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WEB/DIGITAL Learn to Program vs Outsourcing

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Tarheelfan2009

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After reading The Millionaire Fastlane I really focused on listening to the needs, complaints, and grumblings I encountered for a few weeks. I generated several ideas from some complaints I heard over the span of a few weeks, but nothing that was very appealing as far as its' ability to be scaled or leveraged. Then one day while shopping,which I hate, so I of course I was grumbling in my head...I thought of a great idea to fix the very complaints coursing through my head. I realized it was easily scalable and could be leveraged so i began planning it out and mapping it on paper. I am now ready to get my hands dirty digitally, but I have absolutely no experience in programming and a 21 yr old median income. So I would like to know thoughts on the whether it would be best for me to take the time to learn to code or just take the time to save funds to invest in outsourcing. I am totally willing and capable to learn programming, but if it is something that will take 5 years for me to be able to pull off I would rather save for 1 year and outsource.
The website I would like to build would just rely on a few question and answer pages that would use the user provided answers to direct the user to pre-generated pages containing what I will offer based on the answered questions
 
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Tarheelfan2009

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I have been researching on where to start and from what I have grasped I guess I should start with some Javascript basics. I have been doing my best to try and find out the programming language that would be necessary for me to create a code on conditional question and answers.
 

TheTruth

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First of all

IMO, learn the basics of programming so you can efficiently talk with your outsourced programmer.

This X 100000000


Now, as for where to start coding, here is the best way to approach it:

- Conquer your problems on a (problem by problem basis) - meaning since you know what you would need, do some research on what the most appropriate code would be for the functions you need

- then, once you have found out, do some research and see how difficult it is to learn and some more things about it

- after this do an analysis and see what makes more sense (to code or to outsource)

If you do decide to learn to code, do it on a step-by-step basis as mentioned earlier. Don't read a whole book or something, rather go to the sections you need next for your site :)


Hope that helps :thumbsup:
 

AndrewNC

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Search my started thread history. I wrote something last month about me being in your situation in November. In less than a month of studying it, you will at least get yourself in a position of being familiar enough with coding to know who to and who not to hire. I personally think you should learn it, but that is just my opinion.

This looks like a very simple project once you know what you are doing based on the description you gave. HTML and CSS to make it look nice, then PHP and MySQL to get the functionality of it. Send me a PM with some more details and I can try to point your in the right direction some more.
 

healthstatus

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Let me ask this, do you guys learn double entry accounting and rules of depreciation before hiring an accountant? Do you study up for the bar exam before hiring an attorney? Do you learn complexities of the tax code before hiring the guy that does your taxes? NO, that is why you are HIRING people. This I have to learn to program so I can hire someone to program is so SLOWLANE!!! Learn how to hire a programmer, don't learn how to program.
 

Tarheelfan2009

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All great points. I can see the pro vs cons on both sides of the argument. I did some playing around just for fun at the CodeAcademy website. That seems like a great idea though by addressing things on a case by case level. If I remember right from the book MJ says he did this, or that Mark Cuban used this method for developing .com plans. If I tried learning while swinging blindly it looks like I could swing quite a while without making contact concerning what I will need. Programming is looking like a VAST land.
 
D

DeletedUser2

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health status has it in 1.

when MJ did his project, it was much harder to find or afford coders.
now its very easy.

and cheap

I use expertrating.com

you find a coder, send them there, pay the few dollars for them to take a test.

and FYI. a 75% rating in php, means that they could build a CMS like wordpress from the ground up.
*(not just a wp theme, but an acutal Content Management System from the ground up)


oh and next time you need a car mechanic, better start studying...


PS. a quick list of skills you need to be successful

1. delegation
2. prioritizing
3. learning to say no
4. basic risk assessment
5. sales, and advanced sales
6. conflict resolution
7. basic management of people
8. management of self.

these skills will take you 100x farther than learning coding
 

JDIII2007

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Apr 10, 2012
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For the folks who are outsourcing, are you hiring for a long term basis or is this more contract work. I ask because it would seem that any time you wanted to do some split testing with your process, you would need to call in for programming help? Are you folks just not split testing your process? Also, what is a good price to pay a programmer currently or how did you arrive at the price you paid them?
 
