Bringing Transparency to the Freelance Consulting Industry

John Doherty
Nov 12, 2015 · 9 min read

Start Small and Ship It

At the end of 2012, I was in a crazy place. I was working extremely hard at Distilled, blogging on my personal site, consulting on the side to make a bit of extra money (and get some case studies and blog post inspiration), and near the end of January 2013 I met my wife Courtney. Life was busy.

The first HireGun lead
HireGun’s first homepage

Between Jobs

I continued to work on HireGun through that year, but it wasn’t until in between leaving my consultant job at Distilled in New York and starting my job in San Francisco with HotPads that I had two weeks of time to dedicate to it. I had never been good at downtime (and I’m still not), preferring instead to fill my time with projects of some sort. I dove into HireGun to try to further validate the model and the direction it should go.

You can see in the middle where traffic increased during my two weeks (July-December, two weeks at the beginning of October)

The Next Two Years

The next two years were busy, stressful, and trying. We moved across the country, got married, got a dog, and dove into our careers. I experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows I’ve had in my career. It’s fair to say that many of my rough edges were smoothed off as I learned a ton about myself, about others, about working within a system, and about pushing where I needed to push and learning to be patient.

  • The pros and cons of big vs small companies
  • More ins and outs of email marketing and how to put together a cohesive strategy (that worked oh so well)
  • How to organize a long-term strategy into actionable chunks and organize a team around it
  • Strategies are not tactics and vice versa
  • How to hire well (and not well)
  • The roles of and difference between product, project, and program managers
  • That I am not a good employee and that I am not happy unless I have a real voice at the table

Power To The People

Rich Barton, the founder of Expedia, Zillow, and Glassdoor, has built a career out of launching businesses that adhere to the mantra of Power To The People, where he finds opaque industries where the embedded powers-that-be hold all of the information that consumers need. Consumers are frustrated and have a subpar experience.

What Is HireGun?

At its core:

What’s Launching Today

Today I am excited to launch a few very exciting things that are meant to add transparency to HireGun and the consulting industry. These are:

  • Along with these profiles, you can now see exactly how much each agency or consultant charges per hour as well as what their monthly engagement minimum amount is. This information has never before been made public (to my knowledge) in the online marketing consulting world, and we are doing it because I believe that every business looking for a consultant should have all of the information they need to make the right decisions for their business, and that includes price.
  • Consultant/agency search. While not game changing in and of itself, through using my own product I realized that it was hard to find the right consultant or agency. Businesses can filter by the types of work they need and their budget, and from those filters they’ll be shown only the consultants and agencies that fit their needs specifically.

Isn’t The Space Already Crowded?

Yes, the consulting portal space is becomingly increasingly crowded both by well-funded startups and under-the-radar businesses that are printing money.

  • Following that, there are many small agencies and consultants that are so busy running their businesses and working with clients that they don’t have the time or budget to be traveling to conferences all the time to speak, or writing blog posts and doing outreach. The online marketing industry hates on “expert roundups” and “interviews”, but then we also tell businesses and consultants to be blogging (and it works when your content is good). These consultants and agencies need more qualified leads.
  • I know the pain points of both businesses and consultants, so I am uniquely positioned to provide the right solution to both sides.
  • I’ve had years of experience working for a portal and understand both the supply and demand sides.
  • I have years of growth marketing experience and know how to build a growth engine that works.

Where HireGun Is Going

I have a lot of ideas for the next features to build into HireGun to make the lives of both businesses and consultants/agencies easier, so watch for these in the coming months. I’m a one man band over here right now, so some features may take longer to get out than others, but my goals are to:

  • Add features to help eliminate some pain points between businesses and their consultants even after the contract is signed and work has started.
  • More resources in the vein of How To Structure A Consulting Engagement and How To Hire A Growth Team to help companies make smarter decisions around working with consultants and hiring their own in-house teams.

Just The Beginning

This is just the beginning for HireGun. I can’t believe how far it has come in even the last 6 weeks since I’ve had time to dedicate to it, and I’m incredibly excited for the future versions and features that I already have planned.

    John Doherty

    Written by

    Founder of Credo ( Strategic SEO consultant in Denver. Entrepreneur. Traveler. Climber. Skier. Site:

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