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Five Steps To Turn Your Tech Sideline to a Full Time Career

April 12, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Jeremy Sutter, Independent Technology Author

Most people who get into tech didn’t start out with the traditional four-year college degree. They were just curious enough to actually use new and exciting technologies, some of which led to side hustles and businesses that not only solidified their technical skills but also made them some passive income. If you want to learn how to turn a technology-related sideline into a full time career that pays a six figure salary, here are five tips to get you there:

Define Your Career Goals

What do you envision your full time job to be? A steady eight-hour five-day a week job? One that involves consulting for different firms? Perhaps a tech startup that you spearhead in your garage or bedroom? It’s important to know what you’re working towards otherwise your transition from side gig to full time career can turn disastrous. Most hobbyists and aspiring entrepreneurs fail to look at the big picture. Avoid looking at what will make you money and what will pay your bills in the next few months. Instead, think about how your hobby or sideline can morph into a job that can make you money for the long term.

Wing It

As many self-starters and successful entrepreneurs can attest to, the scariest part about starting a full time career in tech is actually doing it. Taking the leap is easier said than done, especially if you don’t have much leeway to make financial mistakes. Others are held back by lack of knowledge and they simply spend too much time figuring out the theories and answering every conceivable concern about their career goals. Believe in your own skills and don’t allow insecurities to get in the way. Avoid the mindset that everything has to click in place before you start pursuing a full time career in tech.

Know What Your Strengths and Assets Are

Look at your tech sideline from an objective point of view and identify what your competitive edge is. What are you doing that’s working? Does the business model work if you transition from a part-time to a full-time job? For instance, if you are working as a freelance product reviewer for VR headsets, do you have enough volume of work to do it 40 hours a week? Does your sideline make money because of its exclusivity or can you make more if you up the order volume from your vendor? Identify the things that work and those that can use improving. Bear in mind that some sidelines are only meant to operate at a small scale. If that’s the case, you can use the profits earned from that sideline to create a new startup.

Keep Learning

People who pursue a tech sideline often only have limited technical capacity in terms of what tools and frameworks they use. For instance, if you are running a website and is making money off ads, you might know basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. But if you want to start earning a back end web developer salary, you’ll also need to learn about how to deploy a web server, how to reroute API requests, and how to manage your growing database. Whether you’re trying to get a full-time job at a company or building a startup from the ground up, you need to adopt a mindset that encourages continuous learning of new concepts.

Figure Out Your Cash Situation

It’s becoming an increasingly popular trend nowadays to forego traditional financing options or VC backing for more lenient and favorable options. You don’t have to bury your nascent business under high interest rate loans or give away huge equity portions to get the funding you need. Be creative and resourceful. For instance, if your tech sideline needs more 3D printers to print parts at a much faster and larger scale, lease printers or build and assemble the parts from scratch.

Final Thoughts

Hustling is great, but if you want to reach a point where you can just live off of your sidelines’ profits, you’ll need to take greater risks. And until you’ve actually decided to pursue your tech business into a full-time job, you’re only working with one hand tied behind your back.



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