Men Made For More Podcast Episode 161- Finding Your Niche and Following Your Passions with Micah LyleAug 05, 2021
Want to know one of the ways to charge more and quickly stand out in your profession? Niching down might be a great place to start. Many will say there are ‘riches in the niches’, but it’s about so much more than just making money or being able to charge more. Although it can be scary for people to niche down at the fear of losing customers they can help - learn why the opposite is true and how you can both build a profitable business while following your passions through niching down.
Struggling with narrowing down your niche and finding a vision for your work and business? Apply for a free 30 minute strategy session at https://www.menmadeformore.com/mastermind to get specific clarity on making the rest of this year the best one yet.
Men Made For More Podcast Episode 161- Finding Your Niche and Following Your Passions with Micah Lyle
[00:00:00] Dave: Hey there mighty man. I'm your host, Dr. Dave Paczkowski founder of Men Made for more coaching, our business helps husbands love up there. Their leadership and their legacy in marriage and in business. The purpose of this podcast is to bring together like-minded men that feel destined for big things in their life and provide you the resources and community that you need to lead yourself, your family and your business.
[00:00:30] If you've ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated, lost quite alone on your journey to a better and more purposeful life. You're in the right. You weren't designed to be average. So it's time to quit living that way today. I'm giving you permission to unlock your true potential and step into all that you were made for.
[00:00:48] All right, guys. Welcome back to the man-made for more podcast, I'm really excited for this episode joined with a good friend of mine. Mike Elia, Micah. Excited to have you on here,
[00:01:00] [00:00:59] Micah: [00:00:59] Dave. Thanks so much for bringing me on. Yeah, this is the first podcast. I think I've actually been a part of, so, you know, we'll see if I can do
[00:01:06] Dave: [00:01:06] this.
[00:01:07] Wow. No, you're going to crush it. We've had a, we've had a handful of first-time podcasters that. We knocked it out of the park. And I know you'll, you'll be just the same, but let's, uh, let's jump right into it. I want to talk for those that, uh, you know, kind of to get to know you and your journey, a little bit of, of you're doing some freelance software work.
[00:01:23] You've recently started your own business with your wife and I have some exciting things going on, but what, uh, what kind of led you down this journey of getting into freelancing and then eventually deciding to start your own business with it? That's a
[00:01:36] Micah: [00:01:36] good question. Um, so right out of college, I studied computer science and math.
[00:01:42] So, you know, in those fields, there's a lot of, you know, we're in a fortunate position where there's a lot of open jobs, a lot of open opportunities and just a lot of. Projects in the software world that people need done, you know, whether that's at a company or just someone with a small business that needs some sort of software thing.
[00:01:59] Um, [00:02:00] I decided out of college to go the startup route. Um, there was a gal that, um, she had, what I felt like was a great idea. And so, you know her and I tried to execute it along with the third year. Um, and I tried that for a year and a half out of college and you know, it completely failed. So, um, like, like many startups do.
[00:02:19] Right. Um, but you know, we tried and we gave it our are really, you know, a great shot at it. And, uh, One thing that I learned in the process of doing that is I just, I became really good, good at one aspect of the software world. Um, you know, one of the things we didn't really do very well, looking back on it is we didn't, you know, I didn't set deadlines.
[00:02:38] Well, I think we, as a team, didn't set deadlines very well. And so, because there weren't deadlines, I kind of just took my time with everything. And so I got to like be in this ideal software world where I. You know, for those that aren't as familiar with code, it's like just writing a recipe or a sequence of instructions to do something.
[00:02:56] And it's like, well, that recipe is not very efficient, so I'm going to rewrite it [00:03:00] so that it's better. And, you know, it's just a better recipe. And so I would rewrite things and try and make them better and think about like philosophize as to what was the most ideal way to do things. And so, you know, when that kind of time came or that wasn't working out, I was really needing some work and.
[00:03:17] Had a family friend that just happened to have basically like 400 beach volleyball, uh, teams for his summer leagues out in Syracuse, New York. And he was an ex pro volleyball player and, uh, just really, really great guy. And so he needed a whole like new volleyball scheduling system and then website for his players to sign up for these leagues.
[00:03:38] And this was all like at a bar and grill in New York. And so I was able to. All that time. I'd spent like taking time and doing all of that in my little niche. And I knew that my kind of software specialty, a niche could actually solve all his problems. So I worked out like a, a month long contract with him, was able to knock out everything that he needed [00:04:00] and it worked really, really great.
[00:04:02] And then that led me to just. Um, how do I say it? Like taking on more projects either from word of mouth, or I made a profile on a site called Upwork and I think one or two other like freelance marketplace sites. And I had people, you know, at first on those kinds of sites you have. Apply for jobs or like reach out to people and be a little more proactive, but once you get like a job or two, because a lot of them have like public history, um, I was able to, you know, really build up a clientele and then, you know, have some good reports from previous clients and, you know, take more and more projects.
[00:04:37] Take projects at greater scale and greater complexity on. And I only really advertise myself as in my niche. I didn't say I was a software engineer. I didn't say I was a coder or a programmer. I said exactly like what was the specific what's called language and framework that I, and, um, [00:05:00] That's kind of how I got to where I'm at today.
[00:05:02] Um, I took more and more projects on, and I typically have held about two to three clients at a time. And you know, right now I have three and I really, you know, that's, that's brought me to where I'm at today and in summary,
[00:05:15] Dave: [00:05:15] Yeah, it's good. And at first I was cool to hear the, uh, you know, the maybe failure at the time of the, the startup networking led to other learning experiences though, that that helped down the road.
