From side-gigs to full-time hustle: how one developer took the leap

 

THE MILESTONE

Dylan Barth, local developer and consultant, transitioned from working remotely for a London-based startup to becoming an independent software consultant.

THE STORY

From co-founding an edtech nonprofit out of college in California to building machine learning modules for a predictive analytics startup in London, Houston-based developer Dylan Barth has utilized his programming skills to plug into the startup community and satisfy his entrepreneurial spirit. When an opportunity brought him to Houston, he had the unique ability to continue his work for London-based startup, Growth Intel, remotely.

“Through a series of fortunate events, I ended up in Houston. At the time, I was still working remotely for the startup in London and was kind of miserable because I was working out of my spare bedroom and didn’t really have a way to make new friends. More importantly, in a lot of ways, I didn’t have a way to build my professional network,” Dylan confessed.

He tried out several meetup groups to get connected to the local technology and startup communities, but felt that there was a lack of density. Through some of those meetup groups, he was introduced to Station.

“After coming to a few Station events, I got the feeling that this could be a good place to plant a flag. In January of this year I decided to go for it. Since joining Station, I’ve started this transition of being a remote contractor for the guys in London to thinking about the work that I’m doing as my own personal business.”

Several opportunities for collaborations and side-projects emerged as he grew his Houston network. While becoming a full-time independent developer wasn’t part of his plan, it became a reality over the coming months.

“I didn’t come to Station thinking that I would eventually stop what I was doing, because I was happy with my work at the time. But when I joined, I all of the sudden became a part of this huge community of entrepreneurs, developers, and other really creative people. I took on some small jobs and that grew into larger projects. I tried juggling full-time work and side-projects, but I eventually had to make a choice and decided to transition out of the startup in London to be a consultant full-time.”

While he had plenty experience working as a developer, he had never had to package and sell his expertise to a potential customer before. He turned to the mentor network at Station for guidance.

“I reached out to a few mentors that specifically did consulting themselves to accelerate my transition -- from having no clue what I was doing, to actually running a legitimate consulting business. They helped me understand how to engage a potential customer, how I was going to demonstrate value and how to determine and justify pricing. The mentors here have been particularly helpful.”

Dylan now has a full schedule working with startups on projects ranging from data engineering to app development. Despite a full workload, he’s enjoying the freedom that comes with working for oneself.

“When I started, the fear was that I wouldn’t be busy enough to pay the bills. Now I have the opposite problem of not having enough free time to do all the things that I wanted to do. But that’s a fantastic problem to have and I’m happy to be in that position. I get to work with a lot of really interesting people and I feel free and wide open to possibilities.”

If you’d like to learn more about Dylan, check out his GitHub at github.com/dylanjbarth or his personal website at dylanbarth.com.

 

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