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2 points by andrewcooke  30 minutes ago   3 comments top
IgorPartola 26 minutes ago 1 reply      
You need a server. JavaScript does not have access to the necessary sys calls to open sockets or perform IO. This could be possible with browser support, but I doubt browsers would want to support such features since they could be abused really badly. AFAIK Opera bundles a web server to allow for some kind of file sharing, but it seems unlikely you would be able to use it for your purpose.
Ask HN: Is there a Photoshop rental service?
7 points by bkyan  9 hours ago   6 comments top 5
zeynalov 34 minutes ago 0 replies      
If you only need some hours, why you don't use 1 month trial version? http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/tdrc/index.cfm?product=photosho...
benologist 9 hours ago 0 replies      
You can rent individual applications from Adobe's Creative Suite directly:


I don't think you'll find any hourly-based software usage although that would be really interesting to see ... something like EC2-running-x-application boxes.

bradhe 6 hours ago 0 replies      
>remote to a server (either Mac or Windows) with Photoshop installed where I could use it for an hour or two for several dollars or euros per hour?

Nope, against the EULA too. http://www.adobe.com/products/eulas/pdfs/Photoshop_On_a_Serv...

gigantor 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried pixlr (http://pixlr.com/editor/)? It is a very scaled down version of Photoshop, but if your needs are basic it can fill your need and is free. It even has support for .psd files and can preserve layers.
NonEUCitizen 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Not a service, but you can go to Kinko's which has retail locations everywhere. And they have high-end printers next to the computers.
Ask HN: Ways to Market a Startup to a Company
3 points by mohene1  5 hours ago   1 comment top
nedwin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
1. a) Find the highest person at the company who you can get an intro to.
b) Find the highest person at the company whose email address you can get a hold of.
2. Email them with a short email describing who you are, what you're doing and why you think it could help their site. Seek a meeting or at the least a call to discuss how it could improve their x, y or z.
3. Follow the email up the following day with another email and add an additional detail your first email missed. An additional opportunity or similar.
4. Call the person if you don't get a response.
5. Find the next company in a similar field.
6. Repeat.
Goal: become developer this year from scratch. Feedback?
8 points by grokaholic  15 hours ago   9 comments top 5
gexla 12 hours ago 1 reply      
First off, you need to make a small tweak to your mind-set. You aren't initially doing freelance work and then starting a company, rather you are starting a company as soon as you start doing client work. The mind-set is important because you will be more successful from the start.

You absolutely need to know JS well, and be proficient in HTML / CSS, so I'm not sure a focus on either front-end or back-end is good advice. However, with limited time you need to choose your battles well, so don't worry about mastering HTML / CSS at the start (ie, you can duplicate any site but you won't be as fast at it as someone who does this part as a regular gig.) Become proficient with Linux, but don't spend too much time there. Just learn the basics, the rest can quickly become a sand trap and your time is best spent elsewhere.

To make this work, you need six months living expenses at the start of doing client work. Three months is an absolute minimum and once you hit that point you are in critical territory. This is extremely important because this determines how you are able to plan and pick your jobs. Drop below the three month point and you are taking a hit in your job selection and rates because you are forced to take whatever comes along as opposed to having a buffer period where you can work out better gigs. This then places you in a vicious circle because not being able to select the right gigs might make getting your savings back up to six months difficult. Freelancing can be very lucrative to those who are well established in development circles, but at the beginning you will be hard pressed to even be able to pay your basic expenses.

You mentioned you are a traveler. Get out of San Francisco and move somewhere cheaper while you are just getting started. San Francisco is probably great for looking for start-ups to work for as a full timer, but you can do freelancing from anywhere. You can move back at a later time.

You might consider PHP because there are more things that you can do in the market with it due to easier hosting options and the large number of PHP content management systems available. If you were to learn a CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal or ExpressionEngine well then you could easily be landing your first clients within 3 - 6 months. CMS work is mostly configuration and converting static HTML / CSS into dynamic templates. You could focus on learning the CMS (pick just one to start) well for 2 - 3 months while also learning JS / CSS / HTML. After that, you can start looking for clients and move into PHP so that you can extend the platform.

CMS work in PHP may not sound as good as building custom applications in Python and it probably doesn't pay as well on average, but you are on a limited time frame. If you were already an A level developer in Python, then I would have different advice. You can always learn Python down the road a bit and eventually make a switch. One caveat on pay is that marketing / sales skills are ultimately more important for your rates than your programming language selection. I have seen great developers do horrible on the business side and I have seen developers with little skill raking in the cash. The business side is a totally different can of worms and will make you or break you.

Spending time learning is important but spending time building a portfolio isn't so important. A portfolio is necessary for designers, but developers just need to know their stuff. Building for friends and charities is good for learning, but it's not very helpful for your bottom line. Instead, you might focus on building small niche ideas of your own which you might be able to monetize. If nothing else, you could try selling the sites you build on Flippa. Another option (especially if you go the PHP route) is to build add-ons for content management systems and sell them on your site. Working for free should be limited to contributions to open source projects.

Always keep an open mind for alternative business models and plans. If you are a skilled marketer, you could even get started right away by bringing in work and then outsourcing that work to other developers. You could do some world travel and live very cheap by moving abroad to a place like S.E. Asia while you are getting started (that's what I did.)

Lastly, you might consider attempting to get started with a web development shop after your learning period. This will give you a chance to see how a good shop should be run while you continue to build your development chops.

I have been thinking about building out a service to help people get started in freelance web development. I will send you an email.

dirkdeman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you considered learning PHP with a framework? Code Igniter isn't too hardto learn, and the bonus of this strategy is that you'll learn using a framework. Once you get that switching to RoR or Django isn't too big of a step. In fact, you can use codeigniter for making your own custom CMS, killing two birds with one stone! This is the link to the tut:
michael_fine 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Try contacting eli@industrydive.com. He recently posted on hackernews that his company is looking for Python interns.
brudgers 14 hours ago 1 reply      
>"By Dec, goal is to get first client and make $2k from web dev. After taxes, that $2k will cover Jan expenses, buying another month to find the next client, then the next."

That's not a very workable strategy.

Work for your December client will interfere with finding your January client - or your January client will show up in October promising to be your December client.

Then your March client shows up, only he wants it done January, too.

Or you start looking for clients in December and you land three in April and three in May.

And your December client holds your invoice for 90 days and your March client doesn't pay you so in May you have to decide if it's worth taking them to small claims court for $2500 - hopefully you've learned enough to write a contract by that point.

Then, May changes the scope of the work and refuses to pay until you do it all over again.

In other words, finding clients is hard work. Getting paid is hard work. Doing what you know how to do is the easy part.

