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Outsourcing web development. Ask me anything.

Matthew Staton

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Sep 9, 2018
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I’ve made millions without knowing how to code by outsourcing on Upwork.

Outsourcing web development. Ask me anything.
 

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LittleWolfie

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How do you validate the ability of programmers if you can't code yourself? How do you persuade the customers of your ability to validate the coders ability?

In what currency and how many millions exactly?
 

jon.M

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Millions of what? Zimbabwean dollars? Can you somehow verify your claims?

Exactly what kind of web development do you outsource to Upwork freelancers? WordPress setup and theme installation? Wix design? Creating web apps from scratch in PHP or any other language?

What level of quality do you strive to maintain for the work your clients get? How do you ensure the work freelancers do is good enough?

How does your process of finding freelancers look? Do you have a lot of long-term hires, or more one-off type of freelancers? How do you find the ones that are the easiest to work with and produce good work?

Do you keep it all on Upwork, or do you move them off the platform to reduce costs?
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
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4
How do you validate the ability of programmers if you can't code yourself? How do you persuade the customers of your ability to validate the coders ability?

In what currency and how many millions exactly?
You can read their reviews, see examples of previous projects and QA their work.

USD over $10M in 7 years. Sold my shares and am doing it again.
 

whirl

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Jan 20, 2018
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I’ve made millions without knowing how to code by outsourcing on Upwork.

Outsourcing web development. Ask me anything.
Nice to hear about your success! I want to creat a website for specific niche for doctors. I can't code. Is it possible to make a website in English and translate it after to Polish? In Poland there is no a lot of good freelancers. How do you protect your idea to not be stolen by freelancer?
 

lowtek

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How do you QA without understanding code? What kind of unit testing are you doing? How do you know if they have written obtuse spaghetti code that is likely to break at the next update or beautifully documented, progressive code with plenty of validation and error catching?
This is the glaring hole in the "just outsource to 3rd world coders for pennies on the dollar!" argument.

It CAN work, but it's far more likely to be a total shit show. I've seen way too many people get screwed over just simple websites, by their friendly local developer, to buy into the "outsourcing is ez mode" mantra.
 

cy-

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You seem to simplify the process quite a lot, I've spent at least $40.000 in 2018 on Upwork for different coding projects, be it backend, frontend, design & features/fixes from a few different developers.

I don't know if OP cares to elaborate more on his experiences, but then I will to at least provide some value in this thread.

A bit info to get a perspective, my company has done €790K in revenue and around €300.000 in profits in 2018. (Any admin please PM me for proof of Stripe account.)

When I first started to outsource for my project in this time 2017 I hadn't hired anyone on Upwork before for anything bigger than getting a logo done.

I have a little experience in coding websites, so I tried to pull on that.

You will get a lot of people applying for your jobs if its for website creation of any kind or other PHP, HTML, CSS projects.

You will experience very different ratings and even those with really good ratings are not always that good at their job and will do a quick job but have quite some flaws that they will not really care to fix that fast if you insist on getting it fixed.

When you hire for backend projects, like PHP parts of your website (login functionality, payment processing functionality etc.) what I always do is ask if they are familiar with working API's and which kind of API's they have worked with.

As an API is very basic part of coding a website with some kind of functionality e.g. payment processor or Google maps on the bottom of your website, you will quickly be able to read from their answers how much experience they have. They will most likely all say yes but some will say e.g. 'worked with Google maps & Stripe' and some will put a whole list of different softwares, some being very advanced, whereas you can get a good picture of their experience level, even if you are not familiar with coding. (Look up the software/websites that they say they have worked with the API's from.)

Another question I generally ask is HOW they document their code (not IF they do it). This way you will also get rid of those doing very quick and messy code, as those who answer in a way you feel fit will be able to document the code.

Even as a non-coder, you want to be able to navigate your own backend just a little bit to fix simple text etc. and not have a completely messed up folder structure. Think of a website like your desktop on your computer, as it is basically just files in folders - you want to be able to navigate somewhat.

Ask/see what websites they have made/worked on. Go to the websites and find a phone number. Honestly just don't give a shit and call the owner/company of the website and ask who developed it. If they say 'we can't say', then ask if its that guy who claims to have, and they might say 'yes'. You will naturally feel if the upwork freelancer is bullshitting you or really made some great websites.

Keep in mind I would do this just with a few freelancers after you sort through the questions you ask them.

I usually add 1-2 more questions depending on the project, but it depends.

I hope some of you can benefit from the insight.

Not trying to hijack the thread, but the answer was very vague and it would be a waste of thread not to have some kind of value in here.

Feel free to ask any questions, but no PM questions - ask them in the thread so everyone can benefit.
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
Millions of what? Zimbabwean dollars? Can you somehow verify your claims?

>> Yes.

Exactly what kind of web development do you outsource to Upwork freelancers? WordPress setup and theme installation? Wix design? Creating web apps from scratch in PHP or any other language?

>> Everything from a logo, a website, to a call routing platform built on Twilio that has pretty sophisticated routing logic.

What level of quality do you strive to maintain for the work your clients get? How do you ensure the work freelancers do is good enough?

