Unified Web interview: A tech side hustle

Tech side hustle eyes growth

Side hustle is the name for the growing trend of kick-starting a personal enterprise or micro business in your spare time or away from the day job. The side hustle trend is rapidly increasing in popularity.

We talked to Lewis Payne, founder of Wiltshire-based web services firm Unified Web about how he got started with his side hustle, and what he’s got planned for the future.

He began by explaining what inspired him to launch the company: “It wasn’t exactly a light bulb breakthrough sadly; the idea came over the course of a long period of time parallel to my interest and creativity in the web development industry growing.”

“After having a good understanding in the area, I began to experiment with different avenues and was able to highlight smaller ‘less-professional’ web firms charging dear prices for dodgy sites that look like they had been sellotaped together.  With friends in labour industries I am aware that many people similar to themselves don’t have any understanding on the area and therefore are sometimes exploited.”

The Unified Web homepage
The Unified Web homepage

So the idea had been born, but being on a full-time work placement as part of his university degree, Payne still had to make time for his side hustle.

“In the web development industry you can work on almost every aspect of the business while mobile which is fantastic, everything is cloud based.  In every lunch break or available 10/15 minutes,   I was able to add or change something on my site. It didn’t feel like I was working through my lunch break because it’s something I enjoy.”

In fact, having an income stream alongside his business has helped a great deal:

“At the end of the day, many people are aware that when starting a side hustle 95% of the time it is not going to immediately become a viable and sustainable source of income.  Therefore, it is key to continue full-time work with a fixed income in order to have a level of reassurance and financial safety, this again is something that many people have not mastered in the past driving them to make unrealistic proposals and in essence poor business decisions.”

And as the business grows, Payne has learned some important lessons:

“Unified Web has taught me a great deal about not only myself but about the logistics of running a business.  Embarking on a venture as an individual rather than a team drives self-discipline, working to personally set deadlines shows capabilities you may not have seen before.  When working with a team you can utilise strengths and weaknesses to get the most from each individual, whereas when working alone you are forced to develop weaknesses.”

“With GoDaddy, the domain purchase process could not be faulted”.

He also had praise for GoDaddy, and the way they’ve supported his side hustle:

“With GoDaddy, the domain purchase especially could not be faulted, with the cheapest price available as well as no attempts at hidden prices or additional costs associated meaning no worry of signing up to anything not needed.

“With regards to the hosting, I have experienced no faults whatsoever and was even delighted with a call from the GoDaddy Service Team a week after launch when we took on our first client to inform me that the plans I had selected were not the most cost efficient for the means of which I was using them.

“I was able to switch plans and lower my costs, I have never been in a situation where a company I have been working with have actively informed and advised me to spend less money with themselves which I thought was incredible.”

“My advice would be to give it a shot.”

So what advice does Lewis have for anyone looking to start their own side hustle?

“My advice would be to give it a shot. Of course be sensible with investments and be critical and analytical with everything you do as at the end of the day it is only your own money that you are playing with.

“The term ‘I don’t have enough time’ is commonly used as an excuse why people don’t accomplish outside of the workplace, but it is something that I just cannot agree with.

“Everyone can make time for something and if you truly enjoy what you do and want to see whatever it is develop then you can make time for it.  Be it 5 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes throughout your lunch break and 40 minutes in bed before you go to sleep, that’s an hour a day that you can put in to making your dream a reality.”

And as for the future of Unified Web, Lewis is eyeing more growth.

“In the long term I am excited to develop more relationships with clients as well as maintain healthy relationships with current ones.  I hope to one day be in the position where I can take on members of staff and therefore have the potential to take on more clients growing business.”

Ready to start your own side hustle? Why not start by getting your ideal domain name from GoDaddy? Alternatively, you can get a free domain with an eligible GoDaddy web hosting  plan.

Will Stevens
Will joined the GoDaddy EMEA team in 2017, following the acquisition of HEG. He covers all aspects of digital marketing, from SEO to email, for the GoDaddy UK blog. Previously, he has worked in online journalism and also conducted online marketing campaigns for a number of well-known brands.