[00:05:24] And that's, that's usually the, you know, the case with some of those things, there ends up being allowed to get a learning to be gleaned from that. But, uh, I'm, I'm curious for, you know, when, when you talk about niche and you talk about being really specific in, in labeling that I know. Cause when we talked pretty early on, when, when we had first met that you were already, you know, at a young age, Pretty kept on taking new people.
[00:05:44] You weren't doing much advertising your rates were higher than what a lot of other people in the, in the industries were. And, uh, and it was just interesting to me that you weren't even doing much to like market yourself or to do any of those things. And would you, I guess, first off, what do you contribute that to?
[00:06:00] [00:05:59] Is that, is that mainly the niche and you're talking about, and then maybe if you can speak on like the. You know, the importance of being able to do that in, in a, in something that's such a crowded industry, because I think a lot of people listening to, even if they're not in software, you know, health and fitness is a crowded industry that a lot of these, a lot of these other industries that people are part of are just crowded industries in general.
[00:06:19] So maybe the importance of being able to stand out in a, in a crowded market. Yeah.
[00:06:25] Micah: [00:06:25] So I think I'll just start off and share because I'm sure there's some, at least one or two people listening to this podcast at some point will be like, what is your niche? I got to know now. Um, so I am, uh, the programming language Python, and then the framework Jingo.
[00:06:40] So I'm what I would call a Python. Django specialist has been my niche. Um, I can do other things too, but you could think of it as a. A system or a set of tools that help you to build like advanced, interactive web applications, like a Facebook or an Instagram, um, or a [00:07:00] Twitter or things like that. Um, there's certain things that tools, it just provides you, if you understand code and programming, to be able to build these things much faster, um, and just make them more.
[00:07:11] Um, it's actually one of these systems that powers Instagram. Uh, so that's what my niche is and what I would attribute the fact that, you know, when we met and we were talking at that point when I did get a full clientele, um, I have to really give a lot of credit to the Upwork platform. Upwork is a website.
[00:07:30] I think it's become increasingly popular in recent years. Um, search. Disciplines or trades or skills are, I think can be really effective on it. Others may be not as much so, and you might have to go with another way of doing it, but the great thing about Upwork. Every hour that I worked every, uh, you know, thing I did for every client, it's all public on my profile.
[00:07:53] Every review that they would write about me, um, everything I would say about them. I mean, down to like, you know, I mean, we're [00:08:00] talking down to the hour, how many hours I worked for them, what time ranges I worked for them, you know, how much I made. It was great because I feel like just getting my first client was the door in, you know, I had a pretty low rate.
[00:08:12] I even went a lower rate than projects. I'd gotten through word of mouth referrals out of Upwork. And you know, the reason I did that is I, I know that I need to get like a good report to start. You know, I need to have something to show that I'm not just some random guy that's charging some high rate that has no job history.
[00:08:31] Right. Um, and so I just did like a 10 hour project for it. And it was in the, the Python Django ecosystem and he needed something and I was able to just get it together for him. And, you know, I remember still to this day, We had a conversation on the phone where he told me, Hey, I looked at like 50 other candidates.
[00:08:53] And the reason I picked you is because you said you're a Python, Django specialist. You didn't say you're a programmer or you're a [00:09:00] coder or that, you know, eight different software languages, even though I probably did. You know, you didn't say that you just said this and he needed that. After that I got one other interview, which ended up being a long-term client for two years.
[00:09:14] Um, that found me through Upwork and I interviewed with them and, and, uh, they really liked me and they took me on and I was just a contractor for them for two years. And, you know, since those two, it really just has taken off because people can see my job history on the platform. And because I picked. Uh, the Python Django world and the programming world.
[00:09:34] If you think of it like a WordPress or a Shopify, something that some of you may have familiarity with. You know, to build a website, like you might occasionally run into a point where you need help with something and you need to even just bring in an expert for, I don't know, a couple of days or something to fix some part of your site.
[00:09:51] Well, Django is kinda like that, but it's probably even better for me as a developer because. Everything in Django probably takes a lot longer to build than something like a [00:10:00] WordPress, because they need something that WordPress or these things can't do for them. Um, and so I have a need, like they're going to probably want to find someone that, that knows Jango really well.
[00:10:10] And Jane goes a big complex system. Um, and so it's easy. See for them to like go on to Upwork into the search bar and type in Django. And I just looked the other day. I mean, Upwork. A platform with, I don't know how many millions of freelancers, if you type Django and I'll show up at the top, you know, I'll be the top search result.
[00:10:29] Yeah. And there's a lot of people that need Django stuff, because as you just, it's in my title, it's like, I'm going to pick one thing and I've have probably, you know, these days I have at least probably one to three people every week reaching out to me about stuff. And I'm probably turning down like 80 to 90%, if not more because, you know, I am pretty booked.
[00:10:49] Um, So that just kind of gives, I was very blessed and I was very fortunate, I think, to be able to have that, not everyone's going to have that some people will probably have to work [00:11:00] harder or, you know, go about it a different way, but, you know, it's like, just from that, putting that in my title, it's made a huge difference.
[00:11:09] Dave: [00:11:09] yeah, I think, uh, you know, one thing I wanna dive deeper on, on that sense is I think there's more fear sometimes around people. Starting out because they either don't know what they want to do, or they're scared to pick one thing and thinking that. What, when, when clients are coming in, when customers aren't coming in, it's, it's easy to try and be everything to everybody in hopes that you'll find someone because when, especially when you're starting out for people that are listening and maybe they're in the side hustle mode there, they don't have something like Upwork.
[00:11:38] And they're just trying to get their first few. A few customers. Do you, do you recommend in those cases, would you, would you say niching down from the beginning would be, would be a good strategy or how would you maybe start to unpack of, okay. How do I discover a niche and how do I, how do I know when to do it and how do I know what to, what to niche in?
[00:11:54] If someone isn't really sure about that?
