Building successful software products can be extremely hard. This explains why we're so selective with whom we choose to bring into our circle when trying to build something great. Whether you have a great app idea or app concept, or you just need help building a quick script to read through some data, it can be hard to source the right help sometimes. In a world dominated by remote work in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, it's easier than ever to find the right people with the right skillsets to get the job done.
In fact, here are 5 great methods for finding talent to build your app or other software product.
Upwork has been my #1 choice for finding specific skillsets to help me with my side projects in the last year.
If you've thought to yourself, "I have an idea for an app, but I don't know what to do about it," consider reading through my guide on how to bring your app idea to life. Once you've got a basic plan ready, you can start talking to developers on Upwork to see what might be a nice fit. Don't hire anyone right away. You can get a lot of good insights for free just by posting your job, and talking with the interested applicants on what approach they will take. I recommend interviewing as many people as you have time for before settling on hiring someone.
As someone who's not strictly technical, it can be difficult to understand if somebody is or isn't qualified. By talking to enough people, you'll hopefully learn what it's like to talk to a developer that's skilled in communicating technical concepts enough to make you feel good about hiring them. You shouldn't feel like you're rolling the dice when you make your hiring decision. You should feel as though the applicant has a good track record, a solid plan for doing the job, and a schedule in mind for delivering the work.
Fiverr has been another good online resource for hiring freelancers. I've personally grown really fond of Fiverr in order to hire smaller one-off gigs. Things like "Improve the SEO on my blog posts," or "Design a logo," are great requests for Fiverr. In truth, I think the Fiverr app is a bit more usable than Upwork, but I've tended to find that I'm really happy with the quality of work for one-off tasks and anything that takes less than a few days to do on Fiverr. Conversely, I've found that more complex tasks have been harder to hire for on Fiverr. My theory is that it's just the mindset of being in the app that makes it better for short-term gigs.
When folks ask me for advice on how to go about building an app idea, I typically try to approach it from a practical, budget-based point of view. When I would work with clients in the past, I've never had the pleasure of working with a client that had such incredibly deep pockets that budget was not an issue. As such, a lot of clients want to try and save money, and my usual advice for that is to try learning more and doing more yourself.
In lieu of being able to do complex tasks like designing a logo, you can use Fiverr to fill in your skill gaps. Instead of learning how to use photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to create your company logo, you can draw some doodles on a napkin, and hire someone on Fiverr to turn it into a quality graphic that you love. The job can be incredibly low-cost because you've done some of the creative thinking ahead of time, and you'll save yourself time by not having to learn skills that won't repeatedly come in handy for you.
The traditional way that someone with an idea could hire an entire development team has been to reach out to software contracting companies and make a deal for them to develop your software product. The benefits of this kind of approach are you'll likely get some kind of account manager who's working with you to figure out exactly what it is you want to build and they will also manage the development team who's working on it. With remote work being more approachable now than ever, there's a lot of companies who would be willing to work with you regardless of your current location.
The drawback of this approach is how expensive it can be. So many traditional contracting companies can have a lot of overhead which drives the price up. For someone who's secured some funding for their idea, this is possible and you can probably get some of the most professional results this way. However, if you are on a tighter budget, this may not be the best choice for you.
LinkedIn is a great way to find and connect with people who have the skillset you're looking for. Using LinkedIn's advanced search, you can narrow down your results by industry, the current or former company, job title, and services provided. Using this search, you could easily find people you have mutual connections with who offer software consulting services. This is great because not only can you find a lot of good leads like this, but you can also find a list of references as well. Before agreeing to work with someone, you can and should follow up with your mutual connections to see if they can attest to their professional experience.
Lastly, don't ignore your personal network when it comes to finding technical expertise. A lot of folks, myself included, are reluctant to approach someone they know for help on these types of problems. Now, I'm not saying to immediately partner with your best friend whom you've never worked with professionally just because you know they can code. Rather, think about who in your personal network might have the capability to help you on such a venture. Check their technical background by asking them if they've ever built anything similar to what you're asking for. A lot of the time, the answer is no. This doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't work with them, but it's an indication that you'll need to be willing to accept a higher level of risk in order to accept them as a partner.