AskPat 525 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 525 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions, five days a week.
Alright, here is today's question from Clifton.
Clifton: Hi Pat, this is Clifton. Love your show. I run a business analysis company as my side hassle and I found an area of pain for a few of my clients. I'm looking to create a software product, specifically a WordPress plugin, that I can sell as a solution. However, I'm not that experienced in that specific area of development. What are your thoughts on bringing people in to help with the development of software? Would you ever consider bringing someone in on the idea, maybe to split the profits as a partner or just hiring them as a subcontractor? Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up Clifton? Thank you so much for the question today. This hits home with me because I've done software development, specifically WordPress plugin development, very unsuccessfully at first, back in 2010. I'll tell you that quick story in just a sec. And I've recently done it in a very successful way with the Smart Podcast Player.
Now, to answer your question right up front really quickly, would I be okay with or should you hire a contractor, or should you partner up? I would definitely go to the partnering up status. Finding somebody else out there who maybe a developer or maybe they have a team of developers on their own and partnering up with them, actually sharing a piece of the company or that particular product and the sales and whatever deal you end up making. You somehow partner with this company, you're not paying them on a contractual basis. The reason I say this is because they will have more skin in the game, obviously, and care a lot more about it. And they will be there long term.
That last portion, being there long term, is the deal breaker for me. When I first started out in 2010 in the software space trying to build WordPress plugins, like my two friends who were just killing it in the space, I hired a developer. I just found him online and I searched rather quickly. I definitely jumped into . . . and if you read my book, Will It Fly?, I tell the story in a little bit more detail and a lot of the lessons I learned. It's actually in the very first or second chapter I talk about the story. I jumped into it too quickly. I didn't even know exactly what I wanted my idea to be which was the first problem.
So Clifton, before you do anything, make sure you truly understand. You mind map, you figure out exactly what's in your brain because our brains do a great job of coming up with ideas and they don't do a very good job of organizing it. And when you're working with somebody else you need to organize these things, you need to wireframe it out. When you wireframe it out, that's a great exercise, actually drawing it out and thinking about what button goes where and where that lands on and what it looks like visually in the layout and all that stuff. That's a great exercise because it's going to help you find the holes. If you don't tell your developer exactly what you want, they're going to fill in those holes with whatever they feel like they want and it's not always going to match up and typically it does not.
Now, the reason I talked about why this was a complete and utter failure, well I talked about that already, but there was another thing that I was actually quite fortunate about that failure, or another thing that was fortunate about that failure. And I didn't even think about what would happen if I ended up selling that WordPress plugin. It actually started doing well because I soon understood, by following a lot of my friends and watching and tracking their progress, that a customer service part and the upgrading and the updating to make your plugin compatible with new versions of WordPress, and not just that, all the different versions of all the different themes out there.
And that's been the big struggle but also a fun challenge with the Smart Podcast Player and why I just want to give a big shout out to my entire team and the developers: Brian who started out, and then now Eric who's come on board to take over that role, and the development team and squashing bugs and all that stuff. If I had just hired a contractor, and my mind's boggling just thinking about what the customer service would have been like if I had any issues with upgrading the plugins which, of course, WordPress always comes up with upgrades. Having to pay extra money to a contractor for their time to figure that out. At any moment in time, they could just cut ties with me, whereas a partner, they would just be in it and it would be their job. It would be in the documents to do that.
So yes, you'd be sharing probably a little bit more money but it would be completely worth it, especially coming from a long term position in the customer service and the developmental point of view. So I just definitely want to mention that. That doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't work with contractors. You could definitely contract out customer service, although you definitely want to make sure that those people are in line with what that product is and how to solve those problems and how to treat customers and all that stuff. The hiring process in that regard is pretty extensive or should be extensive, and you should find the right people of course who share the same values as you and want to help out people.
But definitely when you're looking to find a partner, it's not just like you can hire and fire. This is somebody that's going to be your partner. They're going to work with you through this. You are going to talk. It's going to be a marriage. People have talked about partnerships like marriages. I almost feel like I'm married to Matt Gartland who is my partner for Smart Podcast Player. We communicate and we talk and we discuss, and we don't always agree and we have to figure things out. In the beginning it was awkward because Matt and I both are super chill, down to earth guys, and when we were trying to come up with the deal, in terms of what our partnership looked like, again this is Matt Gartland who works for me for Smart Passive Income but also is my partner for SPI Labs, which is what is the company that owns the Smart Podcast Player, formed that company specifically with Matt to take care of that software and other software that might be coming out in the future.
But those initial conversations, we were both like, “Oh, well, I think we deserve this but I don't want to step on your toes,” and he was saying the exact same thing. It was just a really awkward . . . It reminds me of really awkward first date where you're both just so nice and you're always apologizing to each other and you're both opening each other's seats up. It was very awkward. But he and I have grown to communicate very well with each other and understand how each other works. There's a ton of dating and marriage analogies that I won't even get into right now. So Matt, if you're listening to this, I love you. Anyway, Mindy is probably laughing right now, editing this. Yeah, you just got to make sure that the person you hire is the right person. Not hire, excuse me, partner up with. Just keep those things in mind.
But definitely if you're going to get into software, specifically a partner and definitely if you're going into WordPress plugins which is just a very interesting space. If you get somebody who's done WordPress plugins before, that's great of course. Somebody who understands the environment, who knows about PHP, obviously, but also just how WordPress works, how themes work and all that stuff. You definitely want to find somebody who just doesn't say that they're great at that stuff but shows or has some sort of history with that.
Clifton, I hope that makes sense and I want to wish you all the best of luck. Don't rush into it in terms of just hiring the first person you see or partnering up with the first person that you find. So yeah. Clifton, thanks again. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. And I want to thank everybody else out there who's listening. And if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. Just hit the record button and speak and ask. Jessica and I will listen to your questions and I try to answer as many as I can, five days a week. Here we go.
Okay, thanks you guys. I appreciate you listening in today. And again, pre-orders for my book are available. This is incredible. We are just one week away from launch. Thank you all so much for the support. And especially those of you in the launch team who have already read it, who have already shared some amazing things about it with me. You've literally put me to tears with how much you love the book and it is definitely a huge passion project of mine. I put my heart and soul into it for all of you. So if you want to check it out and even pre-order the physical book now, the kindle version will be available February 1st, but you can pre-order the physical book with some cool pre-order bundles. Head on over to WillItFlyBook.com. Again that's WillItFlyBook.com.
And here is a quote related to flight by Leonardo da Vinci. He said, “The human bird shall take his first flight, filling the world with amazement, all writings with his fame and bringing eternal glory to the nest whence he sprang.”
Poetic. Take care guys, thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.