The Happy Engineer Podcast

156: Why Some Engineers Should Definitely Start a Consulting Business with Jay Aigner

Should you leave your job and start an engineering consulting business? What does it take to succeed if you do start as a side hustle engineering consultant or startup?

In this episode, you’ll get to meet Jay Aigner. He is a consulting evangelist.

You may relate with Jay, who had his first kid at age 19, in college, 1000 miles from home. He graduated, got a job in his dream industry and worked the 9-5 grind for years.

Eventually a new challenge presented itself … get his wife out of working as an overnight long-term pediatric nurse.

What is your challenge? Why is your current life no longer acceptable? Most importantly, what’s the solution?

For Jay, it was consulting.

Fast-forward a few years later, he grew JDAQA, his company, from a one man software testing consultancy based on his 9-5 experience to a 7-figure testing agency powerhouse with 60+ employees. Jay is a father of 5, amateur astrophotographer, student pilot, hockey player, and podcast host as well.

His unique 5 for 5 morning routine is his foundation for crushing results, and we cover that and more in this powerful conversation.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to get off the fence and get clear on your consulting business!

Ready for more? Join us in a live workshop for deeper training, career coaching 1:1, and an amazing community!  HAPPY HOUR Workshop Live with Zach!


The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 156: From Freelance Engineering Consultant to Building a 60-Plus Employee Software QA Business (Ft. Jay Aigner)



LISTEN TO EPISODE 156: Why Some Engineers Should Definitely Start a Consulting Business with Jay Aigner

Previous Episode 155: Get Rid of Sleazy Networking Once and For All


The Top 3 Principles to go from a 9 to 5 job to Entrepreneurship and Consulting Success

I had an insightful podcast episode on The Happy Engineer Podcast with Jay, a seasoned QA professional, sharing his journey from corporate testing to building a 7-figure business. Here are the key takeaways:

1. Morning Routine for Success: Jay’s 5 for 5 routine, including exercise, meditation, and journaling, has been pivotal in his entrepreneurial journey. Establishing a structured morning routine can significantly impact personal productivity and success.

2. Entrepreneurship Opportunities: Jay’s transition from freelancing to building a successful software testing business highlights the potential in simple, practical skills. Our conversation explores the rise of entrepreneurship and networking opportunities, emphasizing the advantage of blending analog and digital methods in business.

3. Corporate Job Safety Perception: The discussion challenges the belief that big corporations offer the safest job security. Jay’s journey from a supposedly safe corporate job to successful entrepreneurship highlights the importance of self-sufficiency and the lack of inherent safety in traditional employment.

To go deeper and build an action plan around these points and why all this matters, click the podcast link below and listen to the entire conversation!


Jay Aigner had his first kid at 19, in college, 1000 miles from home. He graduated, got a job in his dream industry, and worked the 9-5 grind for years.

Eventually, a new challenge presented itself … getting his wife out of working as an overnight long-term pediatric nurse. He applied for Uber and was turned down (his license was from another state). Luckily, he stumbled across Upwork and applied for consulting gigs.

Fast-forward a few years later, he’s grown his company from a one-man software testing consultancy based on his 9-5 experience to a 7-figure testing agency powerhouse with 60+ employees.

Jay is a father of 5, amateur astrophotographer (check out his stuff, really cool!), student pilot, hockey player, and podcast host.

His 5 for 5 (5am wakeup, workout, full-body stretch, meditation, and journaling) is his foundation for kicking ass.



Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: All right. Happy engineer. Welcome back. It is going to be a little bit nerdy today. We’re going to geek out cause I’ve got the QA guy, Philadelphia’s finest, Jay in the house. Jay, welcome to the happy engineer podcast, man. Glad you’re here. 

[00:00:15] Jay Aigner: Maybe my favorite introduction of all time. Thank you, Zach. It’s good to be here, buddy.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:19] Zach White: How are you? I’m super good. And of course, here on the happy engineer podcast, we get a lot of folks who come from technical backgrounds, but I just feel a sense that today’s chat. Could scratch all the right itches of the nerd in me, but also the entrepreneur and business minded person in me and the amazing happy engineer audience out there.

[00:00:41] So I’m, I’m pumped, but maybe if you’re willing, set the stage for us, you mentioned it even before we hit record your original background in software and in engineering, tell us how you got started, maybe even if you remember. Like, when did you write your first line of code? 

[00:00:58] Give us a quick sense of where it all began. I 

[00:01:02] Jay Aigner: used to make websites back in the, Dreamweaver days, in the, mid nineties. That was when I started coding. My mom had a, uh, advertising agency and I started doing websites for her clients for like, 1200 bucks, which I thought was like the most money in the world back then.

[00:01:17] I think it was for like a 12 year old or whatever. So, um. Yeah. So that’s where it started. Uh, I wanted to make video games. I quickly found out that that industry is not the easiest live in. so I went straight down the testing path with the full sale down in Florida for a bit, got my degree in computer science, specializing game design development, which was awesome.