Good Luck.

jbseek 14 hours ago 1 reply      
That's awesome you set this out for yourself. Almost every bright person and genius I know are all self taught, kudos for jumping in the pool and the best of luck. Keep us updated.
Help I'm Losing My Writing Ability
23 points by haploredux  1 day ago   22 comments top 14
JoeAltmaier 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Advice you asked for:

Stop tweeting, blogging and emailing. Stop posting two-liner responses to difficult topic discussions.

Interact with people. Find a forum that thinks deeply, trades ideas and inspirations and fosters creativity. A writing group, a Mensa chapter, heck a ToastMasters club.

Even Hacker News is shallow by comparison with real human discourse. Here we get frequent thought-pieces but not a lot of literature, and certainly extremenly curtailed interaction compared with even a minute of real dialog with real people.

beatpanda 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Chill out. You're only 16. You're not "losing" anything other than immaturity. You just have writer's block, and your writing probably isn't as good as you're describing it in the first place, so don't get too hung up about it.

And before you get defensive, let me tell you, if you pursue writing professionally, you'll learn this on your own pretty quickly. A critic or a professor will knock you on your ass and show you flaws in your work you'd never even considered. I don't care how much of a prodigy you are, you have a lot to learn.

The way you treat writer's block is through attrition. Just keep writing. No professional writer in the universe ever made it on talent alone, and the secret they all have is that they just write, a lot, every day, whether they feel like it or whether they think it's any good or not.

Also, this: "My vocabulary was wide and far-ranging, and I often utilized five to six different words, all synonyms, to re-iterate the same point in an argument..." is a feature, not a bug. Learning to articulate big ideas with simple words is one of the hardest, but most important, lessons to learn as a writer.

TL;DR there's nothing wrong with you and every writer experiences this. Keep calm and carry on.

hardy263 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I had the same thing happen to me. I realized it was because I stopped reading regularly. Before, I would used to read at least 1-2 novels (100-200 pages per book) a day. And during that time period, I had an awesome vocabulary and I could basically spell anything without having to look it up. But now I get mixed up on whether certain words have double letters or not. Now that I've stopped reading regularly due to time constraints, my writing and spelling ability has basically died.
nchlswu 22 hours ago 1 reply      
You sound like a very self aware individual (hard not to be if writing is your passion).

But...I think you have to remember you're 16. Nothing you do is ever set in stone, regardless of age and everyone goes through changes. Teens go through changes that are a more volatile.

Try reframing it in your head. Personally, it seems like you're just "not into" writing right now. There's nothing wrong with that. There could be a deeper root cause, but I doubt you'll truly find it.

Keep writing (I guess you'll have to) and things may clear themselves up. Self awareness isn't always a great thing ;)

lPrentice 22 hours ago 0 replies      

I'm a professional writer and much much older than you.

Writing, sometimes, is hard. The more you aspire to excellence, the harder it can become if you let it. And you should aspire. You're never good enough.

Here are a few things that may help from my experience.

1) Relax and enjoy it.
2) Separate the creative process from the editing process. That is, on first-draft just let it flow. Write anything and everything that comes to mind. Don't worry about vocabulary, spelling, grammar, political correctness, offending your dog. Just get it out. Put on your editor's hat only after you've sputtered out. Then go back, rewrite, and edit. Fine writing is REWRITING. Sometimes many passes; many drafts.
3) Keep a notebook. When your mind tickles you with a phrase about anything, write it down. Your subconscious mind is your best friend. But it's shy, easily offended. Censor yourself and it'll shut down. Invite it in and it'll serve you with ideas, images, and language of startling beauty and relevance. It'll also deceive you into believing that something it delivers is better than it is. But you can deal with this during the editing/rewriting phase.
4) Give yourself permission to write. And to publish. Keep in mind that you can't please everyone with your writing. No matter how fine a writer you are, some readers will reject you for uncounted reasons. Your goal as a writer is to minimize the number of readers who do so.
5) Writing is simply another way of talking. You talk naturally. If you relax, you'll learn to write naturally. To write well you do need to learn and absorb the basics of spelling, grammar, logic, formatting conventions, etc., etc. These technicalities should be internalized like muscle memory. But don't worry about that crap while writing the first draft. Just get it out.

Hope this helps.


jacquesm 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't know if it is related or not, but I find my ability to use pens and pencils has greatly diminished since I started to use the keyboard. My handwriting was never great but over the years it has dropped to a level that is best described as illegible.

I can type about as fast as I think, a speed that would be unattainable using a regular writing instrument based on re-creating memorized shapes using fine motor control. Maybe the slow-down that comes with using a 'real' pen or pencil for writing would give you the right frame of mind to unlock your inspiration.

The short version: try writing in longhand, see if that helps!

DanBC 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you ever had the experience (usually while walking and wearing headphones) of being aware of your breathing? And suddenly breathing is tricky? You don't know if you're breathing loudly or to deeply?

All your life you've been breathing and never noticed it, and then you notice it, and how weird it is.

Do you think this may be what you're experiencing? Just increased awareness?

As an over-cautious footnote: This will probably not happen, but if you start to notice "odd" things; (people who can put thoughts in your head, or hearing voices, or whatnot) please seek psychiatric assistance. Early intervention is important. But, like I say, this is almost certainly not relevant!

zeroboy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sounds like there's an ego issue here. Not ego as in "I'm so great, look at me" but ego as a self identity that wasn't there before.

You're writing through a filter now (a personality you've constructed) whereas before you were writing in a selfless zen state.

So relax. Stop thinking so much and start training your mind through meditation. Read the teachings of Buddha. You will be alright. In fact, you'll be better than alright. This is just a bump in the road.

Tycho 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Could be stress/tiredness from studying for your exams? What you say sounds quite drastic though... like the result of a head injury.

On the other hand, your current state of having to struggle for every sentence is more in line with the vast majority of peoples' normal experience when it comes to writing.

adeelk 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it just be that your taste has become more refined? Watch this interview with Ira Glass: http://kottke.org/11/04/your-taste-is-why-your-own-work-disa...
yalimkgerger 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Once on HN I read a blog post that said great writing only comes from facing ones deepest fears. It is really a brilliant way to sum it all up. Any other kind of writing is just dull.

It is only you who knows what it is that you fear the most. Everybody knows his own fears. Most people cannot face them. So if you want your ability back face the fear that is holding you back, challenge it, fight it, beat it and then write it.

haploredux 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh and by the way I don't want to come off as being thought as a patronizing 'genius' or anything.

I don't consider myself to be super-smart or have some prodigal intelligence, and my school isn't MENSA. I'm in an average high school.

