What I Learned from Hiring a WordPress Developer on Elance

Welcome to the brand-new Internet Entrepreneur Connection!

What you see before you is the result of hiring a wordpress developer and about a month worth of work to completely redesign a WordPress theme for this blog. In this post I plan to discuss the following.

  • WHY – I decided to have a new theme developed for IEC
  • HOW – I went about having my customized wordpress theme developed
  • WHAT – I learned from this entire experience and what was the total investment

With this post I hope to share and educate you on the process of hiring a wordpress developer to help you create a new worpdress theme for your blog and to help you avoid some of the mistakes I made.

If this sounds interested to you. Read on. If not, check back with us in a few days for another topic related to Internet Entrepreneurship or Financial Intelligence. Enjoy.

WHY I Had A New WordPress Theme Created

It’s no coincidence that often times, when describing a new product or service, we choose to put the word “brand” behind it. Next time you find yourself telling a friend about a new product or service you discovered look a little closer at the words you use. You may have used the words “brand-new” to describe the product or service and may not have even realized it. That’s because subconsciously we associate products and services with “brands”. Among many things, brands are unique, brands help us associate a company product to it’s mission but most importantly, brands embody a message or a movement.

It’s the same reason why I used “brand-new” at the beginning of this post. Granted, I did so to prove a point. But what you don’t know is that while I was thinking about how to open this article the words “brand-new” immediately came to mind which further helped me realize the rational behind why I had a new theme developed in the first place.

If you are a blogger, hiring a wordpress developer to develop a new theme for your blog can feel like a big step. In many ways, it is! There is a huge difference from simply uploading and activating one of the many free wordpress themes that is already created for you versus actually hiring a wordpress developer to develop your own, customized wordpress theme.

Doing so automatically puts you in the driver seat. You have to make decisions, you have to instruct your developer on what to do and how to do it and that can be a challenge for some people. If you’re a part-time Internet Entrepreneur working towards becoming a full-time Internet Entrepreneur, the action of giving orders can often clash with your mental conditioning as an employee, which is to take orders, and that is why I believe some people struggle with this.

I decided to hire a wordpress developer exactly for those two (2) reasons.

  1. I wanted to go through the mental exercise of taking ownership and being in the driver seat; and
  2. Most importantly, I wanted to create a world-class brand that would embody IEC’s mission

HOW I Had My Customized WordPress Theme Developed

Before starting this journey, I knew next to nothing about how to hire a wordpress developer. In fact, I used many of the SEO and Internet Marketing blogs I frequently follow to find resources regarding how to hire a wordpress developer.  What I found was that the entire process was a lot easier than I previously thought.

Here are some of the major steps I took towards getting my customized wordpress theme developed

  1. I started by Registering a Free Account on eLance. (non-affiliate)
  2. I then posted a minimal Project Description of what my job consisted of, set my Project Budget, set the job type as “fixed price” and set my project category to Web/Programming – Blog Programming.
  3. I then elected to Featured my Post for a one-time cost of  $25 so that priority could be set on my project. Keep in mind that this is optional but, given that my first project post received only a handful of proposals over a week, I found that electing this option allowed me to start receiving proposals from potential wordpress developer hires within minutes. I also found that paying the extra $25 usually attracts the better qualified/ranked companies. I attributed this to the fact that most companies assume that if you’re willing to pay $25 to get your project in-front of the line and in the eyes of potential hires, then you must be serious about your project and, in turn, they are willing to spend the time to review your requirements and write you a proposal.

That’s it. Three (3) simple steps gets you on your way to having your customized wordpress theme developed.

WHAT I Learned From Hiring A Developer

Although, my wordpress theme has been developed and is live on my blog at the moment, I am still working with my developer to make some tweaks to the theme and to re-arrange other things. No major changes will be made so you can rest assure that this is mainly the brand that IEC will be working on moving forward.

With that said, after going back and analyzing some of the steps that got to me to getting a new theme customized and developed, I do feel I may have made some mistakes or that I could have at least gone about doing certain things differently to have made the process easier.