[00:01:36] It’s a great. It’s a great school. It’s a great degree. I just, I was equated to being an author. you know, anybody can write a book, but it takes a real special talent to write a top 10 bestseller. And I didn’t feel like I had that ability with programming. I still program all the time and I love it.

[00:01:51] but when I found out about testing, I was like, wait, I get to apply all the things I know about. Software development and not have to code. That’s like the best of both worlds for me. Um, so I, I jumped into doing testing. Really 

[00:02:03] Zach White: interesting. So let’s go to that, top 10 secret sauce comment really quick.

[00:02:07] And I think this is interesting because a lot of engineers. have a big dream to, you know, whether work on a certain type of product or go into a specific corner of industry and change the world, you know, right now, AI is a big deal, but whatever it may be, what was it that actually created that awareness for you?

[00:02:24] How did you know that you didn’t have it? Or what made you believe that about yourself and look for a different path? my 

[00:02:32] Jay Aigner: roommate was a guy named Dave Neubelt, and he works, I think, still maybe at Naughty Dog Games, like one of these staple game industry, companies. he was such a good program with like name stuff after him at the school like building like I mean It was it was crazy like yeah he was really really really smart and I could just see the difference between he and I and like he was the Example of like he gets it.

[00:02:53] He dreams it he sleeps it like I don’t have that passion Like I love to create stuff and I love the code and I love to make games and you know Be a designer and all that stuff. I just I think seeing greatness kind of sealed the deal for me that like, he’s, he’s a different level. 

[00:03:09] Zach White: Seeing greatness close up.

[00:03:11] I’ve had those moments in my life. I remember too, thinking I’m not the smartest engineer in the room. You know, I was very good at mechanical engineering, but I, I didn’t ever see myself as the guy who would take anyone’s breath away with my ability to do the math, so to speak. So, What would you say to someone who’s maybe feeling like that’s them, that they’re not that top five, top 10 percent genius in engineering, whether it’s in software, electrical, doesn’t matter, but maybe they have that moment where they encounter greatness and they feel a gap.

[00:03:45] You’ve come a long way since that moment. What would you give the advice back to yourself? Did you do the right thing to, to pivot and you’d go that route again, or you’d say it doesn’t matter. What do you think about that? 

[00:03:56] Jay Aigner: It’s a really interesting question. I think, I think that people. can find something that they can excel in, in a path that they’ve taken, even if it’s not the thing that they thought it was, right?

[00:04:09] I just want to make. Really cool video games, and I found a way to still do that. Like, I got to go work for a game company. I got to eventually be a game designer.

[00:04:16] I didn’t give up on my dream, which you could frame it in one way and say, like, you know, Oh, he’s not, but I, I still took everything I learned. I applied it to quality assurance. applied it to game design later down the line. And, I don’t think it has to be. You know, hard line in the sand.

[00:04:33] you know, the people that I went to school with could write game engine code. And that to me, not only is that not fun or attractive at all, it’s just not in my mental capacity to do that.

[00:04:42] Like I can’t think the way that these people think, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still be a great engineer or a great QA engineer or a great product person or a great designer or a great whatever. so yeah, I, I would definitely do it again the same way. I really feel like I got lucky and got.

[00:04:58] Bailed out, quite honestly, because I didn’t even really know what I was, I mean, I, you know, I was going to graduate, but I didn’t really love the prospect of sitting somewhere with somebody looking over my shoulder. Yeah. Telling me how crappy my code is because I, in my head, I knew it was probably not as good as the guy next to me.

[00:05:16] Zach White: I really like this sort of wayfinding creativity that you don’t have to just bang your head against the wall and try to be Somebody who you’re not do the peripheral vision. It’s like, don’t put the blinders on. It has to look this one way when you’re coming out of college, there’s a lot of different ways to use that genius and that passion without.

[00:05:37] Killing the vision or, or changing the dream. So what was your nine to five, corporate experience like before you actually started what is now an incredibly successful QA company. Tell us about those days. 

[00:05:50] Jay Aigner: I worked for mega touch, which is the touchscreen game company’s the tester for a long time.

[00:05:56] Look back. It was like seven years, I think, which is like probably the longest I was anywhere. and then. I got an opportunity to work at a. medical software company. And it was a huge company. It was a big, you know, next, next gen healthcare. it was not for me. it was a cube farm.

[00:06:10] thousand, some people in the office, it was just like, I just, it just wasn’t the vibe for me. Like I had no real impact, like the stuff I, you know, I was talking to my manager and he’s talking about, well, you know, you can be a new down this path and do this, and then after a couple of years you can do that.

[00:06:24] And I’m like, dude, this sounds just like. The exact opposite of what I want to be doing. Again, I got bailed out. I was sitting at my desk. I didn’t even know I had a phone, and it rang in my cube. And this guy was like, hey, would you like to interview at a startup doing QA? And I’m like, yeah, sure. And I, you know, took it.

