Seriously? Customizing a WordPress Theme costs between $1,000 and $2,500. Building (Design+Front End Programming+Back End Programming) a fully-fledged WordPress magazine theme can cost between $15,000 and $20,000.
If you are not a software developer, and your start-up core product is software: just don't do it. Don't take OP advice. This might work out if your product is physical and you are using the web to deliver. (Also there are cloud services that will help you and are cheap).
Anything that involve software requires co-founders to be technical. Web Development is as expensive as hell. Small features requires lots of time and Freelancers bill hourly. I'm telling that because I just finished some custom slider for a client costing him more than $1k. Yes, just an image slider.
Freelancers aren't that expensive when you look at the grand scheme of things. A single freelancer can maintain an app serving thousands of users - provided you know exactly what you need.
Don't hire freelancers unless you:
1. Have done your customer development
2. Know which features you need
3. Know how much these features are worth to you
4. Already have something
So, freelancers might not be the best option for building your first prototype, but they are very good at polishing up your first prototype into a MVP.
If the task could've been solved by configuring any of the 9000 free image sliders out there (I've opened sourced a dojo-powered one too), then $1k is really expensive.
- Writing the right HTML structure.
- Doing CSS work
- Solving some math. equations (fun time)
- Cross-Browser issues (IE8+) (not so fun)
- Integrating with the client back-end
- Communication (charge for that too)
This is the second time I've created a site with freelancers and it's not easy - I've made plenty of mistakes.
But it is very doable.
Anyone who's interested in what I'm up to (making news sites better for readers and publishers) or how we operate, check out my profile.