“God” designed my logo, and I feel like he did a really good job on it too. God was actually the skype name of the first contractor I hired for work on oDesk.com, and his work came at $11.11 an hour from Sri Lanka. This is the story of using a freelance web developer named “GOD” to create the PhotoPlay logo in the late summer of 2011.
I am not sure how I found oDesk, but I remember surfing through the site and thinking I had found heaven. Skilled programmers, designers from around the world, willing to work for wages that I could afford making my dreams of a technical startup a reality! I have come to understand the many pitfalls of using outsourced work for both myself and the freelancer, but it was a way to get started and I was excited!!
To post a job on oDesk, post a job description for what you need. You then can make your post public or private and can then invite anyone you want from the search option to submit a bid. I wrote the following post:
The overall thought for the logo is 4 polaroid photo graphs that together make up the picture of a smiling monkey - as if the photos were dropped and different parts of the body fell together perfecly.
monkey = play, polaroid = photo. (july 19)
In this case I knew exactly what my logo to be; a cartoon version of the monkey that I found on google images. I then choose an artists whose cartoon stylings I liked, and at a rate I (thought) was comfortable with and I was off to the races.
I suggest narrowing your selection down to 3 contractors and do Skype interviews. See how they interact, see how skilled their English is, see if they are creative and flexible. If it is financially possible, I have heard it is a great idea to actually hire multiple contractors for mini projects before hiring them for full time. **Finally, recognize what time zone they are working in because if they are in Sri Lanka or India as mine have been, your work day will start at 11:00pm.
Working with outsourced talent, I have found that you get exactly what you ask for, and only exactly what you ask for. This means that if you forget to tell them what kind of colors you want, the size, font, and placement of words, you will get whatever they come up with. This may sound obvious, but working with local talent they might ask you how to address these variables, they might have valuable industrial experience on how to best approach your idea.
Paying $11.11/hour you are not going to get $100/hour work, but I had limited funds and I needed to get started. What I learned in this process is that agreeingto pay hourly is like writing a blank check. Regardless of whatever hourly rate they give you, you are putting no contractual limit on how long they can work. Do yourself a favor, demand a fixed price estimate that, agree to something that you’re comfortable, and don’t create another “Mr. Macintosh.”
What you $ave in cheap outsourced labor, you more than make up for in your time.
Update - I forgot to mention that God and I talked primarily through Skype Chat. The best part about working with God on Skype is that he often posted status updates that went something like “God is busy.” I know he has lots of people to tend to, but I was paying by the hour. “God is looking for a Goddess” is another one of my favorites. By his Skype picture alone, God was a 6’4” Sri Lankan Body Builder with straight dark hair down his back - not sure why he was having trouble finding a Goddess.
Overall it got the job done. I was there every step of the way, making sure that I got what I needed. I recommend people use outsourced work to get started, to test markets, test ideas, and test customers.The final take-a-ways that I learned are, to outsource you must:
Know Exactly What You Want
Know How Much You Can Spend
Take Time to Find the Right Contractor.
Accept that what you save in $$ you will pay back in personal
* find people with great skype names - it makes for a better story :)
Have you hired a friend, a professional, or outsourced talent?? What do you think is best?