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“I’d like to outsource WordPress development.  Where should I start?” my friend asked.

 

I’ve been outsourcing WordPress website and plugin development for over a decade, and friends often come to me with questions.

The One Thing I Recommend to Everyone

The fact that we are having this conversation means you are curious about outsourcing WordPress website or plugin development.

My recommendation: Go for it!

Don’t sweat the “how” or the “why” right now.  Just do it.

The risks are as low as they’ll ever be.

Just do it.

How To Outsource Your First WordPress Development Project Overseas:

  1. Find a very specific thing you need done.  This could be “I need you to make the homepage of xyz.com look exactly like the homepage abc.com” or “Fix this broken contact form.”  Do not ask someone to do non-specific things like “Build me a website that looks amazing” or “Design a landing page for my insurance business’ upcoming event.”  They’ll fail, and it’ll be your fault.
  2. Go to Upwork.com and post your job as “hidden”.  Propose a ridiculously-low budget (I’ve found $100 is good for most jobs) and also demand the completed work in 24-hours.  The goal here is to figure out quickly who is a good fit for you.  From these admittedly ridiculous parameters, you’ll learn a number of things by tomorrow:
    – How they communicate with you under pressure.
    – How good you are at communicating the work.
    – How hungry they are for the work.
    – How good their English skills are.
    – How good their coding skills are (you can’t fake a pressure-packed deadline).
  3. Search Upwork.com for 8 developers who will be a good fit skill-wise, and invite them to apply to your job.  (I recommend hiring from a country you are naturally-curious about, because you will learn a lot about that country from your overseas developer.)
  4. Hire 3 developers to do the work.
  5. After 24 hours, pay all 3 for the work regardless of how they performed and give the best one another $100/24-hour project.  (You didn’t tell them this, but your request was completely ridiculous – it’s only fair to pay them no matter what, unless they delivered nothing to you.)

Questions To Ask After the Work Is Delivered

You have successfully outsourced your first WordPress dev project overseas!  Congratulations!

Here are some questions to ponder for next time:

  • On a scale of 1-5, how would you rate your experience?  Why?
  • What would you change for next time? (locale, type of work, your communication, etc.)
  • Does it seem like there’s business value for you in outsourcing abroad?  How about locally?
  • Might you be better-fit for outsourcing to an agency rather than an individual? (If so, do the steps above, but hire an agency rather than an individual next time.)

Which Country Should I to Outsource To?

There are pros and cons to every single country you outsource WordPress dev to, including the good ol’ United States of America!

I’ve had wonderful experiences with humans from around the globe, and outsourcing overseas has expanded my worldview.

Understanding the trials and joys of different cultures has also helped make me a better citizen here at home in the U.S.

So long as you approach outsourcing with intense curiosity and a mindset of innovation, you’ll find a lot of value in outsourcing abroad (even if you ultimately decide it’s not the best course for your biz).

Countries To Outsource To With Pros & Cons

My experiences with outsourcing to India, Pakistan, Philippines, Colombia, Mexico, U.S.A, and more have been mind-expanding.

You bring your personal baggage with you to all interactions, so my best advice is to get curious about yourself as well as your work.

Mindset of Innovative will help you here.

Here are some pros & cons, frustrations & joys based on my experiences with outsourcing web dev abroad:

United States of America (USA)

This is where my outsourcing began over a decade ago: sending WordPress plugin projects to local WordPress developers in Minneapolis.

At first, I mostly hired moonlighters, but then I moved on to full-time WP devs.  But the results were the same.

WordPress developers in the USA are busy.  Their time is a premium.

And they suck at project & customer management.

However, some friendships were built & strengthened in the process.

Pros:

  • Most of the time, they’ll just “get it”.  They’ll read between the lines & understand what you are saying, including tone & non-verbals.
  • Communication styles you are already familiar with.
  • Low cultural-learning overhead.
  • Build your community/country rather than sending money overseas.
  • They’ll push back on my stupid ideas.

Cons:

  • Expensive.  This is the most expensive option.
  • No loyalty to the job.  Expect job-hopping!
  • Work ethic sucks.  Expect stuff late.

Philippines

I built my first full-time dev team in the Philippines, maxing out at 4 full-time Filipinos.

They were a joy to work with.

But all of our calls had annoying lag times due to them being on the other side of the globe.

They also live on opposite time as me, which caused all sorts of problems.

First, I just had them work overnight.  This was a pain, because I had to be super-duper prepared by end of day.

Second, I had them work U.S. business hours.  This caused them to be sleepy and generally suck at their work.

Pros:

  • English is a 2nd language of everyone, and they understand written English.
  • Free healthcare + education, so everyone is healthy and educated. Very good-mannered and respectful of authority (i.e. perfect for customer service roles).
  • They understand U.S.A. sports & cultural references.
  • Cheap labor.  $8/hour can get you a mid-level WordPress dev.
  • Desperate for the work.  They’ll jump through hoops for you!
  • Loyalty to the job.  If you are fair and pay on time, they’ll never leave you.

