This talk is a combination of a how-to technology presentation and a business practices discussion.
One of the recurring themes that seems to come up lately in each release cycle of Drupal is that it increasingly targets enterprises or big corporations & government, and that its size & complexity are leaving behind its roots of small site use.
Along with that, the argument is raised that the level of code changes and code complexity that happens with each new release also takes Drupal farther away from freelancers and small agencies, due to their basically having to re-learn Drupal with every new release.
While it may not be the "official" goal, it is true that its development and growth cycles have been moving Drupal more squarely into the realm of enterprise sites built by larger development companies, and the development of Drupal 8 may pretty well have completed that process.
However, with all the doom-and-gloom talk and all the arguments about whether it is or is not this thing or that, the reality is that Drupal is moving forward and has a big ecosystem to drive and continue that forward movement, and so it will continue to be around for quite a while.
There are two aspects of Drupal that have been around for a very long time that can still make Drupal a viable option for freelancers and for small sites: multi-site configuration (since Drupal 4.6.0, released on 2005-04-15) and database table prefixing (since Drupal 4.3.0, released on 2003-11-01).
By using one or both of those aspects, a freelancer can take advantage of Drupal's forward movement and technological improvements, while mitigating its size and system requirements, and still give small sites the advantages that bigger companies and sites take.
As I mentioned, this talk is both technical and business in nature.
For the technical part, although I will touch on database table prefixing, I will be primarily focusing on the multi-site aspect of Drupal and demonstrate how to set up a single Drupal installation to serve multiple sites.
For the business part, we will discuss how those technical aspects can be used by a freelancer to help support multiple small sites, and we will also discuss how and why small-time players can and must survive in the increasingly big player world. Also, while I will be presenting my thoughts, observations, and experiences in this part, I fully expect this to be more of a discussion with the members of the audience will also present their thoughts, observations, and experiences.