This is a follow up story for Access Database Support. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Dan Khadem and I’m a Database Engineer with 2 side gigs here in Denver, Colorado. My first side gig is database consulting which is essentially an extension of what I do for my day job, but for individual clients like small businesses and organizations. I help these groups manage their data in a more efficient manner using databases that I design and build.
The second, more recent (and more fun) side gig is doing commercial acting and modeling. I’ve been doing this for almost three years. I’ve become one of the go-to guys in the local industry when a brand needs a middle-aged corporate executive look for an ad.
I’m currently coasting and making between two to three thousand dollars per month between these two gigs. Having two kids in the 0-5 range takes a lot of my attention and energy and I plan on continuing to coast for a few more years until my younger son gets a little older. At that time I’ll move things to the next level.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
It’s been a year since we last talked. Since then my database side gig has plateaued. That’s exactly what I need at this point in my life as a busy dad. I am still getting clients consistently but have not done any additional marketing to bring in more business.
Go after the idea that no one else is doing or market your business to the segment of the population that everyone else is ignoring.
On the acting and modeling side of things, I’ve signed with an agent. This has been great because it’s just another way to get more projects. I am still looking and applying for gigs on my own but my agent will also bring me work. In exchange, she gets a cut of anything she finds for me. It’s a win-win.
Another big help is getting repeat work from production companies that I’ve worked in the past, especially for similar roles.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
That technology moves incredibly fast. I almost use Microsoft Access exclusively to build databases for my clients but Microsoft has sent mixed signals about what the future holds for their Access database product. The Access developer community is in a bit of limbo with not knowing what to expect. I’m keeping a pulse on tech news to see where things go with Access, which will affect my future with the product.
In acting and modeling, I was incredibly excited to get an agent but quickly learned that having an agent doesn’t mean a flood of new work. Rather, it meant a flood of new audition opportunities for higher-level projects, and those higher-level auditions came with higher-level competition. The end result was a lot less new work than I originally anticipated.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
As I mentioned above, I’m in a bit of a holding pattern for the next few years, with the demands of being a parent to two young children. With that being said, my plan, for the time being, is to continue to maintain the status quo in my database consulting side gig.
On the acting and modeling side, in the very near future, I’m going to audition to be a runway model for this year’s Denver Fashion Week, which is building itself as the premier fashion event outside of New York. If I’m selected, I hope the exposure from the event will lead to bigger opportunities.
In the next year, I plan on taking some acting classes and workshops. Even though I’ve been doing this side gig for a few years, I don’t have any formal training so I know I’m overdue for some education.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
All my life I’ve been consuming what I would call practical reading which was almost entirely nonfiction, business, and entrepreneurial related books. This year I’m following the advice repeated by several entrepreneurial influencers who suggest reading books, blogs and listening to podcasts that have nothing to do with business and nothing that you would typically consume.
Essentially getting out of your content comfort zone. The idea behind this is that you’ll gain different perspectives and insights into your business and life that you normally wouldn’t get. With that said, I’ve recently finished an entertaining book titled Find Another Dream by Maysoon Zayid. I’m also a big fan of NPR’s podcast Hidden Brain by Shankar Vedantam.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
This is a bit of a cliche but zig when others zag. This advice is most apparent in my acting and modeling side gig. When most people think of modeling, they think of 20-something-year-old women, not middle-aged men. Being one of a very few middle-aged men in the local industry gives me lots of opportunities with little competition.
Take that thinking and apply it to business. Go after the idea that no one else is doing or market your business to the segment of the population that everyone else is ignoring. A perfect example of this is a new yoga chain that is expanding in the Denver area right now. While every other yoga chain and studio almost exclusively markets to women, this is the only yoga chain that I’ve seen market directly to men. Sure, the male yoga market is smaller but they’re not competing against anyone else for it.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
It’d be great to be in that position to have to hire additional help but I’m certainly not there right now.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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