What It's About
An IT developer recodes his own work launching a tech-focused content agency.
Words of Wisdom
Erik shares some important guidance as your hustle starts generating income; "When you start making extra money doing a side hustle, it's an incredible feeling. But don't rest on that or assume it'll always be there. Run experiments and do research to improve what you're doing, and always think about how you can deliver more bang for the buyers' buck."
Erik once negotiated a "virality bonus" with one of his early agency clients, which meant that any post that hit over 10K page views, earned him another $300. One Saturday, while sitting at a beachside bar and grill, with a beer in his hand, he got to watch the analytics tip past the milestone.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1057Erik Dietrich's professional evolution began like many other software developers. He started working as an entry-level engineer while taking graduate level computer science classes. Then he transitioned to a senior role in a new company, and significantly increased his knowledge and experience. However, without the extra pressure of grad school, he suddenly found himself with some extra time on his hands. That’s when he started doing some consulting on the side. As he built his client base, he began blogging to market his services to a broader audience. Since his work was focused on training and management, and his audience was fellow programmers, he was able to create content that was specific and technical. A few years in, and he was making more with his consulting than he ever did with his full-time job … so he quit. Alongside the consulting he kept up with his blog, while also guest posting on big software and programming sites. He built a substantial following of subscribers, with an additional stream of people arriving organically through search engines. This mixed bag of income sources continued for another couple of years, but Erik kept coming up against a ceiling of trading his time for money. He and his wife Amanda, an editor and graphic designer, wanted to start traveling more. For her to quit her job, they needed to find a way to replace her income. Together, they had a set of unique talents. With her background in editing and design, and his background in content and marketing, plus the connections they had to the tech community, they didn’t need to limit themselves to only publishing the articles that Erik was writing. Erik knew that companies were eager for engaging, technical blog posts, but didn’t always have time or expertise to write them. This was his lightbulb moment! He could fill that gap. While there are lots of content editors out there, having a blog written by someone who really understands the market was a game-changer. He decided to call the new business Hit Subscribe. He offered bare-bones pricing to get clients on board and test their systems. Writing just a couple blog posts per week brought in just $400-$700 a month. But soon things started to grow, and both he and Amanda began investing more time and energy into the company. Within a few months they were making close to $2,000/month, nearly all of it profit. More importantly, Hit Subscribe was building a reputation as a tech-focused content agency that consistently delivered high-quality, well-researched pieces. They weren’t even doing any major marketing. Erik no longer does any consulting, nor is he creating content for clients or online platforms that aren’t his own. When he blogs or records a video, it’s more for himself and something he does for fun. Bringing together Erik’s expertise in software development, combined with his passion for writing and marketing, and finally Amanda’s ability to see the bigger picture, Hit Subscribe has been a real “hit.”
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Hit Subscribe: Learn more about Erik and Amanda's business and service at their website.
- Attorney Defends Women’s Right To Good Content: This attorney was frustrated with the content the media creates for modern women—so she started her own magazine to represent what women like her wanted to read.
- Workforce Expert Creates Empowerment Consultancy: After feeling mistreated at work, this workforce development expert regroups and plans her escape.
- Friends Team Up to Deliver Compassionate Tech Support: A nonprofit executive partners with a friend to provide IT services for charities and small businesses.
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