I’ve had recent experience finding the right developer(s) to extend my network and body of client-opportunity. Business is a diverse marketplace, so having an experienced tribe of subject matter experts (SME) can make your business agile and ready to take on projects. All work doesn’t always have to fall within your company’s wheelhouse, but SMEs can help you quickly to meet the challenge. Plus fear can be a driver for failure. If you are a conscious learner with a ravenous hunger for each new lesson, fear is moot. There is nothing more frightening and exciting for an entrepreneur than walking into a project in an industry we personally know very little about. Having the proper network of SMEs means that you will likey have a connection to an industry, market with insights to measure success.
Today’s lesson: Craig’s List.
It’s not Craig’s List fault, per se, that they’ve developed a free platform for Creepers and Cons. It just so happens to be the perfect habitat for that species to thrive. However, Craig’s List can be useful for connecting your various “needs” with “solutions” if leveraged properly. For example, finding the right developer to build a site that looks good, works intuitively and drives traffic can be key to growing a business can be very difficult. It’s asking a lot. After all a visitor’s first impression can inspire them or deter them from moving forward and contacting your client. But how does one go about choosing the right person or developer? One way is Craig’s List. It is simply riddled with folks looking to offer their expertise. But be wary. Not everyone on Craig’s List is on the up and up. Still, not everyone is a narcissist looking for his or her next con. What to do? What to do?
From experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about seeking resources on Craig’s List. Here are some tested procedures that may protect you from falling prey to creepers and cons:
- Ask around before you even tap Craig’s List. Talk to your friends and family or other trusted contacts in life. Ask them for recommendations.
- Before committing to Craig’s List, remember it has a tremendous wealth of information that may help you better define the type of resource you seek. There is nothing wrong with having a look at some of the offerings out there. Many swear by it as a viable lead generator, after all. I just say, be aware of your surroundings. It is akin to walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood alone as dusk. Check your back.
- So you’ve done your research, asked your friends & family, perhaps even spoken to a referral or two. You should have made a list that tasks each individual need for a specific resource. Now it is time to wade into Craig’s List.
- Enter Craig’s List and search for each task within the appropriate category. When reading posting results, do your best to be pragmatic and read without emotion. See the listings’ wording of each skill they offer for what it is. Do not enhance what has been written with your own words and expectations. If someone posting says they has experience with Worpress and other CMS technology, accept for now that WordPress experience may only exist until it and other CMS technologies can be verified through examples and recommendations.
- Collect a good number of skilled prospects. Reach out to a few and begin an email dialog utilizing Craig’s List emails. DO NOT give out any personal information at this point.
- Place your own advertisement on Craig’s List with the robust research you’ve done to find exactly the resource you seek. Again, utilize Craig’s List email so as not to reveal personal information.
- Follow the same instructions at #4. Narrow your leads to a few and ask for their contact information.
- Contact them as anonymously as possible. Block your cell phone or send emails from a safe account. Begin a dialog to test and verify what has been discussed via Craig’s List. In your mind, play the part of research analyst seeking information and verifying data. Narrow your prospects.
- You should be down to finalists 1 or 2. Then and only then is it time to have a face-to-face meeting in a public location. Choose a local coffee shop or something equally benign. Ask the finalists bring their portfolio (or electronic visual) and at least 3 written references.
- Don’t give up now. You’re at the homestretch! Verify everything in the portfolio and call each reference using similar scrutiny. Remember, this is you and your business you are protecting. Don’t get lazy. Discuss scope of work and agree to rates.
- Make your choice and execute some detailed agreement in writing prior to work being performed. Business is best accomplished when both sides know the rules of engagement.
Boy that seems like a lot of work! Well, it is. You need to protect yourself. And importantly, you need to protect your clients who assume you are working on their behalf with the utmost in quality and ethical behavior. No one said being an entrepreneur was easy, but it is rewarding. Take the proper steps wherever you can and minimize the shortcuts. Shortcuts may get you there, but image where you may end up.
This is another lesson I’ve learned in a hurry. Fortunately I make mistakes quickly and learn from them immediately. Take my advice; you’ll save yourself a lot a grief and cash! Good luck friends.