Should I Program Myself, Or Pay Someone Else?

Have you asked yourself this question before? “Should I program myself, or pay someone else?” It is a question asked every day by internet entrepreneurs, and it is a good question. I too had to figure out what direction I would take years ago. In this video I will share some of my thoughts on which direction is best to take, depending on certain your situations.

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To sum it up though, learning how to code can never really be a bad thing for your business. In that knowing an extra skill like PHP and MYSQL for instance will only be benefical to you in the future, and is probably not a bad thing to take a step back and learn some time.

Really if you have a small project, it is general ok to pay a freelancer. But if you want to build a web 2.0 company with some really innovative software unless you plan on doing it right, don’t do it at all.  And if your going to pay and fund a large web 2.0 startup you need to invest alot of money, and hire a team of programmers, and potentially an IT consultant, and vest ownership over several years.  See if you really want to build sometime long-term you’re going to need long-term people, you can just pay someone in another country for $500 to build you something that is going to be bought out for millions of dollars.  Sorry its just not going to work, and I have seen people try to outsource big ideas to cheap freelancers and it almost fails every, single, time…

Trust me a $500 freelancer can’t just build a and I can’t scale and keep making a better tracking system by paying some rent-a-coder online whenever I need them.  You need long-term employees who will build it, or you need to build it yourself.  If it is a big project, either do it right, hire a team of full-time employees to do it, or build it yourself so you are the system artitect, and later on hire other coders to build off your existing platform.

  • Dan

    Haha wes, my thoughts exactly. Kinda reminds me of that site suggestion tool that i don’t know if it is still in the works or not 🙂

    I’m working one my big “Web 2-0” site right now, no hiring — just me, and certainly no 250k/month budget… yet.

    When it comes to being doing projects, say you have multiple ideas, do you focus on the big one, or do the small ones first? How do you prioritize?


  • great post Wes. This is very true. I suggest everyone to atleast know the basics or not even learn as much as you can. I have a bit of understanding of all the languages and I also use to code before. When hiring a programmer I can see his style of coding and can judge if he’s worth it or not. Great post and video keep it up

  • Being a programmer myself, this is a hard decision for me sometimes. I already outsource my content writing, graphics and HTML, but the programming I do myself. I recently tried to hire a programmer and gave him a simple report to generate. 2 weeks late and double the original estimate, it still wasn’t working. I took 15 minutes & got it done. Then the guys asks me why I didn’t just do it in the first place… well, because this report was a test to see if he could handle larger projects! Now I’m back to programming everything myself. I’ll try hiring someone again in a few months 🙂

  • Craig

    An idea for those non-programmers out there that happen to have a great idea no budget or skill to develop it.. look for a joint venture partner. Someone to compliment your skills.

  • Same, been a programmer myself I am also facing the same dilemma. My biggest issue is I am little controlling on how I want the system works and I know what I want. I hate having to write functional specification for my outsourcing partner to develop. I think once I get to a stage where it is no longer scalable for me to continue to run and develop my business I need to outsource or hire staff. One way the other I am yet to decide. Right now it is still a side hobby for me.

    Recently visiting India like 2 weeks ago, I met my outsourcing partners for my company, we have decided to outsource our entire IT development to India. I was shocked on how much it cost to pay a developer which is less than 4 weeks of my pay in India who is both highly skilled and knowlegable.

    I keep you guys up to date on how a large organisation is outsourcing and the quality of work in terms of IT persective. I guess the main difference is you are using probably coders from rentacoder and elance versus using a large outsource where contracts are signed…etc.


  • Well everyone put an interesting twist on the subject, coders, know how to code, but not sure if they should. This video was actually oriented to around people who don’t know how to program, but Norm it sounds like your going in there and doing it right and putting a team together. Let us know how it works.

    Dan one project at a time. We can’t code two things at once.

  • Tip Jar

    Hey Wes,

    how long would you say that it takes someone to get a good grasp on programming? Are we talking about a 4-year college degree in computer programming or a few months of just straight learning from home?

  • few months will be more than enough.

    1 month to get the basics
    2-3 months to refine
    6+ months to be able to scale anything


    you build what u want to go, and u learn it as you go, so the whole time your building.

  • big gay al

    Nice try WES,

    You will one day have to deal with the failures you have ignored all along. Now is a time to wake up and become more practical. Focus your energy on one task for a week, a month, a year. Simplify your thoughts and success will follow