Here are 5 things that will turn my mistakes into your triumphs!

  1. My Project was supposed to take two weeks. Instead it took about a little over a month. I attribute part of not meeting the set schedule as my fault and part of it I attribute to the time difference, as my developer was from Pakistan.  However, going into this I had a “minimalistic” idea of what I wanted and this hadn’t changed much after finally awarding the proposal to my developer. We wasted a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted the site to look like, what color scheme I wanted to use and what features I preferred. Before hiring a developer on Elance make absolutely sure you know exactly what you want and how you want it implemented. You don’t have to know every lasting detail because things can change or you may change your mind as drafts of your wordpress theme are presented, but have a very good idea of what you want, overall.
  2. When approving the proposal set forth by your developer for your project, take the time difference into consideration, if your developer is overseas. Make sure that schedules are reasonable and that any extra services are clearly detailed in the proposal before it is approved. For example, I requested to have 30-days of developer support to change or make any edits as needed.
  3. Take into consideration any language barriers, i.e. make sure that you can effectively communicate with your developer. I would recommend talking to them on Skype before approving their proposal to make sure that you will be able to communicate not only through email, but vocally as well. My developer spoke English so that wasn’t a problem. But I found that, in some cases, he had a lot of  trouble understanding what I meant rather than what I said and the design was not coming along like I expected. It wasn’t until I spoke with him on Skype that he was able to effectively understand what I required.
  4. When setting a budget, I thought that setting a higher budget would produce many more potential developers for hire, and I was right! Increasing my overall budget to $900 (previously from $450) and paying $25 to have my project featured, returned about a 500% increase in submitted proposals. Of course, this was a great thing but I also found that the absolutely best ranked companies had their proposal price near what my overall budget was. After going through nearly 50 proposals, I was so excited about finally finding the right developer that I completely failed to attempt to negotiate a price. Of course, his price point was near my overall budget and I my total cost for development of my wordpress theme was $845. This wasn’t by any means as expensive as I have known other bloggers to spend on their wordpress theme development but you may want to try to experiment with this a little. I doubt that this developer would have not submitted a proposal if my total budget was $50 or even $100 less than what I originally indicated. If your budget is somewhat lower than what they would expect to pay, I am sure a potential developer would still submit a proposal and then negotiations can take place, if you are interested in working with them.
  5. Finally, don’t under estimate the amount of work required. Although you’re physically not developing the wordpress theme yourself keep in mind t hat you are going to have to stay on top of the project and it’s progression. You always want to make sure you get project status updates on a daily basis or every other day, depending on your project schedule. You have to be direct in communicating your expectations to your developer. I would suggest daily updates on any project that is 2 weeks or less. Anything more than 2 weeks can result in updates every other day. The point being to make sure your developer is actively making progress on your wordpress theme development and that they meet the estimated time for project delivery.

This post has now gone way over my normal limit but I had so much to share and I couldn’t help it so my apologies for the long read. I’ll end by saying that if you ever need help or advice regarding hiring a developer on Elance, send me a message via my Contact Form and I will be more than happy to help or at least point you in the right direction.

Once again, Welcome to the Brand-new Internet Entrepreneur Connection.

22 Responses to “What I Learned from Hiring a WordPress Developer on Elance”

  1. Jk Allen says:

    Holly Molly Hector! I came here and was like, “this is the wrong spot”. Then I recognized the names of the posts and was like: “naw, this is the right place”. I LOVE IT. I appreciate you sharing the process of having this done.

    I didn’t realize how expensive it was to have a site customized. I guess since I took the home-grown route, I just never associated direct costs. But considering the hundreds of hours that I had to put in learning the basics, and all the trial and error – I can EASILY see how the costs could pile up. It’s a time intensive endeavor!

    It really looks good man. I think it’s much more inviting than the last theme…
    Inviting is important – because it’s what draws people in closer.

