Project V is Coming Along Nicely

November 4, 2015 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It’s been nearly three weeks since my last update on Project V so there has been a lot of progress made since then.

Despite focusing on Project V, I’ve also been making good progress on my other work such as catching up on e-mail and tending to other tasks. I even published 2 screencast video review posts! So yeah, all in all a pretty productive past 3 weeks.

Both the programmer and designer working on the project work from Monday to Friday and so I’ve been finding myself very frustrated during the weekends as it means that I have to wait 2 days before I get to see any more progress updates on the project.

First, a Hint!

I like to avoid publishing blog posts without a single image, and I couldn’t think of any relevant images to include other than this:


It’s a heavily pixelated version of the Project V official (finalized) logo. Maybe every update from now on I’ll include this with a higher number of pixels…

Design Progress

The design on the project had a rough start as the investor on the project and I argued over the direction that one of the pages was taking. We ended up creating 2 separate pages (one for each of our artistic views), and so we will probably end up split-testing between these 2 pages to see which outperforms the other.

There were also communication issues with the designer in the beginning when I realized that the structure of one of the pages needed to be revamped for various reasons which took a bit of time to sort out.

Additionally, other main areas of the site had similar problems; the direction of things were a bit too simplistic for my taste and there was a lot of back-and-forth revamping, altering, and adjusting going on. For a while, I thought that I was settling for the design instead of getting exactly what I had originally envisioned.

However, in the past 2-3 days, things have finally started to come around. As more and more of the site has been completed in terms of design, you can really see the difference and I’m pretty happy where things are design-wise right now.

It’s so much work to coordinate and direct things between the designer and programmer and make sure the project is developing in the way it needs to that I forgot that it’s almost a full-time job just overseeing everything. It’s been a few years since I last had a site developed so it’s a reminder of the work involved for sure.

Explainer Videos

I had never commissioned work for an explainer video before, so this will be the first project in which I do so.

In fact, I had to Google for quite a while before I even discovered that the correct term for what I want is "explainer video"! Once I did, it was a lot easier to find sources that provided the service.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to those short 1-minute animated videos on websites with voiceover and sometimes background music and sound effects that explain or introduce a service or website.

From my research, a top-class professional service (such as Wyzowl and DemoDuck) typically charges between $2,000-$3,000 per minute. That is, per minute of video, not per minute of labour Smile.

On the cheap end you can get them for as low as $200, but you get what you pay for here.

I actually found some pretty good work for the value at around the $400 range, but I suspect the portfolio might be heavily cherry-picked with the best productions. At the $2,000-$3,000 level I’m quite confident I’d be satisfied with the results.

Also, they all take around 1 month to develop, no matter the price it seems.

So I haven’t decided on a particular company or freelancer yet, but I do have a shortlist. I cannot get it made until the site is mostly complete anyway though. I just wanted to do some of my homework now so that it’d be a quicker process once I am ready for the explainer video.

Programming Progress

The programmer I hired has been continuing to work part-time hours on the site (although it’s actually part-time + some extra as I said he could put in more hours if he wished).

At $69/hour, the costs really add up fast. I was a bit shocked when I received the first full-week bill. It may not seem like too much at first, but then as time drags on and on, you definitely feel it, trust me… especially when you know there is so much more still to be done.

When the site is complete, the programmer will have pocketed 5 figures from me!

That being said, even when the site is complete and ready to go live, I’ll definitely be getting new features and tweaks made to the site, not to mention bug fixes, as long as I can afford it.

Despite being pricey, the programmer is pretty efficient and has gotten a fair bit done already and problem-solves almost all of the issues he runs into which saves me a lot of time and hassle.

He also provides me with daily updates of what he worked on during the day, as well as what he will be working on the following day (as per my request).

In the beginning, when the work was being done on the infrastructure and framework of the code base, I was able to follow his work along on GitHub. But now that the site has developed a fair bit, the updates are being pushed live to the site so I can actually play around and test various aspects and features of the website.

I am very happy with having used Toptal as my freelance hiring agency and can highly recommend them (I’ve only used them once so far so I don’t have the longest track record with them though). Just remember that you need to have a real budget in order to work with them (no $150 jobs folks… try $5,000+).

Other Thoughts Regarding the Project

As I say, the site is really starting to come together now, but sometimes I look at it and am a bit amazed at how simplistic the site is.

I mean, at first glance, you might think that the site could be more or less cloned for $1,500-$2,000 by a cheap $12/hour developer. And the thing is, you might actually come close… on the surface level anyway. But Project V has been developed with so much scalability and growth in mind which will allow for very easy future modifications and features to be implemented. It also utilizes many features which may appear to be simple but are actually a lot more complex to implement properly.

Also, the idea for the site from the very beginning was an extremely simple one, so it is to be expected that the site appears simple.

I have full confidence that when it is complete that it will function exactly as I had originally envisioned and hoped for (and then some!). The real question will be if it takes off or not. Marketing and promotion of the site will be a much bigger factor than I had originally anticipated.

The budget is also starting to become a bit of an issue. I carefully planned out the budget during the long and boring planning phases so I’m not completely off base or anything, but as mentioned earlier, hiring a talented programmer on a part-time basis is not cheap and does add up.

I will have enough in the budget to keep him on board to complete the project, but I may have to end up launching the website without some of the features that I had originally planned for in my specification document, and add them in down the road.

Another option is to get more investors on board. When I first created my pitch to possible investors, all I had was an idea. Now I have a design that is about 80% complete, an early partial-working website, hired developers working on the project, and a name and domain for the project.

Some of the early investors that had read my earlier pitches might actually see the project in a new light now.

On the other hand, the % share I am willing to give up has dramatically reduced now as well ($15,000 for 10%), so it may actually be harder to get more investors on board until the site starts generating traffic or revenue.

When Will Project V Be Completed?

It’s still a little bit too early to give accurate ETAs, but a rough approximation would be perhaps another 7-10 work days to where we have an early alpha version of the site that has basic overall functionality with bugs and missing advanced features of the website.

And perhaps 15-20 more work days to where the site can launch, but still be missing a few features and have a few bugs here and there.

It will be really interesting to see what stage the site is at by my next update.

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Posted: November 4th, 2015 under My Websites  

4 Responses to “Project V is Coming Along Nicely”

  1. Robert says:

    Thank you, Tyler, for the update. I hope this will be another hit, by the way: Maybe you should consider to give a design overhaul, i think it´s worth it.

  2. […] he shares how he makes or loses money online. However, Tyler didn’t stop there. As you can see in the post on his blog, he is now putting his time and money into building an exciting new start-up: project V. He also […]

  3. Kalki says:

    Bro, don’t build out too many features!!!! Validate the market first! You and a handful of other people might think you have a great thing, but you should build a minimum viable product first. And then see if your users want the other features. (Read the lean startup, Google “minimum viable product” and “product market fit”)

    I just consulted for a few months on a company that spent 100k and 2 years building a revolutionary product that nobody wanted.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I understand and agree with what you’re saying (it’s something I learned over time too). I’d say I’m a bit on the edge in terms of number of features we’re launching with. I still think we’ll be in a fairly conservative safe zone for this when we launch, but have enough features that should last us a while.


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