Building additional income streams as a Java developer, freelancer, blogger and POD publisher
Opportunities are limitless. As a freelance Java developer (aka Java contractor) since 2003, I have explored different opportunities and built both active and passive income streams. Building passive income streams as a freelance Java developer is not easy. It takes lots of time, dedication, and creativity. It is not for everyone. If you are one of those few dedicated Java developers who want to explore and expand your horizons as a Java developer, then read on. It won't make you a millionaire, but it can provide you with descent income streams and variety of experiences and opportunities.
Here is a pictorial representation as to what you can do as a Java developer or Java freelancer to open more doors.
Motivated, skilled, and networked professionals with good soft skills, marketing skills, business focus and right attitude may be the ones least affected by economic down turns, but even they are not guaranteed to survive in this volatile industry. Companies are more keen on balancing the budget than worrying too much about how much knowledge, skills, and capabilities walk out the door. At times, it really matters to be at the right place at the right time or know the right person at the right time. So, how do you cater for these types of uncertainties in your career? This can be done via networking and creating additional streams of income, even if you are an employee. There are a number of streams one can look at:
- Finding a side job as a freelancer via http://www.elance.com/, http://odesk.com/, http://www.guru.com, etc, part-time job as a teacher, an instructor, or a lecturer at your local training institute, technical college or university, offering part-time consulting services in your field of expertise through networking. But check your contract to see if it allows any side job. The contract jobs are different from freelancing work. Freelancing tends to be on a per-assignment basis, while other contract options could be on a monthly/daily/weekly rate for performing certain services.
- Starting an ad-supported blog – e.g. Wordpress, Blogger, etc with Google Adsense, WordpressAds, and other affiliate programs. Firstly, build an interesting and informative blog before start advertising. Build up a reasonable size followers before including advertisements. Learn the SEO (i.e. Search Engine Optimization) techniques. If you have enough visitors to your site, sign-up for Google adsense to earn some extra income. You could have a single blog earning $2 - $40.00/day or 10 different blogs earning $1.0 - $20.0 /day. Explore the other advertising avenues and affiliate programs (e.g. Amazon.com affiliate program). If you can get around 50,000 page views, you can earn around $30.00 to $50.00 with advertisements. You need at least 30-40 quality posts to start with, and get "Google analytics" to see what posts are doing well, where the traffic is coming from?, etc. There are myriad of online resources for SEO techniques to drive more traffic. It is a very small incentive while you are learning, capturing your experience, networking, and marketing yourself.
- Writing your own book. Publishing has never been easier and very affordable through the print on demand (aka POD) publishing like lulu.com, iUniverse.com, Lightningsource, createspace, etc. The blog entries you had created over a period can be converted into a book.
- Other avenues your creative mind can think of in terms of new products, applications, etc. A colleague of mine was working full-time as a software engineer and created an online application for "tennis court booking system" on a part-time basis. He basically combined his passion for playing tennis and writing software. Another example would be to build iPhone applications by getting a mac, SDK for iPhone development, learning objective C, and start writing. Alternatively, if you have a great idea, hire an iPhone developer to implement your idea. The idea is more important.
Additional streams may not -- at least initially -- make enough money to replace a full-time job, but they can cushion the pain of income loss while helping you acquire new skills, keeping positive and motivated, and growing your professional network. Publishing books/articles (http://java.dzone.com/ ) and writing blogs can also build a professional profile online. The Web has become a very valuable tool for communicating your value as a professional, expressing your capabilities, networking (e.g. LinkedIn ), etc. You don’t have to be a jack of all trades or a brilliant professional to build your own brand online. All what takes is to be creative and express your unique value with passion and perseverance. If things are looking more promising, you can promote your online products, books and services through your blogs and web sites. So put your thinking cap on and see where it takes you.
Don't let additional income let you lose focus
While it is encouraging to have additional income streams, it is imperative to put things into perspective. For many, employment will be the main source of income. The key focus must be on
- Growing as a well-rounded professional with technical skills, soft skills, networking skills, job hunting skills, and marketing skills.
- If you are a beginner, acquiring the much needed hands-on experience via voluntary work, self-taught, projects, open-source experience, etc and creating an online portfolio to promote your skills and passion will be a better choice than going down the path of enhancing your academic qualifications through post-graduate degree or certification. The prospective employers are more interested in experience.
- If you are a blogger, then pay more attention to writing quality and unique blogs that will be useful to you and others. Quality blogs can impress your potential employers, help you network with like minded professionals, help you capture your thought bubbles and experience, and conducive to turning into a book.
If you are serious about expanding your horizons, check my new book entitled "How to open more doors as a software engineer?".