Jared Miller, COO

How to Scale an Independent Salesforce Consulting Business

As an independent Salesforce consultant, how do you know if your consulting business has entered its growth stage? 

If you have a consistent project workflow and motivation to scale, that’s all you need to start taking your business to new heights. 

The key to scaling a growth-stage Salesforce consultancy 

Proactive planning is key to scaling your consulting business sustainably. Think of it like trying to fix a leaky roof during the rainy season — it’s all about avoiding a sticky situation that forces you to make reactionary decisions. Building a growth plan on the fly could significantly stress already established project work and client relationships and potentially impact your bottom line.  

Prioritizing growth strategies may feel like a chicken or egg scenario, but some low-risk moves and plans can help you prepare your business for sustainable growth. Here are five proven strategies to scale an early or growth-stage Salesforce consultancy:  

Strengthen your online presence  

Your brand should quickly answer what makes someone want to hire you, work with you, or for you. 

The low-hanging fruit is getting your personal LinkedIn profile in order. Ensure you have a strong, concise headline and a compelling solutions-focused summary positioning you as a Salesforce expert. It also pays to invest in a professionally taken headshot. 

An active and compelling LinkedIn persona will aid in team building and/or hiring subcontractors, advocating for your work, and networking. However, LinkedIn isn’t the end-all-be-all for promoting your company. 

Expand your consultancy’s reach and cement legitimacy with a dedicated website. Check out this success story from 10K Expert Michael Brandwein. He saw an opportunity to grow and differentiate his business through original content. 

Michael partnered with an agency to brand his consulting business and build a website. One way he amplifies his consultancy’s voice and thought leadership is through blog content that speaks to his target customers’ pain points. 

His consulting website is simple, professional, and effective in that it provides another avenue to promote and position himself as a Salesforce expert. Branding and business development is a long game, but building brand trust and loyalty pays off. 

Create thought leadership content to broadcast your value as a Salesforce expert 

Salesforce is a massive ecosystem with scores of talent and service offerings. To break through the noise, speak as an authority on what’s going on in your corner of the market. 

There are many channels and content mediums to capitalize on. Whether it be LinkedIn posts, Medium articles, or blogs, publish your insights, hard-earned lessons, and resources to help your target customers. Further your reach and comment with your opinion on others’ LinkedIn posts, tweets, and blogs, and engage in any forum that complements your business message. This is an excellent tactic to build relationships and goodwill in the ecosystem. 

Content is a long game. With consistency and time, your targeted messaging will build credibility and trust for your consulting business. 

Partner with subcontractors that will deliver your vision 

An overflowing project pipeline is an excellent problem to have. To keep pace with customer demand and uphold the quality of your deliverables, look to hire trusted subcontractors. It’s a faster and more cost-effective option than hiring full-time employees. Subcontractors also enable you to scale up and down nimbly and mitigate your risk as a company.

Treat subcontractors as an extension of you, your brand, and your work’s reputation. Look for reliable and vetted individuals, who have strengths that complement your weaknesses, and show passion for your business and clients. As the visionary for your consultancy (just like a CEO), it’s important to sell them on your vision. 

Tap into your network for direct referrals. There are also independent consultant talent communities like 10K. This isn’t to say there’s zero risk—you should still ensure that your subcontractors are a good personality fit. Tapping into the 10K Expert Community to outsource strategically is a solid place to start.

Establish your contract model

Like finding your market niche, establishing a clearly defined contract model is key to nurturing growth. What your contract model looks like wholly depends on you – your goals, how you want to work, and the way you want to deliver your services. 

Research the pros and cons of different project models – fixed price, fixed budget, time and materials, milestone pricing, etc. – and get clear on your service offerings and margins. Then structure your contracts accordingly. 

Identifying the pre-conditions that are non-negotiables will guarantee you get to work the way you want. In other words, a defined contract model empowers you to leave “bad deals” on the table and only say ‘yes’ to clients that jive with your model. 

Once you pick a lane for your consulting business, get comfortable and find security in it. It’s impossible to capture every client, and you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) be everything to everyone. 

Operate with financial forecasting

  1. Limit risk
  2. Increase revenue opportunities 
  3. Predict cash flow 

Financial forecasting is a crucial exercise in scaling your business. It will arm you with the data necessary to make informed decisions that drive profitability.