>> High quality.

How does your process of finding freelancers look? Do you have a lot of long-term hires, or more one-off type of freelancers? How do you find the ones that are the easiest to work with and produce good work?

>> See response to an earlier thread.

Do you keep it all on Upwork, or do you move them off the platform to reduce costs?

>> It's against the terms to pull them off Upwork...that's all I will say : )
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
This is the glaring hole in the "just outsource to 3rd world coders for pennies on the dollar!" argument.

It CAN work, but it's far more likely to be a total sh*t show. I've seen way too many people get screwed over just simple websites, by their friendly local developer, to buy into the "outsourcing is ez mode" mantra.
Yes, it can, did and does work - if you do it right
 

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OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
How do you QA without understanding code? What kind of unit testing are you doing? How do you know if they have written obtuse spaghetti code that is likely to break at the next update or beautifully documented, progressive code with plenty of validation and error catching?
Understanding how to code is completely different than understanding how to test whether or not something is working per the scope of a project. Most QA peeps aren't developers.

I'm sure I could show 10 developers the code and they'd all shoot holes in it and also in each other's code.

Instead, I decided to move forward and build a multi-million dollar company.
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
You seem to simplify the process quite a lot, I've spent at least $40.000 in 2018 on Upwork for different coding projects, be it backend, frontend, design & features/fixes from a few different developers.

I don't know if OP cares to elaborate more on his experiences, but then I will to at least provide some value in this thread.

A bit info to get a perspective, my company has done €790K in revenue and around €300.000 in profits in 2018. (Any admin please PM me for proof of Stripe account.)

When I first started to outsource for my project in this time 2017 I hadn't hired anyone on Upwork before for anything bigger than getting a logo done.

I have a little experience in coding websites, so I tried to pull on that.

You will get a lot of people applying for your jobs if its for website creation of any kind or other PHP, HTML, CSS projects.

You will experience very different ratings and even those with really good ratings are not always that good at their job and will do a quick job but have quite some flaws that they will not really care to fix that fast if you insist on getting it fixed.

When you hire for backend projects, like PHP parts of your website (login functionality, payment processing functionality etc.) what I always do is ask if they are familiar with working API's and which kind of API's they have worked with.

As an API is very basic part of coding a website with some kind of functionality e.g. payment processor or Google maps on the bottom of your website, you will quickly be able to read from their answers how much experience they have. They will most likely all say yes but some will say e.g. 'worked with Google maps & Stripe' and some will put a whole list of different softwares, some being very advanced, whereas you can get a good picture of their experience level, even if you are not familiar with coding. (Look up the software/websites that they say they have worked with the API's from.)

Another question I generally ask is HOW they document their code (not IF they do it). This way you will also get rid of those doing very quick and messy code, as those who answer in a way you feel fit will be able to document the code.

Even as a non-coder, you want to be able to navigate your own backend just a little bit to fix simple text etc. and not have a completely messed up folder structure. Think of a website like your desktop on your computer, as it is basically just files in folders - you want to be able to navigate somewhat.

Ask/see what websites they have made/worked on. Go to the websites and find a phone number. Honestly just don't give a sh*t and call the owner/company of the website and ask who developed it. If they say 'we can't say', then ask if its that guy who claims to have, and they might say 'yes'. You will naturally feel if the upwork freelancer is bullshitting you or really made some great websites.

Keep in mind I would do this just with a few freelancers after you sort through the questions you ask them.

I usually add 1-2 more questions depending on the project, but it depends.

I hope some of you can benefit from the insight.

Not trying to hijack the thread, but the answer was very vague and it would be a waste of thread not to have some kind of value in here.

Feel free to ask any questions, but no PM questions - ask them in the thread so everyone can benefit.
Great info here. For the record, I wasn't simplifying it. I was stating a fact and being an open book. I didn't want to guess their questions and write answers to questions that weren't asked...which is why I wrote "Ask me anything."
 
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Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
Nice to hear about your success! I want to creat a website for specific niche for doctors. I can't code. Is it possible to make a website in English and translate it after to Polish? In Poland there is no a lot of good freelancers. How do you protect your idea to not be stolen by freelancer?
Yes, but I would recommend just providing them the Polish content instead of starting in English and translating it to Polish.

There are developers that speak many languages from many different countries around the world. I live in the U.S. and have worked with developers from Ukraine, China, India, etc.

There are also tools like Google Translate that you may want to look into...
 

AstonMartinOne77

New Contributor
Dec 13, 2017
15
17
19
27
Montreal, Canada
Congratulations Matthew on your impressive accomplishment !

How did you find your clients ? Do you take on project that meet a minimum amount of revenue ? or you accept every project ?

Do you have any employees (salesmen, etc) or you only contract programmers from Upwork ?

If you were a programmer, would you do the programming tasks by yourself ?

Do you only accept projects that are easy to develop that fulfills a certain profit margin or you also take harder to develop projects that might reduce the profit margin ?

Why are customer doing business with you instead of doing business with a more traditional local IT development business. (I'm assuming you're a 1 man show).

