One of the things I have decided to do recently is donate time to local small businesses.

I have acquired quite a bit of web development/programming skills over the years, but my skills have become a little dull over time with rare use. I did a little C++ and matlab in college. Worked in C with arduino. More lately, I learned the basic mechanics of PHP server sided scripting language up through it’s object-oriented abilities. I’ve helped a friend build basic websites and custom web apps for several small local businesses. I even started programming a website for beer brewers with a custom web app for creating recipes with built in brewing calculations. I put that project on hold and have been working on this blog for now.

The Problem

If we say my income is mostly fixed* and my income at my job is fixed because I’m salary, then I have little places to turn for extra income. I get taunted by people who work over time frequently for extra cash while that just isn’t an option for engineers. Because compounding interest is so extremely powerful, you need to get as much money in as early and quickly as possible. Since I’m just starting out investing, that time is now.

I feel I have many skills I’d like to provide in exchange for extra cash, I just need to find the people with cash who could use my skills.

The Plan

I plan to use my web programming skills to make some extra income. It’s something that can mostly be done on my spare time wherever I have a laptop with me.

Here are the steps of my plan:

  1. Donate my web development skills to local businesses to actually help business in my area and sharpen my skills.
  2. Build up a portfolio of sites I have built to show down the road to potential clients.
  3. Eventually flip this model. If businesses find my work helpful and want more work I’ll ask for payment or they’re free to take over care of their site.

I can continue to donate some time to newer businesses.

I already have a small engine shop and a local home brew business in mind.

If I can bring in an extra $1000 per month with maybe 5 hours a week of time that will bring me I could bring in $174,000 in invested income over the next 10 years and provide a financial reason to drop down to 3 or 4 days of work per week at my current job before that.

Even if this doesn’t pan out to much income or career change in the future, I have a soft spot for small local businesses. If I can help them grow with a few volunteered hours of my time, I’m happy to do so.

I am willing to donate time to businesses outside my community too, if you are or know of a company that could use some help with their site or custom programming to keep track of anything (material stock, parts, quotes, appointments, etc. feel free to contact me.

*Because I already live in a low cost house, don’t go out to eat often, shop at ALDI for most of my groceries, drive cheap cars I maintain myself, etc.