[00:06:39] Um, and I bounced out of that and ran out as fast as I could. And I did have the question, though. Like, I definitely had the thought and it may be kind of, some people have experienced this, where you’re at somewhere where you perceive as safe. this is great. This is a huge company.

[00:06:55] why would I leave that for this, smaller company that’s less stable and whatever. I literally had that conversation with one of my coworkers who was a guy I’d been around for a long time. He’s like, dude, let me just tell you, you’re not more safe here than you are anywhere else. So I leave. And three months later, the director of the, Unit I was in called me and said, Hey, we’re laying off your whole department.

[00:07:13] Do you have anybody, any jobs at this new place that you’re working at? So not only like, was it probably not safer, it wasn’t safer. So like that you’re no safer in these big corporate, environments where it feels nice and cushy. Like you can kind of skate along a little bit and you can kind of just be a.

[00:07:28] a cog in the wheel and whatever. But that also means that when push comes to shove, like you’re out and they’re not even going to think twice about it. So, I jumped off from the startup world and then bounced around a bunch of different startups, and started doing consulting on the side and then built this into what it is today.

[00:07:44] Zach White: I think it’s. Really important. Allow that truth that no particular size or scale or, type of work is inherently safe, and I’m not sure where we came off to this cultural belief that working in the fortune 500 or working in the Fang organizations are working. What? It’s kind of the pinnacle of career and the safest place to work.

[00:08:10] And I have countless clients who landed the safe, secure job. And then, the next day they no longer work at Amazon. They no longer work at Spotify or Apple or wherever they are. So really important. you got lucky, you know, in that sense that you couldn’t have predicted that timing, but. So many people don’t actually believe what you just said, so I just want to, exclamation point, super true.

[00:08:34] Jay Aigner: And I’ll say just one, other point to that real. Quick, is that I think part of that trap is the benefits. you. Know, I got really good, like, if you really like look at what the hell is going on with, insurance and like how much it costs the amount of money you could make somewhere else may easily offset whatever changes are in benefits.

[00:08:52] Like people don’t want to go in business for themselves. Cause oh my God, like I can’t get the medical insurance. So it’s like, dude, that’s such a old school mentality and it drives me crazy because I see a lot of people that stay places because of the benefits and They’re not as great as you think they are and you could pay for them yourself And still make money somewhere else if you had to so it’s I just wanted to point out that like that 401k Healthcare thing that people I think that’s part of why people stay in that nice warm little cocoon of the corporate world 

[00:09:22] Zach White: Totally.

[00:09:22] I’ve found it’s, it’s not only the belief that those are important, it’s just this general fear that I wouldn’t be able to figure that out on my own, or it’s like complex and really, and okay, it’s not the greatest set of systems in the world. Let’s be fair. I’m not a big fan of the insurance things I have to do as an entrepreneur now, but it’s not that hard.

[00:09:40] If you can write code, fricking health insurance. So, all right, big companies. Startups and now consulting and building a consulting agency. You’ve done all three. Lots of engineers have the dream of moving from one to the other. Maybe they’re in a small company today. They think they want to be in a big one.

[00:10:01] they work at Oracle. They’d love to go to a startup or they’ve dreamed of starting their own business their whole life. They’re too afraid to do it. So before we talk about the journey of scaling. JDA QA, and what is your current crushing it consultancy? What would you say are the top couple benefits of each of these?

[00:10:21] So when you’re in the fortune 500 or a big company, like these are the things that are really good. Make sure you learn this, like, don’t miss this side of what you can take away. If you’re in a startup, you need to focus on learning this. If you’re in doing your own thing, what are the top benefits of each having done all three?

[00:10:37] Jay Aigner: I would say don’t miss the ability to, network in the bigger companies. I mean, it’s such an overused word, but a lot of the people that I talked to today are still people that I met in these big companies, Use that time to hone your skills because somebody like this big corporations will most likely pay for you know What I you know training or whatever you’re doing or learn from other people learn from all the expertise that you are surrounded by Use any extra time you have or after hours time while you’re working these big gigs to do consulting Look at doing freelancing try to pick up some other job on the side because it’s much easier to blend in You know and and just like kind of get your job done And then when you’re you know, maybe it’s 20 minutes, over lunch or like an hour at the end of the day, whatever it is, like you can fit in time and I’m not saying take time from your, your big employer to spend on the other, but you know, use that time wisely.

[00:11:31] learn the processes and kind of understand what is happening. And that will serve you and your consulting or business owner life later. see how smaller teams work, see how the gaps, understand what it is they’re actually trying to, to build. And, you know, for the software product, understand how that works from soup to nuts, right?

[00:11:52] From, you know, learn who the designers are, the product people, the project people, the developers, the QA people, the DevOps people. Like learn all, what all these people do. And just that ancillary knowledge will be huge when you go off to do consulting. Yeah, really good. 

