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A Recipe For Software (No Programming Required): Part 1

By Dave Brown
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2004

When I released my first software product, most people thought that I was a programmer and that I wrote it myself. But that's just not true. You can develop hot-selling software without doing any programming at all.

I am technically a programmer. A bad programmer. I am capable of writing bad (and sometimes effective) code.

But I don't write the software that I sell. That would be a terrible idea. It would take me infinitely longer to do it myself, and it wouldn't be as good.

Instead, I hire someone to do it for me. Most people feel intimidated when they think about trying to find a good programmer. But it's *far* easier than you might think.

There are a number of different web sites these days whose only purpose is to help you find quality freelance work. And they aren't just for programming either. I've hired people to make graphics and write software tutorials for me. And I know people who have hired someone to write an entire book for them.

Different sites may specialize in different kinds of work. For example, there are sites that focus primarily on web-based scripts. At any rate, you can probably find someone to do whatever you need at one of these sites. So don't worry about finding a good programmer.

Another issue that may put you off from hiring a programmer is the cost. In some cases, programmers can be expensive. $30-$50 an hour or more. But more often than not, you'll find programmers on the freelance sites for *much* less than that. I still sometimes find it hard to believe how cheaply some people will work.

Of course, you get what you pay for. Or so they say. But that hasn't been my experience in hiring programmers. I often get more than I pay for.

The programmer who wrote my first software product for me originally asked for $50. Granted, I had him make several changes to it after that first version that he wrote. And he ended up doing more than we had agreed on. So of course, I paid him more. But in the end, I had a marketable software product for $445. The least I've paid to get a program written was $20 (the programmer only wanted $10).

So as you can see, hiring a programmer is not a major expense. At least not for simple software. Complex software can cost you thousands. But if you're not experienced at doing this, then I *strongly* recommend you start with a simple software idea. I often find that automating tedious tasks can be done with fairly simple software.

Why do these people work so cheap? The quality of the work certainly isn't cheap. I think there are three major factors.

1. Real programmers just enjoy programming. If they can actually get paid for doing what they love, then they're happy. And more often than not, they aren't business people.

2. Many of the freelance workers on these sites live in countries with a low cost of living. You'll see a lot of people from India and Romania, for example. In these cases, a good wage to them may be trivial to you (unless you also live in one of those countries).

3. Competition. When you post a project on one of these sites, you get a *lot* of people looking at it. So they're competing with one another for your money.

One more point before I wrap this up. You can get work done *fast* when you hire someone through these freelance sites too. With the example above, I had a first draft to look at in less than 24 hours. And I believe I had a fully functional version within a week.

If you didn't feel you were in a position to create software, then I hope I've changed your mind.

It's not difficult to find a good programmer. And it can be very affordable to pay them.

Some freelance sites:
(http://www.rentacoder.com) (my 1st choice) (http://www.scriptlance.com) (mostly scripts) (http://www.elance.com) (more expensive, but more variety) (http://www.webdesignlance.com) (http://www.creativemoonlighter.com) (lots of variety)

About the Author
Dave Brown is a self-taught marketer and software developer. He also publishes the uncommon and uniquely original newsletter on making the most of your life - A Fresh Perspective. You can learn more at (http://www.dave-brown.com)