Serial entrepreneur Ben Muñoz can't resist a good idea. With a strong background of tech skills and a serious ability to multitask, the 32-year-old Stanford grad and Northwestern MBA has been working with partners — and oDesk freelancers — to get a growing number of businesses off the ground.
For three years, the Austin, Texas, businessman has been leveraging remote freelancers to build, launch and maintain websites. He started by using three well-established talent marketplaces, but now that pool is down to one: oDesk.
Ben Muñoz / serial entrepreneur
I use oDesk every day.
"My best work comes from oDesk," Muñoz says. "I've gotten to the point where I don't use anybody else. In fact, I told some people [from another marketplace] that they needed to move to oDesk if they wanted my business."
Muñoz has used programmers, website testers, graphic designers and video production experts from Russia, India and the Philippines. Asked how many freelancers he had working for him on one given day, he counted off five by first their names. "It gets up to 10 sometimes," he adds. "I'm an oDesk power user."
Between the quality of talent and the management tools that let him easily adjust staff on multiple ventures, Muñoz says oDesk allows a busy, bootstrapping entrepreneur to chase not just one dream, but several. Even so, not even oDesk can let one man keep so many balls in the air forever.
"I'd like to keep all my businesses," he says, "but unfortunately, eventually I'll have to pick a couple."
In a given week, one of those regular freelancers might log 30 hours a week, while another might not quite make 15. The flexibility of only paying his freelancers for the work he needs, but having established relationships with reliable professionals, lets him move fast and efficiently. In fact, he and his business partners have no staff outside their oDesk freelancers.
A Deep Pool
Muñoz says oDesk's talent pool — half a million freelancers and growing — makes it easy to find the right remote workers.
"For one [contract], I hired five people for small [jobs] and I kept one, and that guy has been one of my favorites," he says. "You couldn't do that if there weren't enough talented [freelancers]."
Once he has the right team members on board, he prefers to give out contracts on an hourly basis.
"With fixed projects, you tend to pay more because there is more risk involved for both sides, and with fixed projects, people tend to try to do them faster," he notes. "With hourly rates, you can pay more attention and control your costs and results better."
Hourly arrangements also let him easily extend an contract as needed, he adds.
About Ben Muñoz
With oDesk's deep talent pool, Ben Muñoz is able to launch his next venture faster, smarter and with better cost controls than he could if he ramped up a full office operation. The serial entrepreneur is quick to say that not all of his ventures have been his own inspiration — sometimes he's invited into a new endeavor, and just can't resist a good idea. But among his projects, which include Right Path Interactive , Transportation China , and The Science of Dating , closest to his heart is the least profitable: bensfriends.org is a site he started after a brush with life-threatening illness, and has built into an enormous series of free communities for those fighting rare illnesses.