How to hire a developer when you don’t know code at all

Need a developer for your startup and don’t know where to start?

Hiring a developer can be daunting without technical knowledge.

I don’t know code at all.

Even with technical knowledge, are you aware of all the latest trends and platforms?

What kind of developer should I be hiring?

Wondering what the difference is between a front end developer and a back end developer?

Or maybe you need a full stack developer?

How do I know I’m getting what I pay for is good?

If you or your company doesn’t have the technical knowledge. You need to find someone who does.

An independent consultant can asses your needs and offer you valuable recommendations.

Saving you wasted time and money, putting you on the right track to hiring the right skills or the right developer.

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How much can you save by hiring a Freelancer vs an employee?

How much can you save by hiring a Freelancer vs an employee?

Finding good employees is difficult in general.

There are lots of overheads for full-time employees. If you are a small agency and not confident of continuous work. Adding full-time employees can increase your risks.

Could you be saving money by hiring a freelancer?”

Then you have a project come in, which has a fixed length. Hiring a freelancer may look expensive in the short term whilst your paying them.

Once the project is complete, you can “fire” them as easily as you hired them.

Freelancers cost us more, but are lower risk.

Hiring the right freelancer. Allows you to hit the ground running, executing a project faster.

Depending on the region / country you operate in. Here are some of the overheads for employees to consider:

  • Training
  • Paid sick days
  • Paid vacation
  • Dental / Health plans
  • Office rent
  • Equipment (Computer, Desk, etc.)
  • Cost of hiring employees
  • Insurance
  • Payroll / accounting / taxes costs for an employee

A freelancer may have a higher hourly rate in the short term. However over the longer term, using freelancers should save your company money.

Certain regions and countries may also limit the length of time a freelancer or contractor can be employed. Before they are considered a full-time employee.

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How to stay productive when traveling and working as a Web Developer

Working remotely and traveling is a balancing act of maintaining your productivity whilst keeping up to date on your work.  Keeping your clients / customers / boss happy and continuing to earn money at the same time as enjoying your travels to new cities, countries and continents.

Traveling and unexpected delays in traveling along with possible slow or no internet connections can affect your work routine.

Although there can be distinct advantages to no internet connection for periods of time whilst actually traveling on a train or a plane.

I do some of my best writing and coding on trains.  Flights can also be nice in that, without WiFi, i’m not interrupted by client emails and calls.

If you know you won’t be connected for any reason, make sure you communicate that to any clients, so you can set their expectations that you won’t be available for a period of time.

Try to adapt as quickly as possible to any new time zone and maintain your routine, if you are a morning person, get up and get the work done first, so that you can take time off in the afternoon to explore your new surroundings.

Don’t plan to stay anywhere less than a week, you need time to sight-see, relax, do other tasks.

Here’s a useful list of other ways to stay productive whilst traveling:

  • White noise can help in a new or distracting environment.
  • Manage your time better with the Pomodoro technique to get the work done.
  • Always look for efficiencies in your doing your work, saving time will either earn you more money if you need it or earn you more free time to enjoy your surroundings.
  • Taking regular breaks and exercise reduces your stress levels and helps maintain your productivity.

How do you stay productive? please add a comment below…

How to protect your PHP source code as a freelancing web developer

How to protect your PHP source code?  You might be worried about giving away your secret sauce  or having it reverse engineered.

Another good reason for wanting to protect your code is delivering the code to a clients server / hosting before final payment has been made for the development of the code.

I have experienced this first hand! I was very surprised to find a delivery of code for sign off was encrypted, I hadn’t seen that before.  Sure enough when we asked the development company they said they would remove the encryption once the final payment had been made (there already had been a number of part payments through the project).

So definitely a useful tool for small shops and freelancers, make it a part of your contract that the source code will be decrypted when fully paid for.

We also had another client who wanted to distribute PHP code on USB thumb sticks.  Not recommended, but it is possible to run a web server like that, using a SQLite database.  Given the accessibility of a USB thumb stick rather than a Linux server, we encrypted the PHP code to protect it.

Here’s a couple of PHP encoders that we’ve used:

So encode, obfuscate and protect your code, if you feel the need, especially if you aren’t 100% confident of a client paying you.

Have you experienced a similar situation before, please share below in the comments.  If you would like more useful tips like this, please subscribe to be updated on new ones.

Why you should keep a routine when working remotely as a freelancer

Transitioning to freelancing and working at home or at a remote location from your client can run riot over your life…

I find myself working late, and then when I get in bed my brain is still active and I cannot sleep, so I end up going to bed at 1 or 2 in the morning, which has an impact on the next day…

Being home, can feel like, well being at home! Where you normally relax, spend time with family, eat and sleep. Working at home might be something new for you.

For me it can be tough getting into a working mindset in the morning and getting out of it in the evening.