[00:12:06] video1145441424: Really 

[00:12:06] Zach White: good. I love the focus on the networking piece in the big company, and just starting to master those skills and how to connect, and how to influence people who don’t care about you, and get people to want to help you when it’s not their job.

[00:12:23] super good. Okay, let’s talk about kicking off. You’re now it’s this big, you know, multi seven figures, 60 plus employees doing software QA, but it started as just you. Am I right? That’s 

[00:12:38] Jay Aigner: correct. 

[00:12:39] Zach White: So it was it a side hustle thing first, or you went cold Turkey, quit a gig and just started consulting.

[00:12:46] What was the origin story of your now business? 

[00:12:51] Jay Aigner: Uh, I did it in a very de risked. I did freelancing online and did consulting on Upwork. my wife was an overnight nurse I mean, I went in there a couple of times. It was like, not a fun place to be. Um, so I was trying to get her out.

[00:13:07] And my favorite, you know, my, my favorite thing is like, I, I got applied for Uber and Lyft and like got turned down because my, license was from Virginia or whatever. So I couldn’t even do that on the side. So like, I’m going online. Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Yeah. 

[00:13:20] Zach White: You got, you got turned down by Uber and Lyft?

[00:13:23] Yeah. 

[00:13:23] Jay Aigner: Yes. By the, the, the two places that will hire anyone. Anybody? I don’t think you have to have a license, but apparently mine was from the wrong place. My ego 

[00:13:32] Zach White: hurts for you, 

[00:13:33] Jay Aigner: Jay. Yeah. I mean, you know, look, uh, it was the best. thing that ever happened to me. So, uh, I, I wear that proudly. and so I, I found online contracting stuff and found Upwork.

[00:13:45] com back then. that’s right. I got bought by Upwork or they merged with Upwork or whatever it was. so I just built the profile. I was doing a couple of gigs here and there. And eventually got to the point where I started thinking like, it would be great to have somebody else do some of this work, with me or for me.

[00:13:59] And I had an opportunity, the company like. Didn’t really care if it was me doing the work or not. I got that sense from the call, the initial call we had. And I was like, this is it. This is the one. So I, I reached out to a guy I used to work with at Megatouch. I was like, Hey man, you know, would you want to pick up a couple extra hours a week, just doing some work with me?

[00:14:16] And he’s like, yeah, absolutely. He’s my first and longest tenured employee still works for me. Still really good. I saw him like a couple of weeks ago, like we’re really good friends. and so I just built it from there and I started pulling in more people and started to kind of build out the infrastructure.

[00:14:30] And, you know, I still had nine to five jobs the whole time. So it was definitely de risked. Uh, I left somewhere for like a couple of months and then like one of our clients for JD AQA hired me to work for them and they would give me a, C level position. So I was like, I guess I’ll take it. and I got really lucky at one point, my COO, Autumn, who’s just.

[00:14:49] The best in the world lives in Ohio. she had the option to either take a raise and not work with me anymore because she was working part time or come for me full time. And I was like, that’s crazy because that’s the first money that’s coming out of JDAQA that’s not billable time to a client necessarily.

[00:15:06] Right? Like she’s doing stuff for the company, which was like a huge. It’s a six plus figure job, and that’s a lot of money to take out of your bottom line if you’re, you know, when you run a business. So, but looking back again, it was the best decision I ever made that helped me, that freed me up to be the sales business guy and she just crushes operations and we’ve kind of built up this infrastructure of resources and operations and contracts and whatever.

[00:15:32] And, my job now is just to. do marketing, sales and biz dev and like make sure that I become the QA guy in Philadelphia and then spread that out across the rest of the country. So that’s a condensed version, or maybe not condensed version of what happened. Were 

[00:15:46] Zach White: you in Philadelphia when you first started?

[00:15:50] Amazing. So do you think that anything you did? From day one, side hustle consulting through to now was especially unique that made it a success or in your estimation, we just did the work. Tell us, I mean, I don’t know any secrets. There’s nothing, 

[00:16:12] Jay Aigner: there’s nothing unique, man. That’s the crazy part to me.

[00:16:15] It’s like I don’t understand how everybody is not doing it and I do understand now I didn’t understand it for a long time But then I realized like certain people just like to do certain things which is like later on your business journey I think you realize like oh the person who’s really good at this should probably do this and I shouldn’t keep trying to make him do this but And like the most generic of industries, right?

[00:16:34] Like software testing, which you need to be smart and you have critical thinking skills and you have some technical background, but you don’t need to have a, eight year degree to be a QA engineer. So I picked a space that was pretty, I’m not going to say easy to get into, but pretty, flexible as far as your requirements.

[00:16:50] I think anybody could do it. And I consider myself a consulting evangelist. Like I’m not a business coach. but that is one thing that I like to tell people who haven’t started their businesses. Like for the love of God, please, if you have expertise in something, somebody will probably pay you to do that in consulting and at the end of the story, right?