    Great job and thanks for sharing the process of hiring someone from the web.
    Jk Allen recently posted..What is a Hustler- and why it’s NOT for Everyone

    • Hector says:

      JK! Awesome man. That is exactly the response I hope I would get from my readers. I am really excited about this new them.. this new brand I will build upon for IEC and I am glad that I have met the likings of my biggest supporters, like yourself.

      Like I was telling you just a few days ago. I have a few milestones I wanted to reach this year, this being one of them and I am glad we finally rolled this out for the readers.

      The cost was somewhat expensive but definitely not as expensive as I’ve known other bloggers to pay. Over all however, the cost was well worth the work and effort that my developer put, and continues to put, into this theme. Additionally, the experience I described in the article was also worth the cost. It was a great project management exercise and I learned tons, JK! It was really quite amazing if I may say so.

      Again, I am really glad that you liked the new theme and that you feel it is more inviting. That is definitely what I want. I want people to feel at home, to feel welcomed and to learn about how to become internet entrepreneurs and how to become money masters!

      Thanks for the feedback JK!

  2. Jon says:

    Hi Hector,

    Great new home! I know what you mean about having to be very descriptive when it comes to working with an outsourced worker. The clearer you can be, the less headaches you’ll have.

    I’m sure we’re all hoping to be back to reading more of your content now that you’re settled. So, just curious, for $25 extra you can have your job posting on eLance featured (front page or something)?

    Jon recently posted..3 Epic Revelations about Online Community

    • Hector says:

      Absolutely Jon! You’ll save lots of headaches by being clear on what you want. So you’re exactly right. By paying the $25 extra to have your Project Featured, Elance will put it front page and give your post a Feature Job badge to let other freelancers know you’re job has been featured.

      Like I mentioned in the post, Featuring my Project increase the number of proposals I received by about 500%. In other words, the first time that I submitted a project (FREE) I received about 10 proposals but after reviewing the available portfolios, I was not satisfied with the level of experience or their work.

      After Featuring my Project I received 47 proposals for work on my project. After reviewing them all (that’s a whole other process) I finally found my current developer, who had the experience I was looking for and a great Portfolio to showcase.

  3. Stuart says:

    Great refurbishment on the website Hector! I especially like the use of green here, but I would say that because I love green ;-)

    I think a new design enables you to feel good about your website, like it’s a fresh start and you feel you can conquer the blogging world with your new and improved website! It seriously looks great, and thanks for sharing your process as well.

    I’ve got Thesis theme on mine, and have done all the design work by myself, but I feel that hiring someone with more expertise will give it a little extra that I’d be lacking. Maybe it’s just me, but what do you think Hector? Do you reckon a professional touch is recommended?
    Stuart recently posted..What I’ve Learned About Blogging Over The Past Week

    • Hector says:

      Thanks Stu! So the reason why I decided to go with Green was because I came to the conclusion that the combination of a darker and lighter green gives full embodiment to what being an Internet Entrepreneur is all about. With the color scheme and the design of the font I hope to accomplish a cyber feel.

      But, as you know, this blog is not just about becoming an Internet Entrepreneur. It’s about educating people on increasing their Financial Intelligence; Building Wealth and Staying out of Debt. Green was also a great way to represent that aspect and associate that to my blog as well. Interestingly, ma favorite color is blue! But I think I’m really starting to like green too!

      Stu, it was my pleasure in sharing the process of getting this done on my blog. Like I mentioned in the article, I learned quite a bit from this experience and that is what was the best part of it all. I definitely feel much better about this site, as I am now able to truly build upon my brand and I also have quite a few plans and things I want to accomplish down the road. I’ve got the next month cut out for me…. the next year cut out for me, heck I have the next 10 years cut out for me and I’m with the work that I have coming down the pike.

      To answer your question, I feel it’s all about how much you value your time. Personally, I have very minimal PHP and CSS experience and i did not want to take the next year to learn how to code and create something great for my site. I would rather pay someone $800 to create something amazing for me so that I can concentrate on working on the stuff that matters – traffic and building content!

