I've just met a guy, an engineer but a software naif, who's designed, produced, and is now selling a very nice product, a backyard zip line. He devised a new braking system for the thing and has a patent pending. He conceived and put together two zip-line kits and he's selling them on the web.
I am guessing that he's put in at least 6,000 hours and $50K (counting the legal fees for the patent app), all on his own. Not the least bit unusual for starting a biz.
The issue has been that the web developers (sic! plural -- you can imagine) he's contracted with have, out of immaturity or ignorance, just taken him right over the coals: he's spent, he says, many many more bucks than he should have bringing up his e-commerce site. I don't want to say how many bucks, but a lot.
I think that if any of those developers had gone through the endless excruciating ass-pain of bringing up a business from scratch, it would have been a lot different and a lot happier all around.
So I ask you: should the gating question in hiring a web developer be "Have you by yourself, or with one or two partners, ever brought a product to market? I don't care if it succeeded or failed, but tell me about it."