Forecasts based on past and present data are used in various ways within a business. Try using it specifically to more accurately predict and plan for uncertainties, expenses, and revenue. 

For example, before you hire subcontractors to take on more projects, it’s important to forecast how that expense will impact your bottom line. Your rates need to account for subcontractors, so the margins on a project make sense. 

Be aware of cash flow, too, as most subcontractors will ask to be paid before your client pays you. It is better to manage toward that from the start so you don’t end up in a jam and compromise the relationship.

As an independent consultant, it’s time-consuming as is to manage the day-to-day overhead of running a business.  If financial forecasting isn’t your strong point, use specialized software or engage a professional. Both options are great investments to improve your bottom line and peace of mind.

If you or someone you know wants to learn more about scaling an independent Salesforce business, the team at 10K is available to talk through your questions. Contact us to get in touch with our team. 

4 Steps to Start an Independent Salesforce Consultancy

Is the idea of entrepreneurship calling your name? 

According to our 2022 Independent Salesforce Consultant Report, you’re not the only one – 40% of independent Salesforce consultants started their own business during the pandemic between 2020 and 2022. 

Independent consultants are a rapidly growing segment of the Salesforce talent population. If you’re thinking about betting on yourself, this is your time. Customer demand skyrocketed last year, and there’s no sign of slowing down – there’s plenty of project work for everyone. 

Is the independent lifestyle for everyone?

The “ah-ha” moments and motivations for going independent vary from person to person, but there are amazing benefits nearly every expert stands to gain. This year’s top-cited benefits included flexibility, the guarantee to work remotely, earn more money, and the freedom to choose projects. Going independent makes room for all those things and more. 

However, the reality is entrepreneurship isn’t a walk in the park. There are going to be times when money dries up, flexibility isn’t an option, or you’re working more hours than planned. To create a roadmap that will guide you through the challenges of entrepreneurship, define your “why” for going independent. Establishing a strong ethos is the key to success. 

Starting an independent business may sound daunting. However, when it boils down to it, there are only four steps to make it a reality. Here is the framework for establishing an independent Salesforce consultancy. 

Find the right circle of advisors

In addition to finding mentors – trusted peers to run scenarios by and entrepreneurs who have walked the walk – it’s important to have a go-to network of specialized advisors. They will play a crucial role in your support system and help with strategic decisions. 

CPA

A good CPA will help choose the right business structure – s-corp, LLC, etc. – with certain tax implications and project income in mind. CPAs also help with estimating quarterly taxes, how to save for those tax bills, and general tax strategy. 

Insurance brokers

Being the boss also means absorbing all of the risks that come with doing business. Some customer SOWs and MSAs have specific insurance requirements – errors of omission, commercial coverage, etc. – that standard homeowner insurance won’t cover. Business insurance is an absolute must. An insurance broker can identify the right insurance and appropriate coverage necessary to ensure you’re not at risk. 

Attorney

Contracts need to be tight in the interest of your business and services. Get a trusted business attorney on retainer that can help draft and review client contracts. 

Camaraderie 

User group meetings and in-person events are trickling back. This is great because even the most ardent remote-work fans need to get out and connect with people every so often. For business and sanity, it’s beneficial to nurture relationships in person. It’s also an opportunity to learn, help others, and practice vulnerability, too. That’s where growth happens and new connections are made. 

Establish an official business entity 

Establishing an official business entity – LLC, S corp, etc. – solidifies an official transition to entrepreneurship. It also symbolizes the commitment to independent consulting as a full-time job. Taking this step may feel scary at first, but it’s also part of the thrill! 

An established business entity is also a non-negotiable formality for many potential customers and partners. They want to work with experts who are protected from liability and can provide a non-personal social security number. A business entity also signals to customers that a long-term partnership is the goal. They can enter into a contract or project feeling confident they won’t be left hanging after three months because entrepreneurship didn’t pan out.  

Refer to your financial and/or tax advisor to decide between an LLC or S corp. There are important tax implications and business aspirations – subcontracting, hiring employees, how to pay yourself – to consider. 