[00:17:08] I mean, just, just try it, like reach out and try it. So no, nothing I did. Is like super unique or super like special. It’s just, I don’t know. I never really thought it was going to end any other way than me running this business once I got it started. And, and once you, once you have somebody, once you pay somebody less money.

[00:17:29] Then the client is paying you and the margin in between is what goes into the business account. Once that happens one time. I mean, if, if, if you don’t, if you don’t get hooked or like get that adrenaline boost when that happens, then maybe running a business isn’t for you. But when that happened to me and I’m like, wait, I don’t have to work for that money.

[00:17:47] Like somebody else is going to work and I’m going to get the margin in between. that’s when it just. The top came off and I was like, let’s do 

[00:17:53] Zach White: this. Yeah, brilliant. I think there’s this belief that people hold engineering leaders, ice, coach and work with who want to start a company, but are looking for their, their USP, you know, their unique selling proposition or some, some X factor or some new product that’s never been inventor that, you know, they want to go.

[00:18:14] Create the next Facebook or whatever. And a lot of the really successful, founders and CEOs who I know, frankly, Jay, they, they built really boring businesses, but they’re, they’re just great at this one thing. It’s a, it’s not a rocket science thing and they do the blocking and tackling right every day.

[00:18:37] And. They really have an amazing lifestyle built around that and they do work that they love. It’s fun, you know, they enjoy it, but it’s nothing really, really special. What’s, what’s your take on where that came from? This sort of sexiness of entrepreneurship. You got to have this brilliant thing. I mean, is there any truth to that?

[00:18:53] Or you’d say this is just marketing around the big names or like, where did, where did we fall into that trap that you have to be something really, really unique in order to be successful in entrepreneurship? 

[00:19:05] Jay Aigner: it’s a human thing to think that you need to fall in line with what everybody else is doing.

[00:19:11] Like go do your job, but it’s, you know, it’s changing. I think people, the whole, pandemic situation, like people could work from home. That is going to unlock a bunch of entrepreneurs from being like, Oh, I could just do this for myself from home and not drive an hour and somebody else pay me.

[00:19:28] I mean, it’s so, and I think we as entrepreneurs that have done it do take the time in our lives when we weren’t doing it. we take that for granted. Like we didn’t do it for a long time for some reason, right? There’s no reason why you couldn’t have started this when you were 17 or like, you know, as soon as you could like knew what business was.

[00:19:49] There’s no, but after you’ve done it, you’re like, Oh, well just go start a business. Like, just go do it. And it’s like, it’s so much easier. And after you start one, you could start a hundred, like it doesn’t matter at that point. It’s, it’s a very easy thing to do. I think it’s just a confidence thing.

[00:20:02] and people will feel lost. I do think there’s a real problem with building products Like digital products specifically, it’s still very, people don’t know how to do it and they spend a lot of money trying and there’s 

[00:20:14] no blueprint that’s just readily available for people. And if they do, they don’t want to hear it. They want to say, I’ve got this really great idea. It’s going to be the thing that makes me a lot of money. And I think it’s, again, it’s a confidence thing. So I, I don’t, but I totally don’t subscribe in that.

[00:20:28] Right. There’s, there’s so many people that waste a lot of time and money trying to build something, that they think is a good idea that nobody else does, which like at the end of the day, if people aren’t paying you for your product, what the hell are you spending your time on 

[00:20:39] Zach White: your comment about once you’ve done it?

[00:20:41] It’s like, you just do it. It’s not hard. I, I had a guy reach out to me a couple of weeks ago, Jay. And he’s like, you’re a coach, right? You coach engineers. Yeah, that’s what I do. It’s like, how do you, how do you get into that space? How do you do that? I did. It was a funny question speaks. It’s like, well, you.

[00:21:00] You just, you just do it like I, there was, there was a day when I was not a coach. And then there was the day that I offered someone coaching for money and they said yes. And on that day I became a coach. Like it was a side thing. It was just like, I was working full time and I did it on the side. And then as soon as the first person said yes, and I saw the check come, it’s like, Oh, I guess I can make money coaching.

[00:21:22] You know, and there’s a lot more to the story, but it was just funny. It’s like, what do you mean? How do you become a coach? Like you just do it. You either, right. People will either pay you for it or they won’t like, you know, there’s not. So, yeah, I think it’s, there’s something about that confidence to simply cross the threshold and say, I can, and I’m curious for you, for, you know, an engineer listening to this is the consulting evangelist in you, would you still go back to?

[00:21:47] Like, look, even right now it’s December, 2023, as we’re recording, if you need a place to start, go to Upwork, find a project aligned with your skillset that you can do and do it. Like, is that the place you would begin? Or is there some other, or are there multiple starting points to help somebody crack into this space?

[00:22:05] Jay Aigner: I would say 2023 Upwork has been a different animal than, pre, IPO Upwork. It’s certainly a different. landscape now, and they’ve done a lot of things that make it, I would say, a little more difficult to just spin something up. Um, but it’s still my first suggestion. something that worked really well for one of the people that I hired to do consulting.