[00:11:56] Micah: [00:11:56] Gosh, that's a good question. I definitely don't feel like I should. You know, [00:12:00] an expert on this situation as much, but what I would suggest from my story, in my experience, um, the people that I've talked to, if you have a current job or something where you're getting income and you can live off of it, I would try and build your niche from the beginning.
[00:12:16] Um, and like, if you have to do it on the side, You know, let's just make up a complete hypothetical example. You know, let's say you're really good at like building homemade wooden whiteboard stands. I don't know. I'm looking at a whiteboard right now, right? Like I, if let's say you're working at home Depot, right.
[00:12:36] I would keep working at home Depot and I would try and find some like low cost ways to advertise yourself. To put yourself out there, even if it's just throwing out a physical bulletin board or whatever, or, you know, making a Shopify site, which you could do for free to maybe sell some of your stuff and just try and see if you can get some traction in the beginning.
[00:12:55] Because again, in my experience, The once you've done one or two [00:13:00] clients, it's a lot easier, I think for things to get rolling. But until you're, at that point, if you have an income or something like that, I would say stick with that and then start to slowly, you know, build that niche. And that's kind of like, in some ways I could say that's kind of how, where I come from, you know, I'd had projects that were, that happened to be in my niche, which is where I got lucky, but they were, they were relatively, I guess, general projects and they could have been built other ways besides with the tools that I'm good at, but I'm like, I'm just going to use, keep using these tools, even though I could use other ones.
[00:13:31] And, um, so yeah, I think that's what I would say is start, you know, stay where you're at and start to work on that niche. And then once. Maybe you've gotten a couple of clients or whatever, then you could start to grow that and, you know, take a riskier jump. But, you know, that's, that's how I would do it because I think it balances like the proactiveness of going for it, but also like, you know, waiting and seeing that seeing.
[00:13:53] And, you know, you might find that if you're not getting clients after a while, maybe you change things around, um, I've found that [00:14:00] even like using Upwork as an exam, And LinkedIn too. It's like, as I changed my profile a little bit, just changing my title a little bit and adding in, uh, you know, I was a Django specialist and an architect when I added the word architect in which I was advised to do by someone, uh, I immediately got my highest paying client, like, like literally a week later.
[00:14:23] Cause they needed me to like do some slightly different kind of scope things that wasn't. Yeah. Development, but it was more architecture. So interesting. You know, I think there's some small wins that might be there that you could have the time to play around and experiment with where you're not worried about, oh, I'm not getting any traction yet.
[00:14:41] Dave: [00:14:41] yeah, I think that's good. And in my experience, in our experience with, with our own business and, and knowing other friends, uh, that have built successful businesses around a single niche, the ones that have done that from early on, have. I think seen success a lot quicker than the ones that are more generalists.
[00:14:56] And if we take like our PT business, for example, I have a friend [00:15:00] who's like, it's ACL. Like everything is all the posts are ACL related. It's all for ACL. Yeah. People are coming off ACL reconstruction versus people that are, you go on their site and it's like, Shoulder pain, knee pain, back pain, sciatica, uh, foot pain, ankle injury, this, and if you, if you have an ACL injury and you type in something like, who are you going to go see, you're going to see the one that has the content around that, that has that the ones who are only focusing on that, even if both are equally capable of treating it Mo uh, in, in most cases, but from a customer's perspective, that's a, you know, that's something they're obviously going to go to.
[00:15:34] To the one that is, is, uh, you know, niche specifically in that. But, uh, and I, and I know we were talking a little before, but, uh, People fear though, that if they pick a niche, they have to have to stay with it. I know you touched on this a little bit, but, uh, can you talk about how, you know, a niche can, can open doors and you know, it doesn't have to be like, well, if you pick this niche, that's something that you better commit to for the next, next 40 years.
[00:15:57] Can you talk about how that, how that can evolve and how [00:16:00] maybe you've seen that evolve in, in your instance? Yeah. So I want
[00:16:02] Micah: [00:16:02] to partially add one of the things that the previous thing we were talking about, and then I'll jump into, you know, with the news. Do you have to stay in it? What does that look like?
[00:16:11] And what my experience has been with my story. So jumping back to that other subject, um, I think the reason why I would say you want to still start with your niche, even if that's keeping something else, you know, for a while, until it. You really find it because from the get go, I think you want to be, if you know what you want to do and you know, this is the way you want to go.
[00:16:30] You want your history to be in the niche from day one. That's what it was for me. If it's not, I think what I've heard or seen people can run into is you'll, you'll be more general and maybe you'll get some clients, but then maybe they, they like you, or like, you know, you start general at a lower rate and then you kind of have.
[00:16:49] All this attention to something that, oh, I wasn't, but then you get busy and then, you know, but if you're going for the niche from day one, then that's your history. Then as you complete, you know, [00:17:00] for me, I'm an, in a contract, a project based world. But as you build up, whether it's hours or experience, if you're doing that in your niche, that's only increasing the value of your niche.
[00:17:09] But if you're starting out generally to try and attract more clients and then niching, I don't know it just, to me, it makes more sense. To start from the niche and just, you know, it's not going to be the case probably for every industry, but if you can start from the niche, I think it's worth trying to do it.
[00:17:24] So, um, yeah, like that. Yeah. And then switching back to the other question. So in my, in my experience, um, most of my projects in terms of the volume, there've been a few small ones, but for the most part. All of the clients have turned into like long-term clients. And when I say long-term, I'm talking at least six months, but, uh, there've been a few that were at least two years specifically to actually now that I think about it.
[00:17:52] And I started out in this niche of like being a Python, Django, developer, or specialist or whatever you want to call it. But [00:18:00] for at least three of my clients, I've hopped on to so many other things that they've needed me to do. And, you know, because I have a specialized niche that I continue to grow and skill with.
