How to Get Your Project Built
Over the past several years, I’ve regularly had people come to me with ideas or actual domain names that they want to build out into real businesses. I have two in my Inbox right now. So rather than continue to answer each one one-by-one, I thought it would be helpful to just go ahead and put it in an article.
If you can already build you own site, this article isn’t for you. If you have an idea and no way to turn it into reality, though, keep reading.
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There are at least a couple of different ways you can get your business built.
Find a Partner
This is the one that just about everybody thinks of. I know it seems like a good idea, but it’s not.
The reality is that anybody who’s any good already has more opportunity than they can handle. (See Dear Programmer, I have an idea.) Good developers are easily the biggest bottleneck to new ideas coming to life. Everybody I know has great projects waiting in the wings that they just have no time for. It can be really frustrating sometimes. There are so many ideas I’d like to develop.
So to convince someone who’s good to build your project for equity only, you’re going to have to give up at least 30% and probably much more. (Most will want at least a controlling equity stake.) If you have a vision that can turn into a tiny little $100,000 business, you’re probably going to have to give up $50,000 (or more) just to have it built. On a million-dollar idea, its going to cost you a cool $500,000 or more.
Yes, you’re offloading the risk of paying up-front to have it built, but at severe cost. Now is the time to suck it up and just…
Pay Someone to Build It
Based on your idea, it may cost you as much as $10,000 to have a first version built. Don’t spend any more than that, because you have no idea what the real business will end up being. (In a recent Inc. magazine survey, only 4% of business owners said their business matched the original business plan.) What you want is something good enough to put out there and get some traction so you can see which way to head.
- A logo
- A website design
- Someone to code the site
For the logo, I’d definitely pony up $500 for a contest on 99designs.
For the website design, I’d try to use one of the many great pre-built WordPress designs. Even if you’re not creating the site with WordPress, many of the designs can be adapted easily to a regular website.
Two out of the three pieces done, and you’re not even close to $1,000 yet. The last piece is the most expensive, but, depending on what you need, it could be less than $1,000 too.
You have a couple of different ways you could go here.
So I outlined ten ideas I thought could be good businesses. Nine of those ideas were bad ideas. Anybody can outline ten business ideas. Anybody can outline nine bad ones.
Then I spec-ed out each business, I put the specs on elance.com, I took in over 100 possible bids from developers who wanted to create the businesses, and then I hired one for each idea, including for Stockpickr.com , which worked out well for me.
I’ve never used Elance personally, but tons of people do.
The other way you could go is with a strong referral from someone you trust. Make sure they know what they’re talking about, though. The Internet is full of people who think they’re great developers.
So maybe $2,000 to get your idea built. Certainly not more than $10,000, or you’re doing it wrong. The idea is to get something out there and see what happens.
What if you don’t have the money? Scrimp, save, use credits cards, borrow money from family, sell some assets. Anything is better than giving up control (and most of the profit) to someone else. You could fail 25 different times on a $100,000 idea before you lost more money than partnering with someone would cost you.
Am I Right?
I know many of you reading this, and I know those of you who have used various routes for bringing your ideas to life.
For you, does this information match up with your experience? Is there anything you would add or change for those who are about to go through this?
Photo by compujeramey.