Separate personal and business finances

With an official business entity in place, it’s time to get the financial back of house in order. Choose a trusted financial institution to open an official business checking and savings account. 

It is crucial to keep personal and business finances entirely separate. Intermingling accounts and their activity – personal and family expenses, business expenses, business income, etc – will inevitably create a nightmare when it comes time to file personal and business tax returns. 

Create a contingency plan

If we have learned anything since 2020, it’s that life is unpredictable. No amount of research, foundation-building, or financial planning can insulate business owners from the inevitable curveballs. Contingency plans provide peace of mind and actionable steps in the event business doesn’t go according to plan A. 

Start with ensuring financial security. It’s ideal to start the entrepreneurial journey with 3-6 months of emergency expenses saved up somewhere where it can’t be touched. Pretend that money doesn’t exist. That way, if a client doesn’t pay an invoice or steady work dries up, the business has a chance to survive.  

It’s also important to keep service positioning flexible. The Salesforce platform and market demand are constantly evolving, so consider the top three skills you bring to the table. React and adapt accordingly to net new clients and maintain a healthy pipeline of business. 

Finally, know when enough is enough. It’s okay if the business doesn’t work out or the entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t a fit. It’s a safe bet to go independent because there is always an opportunity to go back to full-time work. We all have responsibilities – rent, families to support, food to put on the table – and there’s no shame in pivoting back to traditional employment.

If you’re a Salesforce consultant thinking about taking the leap to independence, we’d love to hear from you. Learn more about how 10K helps bridge the gap for independents in their first few months of business and other success stories. 

3 Reasons Why Your Next Professional Services Career Move Should Be Independence

If you’re familiar with 10K, you’ve seen us yell this from the proverbial mountain tops for months: There has never been a better time to become an independent consultant in the Salesforce ecosystem. 

Customers are hungry – our 2022 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report found that global Salesforce talent demand increased by 19%. Anecdotally, this is also evident amongst our own customer base and the 10K Expert Community, too. 

Salesforce talent of all skill levels is in high demand but the ones who stand to gain the most from this age of digital transformation are highly-skilled and experienced Salesforce experts. To define an expert, think a minimum of six years of Salesforce experience and a minimum of three years of consulting experience. 

There’s never been a better time to bet on yourself and leave your full-time professional services job

According to Harvard Business Review, an increasingly large majority of independent workers say that independent work is less risky and more secure than traditional employment. Here are a few remarkable stats from their 2021 study:

  • 68% of independent workers responded to the statement “I feel more secure working independently” in the affirmative — up from 32% in 2011 and 53% in 2019.
  • 7 in 10 independents and 3 in 10 traditional employees say independent work is more secure than traditional employment.
  • 31% of employees who left their job in the past six months did so to start a new business.

To define an expert, think a minimum of six years of Salesforce experience and a minimum of three years of consulting experience. 

If you’re currently working in a professional services company and are a Salesforce expert with a competitive skillset, consulting soft skills, and looking for some much-deserved work/life balance, read on for three reasons why becoming an independent Salesforce consultant should be your next career move.  

The money will follow and it’ll be on your terms

The 10K team has had dozens and dozens of conversations with Salesforce customers, partners, and experts over the past few months and there is a common theme – there isn’t enough talent or time to accomplish all of the initiatives ahead of them. 

This is a “good problem” as we say. And if you’re working in Salesforce professional services you already know this. 

Chances are you’ve had a steady stream of interest from recruiters and other consulting firms. There are also plenty of stories across LinkedIn about fat signing bonuses and impressive salary bidding wars – but is a company that’s willing to pay far above average or make lofty promises a good opportunity? Or is it a red flag? 

…the salary of your dreams means nothing if you can’t enjoy the freedoms you’re entitled to. 

Before you take an offer that seems too good to be true, consider the employer’s perspective: Explosive customer demand has been near impossible to satiate; they have few choices but to use and abuse their full-time employees to keep up. Will you really see the bag of goods that were sold to you?

If you’ve been teetering on the edge of burnout, you’re far from alone. More money can often mean more problems – unrealistic deadlines, unattainable KPIs, the expectation to work during PTO, etc. – and the salary of your dreams means nothing if you can’t enjoy the freedoms you’re entitled to. 