Finally, why did you sell your shares if your planning on doing it again ?

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge
 

Rod bolts

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
May 7, 2015
23
17
19
30
Gulf Coast
What kind of clients are you working for? ie. Factories, big corporations, local mom and pop?

How are you finding/ targeting these clients? ie. Referrals, search, cold calling, paid ads?

What's your pitch? How are your going to add value and validate what i'd assume is a high price for your work?

What services are you offering this companies and at what price points? ie. SEO, design, copywriting, marketing, content creation?

Are your developers a one stop shop or do you involve multiple freelancers per website? ie. Copy, content, graphic design, coding?

How do you make sure to keep your clients separate from your developers to prevent them from stealing your job.

How do you know what to tell the developer to create? Do you go over color schemes, logos, content and page designs before sending it to your developer or do you just offer say 10 formats and they can pick the colors?

Thanks
 

LittleWolfie

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 28, 2018
892
454
178
Holbeach Hurn
This is the glaring hole in the "just outsource to 3rd world coders for pennies on the dollar!" argument.

It CAN work, but it's far more likely to be a total sh*t show. I've seen way too many people get screwed over just simple websites, by their friendly local developer, to buy into the "outsourcing is ez mode" mantra.
To be fair nowadays, a simple website can just be wordpress and plugins, you don't need to know how to code at all. Hell word has had export to website options for decades. It is more about the design and content. If your website is more blog or landing page you don't need a programmer at all. Just like you don't need a UI/UIx designer for a headless machine to machine gateway, the server hardly cares about your design.


Understanding how to code is completely different than understanding how to test whether or not something is working per the scope of a project.
I'm talking about testing the quality and functionality of the code and the technical debt. It sounds like you specifically focus on scopes that care only about getting something out quickly.


Understanding how to code is completely different than understanding how to test whether or not something is working per the scope of a project.
I find that interesting. What do you think about the idea of having somebody other than a mechanic checking if a vehicle is working or not? I mean the vehicle might move and stop well even if the breakers are wired badly.

Most QA peeps aren't developers.

.
Sure, that is not the same as saying they can't develop though. They just check rather than anything else. I wonde rif there is a bit of a language barrier, I note you say your form the US, perhaps they have other terminology. Your role sounds more like a manager or stakeholder/customer rep to me. Do you own the backlog in most of your projects?

I'm sure I could show 10 developers the code and they'd all shoot holes in it and also in each other's code.

.
That is exactly how QA is supposed to work though. Each developer (or tester)identifies "holes" in each other's code, then in the next sprint you start fixing those issues and anything else in your backlog.

It CAN work, but it's far more likely to be a total sh*t show.
I know there are freelance developers who make their money dealing with the "sh*t show" and fixing the outsourced sh*t.

I've seen way too many people get screwed over just simple websites, by their friendly local developer, to buy into the "outsourcing is ez mode" mantra.
That is really interesting, can you share more on how the friendly local developer screws people over?
 

LittleWolfie

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 28, 2018
892
454
178
Holbeach Hurn
Another question I generally ask is HOW they document their code (not IF they do it). This way you will also get rid of those doing very quick and messy code, as those who answer in a way you feel fit will be able to document the code.


Ask/see what websites they have made/worked on.


Feel free to ask any questions, but no PM questions - ask them in the thread so everyone can benefit.
Why do you need to ask them how good their documentation is, rather than just looking at code samples? Which browser and operating system do you test their sites on? Do you inspect the front end code on the websites or are you just looking at prettiness and functionality? How do you convince clients you can validate the developers skills or that they are good? Has your company made millions of Euros in revenue?
 

cy-

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Feb 17, 2017
107
255
177
Europe
Why do you need to ask them how good their documentation is, rather than just looking at code samples? Which browser and operating system do you test their sites on? Do you inspect the front end code on the websites or are you just looking at prettiness and functionality? How do you convince clients you can validate the developers skills or that they are good? Has your company made millions of Euros in revenue?
Code sampels? I don't want to use my time looking through code samples. And I would risk that they just send me som sample code they send everyone that looks very neat and nice.

For browser & operating systems I happen to have a few different Macbooks, a Windows computer with 2 screens and a few different phones, so I generally just test on my own devices and ask a friend to test on his Samsung phone. If other devices seem to show problems then I'll fix the issues on the go.

I don't develop websites for other people, this is purely my experience from hiring for my own subscription service and company. So I don't know anything about convincing clients.

We have not made millionS of Euros but we recently hit the 1 million euro mark in revenue.
 
OP
OP
M

Matthew Staton

New Contributor
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Sep 9, 2018
13
3
4
Why do you need to ask them how good their documentation is, rather than just looking at code samples? Which browser and operating system do you test their sites on? Do you inspect the front end code on the websites or are you just looking at prettiness and functionality? How do you convince clients you can validate the developers skills or that they are good? Has your company made millions of Euros in revenue?
I ran the analytics team for a $10B company.

I QA test better than most QA testers. I use data to determine which browsers, etc. to test.

Yes, Netscape might still get a few visits, but I’m not wasting my time on testing it.
 

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