Back when I was working as a Quality Analyst my real desire was to code. I wanted to be a programmer. Instead of finding a new job, I found small jobs through a site called GetAFreelancer, now known as Freelancer.com. It was a great way test my skills, learn new things, get experience, build a portfolio and make a little money along the way.
A couple of gigs that I did on GetAFreelancer led to long term projects. One of the most successful was LeaseHunter.com which I wrote, the owner sold, and the new owner continue to employ my services until I became too busy and I eventually moved on.
As my experience grew I no longer needed to look for jobs on freelance boards because 1) they didn’t pay very much and 2) I was too busy to even take on more tasks.
I have often heard that you shouldn’t trade time for money – which essentially is what I was doing, at is what everyone with a hourly or salary job does. It sounds nice and many people manage to create income where they are no longer trading time for money. But, I have always felt there is absolutely no shame in working for money, and for me it can be and often is very enjoyable.
But, still wouldn’t it be nice to get to a place where you are the boss, you are the owner, you own the product and you hire people to maintain it for you? Most would say yes.
I first heard about John Jonas during a “death of adsense” campaign where he was interviewed on a phone call about how it had become increasingly difficult to earn money with Google Adsense. I really liked what John Jonas was saying. He gave out so much information for free and gained my trust quickly. I started following his blog. At some point in time he mentioned the 4 Hour Workweek. I bought a copy and started reading it. I told a friend in the office about it as well. I only got about halfway through it, as I do with most projects, while my friend went on to live the 4 hour work week. I think he’s currently in Bali and is featured in $100 Startup book. He’s not the only friend I’ve seen grow rich through focus and efforts.
So what is wrong with me? Why can’t I follow in the footsteps of my friends and build businesses that allow me to work 4 hours per week?
As many times as I asked myself this, I knew the answer. I wasn’t willing to do the things my friends where doing. I have put in lots of extra hours, but I don’t do the uncomfortable things, like creating video tutorials, doing webinars, creating newletters and autoresponders. I still don’t. I’m leaving money on the table and I’m completely aware of it.
I recently saw a tweet, I don’t even remember who from, but it said something to the effect of, “If you just want to program all day, you want a programming job, not a business.” Hmmm… Yeah, sometimes that is me. I’m interested in the other stuff, but I always fall back to the introverted exercise of programming.
Another thing my successful friends do is outsource. I’ve tried this a few times. I’ve hired freelancers and employees to help me with projects. Sometimes it is successfully, other times I lose my butt!
A few months ago I decided to try the outsourcing thing again. As I’m getting older and as my family is getting older I’m finding its harder to get up at 4 AM, program for a few hours then go to work for another 8 hours. The overwork and lack of sleep causes my RSI to flare up so bad that I can’t use my hands. It doesn’t help that my Dad’s side of the family all suffer from arthritis and my mom’s side from trigger finger.
What I need to do is replace myself. Often I have hired people to fill gaps. I tried to find people do to article marketing, support, iPhone development, graphic design, etc. Why would I hire a programmer when that is what I enjoy the most and that is what I do the best?
Well, after listening to all of John Jonas’ replace myself weminars over again I realized that is what I had to do. That is where I needed to start. I signed up for ReplaceMyself.com to get all the training to do it right this time and to get a free membership to OnlineJobs.ph.
I hired my first programmer around April 18th – about 4 months ago. I sent out a lot of emails through OnlineJobs.ph. I ended up hiring Jaymar who was just out of college and really the only person who had any familiarity with python & Django which is my programming language of choice. He didn’t have a lot of experience, but certainly enough to get started. I chose Jaymar over other candidates mostly because of his enthusiasm and friendliness.
I actually hired a virtual assistant at the same time. That only lasted two weeks before she sent a resignation letter. I decided to hire another programmer. I asked Jaymar if he knew anyone looking for a job and he recommend a Catherine – a girl he went to college with. Catherine was very good with PHP but had no experience with python & Django. Catherine started by helping me with PHP, but has quickly learned python and Django and does an excellent job. She even able to quickly migrate from Windows to Linux to make life easier programming in python. It has been helpful having both programmers live in the same city as they often get together to collaborate on projects.
I follow John’s advice of having them send me an email everyday answering 3 questions: 1. What did you work on today? 2. What problems did you encounter? 3. How can I help you?
Because of a full time job, family with 4 small kids, church callings, etc., I don’t always get to work on my business as much as I would like, or as much as I should. I have found that having these two programmers forces me to focus on my business daily. Here are some points that I have found beneficial the past few months:
- Getting a daily email reminds me of my business daily. These emails are generally in my inbox first thing in the morning.
- I can more easily help them help me. I often review their code and offer suggested improvements. They learn faster this way and we stay on the same page. It was harder to do with article marketing (as I didn’t have much interest) or with iPhone development (because I didn’t have experience to know if their code was good or not).
- They work while I sleep. I encourage them to work the hours that are best for them. If I have an idea or have something come up at night, I can send them an email and it will be done in the morning. This is great!
- I get a different perspective. Sometimes they will go above and beyond on something I asked for because they thought it would be better. Often it is. This often happens when I work on things. You have ideas as you code. I have found that with freelancers you pretty much get what you ask for, no more, no less. With employees, they have a vested interest in your success.
- Jaymar & Catherine are active on Facebook and help promote my business just because they want to. Again, I think they have a vested interest in the success of OUR company and are proud to share it with their friends.
- I sort of mentioned earlier that I have a bad habit of starting a lot of projects and never finishing them. In the past, I don’t think I valued MY time enough. Yes, I have charged clients up to $75 per hour to work on their sites, but I often didn’t think twice about coding out some new idea before I even tested the market. I thought if I hired programmers I could have them create all these crazy ideas in my head. I’m finding that I am more protective of their time. I know I have to pay them month in and month out, so I need to ensure that I have the income to provide their salary. So I ensure that I have them working on projects that I believe will make the most income. This has in a way reigned in my entrepreneurial ADD.
- One of my dreams has been to own a business and provide employment for others. Sometimes I wonder if that will ever happen, but right now, I am providing employment for other people. I hope they enjoy working for me as much as I enjoy employing them, and I hope I provide raises as we increase our business revenue so they can make a very good living.
So, in summary, if you haven’t tried hiring an employee, I highly recommend checking out John Jonas’ Replace Myself system to learn how to do it the right way and hit the ground running. Replace yourself so you can do those uncomfortable things that make the real difference between success & failure in business.