I have been doing WordPress plugin development as a business for about two years now. When I first started, by releasing my very first plugin on Code Canyon, it was very much a side project that brought in a little side residual income. Today, I make 100% of my needed income and more off of plugin development.
The plugin development world is really just emerging and beginning to be taken seriously as a solid foundation for WordPress-based businesses. For the last few years, WordPress businesses were almost exclusively based around theme development and custom WordPress sites, but now we are beginning to see more and more individuals and teams focusing purely on WordPress plugin development for their businesses.
Members of the WordPress community, developers and users alike, are really starting to embrace and get behind plugin-based businesses, both large and small, and this backing is providing a strong backbone for WordPress businesses to lean on.
WordPress plugins are transitioning from simple plugins that perform very minor tasks on a WordPress site, to plugins that provide an entire suite of highly refined features, such as e-commerce or membership systems.
It used to be that when you wanted an “app” website powered by WordPress, you needed a specially-built theme, which meant you were confined to the styles and layout of that theme. Now that the truly powerful features are being built purely as plugins, users have a huge amount of flexibility and are able to pair their functionality plugins with their favorite (or custom built) themes.
There are still far more commercial theme developers than plugin developers, but there has not been a better time venture into business of plugin development, especially when we have systems like Easy Digital Downloads that make it exceptionally easy to sell and distribute your plugins.
If you are on the edge about entering the world of commercial plugin development, now is the time.