Cons:

  • Internet connections suck, except in major cities.
  • Latency for VOIP even on fastest internet connections due to physical location on the globe.
  • They’ll never push back or tell you no, so be prepared to be frustrated!
  • They’ll drop off the map without warning only to re-appear weeks later.
  • Government mandates lots of vacation time, and you are legally-required to pay for that time.
  • You are legally-required to pay for an extra month every December.
  • Spoken English is hit-or-miss.
  • Timezone difference makes real-time communication difficult/impossible.
  • They don’t read between the lines of what you are saying.  Don’t interpret USA non-verbals well.
  • Politically-unstable.  Run by a tyrant, and there are localized military disputes.
  • Opposite time zone.
  • They won’t push back on my stupid ideas.

Pakistan

Pros:

  • Cheap labor.  $8/hour can get you a mid-level WordPress dev.
  • Desperate for the work.  They’ll jump through hoops for you!

Cons:

  • Language barriers.
  • Timezone difference makes real-time communication difficult/impossible.
  • They don’t read between the lines of what you are saying.  Don’t interpret USA non-verbals well.
  • They won’t push back on my stupid ideas.
  • Politically-unstable.

India

Pros:

  • Cheap labor.  $8/hour can get you a mid-level WordPress dev.
  • Desperate for the work.  They’ll jump through hoops for you!

Cons:

  • Language barriers.
  • Timezone difference makes real-time communication difficult/impossible.
  • They don’t read between the lines of what you are saying.  Don’t interpret USA non-verbals well.
  • Very pushy and aggressive business culture.
  • You are probably hiring an agency and not a person even if it seems like a person.
  • The economy of India is weird right now.
  • They’ll push back on my stupid ideas.
  • Politically-unstable.
  • No loyalty to you or the job.

Colombia

For the past 5 years, I’ve exclusively outsourced important projects to Colombia & Mexico.

It’s been the best fit, culturally and from a time-zone perspective.

Pros:

  • Low cost (but not cheap) labor.  $12/hour can get you a mid-level WordPress dev.
  • They share U.S. sense of humor and cultural values.
  • They’ll push back on my stupid ideas.
  • Central Standard Time!  Real-time communication is great!

Cons:

  • English isn’t taught universally, so you’ll need to screen for language abilities that meet your need.
  • Currency is unstable, which leads to human problems.  (How would your life change if it was impossible for you to save money?)
  • Payment is tough, because U.S. banks don’t mesh with Colombian banks, and Paypal cannot transfer $$ from their Paypal account to their bank account.
  • Loyalty to the job due to lack of opportunity in Colombia.

Mexico

Pros:

  • Cheap labor.  $12/hour can get you a mid-level WordPress dev.
  • Desperate for the work.  They’ll jump through hoops for you!
  • Central Standard Time!  Real-time communication is great!
  • Loyalty to the job due to lack of opportunity in Mexico.
  • They’ll push back on my stupid ideas.

Cons:

  • English isn’t taught universally, so you’ll need to screen for language abilities that meet your need.

Should I Outsource My Website Development?

This is a question only you can answer.

If you go into outsourcing thinking that it’ll solve your revenue or business problems, you are probably going to be disappointed.

Outsourcing is simply a business process that addresses a single problem: hiring labor.

All the problems that come from your business will exist no matter who or where you hire.

But outsourcing to a different country might be a better fit for your business than hiring from the USA. (Working with people abroad been an amazing fit for me!).

Meeting people from different countries has allowed me to expand my worldview without leaving my living room.  It’s been refreshing, valuable, and amazing.

As a business process, you’ll have problems to address and resolve specific to you, your business, and wherever you decide to hire employees from.

Legal, process, communication, payment, etc. all exist in great amounts no matter what business process you use or where you hire!

So just do your best, try to learn from all situations, and you’ll be fine.

 

When Not to Outsource

If you are looking to drastically-change your business, then you’ve got to outsource.

If you are looking to save a few bucks and change nothing else, don’t do it.

Outsourcing WordPress development work to anybody, be they your next-door neighbor or an agency in Mumbai, comes with all sorts of costs (your time & inevitable-outsourcing-related headaches being the most notable costs).

Personally, I’ve found it more rewarding to outsource work overseas rather than locally (and I’ve done a ton of both!).

Learning about other cultures through outsourcing has been an amazing experience.

The lower costs of human time I’ve achieved through global arbitrage has also allowed me to experiment outsourcing with less risk than I would have otherwise.

But the lower costs come with additional headaches.

Furthermore, outsourcing does not inherently change your business.  You’ll have to do that on your own.

 

Let me know how it goes!

Was this helpful?

 

Contact me if you have ideas on how to improve this article or if your experiences differ from mine.

Originally published on Aug. 15, 2018

Updated on Aug. 17, 2018

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