- Viknesh Silvalingam
The perils of hiring a freelancer
There is a popular and everlasting debate on "Idea vs Execution, which is more crucial?" With that, I believe I have hit my first hurdle in getting The Martini off the ground. As I mentioned in my previous post, I do not have any software development background. All I have is an idea of what I want the software to achieve and a simple prototype of how the software should flow, User Interface(UI) in tech language. The UI design is relatively possible for someone like myself to accomplish if you have firm grasp on Adobe Photoshop and have a decent understanding of the concept of software functionalities. However, what I do not possess is software development skills. For that, I need to rely on freelancers as I don't have friends who are developers, unlike most other startups founders who usually are duos(one with the business/finance acumen and the other the development/software expertise)
So I went to a popular freelancer service website with the job posting in my search for the developer who will be able to get me my MVP. Within a minute of uploading the post, the applicants were pouring in from all over the world. Naturally, most of them were from the sub-continent and since I was on a tight budget I had to go with that option. Even though I did my initial research on what is expected from the software development aspect, I expected the freelancer to be knowledgable enough to guide me through the process. Initially, things seemed to be going smoothly; we had meetings about product requirements, I presented the UI prototype and eventually, we agreed on a development schedule where he will get paid in 3 milestones. However, the completion of the 1st milestone was delayed by a month and when I eventually got to see it, calling it underwhelming would be an understatement. The links were broken, there were typos, the basic functionality was not there and when I highlighted those errors to him, he just tells me that he will work on it after the 2nd milestone.
Which means that I have to pay him first! My gut feeling is that this freelancer is not doing the actual development, rather is subcontracting it to another developer, who unfortunately is also incapable.
Frankly, I did have my reservations about this particular freelancer 2 weeks into our conversation when he kept on saying yes to everything I was saying or asking him to do without any pushbacks or follow up questions. I have hired freelancers before during my film projects and believe that I have a good grasp on hiring and communicating with them.
So now 2 months and a few hundred quids in, I'm at the first of many crossroads. To answer my opening question, Execution is key to success!