How Brodie Started a Web Development Business On The Side, While Still A Uni Student

Editor’s Note: We are fans of the Side Gig here in Pocketbook – something we’ll explore further into in future posts. A side gig is something you do on the side – either to make more money, or because it’s your passion. Sometimes it’s a second job. Sometimes it’s a business.

What would you do with an extra $1000/month? How much do you want to do what you love?

And if you think it’s impossible, here’s a full-time student, Brodie, who started a web development business on the side… while he’s still in university. Enter Brodie.

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To start off I’d just like to say that I’m a pretty chilled out, casual person. This is probably not the start you were hoping for in an essay regarding hustling, but it’s true. It just sometimes feels like I’m a little leaf, ambling slowly down the side of a stream; while the rest of the world races down the torrent in the middle.

We are all in a race to reach the sea of success you see, which awaits at the end of the stream. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m lazy or don’t want to reach the sea (because I know I will sooner or later), it’s just that safely floating along is nice and pleasant compared to the risk of sinking in the fast-lane of life. But the longer I float the more I realise that sometimes you’ve got to swim to the middle and take the risk, because no matter how far down the stream you get, regardless of if you end up sinking, you’re still closer to the sea than where you started.

What does this little analogy have to do with hustling I hear you ask? Well firstly let me give you a little backstory on myself.

Well hello there, my name is Brodie Hamilton and I am an Adelaide based Software Engineering student, studying at the University of South Australia. I like long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners with my computer, listing to music that my grandma considers ‘noise’, and starting personal projects but never quite finishing them.

As you can probably already tell, I don’t take myself too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I can be incredibly professional when need be, but in the meantime: what is life if you can’t get through it with a laugh and a smile on your face?

A friend from Uni and I have taken the plunge and started a small Web development business as a side project to complement our studies. While our start-up might not be revolutionary, we have successfully applied for an ABN and are now taking the other necessary steps in creating an official small business. So far we already have a number of clients of which we are working on projects for, with quite a few more lined up in the future. But this doesn’t mean we haven’t had our challenges.

Firstly, we are a small two man team, both with study and other life commitments. This has a significant impact on time management and availability (which makes hustling and being driven all the more important). We are also both broke students with little capital to invest to kick-start our adventure. As such we’ve had to prioritise and settle for living on two-minute noodles to support both our businesses costs and our addiction to high-quality coffee beans (seriously, freshly roasted is the nectar of the gods!). And finally, we lack possibly the most important thing of all, experience.

However, while experience might be the most important, it is not a limiting factor. Our experience is growing every day, with every project, and every client interaction.

Right, remember that weird stream analogy?

Yeah, let’s go back to that. From my perspective experience is the leaf on which we ride down the stream. The more experience you have, the bigger the leaf. The bigger your leaf, the less likely you are to sink while you cling for dear life as you ride the rapids of risk. Sure, buying yourself some fancy gizmos to steer you on course isn’t going to go astray (providing you have the finances), but ultimately that baby is going to sink if you don’t have a solid foundation on which to float yourself.

However, that’s the magic of the golden age of business in which we live, if you’ve got the hustle to get out there and gain the knowledge, you don’t necessarily need the capital behind you. What’s my point? My point is experience and knowledge are free, you just need the hustle to get out there and get it from anywhere you can and from anyone who is offering. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

So here I am, learning to hustle. Attempting to catch a lift through the wake of others who are much further downstream than me. I can see others holding out their hands, attempting to spur me along and give me the opportunity to learn, experience, and grow. I know that the more experience I have, the larger my leaf to keep me afloat. It’s all there for the taking, all I need to do is grab hold. There are opportunities out there for those willing to hustle, learn and try.

Even if I take a misstep on my journey and take the wrong stream or end up sinking, I’m still closer to the sea than when I started.

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