[00:18:11] I keep up to everything up to date in terms of resources and news, and you know, up-to-date learnings. Um, Yeah, I, my value in that continues to grow, but at the same time they need other things done and they're, I, they know that I'm reliable. They know that I'm really good with the tools I use. So whether it's using those tools that I've specialized in, or just fi you know, using, having to learn other tools on the fly for them to be able to do things, they trust me because I, you know, I come in and I really value them and I try and do excellent work.
[00:18:43] Both with my specialty and without it, and because I also am just a programmer and I got up, you know, I went to school, I learned, um, I could do other things too. And so what I've found is that where I'm at now more than half of my time is not my niche anymore. Um, because you know, one [00:19:00] of my clients, um, you know, it, it basically turned into like a business partnership.
[00:19:05] Um, I really liked what he was doing and we worked out a whole different type of a contract and. That, that project is the one project that was only partially in my niche. And if I think about the quantity of it, it's actually mostly not in my niche. It's a whole new playing field, but I was like, wow, this is so cool.
[00:19:22] And it was, but the reason he reached out to me in the first place, and this was back in April, was a very specific, I mean, the most specific thing, um, that I've ever had anybody ever reached out to me for, um, it was like, Three sub niches within my niche, you know, it was like, oh my gosh, I'm totally gonna do this.
[00:19:42] Cause I've never seen this level of detail. I mean, we hopped on a call like, you know, five, 10 minutes later and you know, the rest is history. But, um, so my experience has been to like summarize that. Yeah, you start, as you start in a niche, you get really good at it. You show your excellence, people are going to trust you when they realize like you're a [00:20:00] subject matter expert.
[00:20:02] If other things come up, I mean, if you're an expert in one thing, Y you know, they trust that you, I think for the most part, they're going to trust you to do other things too. And so for me now, you know, this has opened up a whole nother opportunity and that I'm really excited about. I still call myself a, you know, a specialist, but not been opened up to this whole other thing.
[00:20:20] And so has my niche broken apart, you know, not really, but it's like the door has opened. Many other doors have opened as a result of starting with this thing. So,
[00:20:30] Dave: [00:20:30] and the doors the doors have opened, dude, it. Past people you've worked with, uh, re recurring business or word of mouth referrals, but for those still searching those that aren't familiar with, you still go and you're still super niched to the outside people that are looking for a specific problem, which again, opens the door.
[00:20:46] Micah: [00:20:46] And then, you know, being someone of the, I guess, LinkedIn arrow. People typically, or, you know, your own website, resume era, at least in my field. You know, those have some measure of importance, at least being able to see some projects, history, like, again, this all [00:21:00] goes on my history. So, you know, I'm going to, at this point, I have enough experience in my niche story.
[00:21:04] People can tell. Yeah. You know, I don't think too much more needs to be said for that, but it gets to go, go to other places now and yeah. Outside people can still come. They, I got to hop on a consulting call probably. You know, two, three weeks ago. And then the consulting level has, for sure, like started to increase where it's more like one to two hour projects instead of like 80 to 200.
[00:21:30] Um, because it's like, okay, wow, you've done a lot of this. Like we just, we just need some big, big picture direction. And I, you know, my value again, continues to increase because for me, the more projects I take on the more different clients landscapes I get. To invest in, you know, the more I'm able to answer your questions, if you're someone new, it's like, oh yeah, I've seen that before.
[00:21:50] So, um, yeah. Does that answer your,
[00:21:53] Dave: [00:21:53] yeah, I think important, important thing just to, to kind of really highlight is that. As that, [00:22:00] as that gets solidified too, that's where you can charge more for not just specific projects, but then people want to get in the same niche and they reached out to you for consulting.
[00:22:09] And that can be a, you know, that can be a whole separate rate if you're only taking someone, talking to someone for an hour or something, and really just pouring into them like that opens new doors and new opportunities to just go.
[00:22:20] Micah: [00:22:20] Yeah. And I, you know, it's interesting like the rates, the rates thing.
[00:22:24] Yeah for me, I think the way I do see it right now is it's just how much value am I providing and how much value is this to them? And, you know, being someone that's kept up to date with the news and the latest practices and what's going on in the industry, just in my niche for four years is a lot of work because there's so much news every day.
[00:22:44] Um, I don't know what it's like in other fields, but for like software engineers, I think there's something called hacker news. And it's like, if you were to read every news post that came out, like, you know, you'd be in the hospital in a few days because I could be information and it's [00:23:00] enough work to keep up to date with just my little, my little niche of the language and the framework.
[00:23:04] I don't know how people could be generalists as you know, like there's just so much stuff out there, at least in my world, um, where I'm sure, you know, being a PT, uh, you know, there's, you don't, I don't know anybody that is an orthopedic surgeon. You know, and does, uh, you know, brain surgery and, you know, plays up professional baseball, right.
[00:23:24] It's just not going to happen. Uh, and I think that four years now and all these projects and getting to like put, get my hands dirty so much with things. Now my value's gone up because people can come and hop on a one to two hour call and I can teach them things in one to two hours. I can show them.
[00:23:44] That took me four years to learn. And that's what happened the other day. And that the value of that actually. That's a lot more than just probably, probably like an hourly rate starting out or whatever. Like, and that's where I think the consulting [00:24:00] thing, you know, it's, I could say like, it could be lucrative, but it's like, I have a lot of value.
[00:24:06] With that. And for people that want to get some answers that took me four years to get here you go, I'll give them to you, but I'm not going to give them to you cheap because I, you know, in a sense I'd almost feel violated. It's like, dang, this took me out. It took a lot to get there. Yeah. So yeah, I think it does increase your value too, because it's like, Yeah.