It's just that I feel my creative potential has been stifled. Thanks for understanding.

fonzie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would look at Henry Miller's 11 commandments of writing. Online here http://www.listsofnote.com/2012/01/henry-millers-11-commandm...
seunosewa 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you having any health issues?
Ask HN: SurfScore incentivizes user conversion, what do you think?
3 points by SurfScore  12 hours ago   3 comments top
Geee 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have a time to test the product now, but please hire a designer.
Show HN: burn.fm, a prototype of a website for creating and sharing playlists
5 points by verve  20 hours ago   9 comments top 6
dangrossman 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I find the font difficult to read. http://www.diigo.com/item/image/2acsf/7er4
Geee 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Nice. I don't get the function of 'preview'. Maybe there should just be an option to play the song without the video? Also, repeat would be cool.
helen842000 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been looking for something like this for a while now! Love it!

Make sure that you keep the simplicity even while adding all the new features that you'll no doubt get asked for!

Great work!

lunarlia 18 hours ago 1 reply      
awesome, awesome awesome. Burn is so much better than youtube for music!! Is there an Android app? I will use this when I go jogging
projectmeshnet 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is awesome :)
nmccid 20 hours ago 0 replies      
love the font and simple design. very clean!
Ask HN: what's the best guide to code licenses you've come across?
3 points by stevejalim  16 hours ago   7 comments top 4
ecaron 15 hours ago 1 reply      
I've found Jeff Atwood's article on the topic to be the most useful selector of when what license is appropriate: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/04/pick-a-license-any-...
apo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
By far the best work on this subject has been written by Lawrence Rosen in his book "Open Source Licensing":


Free to read online - or buy a hardcopy.

Unlike less useful works, Rosen actually provides a model for thinking about open source models. Even if you only care about commercial software licensing, this this information in this book will be valuable.

xxqs 15 hours ago 1 reply      
it's very easy:

GPL: nobody can distribute your software as a closed-source system. Nobody can also link your software with non-opensource ones.

BSD, MIT, Apache: anyone is allowed to do anything with your code, provided that reference to your name is preserved.

If you code an open-source product, but it's intended for enterprise integration with lots of non-opensource components, go for a non-GPL licence, like MIT.

In most other cases, GPL is everything you need.

For non-software products that you want to share, use Creative Commons licenses.

bkyan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't forget MPL2 at http://www.mozilla.org/MPL/2.0/
Ask HN: Stats on traffic for being linked from prominent websites
3 points by marcolz  17 hours ago   1 comment top
dangrossman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are the public stats for Bookmarkly, which was on the front page of HN for several hours yesterday: http://www.w3counter.com/stats/visitors/59345/day/1000/0
Chrome browser issues with zoom.it (Deep Zoom/Seadragon)?
2 points by taigeair  15 hours ago   3 comments top 3
taigeair 8 hours ago 0 replies      
but on other browsers it's not having the black tiles issue.

Also the external links don't work for some reason, but it looks like it should work..

  <c:ClickThroughAction URL="http://www.wellingtonstravel.com/" p:Ref.Key="ReportingURL_ClickThroughURL" />

<!--WebLinks Section-->
<c:EventTrigger EventName="Clicked" Source="Hotspot 13">
<c:ConditionalTrigger Arg="Hotspot 13" Child="http://www.nba.com>;
<c:SizeCondition Width="10" Height="10" Constraint="GreaterThan" />

bkyan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It looks like the script is trying to swap to a higher resolution tile before that high-res tile is fully loaded, resulting in a black square in the interim.
taigeair 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It's 2012, and there's still no official SIP to Skype gateway
10 points by xxqs  14 hours ago   20 comments top 9
wmf 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The purpose of Skype is to have a monopoly on the namespace and interop threatens that. Realistically, don't most people use SIP with phones that can only dial numbers?
tnuc 12 hours ago 1 reply      
>so, there's a huge world of SIP telephony, and another huge world of Skype users. And they don't talk to each other.

They do talk to each other, users pay for the privilege.

Think of it as a win/win for skype/sip providers. Just not a win for the users.

iso8859-1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Here's a link for the hack you mentioned: http://www.personal.psu.edu/wcs131/blogs/psuvoip/2011/12/sky...
blakdawg 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Who would make money if this existed? Who would lose money? I have a hard time articulating a concrete benefit for Microsoft that would result from a gateway.
mcs 12 hours ago 1 reply      
There's an online service called Blue Jeans Network that lets you have a conference call with Skype, H.323, Google Talk, and Microsoft Lync participants.


patrocles 13 hours ago 1 reply      
and no IPv6.

granted, getting rid of NAT probably means Skype dies

vollmarj 12 hours ago 1 reply      
So... Skype launched their official SIP service years ago. It is called Skype Connect. They wouldn't provide a gateway because that would cannibalize their low cost SIP trunking service. See http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/skype-connect/
wslh 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It is complex to fully reverse engineer Skype: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype_protocol
learntogoogle 13 hours ago 1 reply      
"Still no"?

There was "Skype for Asterisk" for a long time, and unsurprisingly it's the first hit on Google. It was killed shortly after MS bought Skype. Life is hard when you buy into proprietary protocols.

Ask HN: Linux power issues solved yet?
3 points by samrat  23 hours ago   5 comments top 4
evmar 22 hours ago 1 reply      
With sadness, I think the broad answer is likely never. For a given piece of hardware Linux support generally improves over time, but new hardware continually comes out so support is continually behind. You need the OS vendor, the kernel authors, and the hardware vendor to all be in sync for this kind of thing to work out well.

With that out of the way, it is possible to diagnose and fix the problem yourself. sudo apt-get install powertop, read some docs, experiment a bit. (Right here is where someone injects "buy a Mac".) And if you go the "safe" route and pick a laptop popular with Linux users, like a Thinkpad, you'll likely have better luck. My laptop (an X201) gets around 6 hours and I haven't changed anything.

karlmdavis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're talking about the ASPM regression introduced in 2.6.38, it looks like it's been resolved in a patch that should drop in 3.3.

Here's a Phoronix article on the issue and fix that covers it in detail: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=linux...

And here's (what I think is) the corresponding bug for Ubuntu: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/760131

Please note that even though that Ubuntu bug is marked as fixed, the following comment on it seems to call that into question:

Either way, it sounds like it will be fixed in 12.04.

pasbesoin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
This response is very off the cuff, but I seem to recall reading recently about a fix but that it did not make it into 3.2 (or was that 3.0) because of some outstanding concern or concerns I cannot recall. That is, a real improvement (was it something that evolved from that Phoronix post everyone's been citing, recently?), but that still needs a bit of work to safely/effectively be merged.

Sorry I can't be more specific, but have a look around at the recent news on this topic.

jessa 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope they can find a way to resolve this. I'm sure there is a way. There will be. Optimistic mode on.
Ask HN: How do I start freelancing?
176 points by Sargis  6 days ago   discuss
mgkimsal 6 days ago 0 replies      
It all depends on what you want to do.

Do you want to basically work on your own app but perhaps do custom installs of it, or integration work with it and other systems? Then focus on building on a basic app - while you're talking to potential clients. See if any actually want to use it, and what the pain points are.