Going independent guarantees you can have your cake and eat it too; all on your own terms. With the right technical skills and consulting expertise, the money will follow! There’s plenty of pie to go around. 

The vision is yours to define

Increased customer demand not only means working longer hours, but it can also mean constantly working outside of your scope of expertise. Let’s be honest – this is a thankless way to work and inevitably leads to burnout.  

You have the freedom to choose your preferred delivery methods, ways of communicating, and technology and tools. And most importantly, you get to choose which projects you want to take on. 

If you’re tired of feeling out of control, or as just another working body serving someone else’s big agenda at a large firm, then building your own Salesforce business is your ticket to change. 

As the boss of your own Salesforce consultancy, you alone have the privilege of controlling the client experience. You have the freedom to choose your preferred delivery methods, ways of communicating, and technology and tools. And most importantly, you get to choose which projects you want to take on. 

For 10K Expert, Djibril Anthony, the best part about being your own boss in the Salesforce ecosystem is “the freedom to be selective of the projects [the business] takes on. I’m passionate about delivering value for my customers, and I appreciate the ability to turn down work if I can’t serve a customer’s goal or mission. Your work should motivate and get you excited to keep delivering value, and being an independent consultant makes that possible.”

Work/Life balance becomes a reality 

Our 2022 Independent Salesforce Consultant Report found that independent Salesforce experts value having a flexible schedule more than any other benefit of being your own boss. 

 

Achieving work/life balance has been a hot topic since the start of COVID and cemented itself as a non-negotiable amidst the growing Great Resignation. There has been a fundamental shift in what workers want and need from work, and it makes sense. Your time and how you choose to spend it is precious. 

Being independent in the Salesforce ecosystem is so much more than just guaranteeing you get to work remotely. It also ensures you get to decide when, where, and how you work. 

For 10K Expert Ines Garcia, her favorite part about being independent is “having flexibility in choosing the work I do, how it gets done, and how much I want to work. Life is a perishable good. We only live once and there’s more to life than just working. This freedom gives me the time and headspace to dive into other ideas and passions I have.”

How to learn more and get started 

Leaving the security of a full-time job isn’t for the faint of heart, but the numbers don’t lie – now is the best time to bet on yourself and build your own Salesforce business. 

Explore the answers to your “why” with this post from 10K CEO, Nick Hamm

Tap into the support of a community of your peers and learn from other elite experts in the 10K Expert Community (we’re always accepting applications) 

Connect with 10K leadership to learn more about our company start-up cost scholarship

LinkedIn Tips To Tell Your Salesforce Expert Story

Whether you’re a full-time employee or independent Salesforce expert, there’s never been a better time to be working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Talent demand has skyrocketed into the triple-digits, and according to IDC’s recent projections – $1.6 trillion in new business revenues worldwide by 2026 –  you can feel very good about your career for the years to come. 

It’s only February and 2022 is already proving to be another wild ride for Salesforce talent. Customers are hungry and not only that, qualified talent is in short supply. It’s a recipe that will bring clients and partners to your LinkedIn every week, eager to learn more about your skills and ready to offer lucrative opportunities. 

Despite it being a candidate’s market, the old adage holds true – first impressions matter.

I look at scores of Salesforce LinkedIn profiles every day to source talent for the 10K Expert Community. Despite it being a candidate’s market, the old adage holds true – first impressions matter. How an expert communicates their Salesforce experience almost always determines whether I make contact to learn more. 

You may not be interested in a new role or opportunity today, and that’s okay. This is a healthy reminder of how quickly circumstances can change, and your future self will thank you for taking an hour or less to get your LinkedIn ready. Here are a few ways to tighten up your Linkedin profile:

Create a compelling headline and summary

Your LinkedIn headline is a billboard for your brand as a Salesforce expert and quickly confirms what role you play in the Salesforce ecosystem. Your headline works two ways: 

  1. Clients can quickly assess whether you’re a viable fit and conversation is worth pursuing 
  2. You can ward off any off-target messages seeking preliminary information

A great headline is also something that will let potential clients know what you can do for them, for example, “Salesforce Solution Architect helping automate business processes.”