[00:24:25] Yeah. Like
[00:24:26] Dave: [00:24:26] you said too, about, you know, charging based on the value you can give. And that that's kind of independent of time too, whether it's one to two hours or 80 hours, if you're giving a certain amount of value and charging for that, that's where you say it can become lucrative for people. If you can shortcut someone four years worth of time, like.
[00:24:41] There's going to be people out there that are going to be willing to pay that if you can obviously deliver on those results and do that for people, it's like, that's where it becomes something that, and you don't have to feel bad about it because you're, you're giving people, uh, you know, uh, a shortcut in a sense to the things that took you a lot of years to learn and grow in.
[00:25:00] [00:25:00] Micah: [00:25:00] yeah. That's yeah, I think, um, yeah, I'll just, I like concrete examples. So I'll just give one in terms of what the most recent one was. There was a group of developers. Um, some of them, I think, were based in south America, there was maybe a manager or a couple in America. Um, and they had reached out to me on Upwork because they were building like something for a hospital system and they were having an issue with like their notifications to patients.
[00:25:26] Like when you were coming in for a visit like three months ahead of time. You know, their text message reminder about your visit might not send. And they were working in the same with the same tools and framework that I have. And it was kind of a known thing that scheduling out, uh, notifications and what's called like code to be executed three months in the future was pretty unreliable.
[00:25:46] If you just did it. The way you would think you should do it. And I happened to have discovered that, uh, multiple times, you know, having sent a, an identical email out like five times within 24 hours because of issues [00:26:00] that. No one really documented this and it wasn't really known unless you'd like really run into it.
[00:26:06] And when they reached out to me saying they were having this issue, I'm like, oh, I know the answer to your problem. You know, it was like, uh, it was like, so cool to think like, wow, yeah, I've, I've run into this. I know exactly what you need to do. And here's how you're going to do it. You know? And I was just on a screen share with them, just sharing my screen and I'm like, yep.
[00:26:22] Here's, here's what you do. And you know, they haven't reached out to me since, and they're like, yeah, I'll reach out to you if you have another question. And so I'm thinking. I mean, maybe you will, but this is, this is how you do it. It's just, it solves a problem. Like, I dunno, it felt really good to have been like, wow, that, that took like four years to like to get there.
[00:26:39] But now, now there's people that can ask me this and, you know, I, I found a big enough niche to. There's a lot of people that still have Django powered web apps or sites or things like that. So, you know, there'll be plenty of work in that, in that space if I want it probably in the future.
[00:26:56] Dave: [00:26:56] And, uh, a good question branched off that, that, that came up is [00:27:00] in it initially came up.
[00:27:01] When you talked earlier about having to turn down 80, 90% of the work, what's a kind of, what's planned going forward with, as you niche into these things, you have people reaching out, you don't have the capacity to do it. Yeah. I don't necessarily know if there's people as, as skilled as you are. They might not people with the same, with the same degree of knowledge in that specific industry, how are you going to, you know, not, you know, reproduce yourself so that you don't have to turn down as much work, that you can still help those people out that are seeking help.
[00:27:27] And how are you going to kind of. How does that next chapter look in terms of like training people and building up other people that can do what you're doing? Yeah.
[00:27:35] Micah: [00:27:35] That's actually a great question. And that's, that's where I'm at right now. So that's like the present moment. Um, it was, it wasn't until about seven months ago that I had my first go at actually getting to train up another engineer for a project where this, this is an example of, of starting as the niche engineer in a specific area.
[00:27:56] That's just growing. And I, now I'm like partially like the manager [00:28:00] of now a team of engineers, it's a small team, only three, four of us, but one of my jobs was to go hire someone for this company. And again, I'm a, I'm a contractor, you know, it's like, they need me to go hire somebody. And I don't, I think it wasn't, uh, like an employee role.
[00:28:14] It was just another contractor. So I'm like, all right. So happened to have a friend I knew that was looking for a job and, you know, got him in there and, you know, spent the next number of months trying to figure out how do I. What I learned in the last four years and distill this down into something bite sized.
[00:28:31] Right. Um, and so that's been an amazing journey. Uh, it was hard at first because I was like, is this effective? Is this not effective? But I've actually started to see the fruit of it really, um, in the last couple of months, especially where it's like. It took me a while to like learn and figure this all out.
[00:28:49] Like it's going to take a little while for any developer to like, get situated and feel like, find what they love and like get used to how things work. But I, then I got to unexpectedly like train a second one. And so now [00:29:00] I'm one of my projects. It's with my long-term clients, it feels so great. I'm working myself out of a job, which is exactly what I want to be able to do.
[00:29:09] Like train them in the ways that I've learned in the last four years. And so what's next for me, I think is learning how to do that. And then, um, my wife and I have dreams. This is probably a little more my dream. We haven't talked about this as much yet, but would be to start an agency at some point. And it doesn't have to be like agency and quotes.
[00:29:27] It's just like have some sort of group of developers where we could build things together. Or, you know, if we're taking on multiple projects, you know, whatever that looks like, but, you know, I want to kind of reproduce it. Cause I think there's enough. Um, there's enough market space, but I'm also very content like taking my time, um, and learning how to train people because yeah, it's like, wow, this is.
[00:29:48] You know, this is, you know, not easy. It's not easy to actually really train someone fully into something that you learned over four years. And at the same time, I'm not trying to make them a [00:30:00] carbon copy of myself. I want them to like utilize their gifts and talents and find what they love, but it's like, I'm trying to teach them all the great things that I've learned that, you know, they can carry with them.
[00:30:08] So that would be one of the next steps. Um, I think so.
[00:30:13] Dave: [00:30:13] And do you, do you see taking people? And this is a question for people that are looking to, you know, get in training, is it, is it training more on the consulting level? Do you see training in terms of like bringing out employees or what would be the, the growth pattern that you see for that?