I don't do 'design' work specifically, but I suspect if you were pitching 'web site design' to people, they'd want to see a portfolio.

Here's my 'portfolio':

website with my name on it, my location, and some description of what I do.
links to sample code/projects (just a handful)
link to blog
link to resume (outdated by 2 years)
list of some moderately current projects (yes, I know you won't have that right now)
list of tech I like to work with

That's my 'portfolio' on my site.

What often gets people to me, however, isn't that. It's referrals. Word of mouth referrals from people in my network. But perhaps even more importantly, I participate in local user groups. I nominally still run the local php/mysql group, although I don't do as much day to day as I did years ago. But having my name associated with the local PHP group on meetup.com means I get cold calls from people just because I organize the group.

I get probably 1 a month on average - some random project someone needs done, and they don't know where to turn. They don't care about my resume, portfolio or anything else. They have a need and need it done fast. I sometimes refer them to other people in the local group or my larger network, or take it myself.

"networking" is important, but sometimes a nebulous idea, especially for people who are just starting out. Join other networks - get out there and socialize some, and let people know what you can do. But also promote yourself. An easy way to do that is to run your own group and publicize the heck out of it.

Here's another idea:

Go to local chambers of commerce and organize a 'meet the geeks' ("meet and geek" as a name?) night for local web freelancers in your area and the chamber members. Have it be informal - maybe a couple short presentations by people in the group about "how to get started on the web" or "things to look for in a web designer". DO NOT present yourself, but do organize it. Get everyone's name.

The local chambers should be able to find a space and food and get the word out to their members.

Make yourself known as the go-to guy/gal in your area for work. Even if you can't do the work yourself - that's not as important as being the middleman for that information.

This will end up paying dividends simply because almost no one else will ever do this. The fact that you put 3 hours in to organizing an event and getting people to do something will raise your stature and peoples' estimation of what you can do 100x what it actually is, but that doesn't matter.

Feel free to ping me if you want to discuss this more, or need more help getting started freelancing. I run indieconf.com, a conference for freelancers - perhaps you could attend this fall? (shameless plug!)

EDIT: Someone wrote me asking why I said to not introduce yourself. I was saying "don't present yourself" as in "don't do a presentation yourself", but instead have the event be a spot for other people to present themselves. You'll still have a chance to meet and mingle with X other people, you won't have to be as nervous, and the people you spotlight will reciprocate nice things back to you over time.

driverdan 6 days ago 0 replies      
Without more background info I can't give you specific recommendations but here are my general ones. Some of my recommendations are very basic with the hope they help someone so don't be insulted if you already know or understand some of this.

Freelancing is a Business


First make sure you realize you're starting a business. You may be working by yourself but you're starting a business like any other. You'll need to do accounting, marketing and sales, planning, etc. You can't sleep all day, lounge around, and expect work to get done. Make sure you're disciplined enough to do the work.

If you have a full time job don't quit just yet. Get a few freelance projects under your belt first. Make sure you have months of income in the bank to get you through the slow times. If you've decided to move to freelance because you lost your job think long and hard about it. Do you want to run your own business or do you just like to code? Are you prepared to chase down clients and sell your services to them?

Learn about billing and invoicing. Don't expect to bill 40+ hours a week, especially when you first start. There's overhead in running any business. You'll have tasks that aren't billable. Account for this.

You need to have people skills to run a business, especially if you haven't already established yourself. If you're not great at selling or interacting with people focus on improving these skills.

Build Credibility


Your potential clients need to know you're credible. This is why many people have recommended improving your portfolio. In reality there are multiple ways to build credibility and the best one for you depends on what you do.

Understand your target client. You are trying to sell your services to them. You need to know what they want and need. If your client isn't technical then what good will code samples do? If your client is the CTO of a development firm how useful will a pretty website be without code?

In general it's a good idea to have a nice looking website with some sample work. It doesn't need to be an amazing design but make sure it doesn't look like a coder with no design skills made it. Pay someone if you have to, you want your business to look good after all.

The actual samples and quantity doesn't matter too much so long as it fits two criteria: it's good and it highlights what you do. If you write code have a few samples from the languages you work in. If you build basic content sites for businesses (eg CMS or ecommerce sites) put some screenshots up or link to them. If you're a designer put up some nice designs.

Portfolios are best for incoming leads, when potential clients come to you. They don't know who you are and are making a judgement based on your website. As I highlight below networking is a much better and more likely way for an unestablished freelancer to get work. Don't expect many (if any) people to stumble onto your portfolio and hire you from it.

While a portfolio style website is nice it's even better if you can establish yourself through work, video, or words. This means blogging, speaking at conferences, starting or contributing to open source projects, and hosting or organizing events related to your expertise. Establish yourself as an expert at what you do.

Set an hourly rate that reflects your skills and raise it over time. I recommend billing at least $50 per hour. Setting a higher rate actually implies credibility. That said, you'd better be able to deliver. Someone paying for your time expects to get quality work out of it.

You'll always have more credibility if you can meet someone in person. Which leads to networking.

Network, Network, Network!


In my opinion this is the absolute best way to get clients. Get out there and meet them in person. Reach out to people you've worked with in the past and see if they need some work done (don't steal your employer's clients though). Get on meetup.com and go to events, lots of them.

Don't network for just yourself, do it for others. If you run into someone who needs a designer but you write code put them in touch with a freelance designer who does good work. Help out your fellow freelancers and small business owners and they will return the favor. Even if they don't you'll be happy to know you helped a friend.

Try Everything


Just because people are giving you recommendations doesn't mean you can't get work elsewhere. Try everything that comes to mind.

Try looking through the computer gigs section of craigslist. I tried this once when I needed new clients. I emailed less than 10 people, had a few respond, and ended up with one client.

Get Your Hands Dirty


Finally, be prepared to do work you hate when you first start out. You may have to accept work you don't enjoy doing to establish yourself and get experience. My first substantial freelance gig was a content site / CMS project. I hate content sites. I find them tedious and boring. I did it anyway. You have to do what you have to do.

Once you start getting enough work you can turn down projects you don't want to do. Find what you like, focus on that, but for now do whatever people will pay for.

adelevie 6 days ago 0 replies      
Create something that a potential client could actually find useful for his/her projects. If that something solves a problem a decent number of people are facing, quality leads will reach you without you even trying.

I wrote a Ruby gem[1] because it was a fun project. It was in a problem domain that interested me. A developer found the gem, saw that it would be useful for his project, and soon became my first client.

I tried the "MVP for $500" approach a few months back[2]. It generated some solid leads, but none of the projects were remotely as fun or as interesting as my current one. It's certainly doable to compete based on some perfect balance of price vs. quality, but I've found it's much more rewarding (mentally and financially) to compete by being the #1 expert of some piece of software a client wants to use.

