How I started a side hustle at 16 by blogging and web development

Published: September 7, 2021 at 8:14 am

Last Updated on September 7, 2021 at 8:14 am

In this episode of “how I increased my income”, we meet a person who has been working passionately on blogging and web development, his side hustle for the past decade, since he was 16years old.

About this series: We all appreciate the importance of a higher income but increasing our income is not easy. It requires time, effort, sacrifice, dedication and opportunities. In these articles, we showcase inspirational stories about people who have increased their income, their station in life via self-improvement, upskilling or side-hustles.

This idea started when I had asked members of Facebook, Asan Ideas for Wealth, to share real-life stories of how they or someone they knew increased their income by upskilling, self-growth (personal development), or side-hustles.

Many of the stories were quite extraordinary. In the first such account, we met Mrs Rajalakshmi Rangarajan as narrated by her son, Sudharshan: How my mother moved up the corporate ladder with constant self-growth.

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We have similar stories lined in the coming weeks. If you have increased your income and changed your station in life, please share it with our community. It will inspire and motivate many. Contact us at freefincal {AT} Gmail {DOT} com with a short outline to take it forward. It can be published anonymously (like this account) if you prefer. Now over to our young go-getter.

I am currently working as a part-time writer and web developer along with my full-time job. I started when I was 16 and had just finished my 10th board exams.

My dad promised me that he would buy me a smartphone once I finish my exams, and he did get me a Nokia Lumia, my first smartphone. After exams, I had a lot of free time because it took months before the results were announced.

I was always interested in technology but not great at it. So, after getting my phone, I went online and checked about it and learned how to use a smartphone. This was 2013, so smartphones were still new, and I realized that there was not much content around the Windows Phone ecosystem.

Because I had free time, I decided to go on and create an elementary website, and I started writing about whatever I could learn about my smartphone, how to use it and what kind of things you could do.

As much as I liked technology, my dad, a businessman, wanted me to study commerce, so I didn’t take science in 12th. However, I still loved technology, so I taught myself programming. I learned XAML and C# through YouTube videos, talked to developers on social media, and gathered as much information as possible.

While studying 11th, I published two apps on the Microsoft Store (back then, it was Windows Phone store), one was an RSS reader for my blog, and the other was a simple reminder app. Along with this, I kept writing until I got an offer from a big news website that covered Windows Phone exclusively.

So, in 2015, two years after starting, I joined them, and I finally started earning money from my hobby. In the meantime, I completed 12th with decent grades and went to Bangalore for BBA in Finance.

I continued working with the website for 5 years and left in April of 2020. During my time with them, I did both news and hardware reviews and continued my BBA degree. A big break for me occurred in 2018 when Microsoft awarded me the title of Most Valuable Professional (MVP), a title held by 4000 odd people worldwide and given by Microsoft to those who have made contributions to the tech community.

In 2018, I was in my final year, and I had stubbornly chosen a difficult topic for my final year research thesis. My paper focused on the impact of cryptocurrencies on the Indian market, and my final presentation was on the awareness of Bitcoin among the youth of Bangalore.

It was a difficult month because Microsoft offers MVPs an opportunity to fly to the US and visit their headquarters in Redmond. So, I took the leap of faith, hoping everything will work out fine and skipped college just a month from my graduation to go to the US. I had an incredible time at Microsoft, and I wrote my thesis and the paper on my 20 hours flight from India.

I did my presentation from my hotel room at night and managed to publish a research paper in an international journal while in the USA.

In 2020, a friend offered me to work with her and start web development. I have been doing web development for around a year now, and we both together have completed more than 10 websites designed from scratch on WordPress. I never intended to work as a developer, but when she asked me to help, I enjoyed it, and we continued to collaborate on projects. Web development takes more time when compared to writing, so I had to sacrifice my weekends to complete development projects on weekends while doing my full-time job during the week.

Currently, I am working as a news reporter for another website, but this one is not focused solely on Microsoft. Unfortunately, the number of articles has reduced quite a bit because my full-time job takes around 12 hours of my day. However, I continue to write as much as I can because it is still a hobby and something I absolutely love and enjoy.

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About The Author

Pattabiraman editor freefincalDr M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over ten years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter(X), Linkedin, or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation promoting unbiased, commission-free investment advice.
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