The Startup Project: OLEO Part 3 – Developer? I hardly know her!

As it turns out, getting an app developed isn’t a very difficult process in and of itself.

The first step logically was to find someone capable of developing it. I had used E-Lance (a freelance website) in the past for my book with some success, but a company called Upwork bought them out so I decided to give it a go.

I submitted a VERY detailed request for work, and promptly received more than 50 requests to develop my app. So how did I decide which request to accept? I sent another detailed message to each person who responded asking them to create a mock up of what they would do and how the customer experience would look and work based on my detailed description.

Only 2 responded back to me with anything close to a decent effort.

This process of vetting was huge so I wasn’t throwing money at someone who was going to do a really crappy job. So I chose the better of the two respondents and dropped 2 payments of $750 towards developing an Android App for Oleo with the stipulation that it be completed by November 1st. This may seem like a lot of $$$, and it was to me at this point, but it’s quite cheap in the app developer space.

Even though I had been very detailed in my description I knew that it was going to be somewhat of a process, the developer creating a mock-up and me tearing it apart, over and over again. One thing I know about myself is that I have a specific vision of how I want everything to look in my mind — and I get frustrated and impatient when it doesn’t come out exactly right. After weeks of going back and forth, the app was mostly completed and going through its last stages of development.

A few problems came up through the course of the experience, mainly having to do with miscommunication and expectation setting. The app ended up being wholly functional… but it worked only for Android and wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I started. This wasn’t the developer’s fault, it was mine for expecting a $15,000 app for 1/10 the price. Eventually I decided just to run everything through a website for now — I’d rather drop a bunch of money on a mobile app that works exactly like I want it than go cheap and have something that’s clunky and not as functional.

My advice: If you are having anybody do anything for you in a freelance capacity vet them to the extreme. This helped me a lot. Don’t agree to pay until the entire thing is complete to your standards, whatever they are. I guess it’s common sense in hindsight but when you’re in the middle of a project and you want to be helpful and generous, you could get taken advantage of.

A constant battle of entrepreneurship is balancing planning with action. You don’t want to commit to action without a plan because then you end up making costly and inefficient errors, but you don’t want to spend too much time planning because the fact of the matter is no matter how much time you spend crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s it’s never going to be perfect. I wish I had that $1,500 back, it could be put to better use somewhere else now, but nothing I say or do is going to get that money back.

Might as well learn from it and move on.

Thanks for reading — see you again tomorrow!

Eric

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