Further reading:

Ruby dev Giles Bowkett wrote a pretty good blog post on lead generation for freelancers, http://gilesbowkett.blogspot.com/2010/03/programmers-what-to....

[1] https://github.com/adelevie/parse_resource

[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2685010

intellectronica 6 days ago 0 replies      
One easy way to start is by looking for so-called "contracting" gigs - where in practice you join a team, usually on-site, but instead of joining as an employee you bill by the day. It's not very different from having a job, but it gives you a chance to get paid for working on a diverse set of projects and to build relationships with other people who are already working as freelancers. Typically this type of work is shorter term and more flexible, so if you see that you have an opportunity to get some freelancing work you can moonlight on it, or reduce your work to 3-4 days a week.
CyberFonic 6 days ago 0 replies      
With only 2 projects and 100LoC each, I would have doubts whether you have sufficient experience to go freelance yet.

Have you thought of scoping out the established freelancers in your area and contact them to do some of their lower level work at a competitive rate and with permission to link to those projects that you worked on? You certainly don't want to claim credit for work you didn't do. So you do need to be clear as to what you did. Showing your are a dependable team worker is going to be in your favour.

hajrice 6 days ago 0 replies      
You could try doing what I did; It resulted in 20 leads (that's $20k of work), even though I was really under pricing it.

My pitch was: MVP For $1k. You get an MVP for 1k. 0 iterations. I could have charged $3-5k at least, looking back.

See hn thread here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2075928

This was the building block of my former consulting company.

Additionally, I'd recommend cold calling (you have to be good in sales, if you're not, get better at it now -- go read the ultimate sales machine). It's highly effective. Personal experience.

a-priori 6 days ago 1 reply      
I attempted to start freelancing full-time about 2 years ago but had to call it quits. I had an okay portfolio... more than it sounds like you have, but nothing spectacular. It was enough to allay doubts about my expertise.

My problem was my network. I had only one regular client, a small web consultancy that gave me a couple projects. But they weren't very profitable themselves and so didn't want to pay me much, and were slow to pay even then. Beyond that I had to get work from freelancing job boards, which are a poor way to get good-paying work.

After about 6 months of trying to set up a sustainable business, only getting the occasional small gig and going into debt for the trouble, I had to call it quits. I now work at a consulting firm. I like it because it's a similar experience, but other people bring the work to me :)

My point is that having a network of people who respect your work is important. Ideally, starting out this alone should be enough for you to break even (net of living expenses). From there you can nurture those clients (they're your lifeblood) and try to expand. You should only resort to job boards as an act of desperation to keep your pipeline from drying up.

Good luck!

Mizza 6 days ago 0 replies      
Building a portfolio is definitely worth your time.

Reach out to an open source project that needs a new website and offer your services for free, or make a simple online utility to show off what you can do, and open source that as well (open sourcing your products shows confidence in your code).

Also (shameless plug ahead): if you're looking to pick up some freelance gigs, sign up at http://gun.io and get notified when new freelance gigs for your skills are posted.

ryanschmidt 5 days ago 0 replies      
I've had a few others ask me the same thing so I wrote this short blog post:


Here's the text:

Many have asked how I'm finding freelance jobs in this market. Well, here it is! A couple months ago I decided that I was not going to be able continue bringing on clients if I didn't bust my butt trying. I spent some time on CareerBuilder and Monster Jobs but had zero luck. Those sites are not built for the freelancer, but Craigslist is.

Craigslist is a Freelancer's Dream Come True
There are so many job postings on Craigslist it seems impossible to sift through them all. To add to the problem, Craigslist is still playing this "locals-only" game where they try to trap you in your city's section. Well, as a freelancer, location is irrelevant. We can work from our home in our pajamas. So, how do break out of this localized prison? Thankfully, Craigslist gives you almost everything you need.

Craigslist Loves RSS Feeds Almost as Much as I Do
Ever notice there are no images on the Craigslist site other than those inserted in the listings? If so, you missed a very important one. At the bottom of each search results page there is an orange RSS feed button and that's the most important part of this setup.

Craigslist + RSS + Netvibes
Forget about your love affair with Google for one second. Google Reader is lame in comparison to the nifty, easily customizable Netvibes. For this example, it's what I'm using and it works perfectly.

Tools Gathered: Check. Now It's Time to Find Jobs
On Craigslist's home page, you may or may not have noticed that there is a list on the right hand ride of the layout labeled "US Cities". This isn't by accident. It happens to be the largest cities in the US and that's exactly who I want to be targeting as a freelancer. Click on the first one in the list (Atlanta) and let's get started.

Under Jobs, I select "Web/Info Design". Select whatever option you'd like.
Select all the search options you like, specifically "telecommute"
No need to enter any search terms, just click Search
There it is! Your list of jobs for that city.
Scroll to the bottom right and grab that RSS feed
Import that into Netvibes
Title the feed whatever you'd like (e.g. "Web Jobs: Atlanta")
Now repeat these steps for all the other cities you'd like to charge a premium for your amazing services

Contact the Job Posters
Once you have the list of jobs, you need to start contacting the job posters. Be courteous, include your resume and your portfolio and don't forget your phone number! Try your best to stand out. Be very clear with your subject line what it is you're e-mailing them for. They are getting hammered with requests so you don't want to blend in.

It's a Numbers Game
Recently, several people have asked how I am using Craigslist to push my freelance career forward. I thought this would be the easiest and most beneficial to spread the very simple concept so that more of you can try it. It is not fool proof and it does take work. Before I recently became maxed out with work, I was sending out 20 resumes a day. I would go for days without a single response because of the amount of e-mails the job poster was receiving. It's a numbers game and if you're persistent, it will work to your advantage.

Good luck!

prawn 6 days ago 0 replies      
Start a community site regarding something you're passionate about. Blog, forum, etc. Make it clear within that community that you're a web developer and always be clear about the sort of projects you can help with. You need to be in it for the long haul because it won't take off for a while but will help you later. That worked for me at one point many years ago. An alternative would be to become entrenched within another community that is already established. Make sure you're passionate about the topic at hand (sport, hobby, etc) or you'll stand out as an imposter.

Build a personal site - nothing crazy and nothing that is difficult to update or requires constant maintenance to stop it looking dead (e.g., blog component or 'latest news').

Make sure friends and family all know exactly what you do and that you're looking for work. They'll keep an ear out for opportunities. Sometimes they might be over-enthusiastic, but any lead has value. If your work queue is empty, you can handle a few time-wasters or painful jobs to get your start.

Major charities will usually turn down offers of unpaid online work (they want donations) so try for smaller ones. Or community sports groups. Companies may be wary of someone without a portfolio but given your spare time, you can afford to design a concept to prove your ability - no obligation to them. There is a line re: 'work for free or full-rate, but never for cheap', so you might have luck doing some charitable freebies rather than cut-price for small businesses.

