Note: Elance has merged with oDesk to create Upwork. New name, same services.
AskPat 10 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Alrighty. Welcome to Episode 10 of AskPat. We are in double digits now, which is awesome.
Again, this is the show where I answer your questions, anything related to online business and entrepreneurship, daily. I am so stoked that you're here. Today's episode, I want to mention a resource that I use quite often. I've used it a few dozen times, actually, and that is Elance. Elance is a site where you can go and get hired help for stuff. We're going to talk all about that today in the answer to today's question, which is asked by Matt. Now, if you do want to go through my affiliate link and get hooked up on Elance, you can go to SmartPassiveIncome.com/elance. I will get paid a commission if you go through that link. You don't have to, but I'm just letting you know, being honest and upfront with you. So again, today's question is asked by Matt. He asks about programming, and where do you find them, and how much will it cost. Let's hear from Matt right now.
Matt: Hi Pat. I've created a website, it's doing pretty well, and I'm looking to expand my brand a little bit by creating a second site. However, this second site will require some programming that I do not know how to do. My question is, where would you recommend that I start looking for programmers? Roughly how much would you say I could expect to pay for a small, one time job from said programmers? Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Hey Matt. Thank you so much for your question. Even before I get into talking about hiring programmers and finding developers to help you. First of all, I think it's really awesome that you're doing this so well that you are expanding your brand and you're creating a second website. It's even cooler that you know that you need somebody else to do that help. That means that you probably have these big, grand ideas that you just don't know how to implement yourself. Also, you've been, and you're comfortable with letting go of a little bit of your business and having other people help you along the way. The reason I mention this is because I had in the beginning, and I still struggle with this a lot, I had what Chris Ducker from ChrisDucker.com calls “Superman Syndrome.” I think all entrepreneurs experience this, especially in the beginning. We all feel like we can and should do everything on our own. Even if we don't know how to do those things, we should figure out how to do it on our own so we can implement them on our own.
I remember spending hours one day just trying to move an image form the left side of the page to the right side of my webpage. It just took hours, and I was really happy that I finally figured out how to do it, but I had spent about six and a half hours on YouTube learning how to do CSS and HTML just to figure this out when I could've just asked a friend or paid somebody ten bucks to do it in five minutes for me and probably do it a lot better and cleaner than I did. That was something I struggled with, was trying to let go of parts of my business that I knew other people could do and probably do a lot better and much faster than I could. Once I started experiencing what that was like, what getting outside help was like, it just changed pretty much the entire business world for me.
My first experience was hiring someone to do voiceovers for me for an ebook. This was my very first ebook, my very first product I created online for GreenExamAcademy.com. It was a study guide. The study guide did really well, and after the first month I had some advice from some people who were successful online who said, “Hey Pat, you should turn this ebook, this written ebook that you have, into an audio guide.” For three days I recorded it, using my own voice. I listened to it afterwards, and it was terrible. It was like the worst audio you could ever hear. I mean, I used my Logitech gamer speaker to record it and it was just, I couldn't sell that thing. I went back to my mastermind group, where I got this advice, and they started laughing at me. They were like, “You tried to do this on your own? You should have hired someone.” I was like, “You can do that?” I didn't even know you could outsource these types of things.
I went on the site, which I'm going to talk about in just a second, more detailed, called Elance.com. I found a voiceover person there to record my book for me. She did it in about two weeks and did it such high quality that I was so happy with it. I made up the cost of hiring this person within the first two days of sales. It just blew my mind, that someone else did this for me, and I invested in myself or in my own business with the money that I had earned. Matt, it's so cool that you know that you want to do this already. Getting into answering your question: where do you find these developers, how do you find these programmers, how do you know that they're going to be good, and also how much do you pay for them?
If you're going to do these one-off projects, I think it's really important to know that there are specific places to go, if you're going to have people do something for you one time. A lot of people, including myself, have things that happen over and over and over again in our businesses. A lot of times those are things that we can hand off to other people, if not, have some type of software or program do those things automatically for us. In that case, if you're having something done over and over again or if you do something in your business again, and again and again and again, it's smart to potentially hire some type of assistant. Someone who's going to be part-time or full-time for you, who will learn about your business, who will understand these repetitive tasks that you need to do, and you can hand those tasks off. You can create procedure lists for those things, so that people can do them the way that you want them done, but then, you can hand those off and not have to worry about those things. You can focus on what you need to focus on.
If you're doing something one time, like creating a new website or developing an iPhone app, for example, you want to find a developer. A great place to go to do this is, and I'm going to start with saying your existing network. Start with the people you know, and ask the people you know if they know a programmer or developer they've worked with. Those are going to be the people who you want to tap into first because, you already have that relationship with those people who have worked with these other people, these programmers and developers. I think it's easy to say that you would much rather trust somebody that you know who has worked with somebody, as opposed to a website, or tapping into a list of developers who you have no idea or you have no experience or connections with them at all.
Start with your own network. Ask around, ask the people you know, the people you work with, your colleagues and even your Facebook fans and Twitter followers if you have them, who might you use to program a website. They might know somebody that can help you, or they might be somebody who can help you themselves, one of your fans or followers or somebody you know can actually help you. A lot of times when I need quick help done, I'll ask my Twitter followers for a contact and a lot of times those people are like,”Hey, I know how to do that. I'll help you out.” I'll often get a deeply discounted rate or sometimes people will do those things for free or pro bono in exchange for some business advice or something. So, that's where I would start.
