oDesk is a great time-saver. You know what oDesk is, right? It’s a site where you can hire somebody to do some job for you. Some job that can be done remotely, like code writing, web site creation, QA-ing your code, editing your blog post. Go to their website and learn more about what kind of help you can get.
“But, why would I hire somebody when I can do it my self?. I can edit my blog post. I can create web site. I can test my application“. It’s a question that doesn’t have a single answer: what is going to be – time or money? Sometime it’s money, and in this case you test your application yourself before launching it to your customers. But, sometime it’s “cheaper” to pay somebody to test it so that you can concentrate on something more important. I’ve just recently read a comment about a person who was gladly hiring somebody to do a job that would take him only an hour to do, even it would take a hired person 8 hours, because at the end of the day it was “cheaper” in a long run. So, sometime you can “delegate” something to somebody else and this way free your self for more important tasks (including spending more time with you family or exercising more, or just doing nothing and recovering after a tough day/week/month).
I’ve first heard about oDesk site in a book about Micro ISV. So, when I needed to build a team for a startup (with limited resources), I’ve turned to oDesk. And it was very successful experience. Not without challenges, but successful. Not only I’ve had people from around the world helping me to build a new product, but I was paying a fraction of what it would cost me to have a local team.
Ok, I hear you: “Another advertisement of a cheap offshore job market. Give me brake. You don’t know what your are talking about”. Well, as a matter of fact, I do know. Because I did it, with success. And I’ll follow up with what helped me to use offshore team effectively. Note that, offshore teams may not be an option for you – one of my friend who is CEO and founder of his company told me that in some cases (when the software will be used in a high-level security areas) it’s not possible to hire people outside of US. But I think it’s more an exception than a rule.
So, does it mean that the only way to use oDesk is in case of a business? Not at all. You can use it for some personal projects as well. Just remember that you pay you $$$ for your time, time that you can spend with your family, grow you skills or just relax. You can always make some $$$, but you can never buy some extra time. Unfortunately.
And here is how I’ve used oDesk for my personal need. I’ve had this WordPress-based blog hosted with another provider. It was free with my domain hosting, but I was not happy with the performance. I know, that it doesn’t really matter because nobody reads my blog :), but still I was unhappy. So, when Microsoft introduces WordPress hosting on Azure (I was doing a lot of development on Azure that time), I’ve decided to switch (BTW, the performance is much much better on Azure). So, did I know how to transfer my WordPress blog from one provider to another? Of course, not :). Can I do it myself? Absolutely. I can learn easily (there are tons of blogs about how this can be done). But, before moving on, I’ve decided to check what it would cost me if somebody else do it for me. After a quick search on oDesk I’ve found a nice guy in India who can do it for me under $50. So, what’s it going to be: $50 or a day of my life? It was a very easy choice for me (your mileage may vary :)). A few days later I’ve had my blog transferred to Azure. Yes, I’ve spent a little bit of my time to help the guy (just sharing some details, providing credentials for him and doing some securing clean up after the transfer), but it was much less time if I would do it myself.
So, next time when you need something get done, may be oDesk is you friend 🙂