      It also depends on the brand that you want to build. Personally, I’ve spent the last few months meditating on the brand that I wanted to build for this blog. I would walk into a starbucks with my mac and just sit there and look at my blog trying to envision what it could look like. When I figured it out, I pulled the trigger and hired my developer.

      I think that hiring someone to add a professional look to any site, will give your readers more of a sense of who you are and that you’re a serious entrepreneur who is willing to invest in yourself without getting anything in return “per say”. But of course, there are tons of sites out there that leverage free themes and do just fine as well.

      It all depends on you and what you feel is right to help you get where you want to go. I hope this helps Stu. If you ever need any help or if you would like to get in touch with my developer to see if he can help you, let me know. I don’t get any referral income or anything like that but I would definitely recommend this guy to anyone. He’s not cheap, as you can tell, but he knows what he’s doing.

  4. Samuel says:

    Nice theme bro, love the new wear you gave your blog :) I really love this design man, because it makes everything look professional and it will be easy for newbies to toy around with it. Thanks for sharing these tips! Rock on :)
    Samuel recently posted..5 Pitfalls Young Entrepreneurs Should Aviod

    • Hector says:

      Thanks fro the feedback Sam. I was definitely playing around with changing the way that my readers could access my content. In the end, I decided to keep my main categories like i had them before to make my content accessible and easy to find. Glad you liked the new look!

  5. Jk Allen says:

    Just stopping by again to show support…I love this place Hector and you’ve done a great job…content first (always), but now with the theme!
    Jk Allen recently posted..What is a Hustler- and why it’s NOT for Everyone

    • Hector says:

      Thanks for the love JK.. Glad you really like this place, man. That’s what it’s all about.. delivering the goods!

  6. Tia says:

    You sure have a lot of dude readers. Between you, JK, Stuart, and Jon, I now know where to find the guys! :) I’ll be sure and share with my biz chick readers. LOL

    Anyway – on point. I used to sell my services through Elance, and I used to do custom WordPress design and still do when needed.

    You got a deal. Even though it may seem like you paid twice what you wanted to, you paid what is normal (or even slightly less than normal) for a completely custom WordPress theme. So good for you! It was very good of you to increase the amount.

    When I was elancing, I would bid over what the person was asking if what they were asking was too low. Sometimes, people just do not know how much it costs. Other times, they are put in a tough position, because WordPress mills can produce semi-custom themes at much lower rates and call them custom. So it’s a matter of education, I think.

    Anyway, I no longer do that but I love this post and what you wrote about your mistakes because I believe in Elance, in freelancing in general, and people coming together to do business on terms that work for both of them.

    Great job.

    Tia recently posted..effective blogging demands strong branding

    • Hector says:

      Hey Tia! Thanks for stopping by and reading this article. I do have a lot of “dude” (lol) readers. I’ve been trying to get the ladies to come over and share their thoughts as well but have not been successful at it just yet. Maybe now that you’re here, others will feel motivated to drop by and share their insights.

      Hey, thanks for your feedback on the cost I paid for my custom wordress theme. Yeah, although I did pay double what I originally had set as my budget, I don’t think I paid nearly as much as I’ve known other bloggers to pay for their custom designs, then again they may have had other features added, etc. All in all, I am very pleased with the overall look and feel to it.

      ELance is a great resource to find some pretty talented people and I know I’ll be using it again for sure.

      Thanks again for dropping by Tia. I’m glad you shared your thoughts on this post and I hope to see you around here more often! :)

  7. Dana says:

    Thanks for the story so I can prepare my self when decide to hire a developers (or even become the developers itself). I learn a lot from here. :)
    Dana recently posted..2011 Tablet PC Business- Apple iPad Number One- Samsung Galaxy Tab Second

    • Hector says:

      Hi Dana! I don’t think I’ve seen you here before so Welcome! Thanks fro dropping by and for taking the time to comment on my article.