Secondly, if you don't have those contacts or if you don't have that following already, who could possibly help you out, I would definitely go to a site that I have a lot of experience with called Elance. There's actually two sites like this, Elance.com and Odesk.com. That's where you can go to get some really good hired help for a one time job. Yes, you can work with those people more over time if you want to but, for one-off jobs, those are great places. On Elance.com, I've done things from voiceovers, like I said earlier, to legal help, to copywriting, to graphic design, logo design, and web programming, and iPhone application development. I actually have done over 50 different jobs on Elance and over 20 jobs on Odesk. On Odesk I hired someone to create what you can find at CreateaClickableMap.com. That was somebody who I hired who created that tool. That was from Odesk. Actually, those two companies have since merged, so, you're actually getting twice as many developers and programmers to chose from for these different projects that you want to do.
For those of you who don't know, when you have a project that you want done, say, for example, Matt, you have a website that you want designed, you go on Elance.com or Odesk.com—and there's other sites like RentACoder and I don't even know, there's a lot of them—but Elance and Odesk are the top two in my book. You go to these sites and you place a project, and you write a job description and you actually sort of create a project that other developers can look for. A lot of times these developers are subscribed to these lists and they get notifications when people sort of create jobs, new jobs, in these different categories that they're following so that they get notified when there's new opportunities. What happens is these developers and programmers, some of them are solo, they work on their own, and some of them are part of companies, they will bid to work on your projects. You might get 10 to 20, sometimes even 50, depending on the job, different people who will say, “Hey, I will do this job for you that you're talking about. I will help you out for X number of dollars.” You'll get a wide range of prices.
I will say, and this is the first tip, do not go with the lowest price ever. When I started doing iPhone application development, my buddy and I, we chose the lowest price, the lowest bidder, and it was a company from India and, I'm not saying all companies from India are bad, but we had a terrible experience with this company. I think what they did is, they completely underbid everybody else so they would capture our attention. We worked with them, and what was supposed to take two weeks took three months and four times more money than we had expected. The quality was just not that good, and that company isn't on Elance anymore, thankfully. I think they just got completely bad feedback so much that they just quit, because they had a bad reputation.
That's the second tip. If you're looking at these companies and they're bidding, don't pick the lowest price. But, also, pick ones that have a great reputation. People leave feedback when they've worked with these companies. You want to look to see what their reputation is like. What was the experience other clients have had working with those companies. You can, sort of, get an honest idea of how it is to work with them. Another thing you want to do is actually message those companies. You can message the companies that you seem to be most interested in. I would pick maybe five to ten of those companies that place a bid on your project and who want to work with you, and message them. You can judge how fast the response is, how well they communicate. You can even ask them for more items in their portfolio. Of course you want to look at their portfolio, especially if you're doing web programming and design work, or getting design work done. That communication is really important. You can see how fast they respond, and you can sort of tell, just based on that, if that's somebody that you might want to work with.
Another cool thing about Elance and Odesk is they go . . . actually, I don't know if Odesk does this, but again, these two companies merged, so I'm not exactly sure where they're at right now, but, as far as payments are concerned, Elance, I know, you can choose to pay through an escrow service. You can pay escrow and then have the job done and then release that payment once that job is complete. If that job is not completed to your liking, then you can file a dispute and escrow holds that money until something is solved, whether that service finally gets done the way it was supposed to or you just get your money back because it wasn't done to your liking, and they don't want to pursue it. Anyway, going through that feedback, going through their portfolio, messaging those companies who bid for your project, that's going to help you out so much.
Now, as far as your last question, Matt, how much do you expect to pay for these companies, well it depends. It depends on the type of job that you want done and how long it'll take, how extensive it is, and you will get a range from . . . it's hard to know exactly what you need done. It obviously sounds like you need something that's going to take a little bit more expertise and effort, so it might be a little bit on the higher end. I've done projects between $50 to $5,000 on Elance and Odesk. I will say, and be honest with you, the site that I did for CreateaClickableMap.com, that ran about $2,000. I've since made up that cost for what that service does, which is pretty cool, but, that's how much that one cost, if you want a base line, I mean, that cost about $2,000 to do. That's a little bit of a complicated program where people can create links and put them on a map and download the script to put that map on their own website and have people click their state or their country to have it open up a specific page on their website.
Anyway, Matt, I hope that answer helps you. There's a lot of information there and I wanted to give as much to you and to everyone else out there as possible. I do have affiliate links, actually, if you're interested in going through those companies, Elance and Odesk. That's SmartPassiveIncome.com/elance or SmartPassiveIncome.com/odesk. Those are my affiliate links which means I do get a commission if you go through those links, at no extra cost to you, which is awesome. Thank you so much in advance if you go through those. You don't have to go through those, but hopefully that helps you, Matt. Good luck to you and your second project. I'd love to hear from you in the future to see how that goes and what you got work on, sorry, what you got going on. If you have any specific questions about your project that you need help on, feel free to email me and we can talk about it. I can help you out.
For those of you listening, guess what? Matt is actually going to get an AskPat t-shirt for having his question featured here on AskPat. If you have a question of your own, head on over to AskPat.com. Leave your question. If your question gets featured here on the show, I will send you a t-shirt and, of course, answer your question too, for you and for everyone out there who you are helping by asking that question. Thank you so much for listening to the show. Hope to see you next episode.
Awesome. Thank you so much for listening to episode 10 of AskPat, and, as a reminder, you can head on over to Elance.com or go through my affiliate link at SmartPassiveIncome.com/elance if you'd like to check out that service. I've used it dozens of times from anything from web design help to voiceovers to legal help even, book keeping, all those sorts of things. Again, SmartPassiveIncome.com/elance. Thank you so much.
I want to leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs which relates to today's episode. That is, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Don't just pay a programmer or designer to make something look cool. Make sure it actually works too. Hook up with all the right analytics and programs and things that'll help you understand that design is actually working, because if it looks good but doesn't get you the results that you want, then it's no good. Keep that in mind. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode, and I'll see you in the next one. Peace.
Get hired help for one-off design, programming, and web projects with Elance.