[00:22:24] I worked with a girl at that medical software company, and years later, she reached out and said, hey, I’m doing marketing consulting now. We’d love to hop on a quick call and talk about it. And I was like, sure, like whatever. And I ended up hiring her and paying her 120 an hour to do like marketing consulting with us.

[00:22:40] So, it’s like such a, like, dirty word but like network, you know, your network of people that you’ve worked with before. you know, the younger you are, the smaller that list is going to be. But, you know, if you’ve been doing it for five, 10 years or whatever it is, you’re going to have a pretty good Rolodex of like different people that have come in and out of your work life that you could reach out and say, Hey, I’m doing this.

[00:23:01] And either they’re going to have somebody that, could use your services. They may be able to use your services, put it on LinkedIn, let people know what you’re doing. and then, you know, the last thing would be, depending on your business. The Chamber of Commerce in whatever city you’re in is probably a great place to meet some people.

[00:23:18] that’s what’s weird about business to me and sales in general. It’s, it’s not predictable really. Like you could get the first person you reach out to or it could be the hundredth person. And I think maybe that’s like the fear and the difference and the confidence is you don’t know.

[00:23:34] You’re like, am I just going to waste a bunch of my time like trying to ask people? But the people who do are the ones who are successful and the ones who don’t are the ones who sit around and just like wait to start something. 

[00:23:43] Zach White: Yeah, you can confidently say if you talk to no one, you’ll never have a business.

[00:23:47] Correct. A hundred percent. So 

[00:23:48] Jay Aigner: you might 

[00:23:49] Zach White: as well start the conversation. Yes. Um, I really like that. And okay, look, there’s something else unique about JDA QA that I love. Of course, you can serve anyone, anywhere with the work that you do. Uh, it is internet based in a sense. And yet you’ve chosen to really become Philadelphia’s go to guy.

[00:24:11] You’re the QA guy in that region. And I’m curious what your strategy or what the thinking is about still taking a geographic focus play in a business model that has no geography. Is it just personal passion about the city? Is there something that you found is really effective in the business itself?

[00:24:32] why Philadelphia’s QA guy? 

[00:24:37] Jay Aigner: I do love the city. I think it’s a great city. I think it’s a bad rap, but I think it’s a great city. Um, somebody said, own your backyard one time to me and it made a lot of sense. I also, there is a hometown discount when you are a business owner trying to get business from someone else point blank.

[00:24:54] You have a, you have an advantage over somebody who’s in New York or in California or somewhere else, or I mean, definitely from offshore, you have an edge, you can meet them in person, number one, you can connect with them on LinkedIn and they see that you’re in the same area and region as them, which is a huge thing that I don’t, I don’t think people really give enough credit to like just seeing that you’re from the same area.

[00:25:18] And you have a really good chance and a really good opportunity to leverage any of those existing relationships. Into the next one by saying, you know, we work with so and so and if that person has heard of so and so or have heard of a company and you want to work with the, the, the best companies in the, in the region, they’re going to go, Oh, well, if he’s using them, absolutely.

[00:25:42] I’ll give you a call. So it’s like the hometown discount. It’s like having people that are in your, your, your area and your network that you do business with, that would be happy to. So you don’t even have to give you a referral. You can just tell people that you’re working with these companies. And now we have, you know, five or six in Philadelphia.

[00:25:56] We work with a lot of people know of the chances of somebody saying, Hey, did you talk to Jay about your QA issues? Like the answer to that should be yes. And if it’s not, you’re missing out business. I think people have this like grand dream of like, Oh my God, I’m going to go do B2B stuff everywhere.

[00:26:15] But like, there’s more than enough business in Philadelphia for us to do, 10 million a year in revenue, just based off of like the companies that we, and we have like a super niche industry. So like, I mean, I can’t imagine the target size for some of companies that they go after right in their backyard.

[00:26:29] and it helps you focus. That’s the last thing I think, like you, you can very easily just grow this pipeline of like loosely qualified leads to this giant bucket that you can never attack, but if you, you know, keep filtering that down to a point where it’s like, okay, I have 20 people on my list.

[00:26:47] My whole goal is to go to where these people are, talk to them, introduce myself, make relationships with them, even if they don’t need me now, they will come back to me when they have a QA need, which has happened time and time again. And that’s the formula for us. owning your backyard, picking the area you’re in and stop thinking that you don’t have enough business or like, I mean, unless you have some super weird, you know, very specific thing in one 

[00:27:09] Zach White: place.

[00:27:10] Really, really like this, especially. In this digital world we live in and COVID made it really bad where we all stayed home and kind of got used to interacting through video chat, and it’s great, but I have this set of principles that I’m extrapolating on more and more. And one day, I think there’s a book to be written around this, Jay, but I describe it as, it’s Living in an analog way in a digital world, how do you blend the two ways of being and I think what you’re doing is a really powerful example of that.

