Elance Blog

Become a Success with No Programming Experience

Got a fabulous idea for an iPhone app but don't have a lick of an idea to get started? Quoc Bui and Michael Moon, founders of Free The Apps!, felt just the same way not too long ago. After realizing that the skills they need to execute their ideas were within reach through Elance, they've successfully launched a thriving iPhone apps business. Here are their tips on how to overcome hurdles to get your business up and running.

Technology plays a huge part in our everyday lives. Everywhere you go these days you see people emailing on their smartphones, listening to their iPods, Facebooking their friends, tweeting about the latest happenings, and shopping online with their Paypal accounts. These may just seem like normal everyday tasks, but if you’re familiar with everything we’ve just mentioned, you’re more than capable of learning how to leverage the power of outsourcing.

There are a lot of intelligent people out there with tons of ideas, but one of the big hurdles they get stuck behind is the fact that they do not know how to program. Learning a programming language or even the thought of coding intimidates many people and it can be discouraging. However, the truth is you don't need to be a software developer to develop software and see your digital ideas come to life.

If you’re in it to learn the language, then that’s a different story. Most people, however, have ideas racing through their minds and don’t know how to get started. When you look at a software company, are they made up of only software developers? No, of course not. They have a team for UI, marketing, sales, customer service, graphic design, legal, etc. You name it. The actual programming involved is only one part of it. So why should you get stuck because you don’t know how to program? You shouldn’t. There’s actually a lot of work that goes on besides the actual coding that you can do to get your product ready.

So what’s stopping you from getting started? If money is an issue, then set your own budget. You can find professionals who will help you at a budget that you can afford. We recommend keeping your first app simple – follow the K.I.S.S principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid!).

You may have had this elaborate idea for your first app, but consider cutting out the bells and the whistles for now. You can always add new features in a future update. This will allow you to go through and learn the whole process of creating an application, getting it submitted and approved by Apple and getting your first download. A simpler idea will lower the costs, lower the risks, and allow you to have a live application in the app store a lot sooner.

The other big concern is about the originality and security of ideas. What if my idea already exists? How do I know if my ideas are safe on Elance? If you find your idea has already been done, don’t get discouraged. It just means that it’s a good idea and there is probably a demand for it. This is a good thing! If anything, this should be encouragement to get your product out there.

What about protecting your ideas? What stops a provider from just taking your idea and creating it themselves? Elance provides you with a template for a Non-Disclosure Agreement you can use with your provider. (As a matter of fact, there is a default NDA that is active on every job on Elance.) Believe it or not, your idea is only an idea and is not worth as much as you think it is. Only when you take action to turn your idea into reality will it be worth something. Remember, these professionals are not out here to steal your ideas – they're here to help you get the job done. Don’t let fears and excuses get in the way of your ambitions.

The biggest hurdle to get over isn’t not knowing how to program, market, or design, it’s excuses. There are professionals on Elance that are available to help in areas where you lack expertise. As long as you keep your first project simple, the risk is minimal and the rewards can be huge. You don’t need to break the bank to get started. You don’t even need to quit your day job.

The biggest piece of advice we can give is: execute. Everyone has ideas, but until you act on those ideas, they are simply just that, ideas. “Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it’s almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute.” - Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson from Rework

Stay tuned for our next blog post, which will be a more in depth look at the best practices for outsourcing.


About the Author:
Quoc Bui and Michael Moon grew up together in San Diego, California. These young entrepreneurs are best friends from high school and have used the power of outsourcing through Elance to create Free the Apps!, an iPhone apps company with over 18 million downloads across more than 20 applications in the iTunes App Store, and publish their eBook, “How to Make iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience”.