Business Blog – Chapter 6
Anyone who knows anything about tech companies can tell you that a good programmer is hard to come by. Well, they are even harder to come by when you are building a tech startup from the ground up. When we decided that we were going to start looking for programmers to start building the platform, we knew that it was going to be an uphill battle. There was no one in our direct network that was skilled enough to build what we were looking for. Our next option was to go on sites such as founderdating.com, cofounderslab.com, founder2be.com, etc. to find someone to partner with.
I, personally, made profiles on all of the founder sites and started searching for someone who came from a technical background and was going to be a good fit to the team. At first, I was pretty excited by how many people there were signed up on each of those sites. That excitement quickly faded when I noticed that a lot of people weren’t active on the site and those who were, wanted more than just equity in the company. They wanted to get paid for their work. Unfortunately, we were at a point in the startup process where paying co-founders was not an option. We had a minimalistic budget and what these programmers were asking for simply wasn’t possible.
Our next option was to find companies that specifically designed websites and apps for startups. We called the first company that we found online and after going into a few minor details they said that they could definitely put this together for us. The only issue was they quoted us $80 thousand dollars to do it. If we had $80 thousand dollars for a site, we wouldn’t be asking a company like that to build it for us.
During the time that we spent looking for programmers, we also had a couple of job postings that we created. We posted on social media, craigslist.com, indeed.com and AngelList all looking for a co-founder who comes from a technical background. When we finally came back and looked through everything, we noticed that we had a few people respond to the posts. The problem was, these people were not skilled enough based on their resumes and previous works to do what we needed them to do.
After a little more research, we learned that the type of programmers we need weren’t going to leave their current ventures and jobs to join a startup that wasn’t funded. However, we couldn’t get funded without some sort of product. Our only option was to take a gamble and outsource the work overseas. This was the only way that we could make this company work. It was a big risk and it wasn’t going to be as fast as we wanted things to move but it was the only way we could build what we wanted for a fraction of the cost.
We turned to companies like freelancer.com and upwork.com to find a contract programmer who was skilled and experienced enough to build the platform. We did a little research on the type of programming language we would need to build this platform and found out that we needed a programmer who was mainly fluent in PhP and MySQL. We did this by pinpointing the different features that were going to be on my site and then researching other companies that offer these features. This way, we were able to find out which programming languages would work best for our platform.
After we had the wireframes and the programming languages in hand, we posted jobs on both freelancer.com and upwork.com. We listed specifically what we needed in as much detail as possible and waited for the bids to pile up. The next day, we had several bids on both freelancer.com and upwork.com. We spent the next few days going over each person’s resume, portfolio and anything else they had on their profiles to make an educated decision.
When we were looking through their portfolios, we were specifically looking to see if they had worked on features that we needed for my site. For example, we wanted an in-site messenger for out customers, so we would look to see if they had ever created something like that before on any of their previous sites. After we compared the remaining freelancers, we set up Skype calls with the final two.
Since they were both from India, we needed to see what kind of a language barrier we would be dealing with. We knew both candidates spoke English but we were shocked when we spoke to both of them via Skype. Their English was amazing. We asked them several questions regarding their backgrounds in programming and explained our idea to them in a little more detail. Finally, we made the decision to go with the freelancer who we felt was more confident in his abilities to build the platform. He mentioned he had a team of employees and this would be an easy task for them.
We looked over our wireframes, set up milestones and locked in our final pricing (which was a fraction of what we were quoted in the States). We set up times to meet every two weeks to go over changes and any questions they might have. Then they went to work. We knew that this was going to take six months to a year because of the size of the platform and because he was a contracted freelancer, who had other jobs on the side. It wasn’t the way I had originally planned to build a platform, but that’s life.
Now that I had hired a programmer, it was time to make the business legal, get it registered and open a bank account.
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