Becoming a digital nomad with Deb Cinkus

Outsourcing Oasis: outsourcing as an expatriate with Deb Cinkus. Episode 04 cover image

We recently had the Founder & Ceo of Polished Geek, Deb Cinkus, on the podcast.

Deb shares why she decided to move away from the world of corporate enterprise to start a boutique development agency in 2009.

In this episode, we’ll cover hourly vs project-based pricing, Deb’s decision to move to Guatemala, and how to deal with staff rotation on the client-side.

Becoming a Digital Nomad

Living in North Carolina, Deb was already living the digital nomad lifestyle. She hardly ever worked out of an office, preferring to work out of local restaurants and cafes instead.

Eventually, she found herself asking why she was working out of the same old Starbucks when she could be working from anywhere in the world?

She then decided to go out looking for an adventure, and after considering a number of options (including renting a bus and going cross country) she eventually decided to uproot her business and move to Guatemala with a small group of her friends.

They all moved into a house together, which made for a short-lived but surreal reality-TV-show-like experience. After a short time, almost everyone grew tired of their living arrangement.

Some grew tired of the nomadic lifestyle altogether and moved back to North Carolina. Others stayed, including Deb, who wasn’t ready to give up on her Guatemalan adventure just yet.

Retainer, hourly, or project-based pricing: what’s the better pricing model?

A common question we hear from both clients and other service providers is which pricing model is better: retainer, hourly, or project-based? While there isn’t a one size fits all answer, the panel shares their take on the advantages of each model.

Deb and David are both in favor of retainers, as are most agencies, while Charles heavily favored hourly pricing. That is up until recently when he had Jonathan Stark introduce him to value-based pricing.

If you want to learn more about value-based pricing be sure to check out episode 143 of the Freelancers Show featuring Jonathan Stark.

From a client's perspective

Basically, it comes down to efficiency and value. With hourly pricing, you’ll inevitably find yourself questioning the amount of hours it takes to complete work, which both agencies and clients can agree on isn’t an efficient use of time.

From an agency's perspective

A client on a retainer is generally easier to manage. Knowing exactly how much recurring revenue you can count on each month makes it easier for you to plan in advance. Agencies relying on hourly contracts often find themselves going through feast or famine cycles due to the serious financial stress of clients suddenly deciding to adjust the number of hours they need.

In conclusion

Working on a retainer allows you to make decisions quickly and unencumbered.

While hourly rates will lead you to count hours and inevitably slow down the decision-making process. With that being said, there are still plenty of clients that prefer the flexibility of hourly pricing.

If you want to learn more about Deb’s experience as an expatriate or the different outsourcing pricing models, be sure to listen to the full episode below.


(Guest) Deb Cinkus

(Host) Charles Max Wood

(Co-host) David Hemmat

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