Remember that the little jobs will often be the most painful, so don't give up when the early projects drag out. Always be building in your head a picture of how long certain types of tasks take you. Track it manually if you need to - concept design, cut to HTML/CSS, etc.

Business networking can help. Many areas have little small business organisations that will have get togethers or advisors.

Especially look to connect with marketing people who work for small businesses with suppliers/sponsors/etc and marketing freelancers who need a go-to web guy. Make an initial contact through an unrelated interest rather than going in with a sales pitch immediately IMO. If you are a strong programmer, speak with small graphic designers who likely farm out their backend work. Or if you're a designer, try to get a feel for which IT companies want a designer they can tap either as a contractor or someone directly in contact with their client.

(Me: Web developer about to complete a 14th year in business, now with two employees. Started by working on the side during an on-the-job traineeship. All work is now just word of mouth; have never advertised, barely bothered networking, etc.)

corkill 6 days ago 0 replies      
Did people directly tell you it is because you don't have a portfolio? And was that the real reason? I would be careful about making assumptions.

Most people that get into the freelance game have little experience selling themselves (I know I sure did), I would suggest sales skills will help you much more than a portfolio.

A person will hire you if they believe you can get the job done at a price they like. A portfolio is just a small part of saying I'm the right person for the job.

No-one ever asked me for for a portfolio when I was doing websites, because they aren't interested in what I did in the past, they are interested in what I can do for them. Obviously the more complicated the job, the more proof someone will be likely to ask for. Wasn't sure if your talking about making websites or more complicated development.

Can you post specifically what you have done to try and get a freelance gig. I feel we can help you much better then, rather than give generic advice about yeah portfolios are helpful(which you already know).

linked 6 days ago 5 replies      
I'm a full time freelancer, and I've never shown anyone a portfolio. My jobs are all earned by my reputation, which I get by my networking efforts. Even back when I had a fulltime job, I've been attending conferences and meetups, talking to people, and generally impressing them with what I know. That's how I got the ball rolling in the first place -- I've been doing this for 4 years now.

If you are a developer, and you seem relatively smart, there are hundreds of people waiting in line to hire you. Everyone needs a web developer. Everyone.

rglover 6 days ago 1 reply      
The one thing to remember is that it takes time. The best path to take with a skim portfolio is:

1.) Think about a project you'd like to work on. It doesn't have to be crazy, but preferably has elements that will challenge you. The best projects will hands down will be the development of tools that are useful to you/open source.

2.) If you have any network at all: friends, family or previous clients, send out a quick email. Tell them what you're offering and ask if they need anything done. Make use of those closest to you/familiar with your work.

3.) Post your info on the monthly HN "Seeking Freelancers" post. This is a great way to churn out quality projects.

4.) Get on and contribute to communities like Forrst (if you don't have an invite, let me know and I'll set you up) and GitHub. There are a lot of people on these sites that tend to have overflow work that's perfect for a freelancer. Just be helpful with others and contribute ideas frequently and you'll come out on top.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me an email: me@ryanglover.net

Best of luck!

meric 6 days ago 1 reply      
I got started with only 1 project in my "portfolio". It was more like 5000 LOC however. Since then every client of mine has required me to sign NDAs so I currently still only have 1 project in my portfolio.
zackmorris 6 days ago 1 reply      
I've been trying to freelance off and on for the last 10 years but the only thing that has worked so far was when I tooted my own horn a bit on elance:


I've had one gig so far for $750 (that was an invite, not sure if from elance or the client) and it went really well. I'm hoping to find two gigs a month in the $500-1500 range each, because then I will be able to sustain myself indefinitely here in Idaho.

I think that most of the people on Hacker News are very talented and may not know it, or are sitting on achievements that they don't recognize. So maybe do some soul searching or ask friends if you have done anything they have found useful/impressive and then use that for your portfolio.

I have also been fixing computers over the last year to bootstrap but am pretty burned out on it because I did that for 3 years before quitting my job a year ago. I'm wary about being on call in my town because the main reason I'm going freelance is autonomy.

I'm very interested in being part of a freelance network that uses strength in numbers to find gigs and help guarantee work without putting undo pressure on individuals, or forcing them to give up their independence.

I guess this was an overshare but I've given up on pride and am willing to do whatever it takes to succeed this time.

alexwolfe 6 days ago 0 replies      
I would definitely spend time building & working on your portfolio. A portfolio is really a business card for any good freelancer. Your portfolio can even be a collection of github projects, there just need to be some real substance there.

Ultimately if you land a job freelancing the client is looking for a few key things, an excellent portfolio, good communications skills, and most of all experience. These qualities take time to develop and allow the client to put more trust in the hands of someone outside the company.

An alternate to freelancing is working for some small startup for a year at a time. You'll get a wealth of experience and also a chance to build your portfolio. Good luck.

Strom 6 days ago 0 replies      
Improve your sales pitch. Do some initial work for a lower rate, then you'll have a portfolio of actual work.
mzarate06 6 days ago 0 replies      
If you already have experience, but not a portfoio, I'd recommend targeting dev firms in your area for first-time clients. Here's why:

1) While I found most non-technical folks seeking freelancers to prefer a portfolio over a resume, the same wasn't true for dev firms. They usually have technical
staff on board, so even though I lacked a portfolio at the time, they still recognized my technical accomplishments and background (whereas my non-technical clients really don't understand that stuff, they'd rather see a portfolio).

2) Many make use of contractors at a regular frequency, so if you're able to hook up with one, or a few, they'll help provide steady work during the early times.

3) Since they provide steady work, you don't have to concentrate as much on networking or marketing yourself. You'll eventually have to worry about that stuff, but when you're starting out you have so many other things to worry about. Dev firms help defer that burden, or at least keep the work coming while you figure that stuff out.

Best of luck. Freelancing can be tough when you start out, but very rewarding once you get into a good rhythm.

aantix 6 days ago 0 replies      
On a side note, when it comes time for your billing, check out my library, Big Bucks No Whammies (https://github.com/aantix/big_bucks_no_whammies). It allows you to generate an invoice from your git commits.

Here's a sample invoice:

chubs 6 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an easy way to get started networking in your local area:


Basically the gist of it is to offer people something simple for free, to build relationships.

femto 6 days ago 1 reply      
Talk to as many prospective clients as possible, face-to-face, in the geographical area in which you want to work. Explore their problems and what you might do to solve them. The ideal contract will have you and the client fitting each other, limited experience and all, and the only way you will find this ideal opportunity is to get out there.

Keep in in mind that technical is only half of it. Communication in the other half. The client wants someone that they can talk to, feel comfortable with and trust. If the client and you are comfortable, you're a long way there, even with limited experience. So again, talk to people.

