About Me and DDIY
Finding good people is a pain in the ass, so I’ve boiled down the specialties of the top freelance websites and shared my strategy to help you find the right freelancer for your business. I’m a big proponent of freelance coders, designers, animal trainers, hypnotists, you name it. And if you wanna know why, please check out my story below.
Out of college I did a few years of soul crushing work at a big consulting firm. I worked 80 hour weeks, travelled 90% of the time, and had to deal with a lot of corporate crap. Then I decided to shift to the entrepreneurial world. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny and have the potential for a big pay-day.
I still worked 80 hour weeks (at the start) but was much happier about it. I quickly realized one of the most fulfilling parts of being an entrepreneur was that everything I did suddenly had meaning. I was no longer just going through the motions. If I had to create a presentation, it wasn’t to make myself busy for a few hours; it was to convince a client to buy our software so we could pay our bills. If I had to stay up all night before a product launch, I wasn’t pissed at the company; I was excited because I was proud of our software!
I had formed a start-up company with three other guys and we all worked from our homes (back in 2000 very few businesses were run from home). We were all used to working on the road, so we had no problems adapting to working without an office. Through phone calls, emails, and chat (and just a few flights) we built a team across several states. We had software developers in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and North Carolina; fulfillment and call center operations in Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and California; and clients scattered everywhere in between. Right away I had to get used to coordinating large teams without seeing them in person.
We scaled our team at a faster pace than the revenue coming in and were forced to look for financing or close our doors. We took a horrible deal from a Venture Capital firm (VC) which amounted to us trading our software, clients, and almost all our equity in exchange for the VC’s funding our payroll. To make matters worse, the VC’s made us absorb one of their other portfolio companies as a department within our company. They also had negative cash flow and another 20 employees that we had to pay from our limited funding. For two years, rather than going after new customers, we ended up continuously focusing our efforts on obtaining more funding to make payroll each month. It was a vicious cycle that ultimately drove us out of business.
I’ve moved on to other ventures, but have taken many valuable lessons along with me. While staffing up during challenging growth spurts and laying off during painful downswings, I learned the beauty of a lean work force. When you keep your team to essential employees and use freelancers as much as possible you can stay nimble. You can quickly adapt up and down in size as your business ebbs and flows. Finding permanent employees is time-consuming and letting them go when they are no longer needed is painful for both sides.
When you utilize freelancers you can staff according to demand, and also avoid the costs of benefits, payroll taxes, and training.
If you want to ask a question, share your own tips, disagree, insult, or compliment me, send me an email at feedback [AT] DDIY.com. If you’re really entertaining, I may even publish it on the blog.
This website does include affiliate links where I can make a few bucks if you register for services like freelancing websites (hey, I do have a wife and kid to feed!). But please keep in mind that I’m very selective about my recommendations (just check out my freelancing website reviews and you’ll see they are not all glowing). Every service I do endorse is not only legitimate, but I believe will be a benefit to you, the employer.