My Retirement Side-Hustle MS Office Developer 18 months in. It has been a year and a half since I left the corporate world and hung up my virtual shingle. Well, that is when I published my Microsoft Office Development www.excelandvbacraftsman.com website that is.
MS Office Developer 18 months in My Retirement Side-Hustle Goals Were Simple:
Generate a modest amount of income while not working full time. Hard work, a lifetime of saving, thrift, living debt-free, and investing put my wife and I in the enviable position that we do not need to work. Well the income I have earned through the business is not massive, it has absolutely surpassed my expectations. Every dollar earned is appreciated in this time of covid uncertainty.
Stay occupied, stay sharp -If you have been in the corporate world for a while your body and mind are used to the 9 to 5 discipline and having a virtual conveyor belt of tasks being fed to you. I am admittedly, an antsy guy, and I was concerned about not being bored. I can laugh about that now as I am always busy with new projects. The business has been steady, and my daily exercise walk of over an hour is the new project conveyor belt. My mind is forever generating ideas for new articles, coding projects, of course, some good, some not so much.
Continue to enjoy coding and new challenges. I love Excel, VBA, and making highly automated efficient workbooks, I always have. Technology has always been good for me and my career. I’m guessing it would not hurt in my semi-retirement I find I’m having fun.
What I have discovered as a Freelance MS Office Developer 18 months in that I want to share:
Generating customers is an ongoing, active never-ending process. I have mentioned in a prior post that the days of putting up a website and passively generating business are generally gone. I say generally because there will always be “hot” skills. The MS Office development space is anything but hot and is highly competitive- consultants, freelancers, and businesses are paying dearly for each click Google sends their way. Run Google search on ‘VBA freelancer’ and you will get pages and pages of paid-for Google ads.
The term is the price per click. That is not an engagement mind you, just a click to visit your website. Whether that click ultimately results in income or a sale, is another matter entirely. if you look at my extract to the right. Ubersuggest says there are 320 searches for ‘VBA programming for excel’ per month and the cost per click is an astounding $9.22.
Repeat business is critical. I had no idea how much of my business would be from prior clients. Their call-backs are testimony to the quality of the work I have provided, and it is gratifying. Why do they call-back? From my first day, I made certain to be both reasonable and fair with my billing. For example, I quoted a price to the Client for building an app to organize her Data in a shareable format. Her old Apple’s dated software made it a challenge and took much longer than I had planned. I “ate” those extra hours –
I bill what I quote without exception. I am committed to no surprises because that is the way I would want to be treated. My goal: Quality business done in a respectful way. Some people choose to bill and bill some more; I do not believe that is ethical or in the best interest of keeping a going concern. Just do not do it.
That website that I mentioned is a perpetual work in progress. I learned and continue to learn WordPress and crafted this site. That was a great choice as it allowed me to learn a new skill. Just yesterday I looked at my home page and it struck me that one of my images was a bit ‘sophomoric’ so I replaced it today. Had I relied on someone to design the site and put it up for me I would be paying and paying some more. My advice – Build your skills while you build your business. Oh, I really can not talk about my website without talking about the scammers. To put it bluntly “they found me” and suddenly I am getting 300 bogus visits and all sorts of nasty comments on my blog. It took a couple of weeks to develop a multi-pronged strategy to keep them at bay. It appears to be working – ‘Fingers crossed’.
Keep your startup cost low and get started ASAP It often takes time to get your hustle up and running. For me, the best side hustle has a low startup cost, in my case about $220 all in. The biggest lesson I learned can be demonstrated by the following chart of visitors and page visits to my site.
Building Website Traffic is a long haul but, It can be done
On August 14 of last year, I had 20 visitors to my site and they visited 30 pages. Flash forward one year to 2020 and I had 69 visitors to the site and 192-page visits. Site traffic has tripled but it’s taken a long year. In reading about website development and SEO – (How google steers people who search on for example VBA developer) I learned it can take a year or more to build traffic. In my case it absolutely did. So, the sooner you get started on that building that side-hustle the better.
I am ecstatic my side hustle is doing as well as it provides hope for other people looking to develop new businesses. I must admit I could pursue and likely generate more business but right now it is at a manageable scale that I am comfortable with.