Hi folks!

I am not a developer but I am building a new start-up and I have really struggled finding a reliable person(s) to build the site I have in mind. I didn't come here with the intention of hiring from this board, just advice. If site rules allow it, I am open to it.

I am in Northern California and I would have thought it was very easy to find someone with the skills to build a site from scratch but all I keep running into are people who call themselves a developer but when I ask them for a list of active URL's that they have personally built, they are often (not always) nothing more than a "cake decorator". In other words, they use templates to build an online brochure and nothing more. No functionality. When I have found folks that appear to have the skills needed, I show them a few sites that are somewhat similar in function to what I need built and the backpedaling begins....

I can't give away the idea I have but essentially, I am looking to build a site that will function very similar to an adult site minus the content. This business will have nothing to do at all with the adult industry (almost the exact opposite) but the website needs to function almost identically. Homepage, paywall (yes, subscription based) and then access to our video lessons. The video lessons need to be categorized and we need to track progress as well as where that student came from (this is where most back out).

I am an avid student of many of the start-up sites out there and most seem to recommend starting very simple and cheap. I like that thought but it just won't work for me. I have no idea where to begin looking for competent developers. I have tried the Craigslist ads, local businesses, referrals from friends, Google, etc. all with no luck. I have gone to big development firms as well and the prices are insane... (I had one tell me they wouldn't talk to me for less than $30,000 and they didn't even know what I was trying to build!) Crowdsourcing has also been another very popular recommendation but I am still very much on the fence with that whole idea. If something breaks down, I want someone (preferably in my same time zone) I can call and speak with immediately.

I said all that just to ask for direction or help in finding the proper places to search for qualified help. If any one can help, it would be much appreciated. If I have somehow violated forum guidelines, I apologize in advance.