D

DeletedUser2

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For the folks who are outsourcing, are you hiring for a long term basis or is this more contract work. I ask because it would seem that any time you wanted to do some split testing with your process, you would need to call in for programming help? Are you folks just not split testing your process? Also, what is a good price to pay a programmer currently or how did you arrive at the price you paid them?


its a mixture of both. i have a couple people who have been with me for 4yrs. I add and subtract from my team according to the flow of needs i have.

Usually specialist.

I will hire a designer for a run of graphics ect. contract work.
I will hire copywriters on contract work.
ect.

the couple I keep around consistently is
1. a kick butt coder. php c+ ect.
2. my A/V specialist.
3. writer

everyone else comes and goes. depending.

Coder can do everything form wordpress updates, installs, css, html, and runs the servers (can do split testing. we split test copy, and offers, and occasionally processes, or user experience)

A/V does audio, and video, Does Edits, moves to amazon, puts on youtube, creates scripts ect

writer does blog posts, articles, links everything up, does basic seo,

hope that helps
 

gfrye13

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I agree with heal status and zen*******. Sometimes you need to leave things up to the experts. Even in the book MJ says if it takes you 10 hours to handle what could have been done in 2 hours, then did you really benefit. I tried to teach myself coding and web design but my eyes glazed over and rolled to the back of my head.
 

Milkanic

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I think it really depends on your goals. If this is just a side project to leverage into real estate or something, outsource it.
If you want to go into this full time, learn as much as you can.

If you are looking at option 2 I would highly suggest you learn a bit of PHP for the basics and then switch to Python/Django or Ruby on Rails.

Learn Python The Hard Way | A Beginner Programming Book is a great way to learn Python.
 

leono

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Let me ask this, do you guys learn double entry accounting and rules of depreciation before hiring an accountant? Do you study up for the bar exam before hiring an attorney? Do you learn complexities of the tax code before hiring the guy that does your taxes? NO, that is why you are HIRING people. This I have to learn to program so I can hire someone to program is so SLOWLANE!!! Learn how to hire a programmer, don't learn how to program.

Actually, I think it's in every entrepreneur's best interest to know basic Accounting and have an idea of law. Double entry accounting (in its base form) is actually quite easy, and there's no reason you can't learn about it.

oh and next time you need a car mechanic, better start studying...
Which is why so many people get taken advantage of... because they won't spend a few minutes to learn the basics...
 

mapaul04

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I would just outsource the job. I would suggest creating mockups of your idea showing exactly how you want it to function then going to a website like odesk elance etc and hiring someone. If you have the mockups it will make communication much easier.
Your project sounds pretty simple but you also weren't that specific so who knows. If you knew programming you could tell your outsourcer exactly what to do and that would probably save you some money but I don't think its worth it from the sound of your project. Just give them your mockups and tell them what you want and they will do it, it may cost you a little more (than if you were an expert programmer) but its worth it.
With that being said if this isnt a one time thing and you plan on creating other websites it probably is useful for you to start learning code. However assume it takes a year to learn what you need to know to create this idea. That year of time is far more valuable than the $1000.00 itll cost to build your site. Spend the $1000 now get the site built and spend the rest of the year getting paying customers. In the meantime you can learn basic code so that in the future you can make the easy edits and updates the site will need.
 

AndrewNC

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its a mixture of both. i have a couple people who have been with me for 4yrs. I add and subtract from my team according to the flow of needs i have.

Usually specialist.

