A few years ago I was working in a custom software development company. I really wanted to be a programmer back then and thought that it would be the best place to learn. While it was true and I learned a lot about programming, I learned another very valuable skill – time management and outsourcing.
Many big technology companies, such as even Microsoft, Google and IBM outsource. Many small shops and individual entrepreneurs do too. It became a part of life, a way to make more or even any money. Are you doing it? If not, keep on reading, I will try to explain why outsourcing may be a good and feasible solution.
I always paid extra attention to details and tried to complete the project as perfect as possible. I was really picky about every small detail and went through hell with outsourcing at first. Nobody in the third world country can do the job better then me, I thought. Now I have a completely different opinion. There is a lot of talent in the world, and it’s all for sale. Cheap.
So, back to being a programmer… I wanted to be one… I became one… I started to do my own websites… I needed to design them… Was it time for me to learn photoshop/illustrator? Even though I did learn quite a bit about design and do some myself, it is something that can be easily outsourced as well.
Looking back into one of my first big project – I spent 3 months developing and working on it every day after work and on weekends. I spent almost no time with my wife, kids, family, friends… I would have done it differently if I was to go back…
Now lets take a look at one of my later projects. It took 3 month for my programmer to develop it and about 1 day for me to write a specification document and make a mock up. It took me another day to test it and to make him fix remaining issues. One more day to fix the text/messages/notifications since he wasn’t fluent in English. That was it. Meanwhile, I had a lot more time to focus on something more important, spend more time with my wife, kids, family and friends, get a little exercise here and there, etc. The whole project cost me $500 and it is as perfect to my standards as it can get.
Now when I look back into my first project – it would have cost me only $500 to get my weekends and evenings back. Is it worth it? Definitely. I have put around 150 hours a month into that project. 500/(3 x 150) = $1.11 an hour. That’s how much I saved working on it myself. If I would have worked at lets say McDonalds all this time, I would have made at least $3,000 more, enough for 6 more projects of the same size.
Of course there are issues with outsourcing. There are a ton of claimed programmers/designers who should not even be allowed to touch a keyboard. There are a ton of barriers for working with people you never met like trust. However, I believe that there are way more benefits than risks and most of the issues can be avoided if you do it right.
That is it for introduction. Keep checking and I will guide you through the complete project cycle through outsourcing within the next few posts, from specification document to launching your new website.