Make your headline concise and illustrative. Include “Salesforce,” your specific role, and a taste of your skillset focus. Here is an example from my profile:

The same rules apply to your LinkedIn summary, but here you have more room to stand out from other Salesforce talent. Include action phrasing, metrics that prove your effectiveness, keywords relevant to your skills and role, and goals for your career. It also helps to do a bit of competitive analysis. Search for other experts with the same role and note how they position their experience and skills.

Publish your most relevant experience 

When a client lands on your LinkedIn they don’t always know exactly what skills they’re looking for. Make it easy for them to confirm your expertise with an up-to-date skills section. This should include your Salesforce industry-specific knowledge, tools and technologies, interpersonal skills, and anything else that conveys your Salesforce prowess. There is no small detail when it comes to adding your experience.

Clients are scouring through dozens of profiles at a fast pace, so relevance is key. Keep your experience current and delete anything that doesn’t align with your Salesforce career goals. This will help you not only avoid any irrelevant messages but also strengthen your brand as a Salesforce expert. 

Don’t be afraid to use bullet points for the sake of your reader’s time –  this is a simple way to keep your thoughts succinct while guiding the reader through essential details. Here is an example from my profile:

Solicit feedback from a critical eye 

Once your profile has been spruced up, you’re ready to give it a careful review. 

It’s somewhat tedious work, but this is time well spent. Your LinkedIn profile is a representation of you, and no matter what your role is it’s important to convey attention to detail. When it comes down to you and someone with similar expertise, the weaker profile is always the deal-breaker. 

To make the review process as efficient as possible, break it down into two focus sessions – do one sweep for grammar and spelling and the other for messaging.

To make the review process as efficient as possible, break it down into two focus sessions – do one sweep for grammar and spelling and the other for messaging. A clear focus will give you more thinking room to detect edits and ensure your summary is telling the story you intended. 

It’s also worth enlisting a trusted friend or colleague to review your profile. Bonus points if they’re also a Salesforce expert or someone who understands the context of your role in the Salesforce ecosystem. Point to what kind of feedback you’re looking for, especially any areas you’re struggling with. Being vulnerable isn’t fun, but asking for feedback will only make your LinkedIn profile stronger. 

Include a headshot

LinkedIn is social media, but don’t overlook the importance of keeping it professional. Having a profile picture is key to giving life to your personal brand, but it also needs to be something you’d be comfortable publishing on a corporate website. 

If you’re looking for peers to lean on and learn from, apply to join the 10K Expert Community. We are always accepting applications. 

3 Essential Questions for Vetting a Salesforce Consultant’s Soft Skills

At 10K, we’re passionate advocates for the Salesforce ecosystem’s independent expert community and have written scores on why customers should partner with this growing goldmine of talent. I’d go as far as to say in 2021 and beyond, no business of any size can afford to ignore the skilled and growing independent workforce. 

Download now:  On-Demand Salesforce Talent Guide

So, as a Salesforce customer with the goal of getting the most out of your program, how can you most effectively identify the skilled independent Salesforce experts who will be a strong fit for your company? To get familiar, I recommend starting with one of my latest posts, How to Vet Salesforce Consultants the 10K Way

In this post, I’ll focus on the questions I ask to understand an expert’s soft skills – the personality traits and work styles that can help indicate if a person is a strong fit for your team. Technical prowess and in-the-field experience are a top priority, of course, but soft skills are just as important. They are essential indicators for how successfully an on-demand expert can parachute into your project, collaborate with your team, and get the job done. 

Read on for the questions I ask every independent expert I interview for 10K and red flags to look out for.   

1. “Can you tell me about a time…”

You can ask if an expert’s completed “x” amount of coding projects or built “x” amount of custom workflows, but there’s more to an expert’s experience than quantifiable details. Nearly every Salesforce project has a story. Asking open-ended questions that explore an expert’s project successes and failures will help you see how an expert works, how self-aware they are, and how they make decisions. 

A natural place to start is to ask about a successful project experience. This will help you see where their skills shine and how they describe success. Starting the conversation on a positive note will also help make the expert feel comfortable and confident. 

