Original question from Quora:

If you had mobile/web programming knowledge, a home office and just $1000, how would you make $10,000 in a year?

Many people think that being an employee is the only option. But with $1,000 you can buy a domain name, get shared hosting/cheap dedicated server, SSL certificate, etc. Lets say you have PC/Mac, smart phone, telephone line, Internet connection, 10h/day free times and a daddy who can buy you foods :)

My Answer:

What I am about to tell you assumes a certain level of skill in PHP, Ruby, Python, or some other kind of web software development capability that is above complete beginner. If you need those skills you can teach yourself or go to a code school and in 3-6 months (say 1,000 hours of practice) you’ll likely be able to do something useful with code.

Now, assuming you have those skills here is what you do with them…

Go to your local chamber of commerce and start talking to business owners about what kind of problems they have in their business. Don’t tell them how to solve them or how you can solve them right away.

Develop the skill of listening.

Next, go out and knock doors. Don’t solicit business right away, but get good at asking business owners about their technology and automation problems. Learn to build relationships and be willing to help them if they ask.

After spending time building up a knowledge of what kind of problems business owners have in their technology, automation, marketing, etc. develop some skills in solving those problems. Offer to help one business for free as a case study. Make sure they allow you to talk publicly or blog about the case study (at least in broad terms, percentages, etc.)

Next, take your case study and related skill set and turn it into presentation that you can give at various business meetups, webinars, conferences, and so on.

Give that presentation everywhere you can and when other business owners want you to do the same for their business, charge a premium. Depending on what you offer, you can very likely charge $150 or more per hour for technical services. There are different ways to package it or position it, but plenty of people are making that money, so don’t think it’s a crazy number.

Alright, so if your goal is $10,000 a year, you only need one client to pay you for 65 hours and you’ve done it.

Assuming you’ve built up the skill of solving business problems, knocking doors, and selling yourself well, you should be able to sell a minimum of 1,000 hours of your time or someone else’s time a year and boom, you’re making fifteen times your goal or a total of $150,000 per year.

That might sound like a crazy amount of money, but what I’ve described to you is pretty standard software technical consulting. Some people do better, some do worse, but it’s highly achievable if you put the work in and charge for your time.

-Brian

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