If you do get online work, great, but I think you will have a better chance of getting yourself established by starting locally. Also, only take work you can comfortably handle, especially when building a reputation. Don't get desperate and say yes to bad jobs. Clients value dependability over heroic efforts.

smadam9 6 days ago 0 replies      
From my experience, my first jobs were from people I was connected with. Usually it was a small job building a quick website for a friend, or their boss, or a friend of a friend...you get the idea.

Even though those seemingly unimportant jobs were all I had, I was grateful because I knew they would lead to more spectacular and promising prospects.

As expected, almost a year later, I was landing great jobs thanks to my quick, small jobs at the start. People starting seeing that the jobs were finished, people were happy etc.. Although my work is now in another realm, those qualities hold true anywhere.

Try to find some jobs in your own network, see if anyone knows someone that needs a website built or even just a simple button designed. That's how I would start again if I had to.

jakejake 6 days ago 0 replies      
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that you could become proficient with a certain platform and get your foot in the door that way. Just as an example, spend a lot of time on WordPress or Joomla or Drupal or another CMS. Write plugins, build themes, become really good with the platform. You'll pretty quickly find people using that platform for their companies who need help and you will be in a position to offer your expertise. That can be a way to get your freelance career off the ground.

Freelancing can be a great job but it takes time to build up a good client roster. The key to having a decent life while freelancing is having a client roster that needs ongoing work so you aren't constantly hustling for work.

StavrosK 6 days ago 0 replies      
I've found that the best way to freelance is via word of mouth. However, if you don't have a portfolio, what are your credentials? How do you plan to convince people you're worth hiring? You might want to work on a side project, it goes a long way towards showing people that you can actually build nice things.

Also, the startup I'm currently working on does something directly relevant, so you might be interested in updates: http://www.instahero.com/

ilaksh 6 days ago 0 replies      
The trick for me is just to be willing/able to work for Bangalore wages, go on odesk or whatever and find gigs that have actual specifications (they are relatively rare but there are enough if you keep paging through). Find one that you can get a good start on in a day or two and just do as much of it as you can before you have to move on. Then send them a link to the prototype you started. Usually after doing that a few times someone is smart enough to take advantage of my cheap labor.

Once I did something similar with a prototype, but it was on reddit instead of odesk, and turned into a great high-paying gig.

Of course, it would be better if you networked.

joshuap 6 days ago 0 replies      
It can't hurt to "build an impressive app of your own", but as long as it's something that is useful to other people. Don't just build something for the hell of it. Build something that you're passionate about; that you can apply to a real problem. You could also work on an open source project - the community can act as a "client" of sorts.

Ask everyone you have interacted with on some sort of professional level to recommend you on LinkedIn. If they don't have an account, offer to help them sign up.

Email everyone you know and tell them you're looking for work, and make it clear what you do (this should be in completely non-technical terms).

Answer job postings personally. Online jobs have a lot of applicants, so make sure you are showcasing your personality, as well as your skills. Not every job is a good fit, so better to eliminate the obvious duds as early as possible.

Be honest. Don't try to sound like you have more experience than you do, but also don't be afraid to speak authoritatively about topics you know well.

Respect yourself. You are interviewing to solve someone else's problems, so if you're the expert in the room (so to speak), don't be afraid to be firm on how things should be done. Quality clients should respect you for this, and you're better off without the few you'll lose anyway.

Network anywhere and everywhere!

Sir_Funk 6 days ago 0 replies      
You basically should invest some time in building up a portfolio of your own projects.

Otherwise you basically have to either undercut everybody in your bids to make yourself attractive on a cost basis, or when you bid on a project, show the customer a "proof of concept" or something that shows you already have something solid to show them before they choose a freelancer, which may or may not be feasible for the type of projects you're interested in doing.

ca136 6 days ago 0 replies      
Build at least one project that looks nice. You don't need to spend a lot of time, but buy a nice-looking theme (I used themeforest) and build a simple site for a small business. Then hit up your non-technical network. Show them that you can give them an attractive website, and you'll probably find a few people who are interested in working with you.

When I first started freelancing, I spent 10 hours on a redesign for a local fitness boutique. It was an easy project that earned $700, but I would've done it for free if I knew all the business they'd send my way after. After seeing the site, the receptionist's brother wanted a website for his bike store, another client wanted a new site for his business, even the guy who cut my hair wanted me to make him a website after seeing the one project I had done.

If you can't find anyone in your network that's looking for help, try contacting local businesses with crappy websites. You can create some screen-shots of a potential redesign or even create a working demo page using pre-built themes (check out trial.mysitemyway.com). You'd be surprised at how many projects you can get from this type of outreach.

itmag 6 days ago 0 replies      
Has anyone here checked out Ramit Sethi's paid materials on freelancing? Were they any good?

I am a fan of what he gives away for free: https://www.odesk.com/blog/2011/04/5-techniques-to-double-yo...

shareme 6 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on your geographical area, if you are very near a large city such as Chicago, Ad agencies will generally take you on as a temp to outsource to their clients if you have a web project portfolio to show even if its small..its not fully at freelance rates but still nice coin to get..
doc4t 6 days ago 1 reply      
I get most of my freelance projects from the different agencies that I signed up with. Sure they take a percentage in provision but the salaries are so high anyway that I don't mind too much.

For the provision they will do all the legal work - which can be considerable. I'm very satisfied with this arrangement.

I would recommend you to get in touch with agencies. Just make sure they don't screw you over - the division should be at least 80/20 in your favor.

jbrowning 6 days ago 0 replies      
Like others have said, I would work on building your portfolio. One way to do this is to donate some web development work to a non-profit in your area -- hopefully one that is well-known in the community. Not only will this give you something to add to your portfolio, but it will also give you an idea of any underdeveloped skills that you need to work on.
perfunctory 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ask a freelancer friend to introduce you to the client. That's the best way, really.
vellum 6 days ago 0 replies      
You need more projects. They don't have to be fancy, but they should look good. Once you've filled out your portfolio, you should go to meetups and talk with some other designers/programmers. Many of them are busy, and they might farm some work out to you if they think you're dependable.
perezda 6 days ago 0 replies      
A portfolio is a quick way for someone who doesn't know you to get an idea of what you're capable of. Try and get a gig through people that know you, they won't need you to prove as much. What type of gig are you looking for? What are your skills? What skills are you trying to improve?
pknerd 6 days ago  replies      
try sites like vworker, elance etc
Ask HN: What successful startups started as "Show HN"?
150 points by sbisker  6 days ago   discuss
borski 6 days ago 1 reply      
Heh, sbisker, don't you remember? We launched Tinfoil Security as a Show HN before we'd actually built anything and got great feedback. I'm not posting this as a measure of 'success' as much as a measure of a product that still exists, has raised venture funding, and is still trying to become a huge business. :)



vyrotek 6 days ago 0 replies      
Oh the memories. I'm not going to put my startup in the Dropbox 'successful' bucket quite yet, but our multiple 'Ask HN' posts helped mold IActionable into what it is today.