They should also feel comfortable discussing failures and challenges. How they describe (or avoid describing) less than stellar experiences is a solid way to learn nuances about their work style. Are they dismissive or arrogant in their answer? Or do they exemplify self-awareness through ownership and a willingness to learn? Envision what it would look like to work through difficult challenges with this person. 

Examples: 

  • “Tell me about a time when you recommended a different approach or solution to a problem.”
  • “Thinking back to your last few projects, what is a moment or situation that that makes you proud?”

Red Flags: 

  • They failed to tell a story from start to finish
  • Their story is missing context and details
  • They lack confidence in their delivery  

2. “What are your passions outside of Salesforce?”

An expert with well-rounded soft skills should have passions and hobbies outside of Salesforce. Get to know the person beyond the resume! The easiest way to do this is to skim their social media profiles, mainly LinkedIn and Twitter. You don’t need to spend hours looking at their social presence. Just enough to gain an understanding of what they like, what they talk about, and care about. 

Providing a personal touch to your interview can also help make the conversation more candid and relaxed. And if the expert you’re interviewing doesn’t have a social media presence, that’s not necessarily a red flag. It’s always safe to ask, “So what do you like to do for fun?” 

If this exercise sounds intrusive, think of it this way, you expect the expert you’re interviewing to research your company and what it represents beyond day-to-day business. Doing the same for your interviewee isn’t much different. 

Examples:

  • “I noticed you have Tom Brady and the Bucs as your Twitter banner, how long have you been a fan?”
  • “That LinkedIn article you published last week about the shift to remote work was really impressive. What else do you enjoy writing about?”

Red Flags:

  • They’re guarded or put off 
  • Their answers don’t jive with the personality they portray online 
  • They claim not to have any passions or hobbies other than work 

3. “What was your motivation for going independent?”

Going independent in the Salesforce ecosystem is no small feat. From building a client base to chasing down payments, bookkeeping, and the other minute logistics of running your own business, independent Salesforce experts are a special breed of professionals that tend to be highly engaged and hungry for a challenge. 

Every independent expert remembers their journey from full-time employment to independence. It’s a major career transition that requires careful thought and cost analysis. It’s also personal; every expert has their own reasons and goals. Some of the most common include the freedom to choose the projects that interest you, increased work/life balance, and the freedom to work anywhere in the world. Learning about their journey will shed light on their motivations, passions, and mindset. 

Examples:

  • “At what point in your career did you know you wanted to be an independent expert?”
  • “What is your favorite aspect of being an independent expert?”

Red Flags:

  • Money is their sole focus
  • Their emphasis on work/life balance feels unbalanced
  • They’re unprepared or don’t have much of an answer

The most important thing to know before interviewing your next Salesforce expert

The simple truth is that independent Salesforce experts are exactly that – independent. They have the ultimate say in which projects to take on and what kind of companies they want to work for. This is why vetting and interviewing independent experts should be respected as a collaborative process; you’re hiring a partner that will be vested in your success. 

At 10K, this mindset has helped us build our 400+ member 10K Expert Community and connect some of the ecosystem’s brightest experts with our customers who seek them. It can also help Salesforce customers create lasting partnerships with skilled independent talent to help increase program ROI. 

Learn more about our expert community

Read how to help define who on your Salesforce team does what

What You Should Know About Hiring On-Demand Salesforce Developers

There are many scenarios where a Salesforce customer would need the specialized skills of a Salesforce developer. Whether it’s customizing a Salesforce environment to a particular use case or business need, automating a specific process, developing mobile apps or products on Force.com, or integrating multiple systems with Salesforce, employing the right development talent is key to making any solution come to life.  

When hiring a developer, going with a full-time employee could be the best option if you’re dealing with a long-term project or deep knowledge of internal systems is required. In most cases, however, partnering with an independent developer is the way to go.  

Why Salesforce customers should consider independent developers

Sourcing and hiring skilled Salesforce developers is a time-consuming and costly challenge. And, once engaged, that talent can be even harder to keep. The good news is, however, that developers are not typically needed on a full-time basis. Sometimes you just need specialized talent to solve a unique challenge and advance your program. On-demand developers allow you to fill the gaps on your team, extending their bandwidth and providing essential skills to get the work done more efficiently and faster. In fact, many of the best developers we know love solving new problems, and that passion lends well to project-based, contract positions. 

