Developing on a Tight Budget
How to stretch that dollar during development.


There are a lot of great ideas out there.

Yours may even be one of them.
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The reality involved in putting that idea to work is often much greater than we can surmise —after all, it's hard to know what you don't know!

That's why I decided to put together this little guide. I was once a poor lad with nothing but time, smarts, and the willingness to give it everything I had. Even so, without money, I found myself in an eternal struggle trying to do things that, let's just be honest, I had neither the time or know-how to do (on a professional level, anyway).

If you cannot afford something you need, you'll have to improvise.

A lot of times, this means rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself.

Unfortunately, things are much more complicated than they first appear. Seemingly simple things can take a lifetime to master (and years to even reach "good").

You'll spend more time doing what you didn't even want to do than the things you set out to do in the first place!

Even if you can afford something, it doesn't mean it's a good investment. Unless your last name is Rockefeller or you have more money than you could spend in 10,000 years, bad investments will quickly deplete your resources (and exponentially so when you're talking about purchasing skilled labor and/or products with limited resale value).

So without further ado, I present the list.

1. Do A Little Research.

If you're reading this, chances are that's exactly what you're doing right now: good on you.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and putting in your due diligence will do wonders for your process.

2. Keep Things Tight.

Novelty items, nice-to-haves, and plan changes frivolously waste your resources.

Cut the fat and keep the meat. You can always add more later!

3. Know Your Role.

We may not live in the water, but we humans are more fluid than we care to admit.

Although time will alter it, be careful that you're not pushed or pulled to heavily by the currents of impending acclimation. Hammer out your role and stick to it! Delegate the rest, and if you can't do it, find someone who can.

4. Make Smart Choices.

Knowing a thing and doing a thing are two separate things entirely.

Smart choices will take patience and discretion. It means doing what's best for a realized goal and not letting things like emotion or "feelings" get in the way.

Use your head! If you don't need it, don't do it! If you need it, get it done!

5. Learn To Adapt.

Situations change. Ignoring that fact will sink your ship. Learn to adapt - not just to survive, but to thrive.

When the situation changes, stop. Take a few steps back and examine just what's going on around you. Accept if a plan is no longer the best course of action, and adjust that plan to keep you on course with minimal imposition.

I would go on, the points are clear.

Development requires the same practical approach that most other things do, however, unlike most fields, web development is a constantly changing, quasi-experimental endeavor.

Technologies changes. Standards change. Best practices change. Expectations rise.

Hire someone that will build your project right (and treat you right in the process).

Development is hard. Hiring a good developer shouldn't have to be.

Thinking About Doing It Yourself?
Doing it all yourself is not going to work. Here's why:

You can create a site using any editor you like — free, paid, — doesn't matter. Web sites and web-based software are more complicated than nearly anything else in the world. I'm not kidding.

Even if you have the tools, knowing how to use them to create what you want is something that can only be done through training and experience (or a lot of trial and error).

The best way to develop on a budget is to consult with a professional first. Talk with someone that has been there, done that, and can help you to manage the steps so the process isn't so darn overwhelming.

There's no need to waste time or money — use professionals — done.