July 22, 2005
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As an independent, high-tech consultant, I have the usual
avenues for making money. One day I might be cleaning up spyware or viruses,
on another I might be training a client on managing their email. Yet other
days might bring a small network installation or the rebuilding of a crashed
machine. These are some of the traditional roles for a high-tech worker,
but if you want to continue to build your career, you should always be
looking for new technologies and new avenues for expanding your work and
Blogging and Podcasting
I have been podcasting for about 9 months now and blogging for even longer
than that, but these 2 technologies have never been a major part of my
consulting work. They were still mainly the realm of my fellow geeks.
Finally, though, both are now making inroads into the minds of some of
my clients. In fact, I recently acquired my first podcasting-related client.
He has hired me to assist him in re-launching his blues music web site
as a blog and podcast site.
This is an entirely new avenue of work for me. While I have helped several
friends get their blogs started, this is the first time it has resulted
in actual billable hours. I realized a while ago that blogging software
was a great way to let nearly anyone build their own web site. Even more,
they could begin publishing content to that web site immediately, without
worrying about the complexities of setting up a web hosting account or
learning HTML. This seemed the perfect application for some of my clients
who couldn’t afford the development costs of a traditional web site,
but still needed some sort of presence on the web. Even more, it felt
very good to provide a way for these people to present their thoughts,
work and business to the Internet public.
Since I don’t normally do web site design, I was conceivably “missing
out” on the income that might be gained from that work. I often
had people asking if I did such work, but I usually referred the work
elsewhere. Now, I can assist people in setting up basic sites and use
this as a new avenue for my work. I knew in the back of my mind that this
could be a lucrative new area for me, but only now am I starting to see
the results. The fact is, my own forays into blogging and podcasting provided
me the training I needed in order to begin helping others. It is nice
to see that such self-driven learning could eventually become part of
In addition to the delivery side of the blogging and podcasting, I have
also had to learn much more about audio recording, digital editing and
encoding. This new knowledge could prove to be a new avenue as well. Each
day I meet more and more people who are interested in pursuing their own
My computer setup looks quite different than it did only a few months
ago. The space between my keyboard and monitor was once only a place for
Post-It notes, paperclips and the occasional penny. Now this space is
occupied by a 6-channel mixing board with direct USB interface to my Mac
G4. Next to that sits a microphone stand holding a large MXL 2001 studio
microphone like you might see at a traditional radio station. On my computer
itself are several audio editing tools. As I move into more consulting
work on podcasting, my own
experimentations will become yet another avenue for earnings.
Even if I never make much money with my own podcast, it looks as if the
learning opportunity provided by it will help to expand my career in new
and interesting ways.
Who knows what new avenues may appear over the years. All you need to
do is keep our eyes and ears open and remain curious about new technologies.
You need to think of your own forays into new areas as an investment in
your future. You might find that some of them can open up entirely new
areas of work and introduce new groups of clients to your services.