Of course you don’t have to just work at home.  There’s always libraries, cafes, co-working spaces or you could even rent an office, just like other businesses do.

Whenever I am feeling the cabin fever of working from home, I hit the library.

There can be lots of distractions, so make sure you have a regular routine for yourself, to keep your productivity up and that way you know when you are at “work”.  Turn that daily routine into a habit so that it becomes second nature.

If you’ve transitioned from a regular office job to freelance position, try keeping the same 9-5 hours you had before.

What works for me these days is I go to bed early and start early, when the clock hits 5pm I’m done for the day.

Stick to your routine, plan your days out and remember to stop working and don’t let your work overrun its routine and affect family life and your sleep. Routine sounds routine, a little boring perhaps, but that’s how you get things done, sticking to the routine, doing the work, taking a break and doing more work day in and day out.

 

How to get paid, when you work remotely from your client as a Freelance Web Developer?

If you are working remotely from your client there is a good chance you are in a different country.  Payment providers charge fees and use favorable  (for them) exchange rates and banks love to charge fees whenever they can.

There are a lot of options out there, a favorite for many is PayPal, but…

“It really hurts having PayPal take a 7% combined fee on all my earnings from the initial payment and the currency conversion.”

There is IBAN and SWIFT, but often banks charge the sender to send and for the receiver to receive the funds and use their exchange rate in the middle of money sending sandwich.

But now TransferWise is claiming to be the:

“THE CLEVER NEW WAY TO BEAT BANK FEES”

They have a nice simple calculator on their home page, so you can quickly determine the fees involved and the exchange rate without reading any fine print, check it out at: https://transferwise.com/

“TransferWise is really good, I’ve had funds in my account in under a day.”

How have you found TransferWise? Please leave your comments below.

What is the minimum amount of time I should charge as a Freelance Web Developer?

Your clients are calling you, emailing you, sending in small requests…

Can you change this? Can you change that?

Sometimes the changes are so small, barely 5 minutes that you feel guilty for charging your “valuable” clients.

Well you shouldn’t feel guilty! You are in business and you are selling your time and your clients are likely consuming your time with small requests if you don’t have a minimum amount of time to charge them.

So yes, yes you should be charging a minimum amount of time for almost all client engagement.  Make your clients aware, ideally up front and in your contract of what that minimum is, so that there aren’t surprises when they receive their invoices.

Always consider the amount of time it takes to read their emails, answer their calls, discuss / consider their request, find the place to make the changes, test the changes in multiple browsers, publish the changes and then respond or get back to the client, as well as tracking the time spent and creating and sending the invoice.  All in all, even though the actually technical change may take a few minutes, by the time you’ve done everything else, it could easily be an hour of your time that has gone by if not more.

If you don’t have a support contract or monthly retainer, I recommend that your minimum amount of time to charge is one hour.  Your client also knows your hourly rate, so they know the minimum charge to expect when they engage you.  This will help make the client think about what they are going to request, before they request it and consume your time.

Often in work places, I’ve found the human interaction takes many orders of magnitude longer discussing a change that is required than the actual change itself.  So track all that additional time and charge your client appropriately.

How much should I charge hourly as a PHP Freelance Web Developer?

How much should I charge hourly as a PHP Freelance Web Developer?

Working your own hours as a freelancer can be great with regular work coming in.

But you need to make sure you are making ends meet and covering your costs.

You might be considering switching from full-time paid employment to freelance or some part-time freelance on the side.

So how do you figure out much to charge for your time?

It all depends on your skills, the size of the job, the complexity of the job, your location, your overheads, whether it’s a new client or an existing one…

However you should re-think your approach, because in order to answer the question, it’s important to find out…

How much do you need to charge to be able to live (comfortably)?

What’s your time worth to you?

How much do you need to earn annually?  That’s your target! Figure that out and work backwards from there, divide by 52 to get the weekly rate, divide by the number of hours and days you want to work to get your hourly rate.

For example:


Desired annual income: $50,000

Giving a weekly income: $961.54 (50,000 / 52)

How many hours do you want to work in a 5 day week?

5 hours a day over 5 days gives you an hourly rate: $38.46 (961.54 / 5 /  5)

8 hours a day over 4 days give you an hourly rate:  $30.00 (961.54 / 8 / 4)


Use the above example to work out what you need to charge an hour to cover your needs over a year.  Do it now, if you don’t know what your rate should be.

If it comes out at a rate like $38.46 then round up to $40.00 and then double it to $80! As you need to cover your quiet periods as you are unlikely to working full-time all the time.

Figuring out how much you need to charge and how many hours you need to work is the important first step.

You can also charge by project for a fixed price.

Another option is charging by value, selling your value to your clients.

Not only will this provide value to your clients.

You will be able to maximize your own value in $$$

If you are interested in charging by value, I recommend the Double Your Freelancing course by Brennan Dunn. Try it out for free.