      This was definitely a great learning experience and I am glad to be able to share it with the community here at IEC. I’m pretty sure both, Developers and People looking to Hire a WordPress Developer can benefit from these points. Glad you were able to take something valuable away from these lessons.

  8. Hi Hector,
    Great subject for a post that I haven’t seen addressed elsewhere. And it’s a question that many agonize over, but aren’t sure of either the process or the cost. Your site looks very professional. How will maintenance (future changes to the site) be handled; will you be able to get the same programmer at the same rate or do you have to go through the bidding process again? Good luck.
    Riley Harrison recently posted..GOAL SETTING THAT WORKS part 7

    • Hector says:

      Hi Riley! Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to comment on IEC. Welcome! Thanks for your feedback on the theme for my blog. I was definitely really pleased with the results.

      When I approved the Proposal for the Project sent over to me by my current developer, I requested that I received 30days of full development support after the project delivery date. The key words there were “after project delivery” and this was importnat in the event that the project was not delivered on time (which mine was over schedule by 2 weeks). Although my new blog theme is up and running, there are some minor bugs that were not found during Beta version testing that I am now finding and have reported to my developer so that he can provide the required fixes. Additionally, I have made, and continue to make, minor changes as I use test some of the navigation more often. Technically, all of this should have been done during BETA testing (a period of testing the new theme prior to uploading the code) but since these have not been and a will not be major changes, it should not be too much a problem.

      Additionally, my blog us running on WordPress so the dashboard is the same. I can add pages, add content, embed video/audio, etc, all on my own. I will not require the help of my developer unless major changes to the theme are required, which I am not anticipating anytime soon.

      However, should I need his help. I will have access to him and his company on ELance and I can contact him directly to request help and to ask for a proposal for the work required.

      I hope this helps Riley. Feel free to contact me directly if you even need any guidance on anything! I’ll try to help as much as possible or at least point you in the right direction.

  9. Edwin says:

    Thanks for the tips. This is sure a great post that will give me some amazing help if I ever outsource, or use someone on Elance. Thank you
    Edwin recently posted..Speed Up Firefox- Tweaks and Tips To Make Firefox 50X Faster

    • Hector says:

      Hey Edwin! Thanks for stopping by! Outsourcing work can be somewhat of a big step but I’ve learned that everyone cannot be good at everything. I feel that as an entrepreneur, I should concentrate on the things that matter the most, like my readers, content, research, etc to not lose concentration on my operating procedures and to provide the best value possible to my audience. There was no way I was going to learn CSS or PHP just to save a few hundred dollars. It would have taken me years to learn it and I would have gotten completely distracted from the main goal for my blog.

      Of course this doen’t mean, learn no new skills. Entrepreneurs have to be learning new skills all the time, to succeed. But here is where your decision making abilities start being challenged and where you have to start making the calls – concentrate on income producing activities or concentrate on learning a new skill that may not be relevant to my business? Your decisions will be dependent on your niche and industry!

      I hope this provided some food for thought! Great to have you as part of the growing community here at IEC Edwin!

  10. Jennie says:

    Hi Hector,

    Thanks to bring this up, I have tried to outsource from many websites, but not yet elance.

    Though I have heard alot about it, but I looked somewhere more “affordable” than elance.

    I have tried odesk and some of them are quite good.

    I will consider elance too because of this review.

    Thank you.

    Jennie recently posted..MC700LL A Apple MacBook Pro MC700LL-A 133-Inch Laptop Review

  11. Hector says:

    Hi Jennie and welcome to Internet Entrepreneur Connection.

    Absolutely! Odesk is definitely one of the other top outsourcing websites and as an internet entrepreneur you have to go where you may find the best value for the Project that you are trying to develop.

    Hopefully you can look out for some of the points I mentioned in this article for your next Project. I would be interested to know how some of the points I mentioned above help you in the development of your project and how fast the project delivery is met after knowing what it takes to let your developer know what you will require for your project.

    Keep me posted would love to hear back from you! All the best!

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