Its really interesting to look back and see how our company was formed by the feedback we received. Early on we had one idea which we called 'KaBadge' and we asked what everyone thought here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=795952

This made us discover an even bigger need. Before people were going to think about karma/badge/point portability they were going to need systems to help award them. We switched gears really quick and went to work. It look a bit of time to convince ourselves that it would be possible. This was way before someone tossed out the term 'gamification' so it was really hard to do any research on this new market.

Then we came back to the community with IActionable: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1126780

Unfortunately at that time there was no way we could have moved to California to be part of YC. (families, babies, mortgages, etc) But, we were lucky enough to discover a local (Utah) incubator back in 2010. Eventually my friend and I convinced ourselves to quit our jobs: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1347464

We quickly raised a seed round after the program and haven't looked back. Things are definitely still evolving but its been an awesome roller-coaster ride so far.

6ren 6 days ago 0 replies      
re "count both":
It seems that many many YC startups have shown their work here, and they will swamp any others.

From the title, I thought this would be about projects that began as "Show HN" (not began as YC startups, and then showed HN), and I find that idea, of sideprojects that became something greater, intriguing.

raheemm 6 days ago 1 reply      
Visual Website Optimizer - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=876141

Great idea to compile such a list.

pud 6 days ago 0 replies      
While it's no Dropbox, TinyLetter's launch was a Show HN. MailChimp bought it a few months ago.


bradhe 6 days ago 0 replies      
LayerVault comes to mind. Depends on your definition of success, but last I heard they're doing well.


joejohnson 6 days ago 4 replies      
This community seems to need constant validation that it's worth doing start-ups and that some are, in fact, successful. I have to feel like if this were true, there wouldn't be this gaping insecurity.
ayu 6 days ago 2 replies      
Nobody cared about my Show HN, so I'd say it's lukewarm.

And I'm pretty proud of my website, too.


feint 6 days ago 0 replies      
pen.io started here. Was noticed by the press and investors here.
usiegj00 6 days ago 0 replies      
RightSignature: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=510656

It was great feedback--comment #1 (1055 days ago) is in our app and boosted our conversion into solid double-digits: "You need a sample document, so people can test out the 'using your mouse to sign' part without signing up."

nader 6 days ago 0 replies      
Show HN: Selling a web app, Auto Swatch
25 points by nicksergeant  2 days ago   29 comments top 11
nicksergeant 2 days ago 1 reply      
Btw, there's a not-insignificant cost of keeping this project up. Finding high-quality photos of every new vehicle in every color offered by the MFGR was tough. I negotiated a contract with Evox (http://evox.com) and the buyer would need to setup their own contract with them (they're super helpful and there are no tricks involved).

The photos will run you around $195/mo for every asset Evox owns (not just what you see on Auto Swatch). They have 360 views, videos, etc etc.

nate 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't have much help probably. But my sympathies. I'm actually looking for a car now, and your search is gorgeous. I usually just go to carmax to use their search because it's user friendly, but your onto something better here.

"I have no idea who I would talk to about something like this (without connections there)."

Really though? Just email a few people in each place using LinkedIn with titles like "Business Development" or "Corporate Development". In 2 seconds this guy looks promising:


You can probably guess their email addresses or use google to ferret out the pattern. Lead411.com is actually useful to save you time, but their customer support sucks when you decide you want to cancel that account.

If you search for them in LinkedIn and their name turns up "Private", use google to find bits of their linkedin profile. Coming to linkedin from a google search gives up all the "private" data.

Be bold. I've emailed complete strangers everywhere and have gotten meetings. I have a habit of emailing whoever I want. Mark Cuban. Marc Benioff. Howard Schultz. And I get meetings.

The most important part of reaching out to folks is to follow up. I can't believe how many times I've had to send two or three notes to the same person. Yes, you can become a nuisance. Try to do it nicely. There is a way to accomplish this without coming off as an automated spammer. I've heard from multiple people I've emailed 3 times, that they are glad I followed up with them, because they simply get too busy to remember to make an entry for me in a calendar. Even if you hear from someone and then they blow you off (e.g. don't make it to the conference call, etc.) Keep following up!

nicksergeant 2 days ago 0 replies      
More background: the entire UI was designed by the very talented Ali Ali: http://alialithinks.com

The back-end is Django. Should easily be Heroku-able if you offload the assets to S3.

consultutah 1 day ago 1 reply      
A couple of thoughts: First, you have a beautiful site the purpose of which appears to be to help people quickly and beautifully research cars. For someone buying the site, $200/mo shouldn't be a concern, iif they think they can make money off of it.

If that is the primary reason you are interested in selling though, I would start thinking: how could you re-position the site to be successful? Just to throw out some ideas, instead of researching cars, could it be for recruiters to research programmer candidates? Or could it be for scrap-bookers to research and purchase scrap booking materials. Or could it be for gardeners to research and purchase plants? Or could it be for homeowners to research and purchase snow blowers? Etc...

With the current site, you are trying to get revenue outside of where the transaction is made. While this is possible, it is ALWAYS easier to make money at the point the transaction is made.

jckay 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Nick - a quick Devil's Advocate thought for you. I have heard a lot of people lately say that they want to sell ______ (insert anything) and that is has a lot of potential. They are working on another project and need the money to move that project forward.

I challenge you, as I have challenged these people in the past, if it has "that much" potential than why not continue to do it yourself?

I am sure if you saw an opportunity to make a lot of money, you could get past the idea of working with investors, and media folks. Shit if you made enough money you could just hire someone to handle it.



gawker 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hi Nick,

Saw your site when it first launched and really loved the look and feel of it. Just curious about the numbers for the site - i.e. maintenance costs, monthly visitors, etc. How much would you value the site?

I'm sad to see that you're at the point of shutting it down but I hope it's provided you with a learning experience that drives you toward success.

SingAlong 1 day ago 1 reply      
I just took a look at this site out of interest. And the site's the kind of place where I would love to browse cars to buy. Been trying to find a used car online for sometime. By far this is most amazing UI to browse cars.

Like nick says, this does have a lot of potential to people who have time to invest.

Nice job! (to everyone who were involved with it)

tstegart 2 days ago 2 replies      
I think the big guys you mention in your post are your best bet for selling. Have you ever got feelers from them? It hurts you that you've taken the site down while you're trying to sell btw. You'll probably take a hit on your asking price for that.
Check out: http://www.inc.com/guides/leadership_strat/24005.html
nicksergeant 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also, search is disabled on the demo site. Just spooled up this quick instance without firing up Xapian and all that.
trustfundbaby 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why do you think it failed?
badclient 1 day ago 1 reply      
Carwoo should buy you.
       cached 5 February 2012 15:05:01 GMT