[00:30:25] Micah: [00:30:25] Um, that's a good question. I mean, I think the employee. And consultant versus contractor thing is very complicated by our state of California. Uh, I think in my ideal world, it start people as contractors. Cause that's what I've always been. Um, or just encourage them to form an entity, a business entity, and then contract out with their entity.
[00:30:45] Um, but yeah, I think it would just be starting people out on the development level. I don't think you can do consulting unless you've done development in the software world. At least, I don't know how you do it. I'm sure some people do, but it's like, uh, I I've been [00:31:00] in, I've gotten my hands dirty. I've been in, I've worked on all these things.
[00:31:03] I can tell you, this is what's not going to work and this is what's going to work. Whereas if they don't have the development experience mean ensure they can, you know, I could recite it to them and they can recite it. But then there's not really much life in that statement because they haven't experienced it personally.
[00:31:17] So they're, you know, they're, they're just relaying knowledge instead of like, you know, experienced knowledge, I guess. So, um, yeah, I think it would start with like, starting with the development side of things and just a standardized, like, I would imagine it would take people a couple of years to really like, feel fully like equipped.
[00:31:34] And then at that point, if they're consultants managers, you know, they go off and do their own thing. I mean, that's, you know, right. Yeah.
[00:31:43] Dave: [00:31:43] Yeah, it's interesting too. And, uh, I know there's other people listening to weather, and so regardless the stuff can carry over across multiple industries and across whatever industry you're in to some of the super applicable.
[00:31:53] But I know there's going to be people listening that still have that, uh, you know, that concern or still feel [00:32:00] that discomfort around selecting it. And, uh, you know, for those that maybe you can talk on the balance between. Okay. Logically, I know this would be a good niche. I've seen other people crush it in this niche within my industry versus, Hey, this is something I really enjoy doing, but I don't know if I can get paid for this.
[00:32:20] This is where my passions really are. Or we start to blend that that had an in heart of, of, okay. Here's logically where I think would be. Step, but here's where my passions are. How, how do we start to inter intertwine those?
[00:32:34] Micah: [00:32:34] I think that's something I'm very passionate to be able to talk about on the show.
[00:32:38] So, yeah. Thanks for, thanks for asking that question because I've seen a lot of, or at least I feel like it. I've experienced or seen a lot of things, whether it's online or articles that like have this very set path for you, like here is how you are going to be on your couch, making six figures, you know, 20 hours a week.
[00:32:58] It'll be like, you [00:33:00] know, uh, learn copywriting or may build a click funnel. You know, maybe I'm just like remembering ads I've seen on Facebook or things like that. But I can't speak to any of those cause I haven't tried them. So maybe they are really lucrative and really profitable. And they're really great.
[00:33:14] And I know that there are people that have probably, you know, succeeded in those. And I have no doubt about that, but for me, My niche is not like the word niche is something. I almost, don't always like, because it's like, it really is my passion. It's something that I just love doing. I mean, there's a reason I picked it in college and, uh, you know, I didn't pick it in college because it was like, I don't know.
[00:33:38] You make a lot of money as a software engineer compared to other industries in the current environment. I didn't pick it for that reason. I just loved it. And on top of that, In terms of me picking what I what's called, like the Python Django niche. The reason I picked that is because, Hey, I was the most experienced in it.
[00:33:55] The I really, really liked it. And then see, which I think is important is like, [00:34:00] although I really liked it, there were other things I would have really, really enjoyed working on. There might have been more specialized areas of computer science that I could have liked more. And they're actually, probably are like, if I was imagining my ideal day, I could get paid for anything.
[00:34:17] I may not be doing Python, Django. I would be doing something slightly different in the computer science world, but there's not nearly as much of a market for that. And for me, I'm able to like, think about the current market and say, okay, I love computer science, Python, Django. It's like, I it's, I like it.
[00:34:32] It's good. Like I really enjoy it, but it might not be like, my love, love, love, passion. Like this would be what I would be doing every day, but it's a great door. And so I'm able to take, like I'm in an area where I'm already very much in the area of the passion and the thing I like, but I've selected cause there's lots of options, at least in my area.
[00:34:52] And I'm sure it'll depend on the industry, but I've selected something that I, I do enjoy. That was important. So I'm like satisfying. [00:35:00] And like, honestly, like for me, that's like part of my emotional wants and needs and, you know, wants and needs are kind of hard to define, I guess. But like I am picking something that's really life-giving to me and that I enjoy, but also utilizing wisdom and discretion to look at the market and say, what, what is going to like scale welfare?
[00:35:20] And with this one, it really has scaled well, and I think it has scaled better than if I had selected like, uh, you know, something else that I would have really liked. Um, so yeah.
[00:35:32] Dave: [00:35:32] Yeah. So it sounds like you, I mean, you at least knew what your passions were even, even going through school, uh, for those that, you know, how much, how much do people have to, I guess, Get their hands dirty too.
[00:35:44] And be able to try some of those things to find out what that is that they're even even excited about to know, know what that is, because I think people get so worked up in like, well, I don't know if I, I love doing that, but I think, I think for some people listening, it's just a matter of, of getting enough reps to know what that, what that is too.
[00:35:59] Did you have any experience [00:36:00] with trying a lot of things through school? Is that how you came about that? I mean, that school
[00:36:03] Micah: [00:36:03] for me was a great opportunity to between school and internships to try lots of things. Um, internships helped me figure out what I did and didn't want to do. And, um, I think just in school.
[00:36:14] Yeah. We had lots of classes and we got to taste lots of different palettes, so to speak. Um, and I, I found that, okay, I think I want to do this. And, um, yeah. And I think for me too, like the way it worked out is I saw a really nice path and like how this could work out. Cause it's like, okay, I am going to learn a tool really, really, really well.