I will hire a designer for a run of graphics ect. contract work.
I will hire copywriters on contract work.
ect.

the couple I keep around consistently is
1. a kick butt coder. php c+ ect.
2. my A/V specialist.
3. writer

I haven't gotten the chance to read your background yet, but it sounds to me that you have already hit the Fastlane. Do you think that your ability to hire people and financial situation have influenced your decision to recommend the OP to outsource/hire as opposed to doing it himself?
 

healthstatus

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For the folks who are outsourcing, are you hiring for a long term basis or is this more contract work. I ask because it would seem that any time you wanted to do some split testing with your process, you would need to call in for programming help? Are you folks just not split testing your process? Also, what is a good price to pay a programmer currently or how did you arrive at the price you paid them?

I do both contract and long term. If you get selected originally, you then get a small contract project (usually $500-$1000) to do. If you hit your markers and are successful, then you get a bigger project, then you will be considered the next long term project that appears.
 

psaco131

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Mar 16, 2012
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If you're business depends on the Internet to make profit, I would learn to code or even partner up with a coder. From what I've seen, sites are often updated & changed around. I know there are coders out there who can do great work for cheap but remember anytime you need to make changes to your site, you need to shell out more money.
 
D

DeletedUser2

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I think it really depends on your goals. If this is just a side project to leverage into real estate or something, outsource it.
If you want to go into this full time, learn as much as you can.

If you are looking at option 2 I would highly suggest you learn a bit of PHP for the basics and then switch to Python/Django or Ruby on Rails.

Learn Python The Hard Way | A Beginner Programming Book is a great way to learn Python.

I do alot on the internet, I guess enough to qualify as "full time" but i dont know a lick of code. I can barley make Microsoft paint work (see my recent Banner creation below)
buy.PNG

hence I disagree with how much "coding" you need to learn. if you learn the skills of people who make 20-50 I guess you can make 20/50 an hr. if you learn the skills that can make you millions, then.....

coding is such a commodity, and honestly if your fundamental work style is contrary to coding. your never going to get far.

just my 2 cents
 

Speedsta

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I am interested in building an online business, I know html and basic css. I have looked into outsourcing coding, but I always chicken out and I don't pull the trigger as I don't have the $$ to pay someone and if they screw it up I am out of pocket, have no business and no knowledge how to create a new one. I think I am leaning towards learning it myself, because at least for me, my lack of knowledge in this area is really holding me back.
 

puckman

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I have been toying around with Wordpress, and have used Wordpress developers in the past. In all honesty, Wordpress is easy as hell and I am often astounded how fast they can set nice looking sites up with very little time. I want to learn WP myself to see if I can do it. I am the farthest thing from a programmer, but tinkering around and picking up stuff has been helpful.
 

Speedsta

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@Milkanic What would you suggest to learn php to bridge the gap to learning python (ie from the book you recommend) and why do you recommend python?

I really think learning even to a basic level would help me move my project into, well actually existing as the fear of the unknown (advanced coding) is holding me back from doing anything. But I do understand your point of view zen*******!!
 

Tarheelfan2009

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Apr 15, 2012
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I would just outsource the job. I would suggest creating mockups of your idea showing exactly how you want it to function then going to a website like odesk elance etc and hiring someone. If you have the mockups it will make communication much easier.
Your project sounds pretty simple but you also weren't that specific so who knows. If you knew programming you could tell your outsourcer exactly what to do and that would probably save you some money but I don't think its worth it from the sound of your project. Just give them your mockups and tell them what you want and they will do it, it may cost you a little more (than if you were an expert programmer) but its worth it.
With that being said if this isnt a one time thing and you plan on creating other websites it probably is useful for you to start learning code. However assume it takes a year to learn what you need to know to create this idea. That year of time is far more valuable than the $1000.00 itll cost to build your site. Spend the $1000 now get the site built and spend the rest of the year getting paying customers. In the meantime you can learn basic code so that in the future you can make the easy edits and updates the site will need.