[00:27:39] It’s like, of course, I could do it all online. you know, I never see anybody. But when you have that human touch and to your point, they just see that you’re in the same city. You all already get that I like that hometown discount concept. That’s really, really excellent. all right, Jay, maybe, maybe someone’s saying, I don’t want to start a business.

[00:27:55] This isn’t for me. But there’s something about your approach that anybody in any path of life can benefit from that. I didn’t want to leave our conversation without touching. You call it your five for five. And first I’m wondering how long has this been a part of your. Your lifestyle,And if you’re open to it, I know this, this is part of Jay’s mojo. This is how you get it done, but tell us what is the, the five for five and how could we apply that in our own world? 

[00:28:26] Jay Aigner: Um, it started over lunch. My flight instructor was talking to me one day and he said, he was telling me the story about this guy who ran a mile every day for like seven years and he like broke his leg and there was all this crazy stuff.

[00:28:40] some reporter asked him like, how do you do it? how do you run a mile every day, regardless of what’s going on? And then he said, every morning I just put my feet on the floor. that part. stuck with me. my flight instructor is an early riser too.

[00:28:53] And he’s like, you’re having problems getting up at 5am, he’s like, just put your feet on the floor, dude. He’s like, put your feet on the floor and get up. Right. And it was like the biggest, stupidly simple thing I’ve ever heard. but it really stuck with me. this is a couple of years ago, I immediately started doing the early wake up thing.

[00:29:07] and then layered in these different pieces, working out every day, to get my heart rate up in some capacity, whether that’s strength training, cardio stuff, core stuff, whatever, just do something. I really, I mean, I had like a bad back kind of in my twenties and thirties, you know, early thirties and stretching every day has made that go away completely.

[00:29:27] So I just do like 10 minutes stretch. I meditate every day. I use the waking up app, which is a great. app that kind of guides you through, your first 30 days and then just does daily meditations after that. and then the next one is kind of journaling slash objective, setting for the day.

[00:29:43] that’s the kind of five for five in a nutshell. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now. I also like religiously track everything I eat. I mean, everything I have a scale, everything I’ve eaten for, I think it’s 800 days or something. I’ve tracked everything. So, it’s over played, you know, you hear all the business coaches talking about it.

[00:30:01] but there’s definitely a lot of truth to. Being tuned in physically, affecting your mentality. And like, it’s just, you know, people beat you over the head with that. I think these days, like just telling you how important it is, but it is night and day difference you do that for a couple of weeks where you’re getting up early, you’re working out, you’re like by, by six 30.

[00:30:21] There’s no regrets at the end of the day of like, Oh man, I wish I worked out or Oh man, I wish I ran out of time. So I couldn’t meditate or like, there’s no excuse. Like you get up, there’s nobody else up, you do your thing. And then by six 30, it’s only, up from there. Like there’s no real, you feel tuned in and locked in.

[00:30:38] So that’s, that’s my five for five. 

[00:30:41] Zach White: Let me make sure I. Have the five points accurate and I’m curious if there’s any rhyme or reason to the order of these but the 5 a. m Wake up itself and the feet hitting the floor is number one. That has to come first. Yeah 

[00:30:56] Jay Aigner: So 

[00:30:58] Zach White: which 

[00:30:58] Jay Aigner: comes first you do you stretch first or do you get out of the bed definitely get it out of there Whoo.

[00:31:05] Zach White: Okay. I haven’t lost my touch yet. So so wake up Workout, stretch, meditate, and the journal. Those are the five components. So, aside from the feet have to hit the floor first, have you had any experimentation with the order of operations for the other four, and does it matter, anything that you’ve learned there?


[00:31:25] Jay Aigner: I will say I have, experimented with it a little bit, but for the most part, it’s the same. the workout is kind of the wake up. So, you know, after obviously to get our bed, wake up, get moving, stretch just kind of naturally comes after being, active like that, kind of cooling down a little bit.

[00:31:40] Meditation again, it’s a peak, you know, you kind of peak your Everything at workout, super intense, come back down, stretch, meditate. And then once I’m done meditating, I’m kind of like back to baseline where I can kind of think about the day. I’ve done all the things I need to do.

[00:31:57] And it’s like, all right, what are the top three to five things I need to get done in my. Family, personal, and work life, today. And it’s been pretty, pretty powerful for me just to be able to cut out a lot of the noise because my to do lists grow very big, and if I look at a giant to do list, I will do nothing.

[00:32:15] I like to at least pare it down to three things. 

[00:32:17] Zach White: Super good. How much total time do you invest on average into the 5×5? 

[00:32:22] Jay Aigner: like an hour to an hour and a half hour, an hour and a half, including the shower. Like when I, like, if I’m downstairs dressed ready to go by 6 30 and I’ve been up at five, you know, give or take, you know, an hour, hour and a half, uh, to get it done.