[00:36:39] That's going to help me to build web apps, websites, anything that could be needed in the future. I might have a dream down the line of like launching some sort of cool app or website. I'm going to specialize in this tool so that the more I specialize in this, the better I'm going to get at using it. And it's just a tool it's going to, could help me do many other [00:37:00] things.
[00:37:00] So it's like, I was able to pick a path that it's like, even if this doesn't work out or I get burnt out in this, well, it could be transformed into something else later, you know, with a different exit. Um, I think that was something that was helpful for me, along with the Alec, you're saying I did get to try lots of different things.
[00:37:17] And as for like evaluating, if you really love something, um, you know, I think there's two cases, I think in one case you'll know from the get go, but I think in another case you just got to give yourself time with it. Um, you know, I definitely have had a roller coaster of ups and downs in terms of staying with my niche.
[00:37:35] I mean, in the software world, there are exciting new tech pieces of technology coming out every day. And they have the best marketing and they look, so it's what I call like the new shiny object syndrome. There are software developers that will go learn like a new tool every week. Cause it's like, oh, this new thing come out.
[00:37:53] Have you tried it? I'm like, Nope, I'm still in my trusty, you know, Python, Django world over here. Oh, [00:38:00] anytime like this cool, like article or book would come out with some cool new technology that looked amazing. I would force myself to go read another Django book or on book and just like, no, I am not going to like split myself right now.
[00:38:13] I need to focus on this one. And I would just learn more about my little area. So yeah, I think it's
[00:38:18] Dave: [00:38:18] so good. And it speaks to the discipline involved with the two, because I know so many people, entrepreneurs, freelancers, it's, there's so much shiny objects in Germany. Like, well, this new thing comes out and you, and you see this ad on Facebook and it's like the next best.
[00:38:31] Way to do whatever, you know, marketing and get new clients or improve your system, you know, improve your, the technology you're using. And we fell into that early on, too, of bouncing back and forth so many things, and it just, it kills momentum. And it gives the, you have this illusion of like this picture, that how it's going to be when you implement this new thing.
[00:38:48] They're just doing their job well, marketing well and packaging it well, but you end up in the same spot in this because you're not addressing really the root of it. And really like reaching that state of what she said, like excellence in what you're doing. [00:39:00] And that can't happen if you're bouncing around from thing to thing.
[00:39:03] Micah: [00:39:03] Yeah. And it's like, there are effectively, let's say there's 200 different ways someone could build a web app in a similar way to that. And, you know, a certain percentage of the software world has done it the way that I do it. And those are the ones that are my clients, you know, it's like I could go learn some other shiny object, but then I'm learning and a tool that does the same thing as mine, maybe in a cooler way.
[00:39:24] But. You know, it doesn't really necessarily help me. Yeah.
[00:39:29] Dave: [00:39:29] Now we're, at the time it would take to learn a new way of doing it, just to add that to your, to your tool belt. But I kind of want to, as we start to wrap up here, I want to, you know, I think we have a similar stance on this. I, I wanna maybe dispel the myth of, you know, for people that are, you know, if anyone's listening and they're not.
[00:39:44] Loving what they do or on the path to loving what they do. I think there's, you know, in, in my mind, a myth out there that work has to be harder. Business has to be, you know, challenging and you have to work these long hours and it has to be a grind to do this. And I'm not saying there's not seasons [00:40:00] for that.
[00:40:00] There's two seasons where you're going to have to pick up work. Maybe you don't enjoy as much to cover the bills or, or lean into a different, you know, different. No direction with your business for, for a season to, you know, to make ends meet. But I believe that everyone has. The, you know, the passion inside them and the, and the, the talents, the gifts to be able to, to be able to find that over time.
[00:40:21] And it's not, it's not a straight line journey, it's, it has all sorts of zigzags, but, uh, I just, I want to encourage people listening first off of knowing that if you're, if you're in that season where it's, where it's hard right now that, uh, there, there is, is something better. If you can pursue this and take some of the principles that we're talking about, but I'd love to hear from, from your experience, Micah, and just, uh, you know, your, your thoughts on this topic of, of a.
[00:40:44] Yeah. Maybe, maybe encouragement for people of, of those that aren't, uh, aren't really loving what they're doing or don't think they're, they can find something. Maybe they've been in something for a long time. They feel, they feel stuck. What would you, what'd you say to someone that, uh, you know, maybe has lost hope given, [00:41:00] given up like D D doesn't see that they, that they can do something they love and actually make a good living doing it.
[00:41:06] Micah: [00:41:06] Yeah. So I would say it comes down to a few different things. And first of all, I want to be really conscientious and just acknowledge that, like I was a in, in, and still am in a very blessed and fortunate position. My parents worked really hard, um, you know, before I was born and they had to learn certain things, the hard way that I just haven't had to deal with.
[00:41:29] Um, you know, thinking about my dad work, waking up at 2:00 AM, uh, and you know, my mom, just the way she went through school and just had to do a lot of things herself. And they taught me things in school that they worked so hard to set me up for success. You know, in the current age in society, my dad was like Micah from sixth grade.
[00:41:54] He was like, get straight A's in high school. I had him just like, he like pounded it into me. And so I, [00:42:00] you know, my parents were kind enough to like, not make me do any chores except. Get straight A's in high school, which is going to make some people cringe. Right. You know, but like they really wanted my, the ability for me to be able to do whatever I wanted.
[00:42:14] And they gave that to me. And that was the greatest gift. And I'm going to reference a resource here at piggybacking off of that by a guy named John Martin. Called garden city. It's a book. Um, I found it pretty helpful at one point and just he's writing a lot too. I think my generation, but also to really any generation.