This pretty much sums up the thoughts that have been going through my head. I don't have a great desire to learn coding, but after plenty of research I feel that services that can be created and provided online can generate HUGE numbers all while having the ability to #1 Be leveraged #2. Grow Exponentially #3 Originate from a simple idea that meets a simple need. That said I began looking lately for a need that could fulfilled with a simple online service. I finally discovered a great idea and bounced it off of some of the tougher critics I know and I really feel that it would be a simple, but easily scalable website for generating income in potentially exponential ways. I know what to use and how to implement revenue generating material in a website and I know how I want it to work and how it should look on the front end. I am just simply lacking the skill to create it on the backend. I am starting to lean towards just outsourcing it and learning basic code in the mean time. Any suggestions on how/what to use to create a mockup for my future freelance hire?
 

fastlaneCoder

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You could go either way with this. But if you hire someone, you must be sure to pay attention. Learning to program will take you some time (depending on how much time you have at your disposal). I don't think it would hurt you to learn how to program but it's not for everybody. Some people just can't take sitting in a chair that long and looking at line after line of code, it just drives them crazy!

When it comes to web projects, my language of choice is PHP. Others may use a .NET language, Java, RoR (ruby on rails) or python to name a few. I chose PHP because of the wider availability of hosting options and free learning materials, and PHP hosts is usually a little cheaper than Java (you can host on windows or linux/bsd), .NET and Ruby on Rails. There also was a wide array of libraries and frameworks and existing open source projects like shopping carts, and wordpress, and blogs and Content Management Systems, user authentication libraries and so on..etc.

This is not to say they don't exist in other languages, but PHP just seemed to have more. So if I wanted to, I didn't need to hand code a shopping cart or a CMS (If you ever need one of these things the better option is to find something that works and use that...it will get you off the ground faster, and the code has already been tested/used and debugged more so there's already a wider support base)

A good approach would be to work through the examples (in the "how to program in language X" book of your choice) and gradually add more of your actual fastlane project functionality instead of what's in the book (Those examples are often trivial and are usually only good for teaching language syntax). So instead of building whatever trivial software that's in the book just gradually use what you learn to make your fastlane project and do this through several iterations!

If this is a web project, you'll also need a backend DB (database). Frankly, you can't go wrong with MySQL. It works for very small projects, and it scales all the way up to companies as large as facebook. Nearly All hosts (except .NET) hosts come with MySQL databases so there's a wide base of support! AND IT'S FREE!! In order to deal with Mysql you'll need to know a little about SQL (Server Query Language), but due to modern technology you may never need to manually type a database query (I haven't done so in a couple of years). This is possible because of modern ORM (Object relational Mapper) technology. If you don't understand some things don't worry, you can just look them up on google and wikipedia (the Programming articles are very accurate).

To design your web page you'll need to know about HTML and CSS, JavaScript. These are not hard and are straightforward. You can learn a lot of the things that I have mentioned with just a few books on Amazon, google searches and by spending time behind the keyboard!

P.S. - It doesn't matter which language you choose for your dynamic web pages (PHP, Ruby on Rails, Java, Python, C#..etc) so do not get caught up in the "religious wars" about which language is superior. There are always programmers who say "language x is better than language y" but at the end of the day you can make a good responsive web application with all of them! I suggest PHP, but only because that's where my strength lies. I will mention that if you choose C# you'd better get a copy of Visual Studio (There are free versions online available at microsoft.com, but I think they are limited in some way).

If you choose to learn to write software, I wish you the best ! Good Luck!

EDIT: You're only 21, you've got time!! If you start learning now you could be good enough to tackle any project idea that comes your way in no time (actually anywhere b/t a few months to a couple of years..provided you work really hard to learn what you need). But strongly consider using all the available tools at your disposal. If you need a shopping cart, or a blog, or content management system find and use one that already exists (You don't pluck your own chickens and slaughter your own cattle do you?No! You just get meat from the store!). I know I'm repeating myself but, I can't say this enough, it will SAVE YOU TIME and GET YOUR PROJECT OFF THE GROUND FA$TER!!

