Adventures In Programming, My Experience With RentACoder.com

Yesterday I lost several hundred dollars. How? I spent all my time trying to fix a WordPress Plugin (that’s fantastic) but didn’t work on about 80% of WordPress blogs.

It started out when I hired a programmer on RentACoder.com. He was extremely helpful and made suggestions to improve the plugin. He even checked in nightly with his progress (and finished a day before the deadline).

But when I got the plugin, it only worked correctly on 1 of 4 of my blogs.

So I spent quite a bit of time talking to the programmer who couldn’t find the fix and thought that it might be a problem on my end. I also spent quite a bit of time trying to fix the plugin myself (and I have no clue how to code WordPress plugins).

All in all, that wasted time cost me several hundred dollars in copywriting work I could have accomplished. I could try and blame the programmer, but that’s not the answer (and really he did a great job except for on one tiny point, which I’ll get to).

John Alanis is an entrepreneur in the men’s dating niche. I saw him speak at a business conference once and he said something that I’ll probably remember the rest of my life… although not in the exact words.

What he said essentially was, ALWAYS take responsibility when something goes wrong. Even when it wasn’t really your fault, there’s always something more you could have done.

To me, that’s a good philosophy because then you’re completely responsible for your success… and not relying on others.

So instead of blaming my programmer for not recognizing a small tweak he could have made to make the plugin operational, I came up with a new system for hiring programmers. Simplified, it looks like this:

1. Fill out the bid request.
2. Select the best bid.
3. When finished work is completed, test it. And send it to a group of beta testers.
4. If the feedback is perfect, you’re done. If not, submit the feedback to the programmer.
5. The programmer gets one try to fix it, if it doesn’t work…
6. Hire another programmer to spot the mistake.

After a days work trying to fix the plugin myself and discuss the problem with my original programmer, I finally decided to make a new bid request for a new programmer to take a look.

I attached the plugin for coders to take a look before they even bid. Within 24 hours I received a bid request from a programmer who had the code fixed and installed on 3 different blogs for me to test and make sure it worked.

The cost? $20. $20 compared to losing several hundred trying to solve the problem myself.

The fix ended up being a one word change in the code. I showed the original programmer the change and he concurs that it’s a valid fix. It was one small mistake compared to the rest of his high quality work, so I’ll probably be giving him another chance.

(If he works out long term, I’ll share his name with you.)

Take a look at the steps I mentioned above. If you value your time, I highly recommend following them.

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