, Jay Pick. All fantastic experiences, but something has always been there in the back of mind; I want to be working on my plugins.

It’s time for a change

At this point in time, support tickets are stacking up while I try and find the time to fit them in during the last few hours of the day after my daughter has gone to bed. Some features have been waiting in the queue for weeks, months, maybe even years.

So I’m taking a leap of faith. At the end of May, I am leaving my full-time job, and putting much more focus into Iconic. I’m going to source and hire a part-time support assistant. I’m going to add the features that customers have been craving for so long. I’m going to contribute more often to WooCommerce core. I’m going to build a name for myself within the WooCommerce community, by offering more help in the Slack group, and the numerous Facebook groups. I’m also going to focus more on marketing; this is something I need to learn as I go.

But most importantly, I’m going to proactively talk to my customers.

If I’ve learned anything from the various podcasts I’m listening to at the moment, it’s that talking to your customers on the phone is hugely important. I have a number of regular customers who are more than willing to offer their feedback on my plugins with real world examples. Talking to them for 5 or 10 minutes on the phone will be invaluable. If you’re one of my lovely customers and want a 1-on-1, let me know!

So what I’m trying to say is, wish me luck!

Yeah, but, tell me more about those podcasts…

I thought you might say that.


  1. says:

    You’re doing a great job James! Both professional and personal. Keep it up 🙂

  2. Isi Obayiuwana says:

    Hello James,
    Can your WooCommerce Delivery Slots plugin, be used for a dry cleaning business, so customers can choose a collection date & time and also a redelivery date & time based on shipping method selected. I hope you understood that, I run a small dry cleaning business and i wanted to add an online collection & delivery service.

    • James Kemp says:

      Hey Isi,

      It currently only allows for one date selection, which could either be delivery or collection. However, I will be adding the option to choose multiple dates, as I can definitely see the use in that!

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