I have an idea but no free time - can I pay offshore developer?


I am a software developer. I have a good idea and I'd like to create a startup.
I am planning to invite one or two of my colleagues as co-founders.


1) Free time

I realised it is very difficult to find free time to start implementing my idea.

2) Salary / income

My salary is above average but I still need to increase it (around 20%).
I have a family. My wife is not working. She is studying. We have a daughter.
I think we need to move to a bigger flat because the flat we are currently renting is too small and quite depressive.


A) I hope I can find a much better paid job, which would allow to change flat and still leave extra income.
I thought I could use extra income (hopefully 1000$-1500$ /month) to pay an offshore developer to do my part of the project.

B) Try to find some free time and build a prototype.
Find an investor. Set up a company. Negotiate a salary increase we need (~20%).

I need an advice. Which approach is better?

I am in London, UK.

Many thanks

Getting Started Ideas Business

asked Sep 6 '12 at 07:42
68 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • By the way what do you plan the offshore people to work on ? – Adi Mathur 8 years ago
  • If you need the extra income then perhaps your wife should get a part-time job or you can get a part-time job. – Tim J 8 years ago
  • Do you plan to hire someone existing or to start the developer's business by opening a kind of LLC? – Kagali San 8 years ago
  • @adi-mathur Offshore person/people could do the development – Mel 8 years ago
  • @Mel - What I meant was what is your project about ? What do you want the developers to develop ? What is it related to ? I suggest you give it offshore. – Adi Mathur 8 years ago
  • Web application based on maps. Also should work on mobile devices. It is something I'd like to use. – Mel 8 years ago
  • I work as a freelance developer at Elance.com and have quite good feedback. If you are interested drop me an email at mcnamaragio at gmail.com and I'll send my profile url. – Giorgi 8 years ago
  • @Giorgi - thank you. – Mel 8 years ago

6 Answers


Sorry to say, but I wouldn't bank on getting a salary increase by going into a startup - you have to leave the employee mentality behind: esp if you are going pitch an investor. You also need to factor in risk of the startup failing.

Best advice would be to find the time to do the work yourself - save the cash from outsourcing to pay the bills and dedicated a fixed amount of time a day towards your idea. Everyone can carve some time out of their schedule if its really important to them. Best of luck.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 07:54
Jim Galley
9,952 points
  • Thanks! Note sure what it means: "save the cash from outsourcing to pay the bills "? – Mel 8 years ago
  • "I wouldn't bank on getting a salary increase by going into a startup -you have to leave the employee mentality behind " - not sure what you mean. I just need a small income increase in order to support my family. – Mel 8 years ago
  • @Mel - To answer your question: "Save cash from outsourcing" - you describe yourself as capable of doing the work, but limited in time. I would propose to make the time and **not** pay someone else. Rationale: not only will the work get done, you will learn about what was necessary to get the job done - which could be more important than the deliverable itself. – Jim Galley 8 years ago
  • @Mel - To answer the "banking on salary increase" question - again, I'll assume you're a capable progammer and have a job that pays consistently every pay cycle (week/by-weekly - whatever). Many early stage startups are not that reliable - no one gets paid unless the company has the money in the bank to pay them. That includes you. If you are the senior person - that may mean that you don't get paid / get reduced pay until venture or customer revenue comes in (and that junior people you hired get paid in full). Again - I offer this insight as opinion - others may have other views. – Jim Galley 8 years ago
  • "that may mean that you don't get paid / get reduced pay until venture .. comes in" - I guess I have to stay on full-time work elsewhere until that moment. Do VC normally need a real product having customers, or a working prototype (hopefully, quite impressive) would be good enough? – Mel 8 years ago


Mel, the idea is easy... the implementation is a little bit more effort. But even after you have a prototype / product that's where I feel a lot of the really hard work starts.

Do you have the money/time/motivation for marketing, advertising, phone calls. I've not seen a successful startup outsource all aspects of their endeavor and contrary to popular belief even if you have an awesome product it's hard as hell to get the type of momentum you need to turn it into a full on business.

If you are really passionate about this advice I'd have some talks with you wife about it. See if you can get her excited about it and then maybe the family can put up with a smaller place, and you doing a little less around the house and after work to focus on this endeavor to potentially better your lifestyle down the road.