Feel free to send me a private message if you have more questions!
 
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Milkanic

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@Milkanic What would you suggest to learn php to bridge the gap to learning python (ie from the book you recommend) and why do you recommend python?

I really think learning even to a basic level would help me move my project into, well actually existing as the fear of the unknown (advanced coding) is holding me back from doing anything. But I do understand your point of view zen*******!!

This is from the last chapter of Learn Python The Hard Way and I think it sums things up nicely


"
Which programming language you learn and use doesn't matter. Do
not
get sucked into the religion surrounding programming languages as that will only blind you to their true purpose of being your tool for doing interesting things.Programming as an intellectual activity is the only art form that allows you to create interactive art. You can create projects that other people can play with, and you can talk to them indirectly. No other art form is quite this interactive. Movies flow to the audience in one direction. Paintings do not move. Code goes both ways.Programming as a profession is only moderately interesting. It can be a good job, but you could make about the same money and be happier running a fast food joint. You're much better off using code as your secret weapon in another profession.People who can code in the world of technology companies are a dime a dozen and get no respect. People who can code in biology, medicine, government, sociology, physics, history, and mathematics are respected and can do amazing things to advance those disciplines."

-Zed Shaw
Advice From An Old Programmer — Learn Python The Hard Way, 2nd Edition

This also a pretty good article on PHP vs. Python. I actually take back what I said before, I would skip PHP all together and go straight into Python and Django.

PHP is a bit like using a hammer when there is a nailgun available. Both work, but I'll take the nailgun.

Why PHP Is Fun and Easy But Python Is Marriage Material
 

fastlaneCoder

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Just choose the one you're most comfortable with!

@Tarheelfan2009
This is from the last chapter of Learn Python The Hard Way and I think it sums things up nicely


This also a pretty good article on PHP vs. Python. I actually take back what I said before, I would skip PHP all together and go straight into Python and Django.

PHP is a bit like using a hammer when there is a nailgun available. Both work, but I'll take the nailgun.

Why PHP Is Fun and Easy But Python Is Marriage Material

I find it ironic that the site that the link points to is a .NET site! But the text above is a good example of the type of "religious arguments" that you'll be bombarded with (HINT: THEY DON'T GO AWAY NO MATTER WHAT LANGUAGE YOU CHOOSE)! If you want to learn python then, follow Milkanics advice and go straight into python. But like I said earlier it doesn't matter. And if you're looking for a web framework in PHP. You can try yii at Yii Framework: Best for Web 2.0 Development and symfony at symfony | Web PHP Framework these are good MVC frameworks that will automate a lot of things for you and you don't have to write any SQL for you databases. I've used yii but I'm switching to symfony....
 

healthstatus

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Really talented teams, will program using the language that is appropriate for the project. There isn't a language that is appropriate for all tasks, which takes us back to the OP question, what if he chooses to learn the wrong language for the tasks he is trying to accomplish? It is far better to learn how to hire a programmer (which can apply to any language now or in the future), than it is to spend time learning to code.
 

Tarheelfan2009

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Really talented teams, will program using the language that is appropriate for the project. There isn't a language that is appropriate for all tasks, which takes us back to the OP question, what if he chooses to learn the wrong language for the tasks he is trying to accomplish? It is far better to learn how to hire a programmer (which can apply to any language now or in the future), than it is to spend time learning to code.

Good points.

Does anybody know if it would be possible for me to build the looks and layout of my site through a program like Wix and then hire a programmer to code or hack into my site to build the certain features I'm unable to design with Wix (For example- Facebook Connect, User Profiles, Data Collection, etc) . Wix is a WYSIWYG builder that I have created several Flash sites with, but now they offer an HTML5 builder so I was thinking that maybe they could hack into the code and throw the features into it after I have the basic framework built. I guess it would have to be some kind of 3rd party plugin that would track the data and user profile externally from Wix. This could not even be possible, just some thoughts I was wondering about?
 

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