5 Tips on Turning Your IT Talent into Your Own Business
You know you're good at your job and you often wonder if you'd be better off working for yourself as an IT consultant. But do you have what it takes?
Andrew Sieja, president and CEO of kCura, a software development company that got their start as a consultancy, offers five tips for taking your tech talent to the next level.
Use your experience to gain credibility and bolster confidence. – Going from working in technology to leading a business may seem like a massive leap, but the experience gained from working in IT can be one of your most valuable assets. If your business is providing IT software and services, remember that you can speak with authority about IT — you were on the front lines — so be confident.
"When I was first telling people about our software, I would end up at meetings where many of our competitors were trying to sell their software using armies of sales staff," Sieja said. "I came alone. However, since I really understood deep down what I was talking about, I gained credibility. When you can answer tough technical questions, your audience gains confidence in your endeavors."
Bring your inherent appreciation for technology to the business. – With an IT background, you have an inherent appreciation for technology, and you don’t have to be convinced that technological investments pay off. It’s easy to build a strong infrastructure when you understand what a business requires on a practical, technological level.
Stay process-driven. – As programmers, we’re process-driven people. When adding new functionality to software, we first begin by breaking down our ideas into many steps. We write code to implement each step, and then reassemble these steps to build out the overarching functionality. Being able to deconstruct a process at this level of detail is an outstanding tool in building a business. There are many business processes you’ll have to assemble, in which you’ll find success by breaking them down into smaller and smaller steps that eventually come together to achieve an ultimate goal.
Like software, your business can improve with new versions. – In software development, your work is never finished. You might implement a program one way, but then realize it can be even better. There’s built-in continuous improvement when it comes to software, as you consistently create better versions and fix defects. This desire to constantly re-evaluate and improve should be instilled in your business on day one.
"When starting kCura, we rewrote and reworked our software demo countless times in response to feedback and questions during the demo. In the end, though, we had a great demo that saw solid results," Sieja said. "Without a willingness to reevaluate yourself and keep improving, your business could get left in the dust."
Don’t forget how to operate under pressure. – Anyone who’s ever worked in IT understands what it’s like to work under pressure. There are issues surfacing constantly, and everybody wants their problem solved immediately. Suddenly, an even bigger issue comes up and you have to do a 180, shifting your focus entirely. There’s no better training for starting your own business than this. In business, you’ll be putting out fires every day. Problems will erupt, and you’ll have to take control and deal with it, shifting priorities as much as you did working in IT. Harness this skill and you’re off to a great start.