But, I wouldn't throw money to an offshore developer who won't have the passion, and insight that you would have for your product. If you are capable of making it yourself - just get started and do it.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 11:14
Ryan Doom
5,472 points
  • Thank you for advice! – Mel 8 years ago


I think 1000$ will not be enough for the offshort developer. I have been made quotes for a russian outsourcing developer for around 2000€. Maybe you can get a student for that quote but in my experience this doesn't work so well. Students are students. I think you should do a prototype yourself first. I say this without knowing what you want to achieve, but if it is a cool thing you will find it easier to rip some time out of yourself. Yes, searching a new flat etc will take its own time and will have a delay. But please have in mind that you still need to mock up wireframes for your outsourced devs, do communication with them and explain, test, review and in some cases you probably need to tweak and tune. You still have works to do. The question is: is the amount of work you safe greater than the amount of work you have to coordinate your dev? In case of a 1:1 relationship I usually think it is not and you are quicker to prototype your vision yourself.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 13:58
3,590 points
  • Thank you for advice! BTW, was Russian developer from Moscow or from a smaller city? – Mel 8 years ago
  • From a smaller city. I can give you contact details if you PM me. – Christian 8 years ago


If you don't have time for starting to implement your idea, then you won't have time to manage the project in offshore.

My suggestion is that you should find one or more people interested of same idea. But first of all you need to organize your free time so that you allocate a few hours per week for the project and idea (either to implement it by yourself or manage some other people).

Make sure you are you are spending time for ideas that worth money (hard to guess which one is good, that is another discussion) and don't forget that just implementing your idea(s) won't bring you money (at least not immediately). You will still need to spend time for promoting it. That is another activity.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 17:39
21 points


Your question is very interesting. I was in a similar situation, except the wife and the kid though. I mean... yours is over-complicated. That's why it's so hard to deal with it, and people here can't give you a right answer, because it depends too much on the fact towards what degree your wife will support you.

Just for starters:

  1. You are putting too many ifs' and maybe's. There's a lot of different ways to start a business, but most of the times it requires a serious bootstrapping. If you can live up in the current apartment I think you could put off renting a bigger one. Don't spend money now on things that could be postponed for later. And if your wife supports you, that decision would be ok for her too.
  2. Even if you could squeeze a bigger salary from your employer, don't spend it so easily. You will need lots of money later on (let's hope your business lifts off). There is marketing to do, there is staffing and so on, and so on. Don't count on an investor. They don't come right away after seeing the prototype. You need a working business that gets some money back, so the investor will decide to invest so you can boost profits.
  3. Offshore developers are not bad idea, but they really require management time and timely response on your end. Nevertheless you could use one to develop the prototype but after you've prepared a really detailed specs for what you want.

Finally: I think it's a good idea to follow the principle described in "The 4-hour work week " by Tim Ferris - try reading it. There is a good description how to work less time at your daily job and still get a better salary. That way you will have the opportunity to work over your project with or without the help of offshore developer.

Another important issues: go through the tasks you have to get done in order to have a working prototype you could verify your idea with and assign those tasks evenly spread to your partners and you.

You could also look at "The Bootstrap Challenge " blog. Rob Fitz seems like a guy who can give you a ton of mentorship. Even he's in London as well.

I hope that was helpful. I would be interested to discuss this topic further more, so feel free to comment and ask questions.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 18:26
Beta Sve
94 points
  • Thank you very much. Very impressive. Thanks for 'The 4-hour work week' and "the bootstrap challenge" links! Yes, I'd like to discuss the topic more, just need to think. – Mel 8 years ago
  • "If you can live up in the current apartment" - the problem is, it is 1-bed and we are family of 3. It has some other issues. Yes, we are living in it, but I feel a bit guilty towards my family. – Mel 8 years ago


Well, I am the russian programmer who's been working as a freelancer, then continued to work on a part-time telecommute job and now going to pick a third hobby - own project's sales under the software development company's mask.. dare to ask something? Supposing you want to get the best off two worlds, I guess you're looking for developer as in 'software development company', which automatically makes you paying for the manager's job too. Other way, you're getting close to personally know some Ivan, who works only when he wants - without giving any loyalty to your time. I say that it makes $1500 for your programmer's 120 hours a month, and some additional $500+ to just pay a manager, and well, you must make the development company's business profitable. $2500 is a minimum for quote, then.

So that's a bad pattern to think like "Offshore ? It would be cheap uncontrolled process!".

Your best idea is to find a remote contractor consisting of an average Ivan, or Joe, or Pramish, who is good at time management or has a dedicated manager for his needs. (You're not going to sponsorship the whole offshore development process, don't you?)

Then, why not to go to ODesk.com? There are tons of contractors waiting for you.

answered Sep 6 '12 at 21:43
Kagali San
121 points
  • Thank you for advice! I do not think I need a manager to manage one developer. ODesk is interesting idea. Do you know what are the rates? – Mel 8 years ago
  • @Mel if the developer is offshore and you can't reach him, it's better to rely on his manager contacts than feed on the sole programmer's promises (but, this is still better with ODesk). As for rates, try to filter the available contractors by total billed hours/# of projects, resulting in (expected) average $20/hour for long-term web/software development - https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/browse/c/web-development/sc/web-programming/rhrs/1000/ . – Kagali San 8 years ago
  • Thank you,kagali-san! – Mel 8 years ago

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