How Salesforce customers stand to benefit from on-demand Salesforce developers 

When it comes to partnering with independent developers, Salesforce customers stand to gain increased: 

  • Accessibility: Generally speaking, most developers have focused specialties. By going with an independent consultant, you gain access to the specific skills you need and choose who you work with based on those.
  • Efficiency: In comparison to hiring a full-time employee or a GSI, it’s faster and easier to get an independent developer started, especially with smaller tasks. Going with a large consultancy is one option, but even after you’ve run the gauntlet of the traditional sales and SOW process to get in their queue, it can still take you 6-9 weeks to get started. Talent brokers and on-demand talent communities can typically connect you with an expert in less than a week. 
  • Affordability: It’s no secret that hiring a FTE takes time, money, and focus. Research we gathered in 2018 shows that it can take on average 62 days to get a full-time developer onboard, and can cost more than $22,000 USD in recruiting expenses. With independent consultants, you only pay for the hours you use.

Where to connect with independent Salesforce developers 

Working with hundreds of Salesforce customers over the years, we know firsthand how difficult it is to find skilled and vetted Salesforce developers. It also doesn’t help recruitment efforts when they’re in especially high demand right now as companies double down on digital transformation initiatives. With that, you have three options to turn to:

  • Referrals: When it comes to finding the top independent developers, it seems that their own networks are their overwhelming choice for finding new clients. In fact, only 11% of the independent experts in our survey cited Salesforce AppExchange as a source for clients and projects. Start by asking your industry peers or business colleagues if they can recommend and vouch for a developer they personally know. 
  • Talent marketplace: When looking for independent talent, your instincts may tell you to first look at a freelance platform such as Upwork or Fiverr. However, in our recent survey of independent Salesforce experts, only 30% said they used those platforms to find work. Our analysis would indicate that those platforms, while good for finding a wide variety of skills, aren’t tailored to providing the most experienced and vetted Salesforce talent. If you’re looking for a similar platform, the Salesforce developers jobs board is active with Salesforce professionals looking for new projects. 
  • Salesforce talent broker: Salesforce-specific talent brokers are dedicated to vetting talent and connecting them with customers in need of their specialized skills. A good broker should act as a valued partner to both the talent and the customers, and that means gaining a deep understanding of a company’s unique needs. Brokers are also typically able to negotiate better rates for customers than they may have gotten on their own. 

The most important hiring criteria for Salesforce developers 

The vetting process is essential to hiring the right developer. This person will be serving as an extension of your team, so it’s important you feel confident they’re the right technical and personality fit before getting work underway. 

When it comes to assessing their hard skills, you may feel inclined to rely on their certifications as the holy grail of how proficient they are. We advise taking certifications with a grain of salt. They don’t necessarily validate an expert’s in-the-field experience, and many Salesforce program owners (81%) have experienced a situation where a candidate or consultant claimed to have a certification or specific experience they did not have.

Soft skills are just as important as proficiency. These individuals are going to be an extension of your team, so gauging their personality, communication style, and organizational skills will also help determine if they are a fit for the business and your team. 

Start by asking questions based on your desired outcomes. Things like “Can you describe a time you helped a sales leader working with Salesforce?” and “How do you work with non-technical stakeholders?” can provide great insight into whether someone is aligned and capable of meeting your needs. 

Determining the right rate for the right talent

Most independents have a standard hourly rate they charge but know it is often a starting place and can range significantly based on experience, skill set, location, length and complexity of the project, and sometimes most importantly, how much they want the work. 

As seen in Mason Frank’s Salesforce Salary Survey, the contract market rates remain lucrative. Here are the average freelance Salesforce Developer rates by country:

  • US: $79–$138 per hour
  • UK: £500–£700 per day
  • France: €500–€650 per day
  • Australia: $1,000–$1,350 per day

How to get started with an on-demand Salesforce developer

In 2021 and beyond, no company can afford to ignore the growing talent pool of skilled, on-demand Salesforce developers. For more in-depth learning about sourcing and partnering with independent talent and how to effectively manage the relationship, download our latest resource, On-Demand Salesforce Talent Guide, or contact the 10K team today to find the developer you’ve been looking for.