[00:42:34] So what he's saying is if you have, if you are in a privileged enough place, To be able to take the time to figure out what you like. That is such a worthy pursuit. Um, and you know, he, his perspective, you know, he's coming from a Christian worldview, which is what I'm also coming from. But in his perspective, he's like everybody has kind of an induced.
[00:42:58] Design and [00:43:00] something out there that they are going to absolutely love doing. Um, and it might be really hard to figure out what that is. You might have to figure that out while you're working a full-time job, but he thinks he thought it was a very worthy pursuit. And I don't, I don't think there's time or scope on this episode to talk about why I think that's a worthy pursuit.
[00:43:17] Um, some people could see that as selfish or, you know, it's not worth it or too much of an investment or whatever, but if you think that it's a worthy pursuit to find. You know what you love. And I would say if you have the time to do it, even if it's just a few hours a week, it's worth doing it. And, you know, I would say it starts with a desire to want to be able to have, take what you love and do something with it.
[00:43:42] And then just. You have to see that this is probably not gonna happen quickly. I mean, but if you have a long-term vision of, I want to get to this place, eventually you can start allocating a few hours a week to be able to get there and start to research, start to explore, talk around, ask people like [00:44:00] friends, counselors, like, you know, reading things online.
[00:44:03] Yeah. I would guess that in a lot of industries, you could find something where you could align your passions with the practicalities of the current market. And again, it might look like starting with something a little bit different with the hopes of working, working your way until you get there. But, you know, this book was really helpful in terms of just like just the lines of how I've seen it in my life, but it's, I think it's really important to be able to have work that you at least enjoy or find meaningful or love.
[00:44:30] And. Again, ending that with the disclaimer that, you know, there are people out there that are working really hard to feed their families, or they're born into a situation where they don't have a choice of what they can work. And, you know, I have seen in my life, um, especially living in California, um, you know, growing up when there was a lot of immigrants coming over from Mexico, it's like they will work so hard and sacrifice so that their kids could have that opportunity.
[00:44:57] That's what blows me away. It's like, they, they [00:45:00] might realize that it's going to be harder for them to have that opportunity in life, but they can give it to their kids. And it's like, so I think it's something that's valuable because I think it's something that people all over the world want for their kids.
[00:45:13] Um, and so if you are in the place, if you're listening to this podcast and you're in the position where you have that opportunity, that was probably a gift given to you by your parents or grandparents or someone, you know, maybe not. Um, I think it's a worthy endeavor to actually start to seek out and it starts with desire.
[00:45:30] So, um, mm
[00:45:31] Dave: [00:45:31] that's so good. Yeah. I love wrapping up with that cause that's, uh, you know, ethical for, for anyone and even in those tough times, You'd be amazed what a few hours of investing in, in that, that, where they pursued the shock about can, can do for, you know, just starting to figure that out and find what that is.
[00:45:48] And it possibilities open up doors will open up. You'll meet people as you, as you get into that, that could start to, you know, make those, those dreams that are in your heart reality. And there believe that those dreams are there for a reason. So don't, don't just [00:46:00] shove those away or discount it. And even if it is a tough season or you're, you're not doing exactly what you love, it's it's to keep, keep leaning into that and keep pushing it.
[00:46:08] Micah: [00:46:08] Yeah. It's like, I think those dreams are meant to give you life and, and hope and you know, those let the excitement, the energy of those dreams, you know, take that, excitement, that energy and drive it into whatever time you do have to start pursuing those things. I found that to be really helpful. It's like, yeah, they, they really do have.
[00:46:30] Starbucks. They do have excitement, life, energy, passion, and hope with them that you can take and you can, you can utilize it.
[00:46:37] Dave: [00:46:37] So, yeah. And you could tell when, and I'm sure you guys have been around people when you're around someone who's on fire about what they do. It's, it's contagious and it's, and that's the, the effect you can have when you, when you start to find out what that called a niche called a passion where everyone find out what that is.
[00:46:51] And, uh, that's something. Uh, you have so much to give for, for those in your community, for your family, for those around you. So we, uh, we are just encouraging you to do [00:47:00] that. Mike, this has been awesome. And I appreciate you, uh, coming on where, uh, where can people connect with you for those that are looking for Python, Django work, make sure there's so many people listening that are specifically looking for Python, Django work, but I just grabbed this.
[00:47:14] Where can people connect with you? If you want
[00:47:17] Micah: [00:47:17] to, uh, connect with me with that area, or you just want to reach out Michael lisle.com. M I C H L Y L e.com. I haven't updated my website and quite a while, but there is a contact form that I believe still works. So, you know, you can reach out to me on there.
[00:47:32] Um, yeah.
[00:47:34] Dave: [00:47:34] Sounds good, Mike, I appreciate it, man. It's a lot of fun. And, uh, thanks for coming on and sharing your passions and knowledge with that with the
[00:47:41] Micah: [00:47:41] listeners. Thanks so much, Dave. This has been great.
[00:47:45]Dave: [00:47:45] Thanks for listening today, guys, unbelieving that even if you apply one thing from today's show, you're taking one step closer to living as the man you were made to be meaningful change doesn't happen overnight. So keep showing up and keep consistent every single day until [00:48:00] good things start to happen.
[00:48:01] If you haven't already taken 60 seconds to write a review on whatever platform you're listening on, goes a long way in growing this podcast and reaching other men, just like you, that are hungry for more. Do you have any questions on today's show feedback or content you want to see more of shoot me a text.
[00:48:19] Yeah, text me 7 6 0 4 7 7 4 3 6 1 at 7 6 0 4 7 7 4 3 6 1. Let me know that you're listening to it. And so I can personally thank you for your support of myself and the show. That's it for today, guys, it's time to raise your standard for yourself. Stop settling for just getting by, go all in on your passions in the Lightroom made for a lot of you guys and talk to you soon.
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