So to answer your question: Actually, there's lots of good talent out there in the world, often affordably. But you have to do your upfront due-diligence not in the form of endless reference checks and technical quiz BS, but in the "can I work with this person?" type checks. Because you need to be able to work together and communicate, and stick to a plan together. And, you need to be realistic about how much you are asking them to do, wrt to time and budget. Remote absolutely can work, but chances are there are also people local to you who have the talent needed. You don't need to be ex-FAANG to be good / good enough to get the job done. And, given that you are going to be reliant on this person, find someone you respect and treat them with respect.
I had a similar experience. Especially first time entrepreneurs are not great at making choices. You ask A vs B and they say I want both.
Given the constraints of a startup, one has to learn to let go. In corporate world, with unlimited resources you can buy all candies and not pay for it. But startup is a different game
To that extent, finding someone who can build an mvp to be a flexible learning engine for finding product market fit in a particular industry is really important.
It's not good enough to build something once, but to be able to update it over and over again easily to maintain your speed of learning.
However, it's usually not a good idea to outsource your entire core technology development to freelancers. Building, launching, running, and maintaining a technology product is far more expensive than most non-tech people estimate. You would need very deep pockets to commit to outsourcing the entire development.
If you're trying to raise investment money, the process will likely grind to a halt when your investors realize you don't have any in-house technology people.
Through upwork it can be hit and miss, I found the best method was to set a couple of questions in the description of the task for people to answer ie "start you response with the phrase gosling was off his rocker" & something like "explain the tech you would use to build mvp and why". That tended to weed out the people who were mass bidding on tasks without reading, you want someone who's read your task and thought about it a little.
For bigger tasks, I've had success with posting the full job details but then setting a small task, like wireframes or some design work for say $50 to a couple of upworkers, then picking one to carry on the rest of the work. That worked really well, and spending $200 on selecting a freelancer when spending $5000 felt like a good payoff.
The person on here I hired after he posted an offer to make an mvp for a fixed price, and it worked out really well, delightful Chap, good work.
I've tried fiverr, but that seems better for smaller tasks.
Fiverr is good for logo concepts if you filter out all but the top rated sellers.
I'd say the way to use it is to keep subcontracting small tasks that are not time dependent, and charge a fixed rate.
I've tried working with UpWork, but their developers seem more geared towards "known"-type of projects, involving specific tech, or specific type of jobs, or fix it jobs.
I presented a project of some advanced JS, nothing too serious, and almost every developer declined or couldn't understand the requirements, likely because they didn't read any of my material about the project.
The job is pretty simple: add support for https://play.Presenta.cc .json files to https://github.com/pseudosavant/player.html#playerhtml. I want to be able to have a Presenta File player, so I can play the Presenta slideshow files and video files from my local folder using the html page. That's generally it. Upwork couldn't deliver.
This job was step one, in a very few number towards an MVP.
Nobody on Upwork seems to be able to do this.
I'm pretty disappointed with UpWork.
I have a call with TopTal next week
I have a call with Iron Forge next week, as well
If anyone here has reviewed this, is able to do this, and want to get paid doing it, leave me a message.
The problem with many freelance jobs is that they're a form of, "My team are too dumb and slow to do this, so I'll outsource it and see if I can get it done cheaper." When it's often an impossible job. Ironically, I would take the same job through Toptal, because they're known for at least vetting the clients.
On the other extreme, I once commission some pixel art on Upwork. A logo designer applied, with no experience. I asked her for a sample of any pixel work she's done, and she got offended, saying that she had no experience and I should pay her to try. I have a few months of experience here and I suck, but I doubt this random stranger would do better with 5 hours of experience.
So Upwork has this mismatch on both sides, with expectations and experience. It was probably better when anyone could just apply for a job, which meant that you were likely to just come across someone who is experienced with some niche library, the same way you would on Stack Overflow. Maybe another option would be asking someone who has contributed to the library to work on it - consulting is a common business model for open source.
If that fails, contacting another developer who has forked he code and is also supporting the libraries also might work.
I appreciate your advice and comments. Thanks
Developers start out doing freelance work with no history, so they bid low to compete. Once they do a few projects, they start to get direct referrals at higher rates without the UpWork percentage, so they leave.
Other people make bids at say 80% of the real cost of doing a project properly, planning to fight with customers to get more money later, e.g. claiming that things are not in scope. Once the customer is hooked, then there is more room to make money.
The platform incentivizes developers to respond fast with low bids, without thinking. If the requirements are not clear, then it's too risky for them, unless they are prepared to fight or play bait and switch games.
Customers can also play games, e.g. threatening to give a bad rating unless developers do more work. So it's hard for developers build a good reputation on the platform.
So the end result is that UpWork is primarily low-end, well-understood work like WordPress done by people in super-low-cost countries like Bangladesh. Everyone good leaves the platform for higher paying work elsewhere. But UpWork makes customers think that there is some magical source of great people at a low price, setting unrealistic expectations.
The biggest problem with new product development is that the requirements are inherently unclear, requiring insight and iteration to get right. You are doing something that hasn't been done before, by definition. Just translating the business opportunity into a detailed product spec that can be implemented can be very challenging. Until you have that spec, you can't use low end outsourcers. And then you will probably need to change direction based on customer feedback. So anything fixed price is going to be a problem, but you still need to keep things under control.
If you are a non-technical founder, then this is really hard, and you need to find someone who can bridge the gap between requirements and solution. There are product-oriented consulting companies (like mine) which focus on this problem. It's quite different from traditional outsourcing and freelancing, though.
Also, Upwork devs never seem to ask questions. I'm flabbergasted tbh. Even the most detailed designs, stories and wireframes require questions to be asked. In my experience, the devs from upwork just plow ahead into the work without asking really any clarifying questions. weird.
This seems to be much of the consulting industry, not just Upwork. One of the companies I worked with paid managers bonuses based on the number of change requests paid for.
In the case of UpWork, a friend in California was not particularly price sensitive, he just didn't like the bullshit. Every project would involve Skype calls in the middle of the night. He would ask for something for his website and someone would bid $500, then come back and try to fight for another $100. But if they bid $600, they would probably lose. You post a job and there are 100 similar bids. So you just choose the cheapest from the first page or two. Anyone who put any thought into the bid is on page five. And the cycle repeats.
The project is a multiplayer card-based games with complex rules and custom assets.(intrapreneurs-game.com)
As previous entrepreneur with some failed startups and heavy software experience, I've realised my skills are well needed in the market.
I think hardest part here is that clients for MVP has very high expectations and very little money for it. And the whole balance part falls apart.
Besides that - I really enjoy it. It's amazing to work on different ideas constantly.
They are likely to do both design and programming.
And when you hire them, try to treat them as partners and involve them in decision making.
To OP: feel free to drop me a message if you need my help (email in profile)