How My Side Job Helped Me in My Day Job

How did I start AllTeamz? Inspiration for starting it?

I was coaching a Little League girls softball team and sitting on the Board of Directors for the organization too. Few people realize that youth sports will reach a ceiling for your child and competing beyond a specific age will require a change for the families and players involved. The question for most of the girls on our softball team was “Where do we go next?” and in truth we simply didn’t know how to answer that question. As part of the Board we were hearing a different question “How do we make it easier for parents and athletes to find us?”. One of the other board members and I decided to start a directory of youth sports teams where players could find teams and teams could find players. AllTeamz.com was born and has been going strong for over 3 years.

What did I learn at AllTeamz that helped me with my day job?

I have been in IT Management for some time. I have worked for other software as a service companies too, but before AllTeamz was launched I had always felt like I was the least experienced person in the room. Being part of operations at Intuit means you will be responsible for availability of services to customers. External customers. Lots of customers. I wouldn’t be able to operate in their environment without the knowledge I gained from my own side project.

Because of AllTeamz, I was now the system administrator, the architect, the development team, the sales and marketing team, and last but not least the sole individual responsible to the customers. Technically, I up leveled my skillset and found I was quickly becoming a jack of all trades. I was solving issues for AllTeamz I’d never known were issues before unless applied at scale. My side gig had already introduced me to the tax and bookkeeping out of necessity. When I sat for my interviews at an accounting software company, I wasn’t just another bright manager looking for a great opportunity, I was a customer.

The specific skills that helped me land a job with an accounting software company:

· Infrastructure build and maintenance in the Amazon Public Cloud. AWS

· Coding. I could hack together a script or 10 but I had never actually written code. I taught myself how to address small issues with functionality.

· Hiring developers. One would think that if you have been a hiring manager before then this shouldn’t be that hard. Wrong. Having an operations guy with a lot of technical knowledge interview developers was much easier than it would have been beforehand.

· Customer empathy. If you know someone in IT, chances are you at some point have had the impression they believe all customers are wrong, dumb, or both. When you understand the customer, you become a much better worker and company.

· Software to solve problems. Specific problems. Open source or SaaS platforms to solve my problems.

  • Zapier- I was able to automate all of the backend tasks I was performing through this tool.
  • Sendy- I was able to send marketing related emails at a cost of $1 for 10,000 emails leveraging Amazon Email Services
  • Apache, MySQL, Varnish, PHP, and so much more. I would or could be considered a subject matter expert for many of the applications I needed to use.

· Income. Expenses. Understanding where the money goes out and comes in will temper your spending and made me more accountable to myself.

· Monitoring. If AllTeamz is down for our customers, then we have failed. Intuit is more so. AllTeamz has amazing uptime because of the monitoring we do to ensure the servers and site are healthy. I was part of monitoring teams in previous jobs, but the level of knowledge I gained from AllTeamz has absolutely changed the way I talk to people about monitoring and the things I am able to do independently to support Intuit with their monitoring needs.

How much time does AllTeamz require?

I easily put 20 or more hours in to AllTeamz in my spare time. Generally, I have created ways for me to accomplish a high number of tasks in a single day and a couple of hours a night. Sundays I schedule all of my social media posts for the entire week. If the content supports it, I will go longer than a week.

At night, I generally reply back to partners, write blog articles, ensure backups are successful, and general maintenance of the site, our customers, and anything that might be outstanding.

 

 

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