[00:32:33] Yeah, 

[00:32:33] Zach White: that’s really good. So I have a similar. Structure in my day and morning routines might be one of the most talked about things in personal development. Everybody has their spin on it. And lots of folks are contrarians around this to get people’s attention and whatever, but at some level. I love the fact that by the time my butt is in this seat and it’s time to work, I’ve already stacked up so many wins for the day and things that I know are going to help me hit my long term objectives around being healthy and having energy and being, you know, the happiness and the investment into stuff that matters.

[00:33:13] It’s almost the day is one before I’ve even started. And I love that feeling. I love that feeling. And then, you know, the journaling piece. We use a tool we call our playbook within lifestyle engineering and the work we do in our coaching and that playbook rhythm for me is, is part of that journaling practice.

[00:33:31] I’ve already decided what I’m going to do today. And so I literally just sort of flow and execute the plan. Some days. And emergency happens or things change, you got to adapt, but a lot of days from the moment I sit down in the chair till I go home, it’s, just fun. I just do the things I set out to do and it makes it so much easier.

[00:33:51] So I highly encourage people, whether it’s stealing from Jay, your approach or finding something that works for them. Having a structured start. I just. It’s a huge part of my success too. I, I don’t know. Do you know anybody who just completely wings it when they wake up in the morning and is super successful?

[00:34:11] Have you met anyone like 

[00:34:12] Jay Aigner: that? would assume there are, that group of people. I don’t know, man, I don’t think it’s a, it’s a coincidence that like. The vast majority of everybody you hear about that’s successful has a morning routine. and I’m, I’m like the last guy who’s going to be like pushing the 5 a.

[00:34:30] m. club and like I don’t care what anybody does, but like, it does work for me and I can see why other people say it. So, you know, if it does benefit other people, then give it a shot, you know, it’s not going to hurt anything. Yeah, be an engineer. 

[00:34:42] Zach White: Run a test. Run a test. 

[00:34:44] Jay Aigner: I can tell you, I’ve run those tests and it sucks.

[00:34:48] Like, you definitely feel like you are missing out on something when you don’t get that done, you know, like I said, I like the small, like you have so many wins when you sit down. I think that’s 100 percent true. And I don’t think people, and also drinking a lot of water during that process, I can certainly tell the difference like later in the day where I’m like, God, I’m just like dragging or I’m like, don’t feel hydrated.

[00:35:09] Like that’s 100 percent why. Cause I get in the habit of drinking water and then I’ll drink it all day. But those days that I skipped, you know, I may not drink water until 10, 11 o’clock in the morning. I’m like, why am I like, I feel like I’m going to die. And so just because, you know, speaking of that, I probably should drink some water, but, uh, it’s a long, you know, it’s a long day.

[00:35:26] If you don’t, 

[00:35:27] Zach White: we make our living with our minds as engineers, you know, in the work you and I do most anybody listening to this, it’s our mind that creates the value and a strong mind exists inside a strong body. And I think you got to take that seriously if you really want to find your peak potential.

[00:35:46] So if someone wants to run this test and go for the this morning routine and the five for five, how many days would you suggest is a good experiment for them to see if it’s helping them and getting any kind of meaningful results? If you were just going to help somebody design that test, how many days do you need to do it before you could draw any conclusions about its efficacy, if you will?

[00:36:09] Jay Aigner: I think really you have to do anything for like three weeks before, and you’ll know, you’ll know whether it’s for you or not, like a full 21 days is like a long time to do anything every day.

[00:36:22] So I think that’s, you know, once it starts to feel like. It’s been a long time. Like, like, like, uh, measure my food. Like, I don’t even think about it. Like, it’s not a question. Like everything I did, it’s because I did it for, you know, I struggled with it forever. I wanted to do it, but I did it for a few weeks.

[00:36:37] And once I did, I’m like, now it’s just, I don’t think about it. And it’s been the best habit that I, that I have. I think it’s 

[00:36:43] Zach White: awesome. I was going to say 30 days, you said 21. And so I think there’s two data points, but I’m with you. There’s something about. Like, like a one week, you can brute force it.

[00:36:54] Anybody can kind of make it happen for a week if you’re really Willpowering it and what are two weeks starts to get tough, but a lot of times for me, that second week I get kind of agitated and I, I’ve, my mind is fighting against the new thing and I’m falsely creating negative energy around it. We three, four is where you finally start to see if it has any meaning that that’s been my experience at least.

[00:37:16] So Jay, this is awesome and so much more we could dig into. I know. Happy engineers out there are going to want to understand more about your journey, or potentially they need your help in terms of software quality and they need to reach out to JDAQA. So how can people find you, your company, your work and get connected?

[00:37:35] Jay Aigner: JDAQA. com. Uh, you can reach out to me there we’ll be happy to chat. And if you want to talk about anything we talked about today, you know, happy to talk about that. 

[00:37:44] Zach White: Perfect. That will be in the show notes. Happy engineer. Go check it out as well as on our website, all the other ways to find Jay on socials, et cetera.

[00:37:51] So please do connect. If anything about this resonates for you, you want to walk a similar path that Jay has. Go start your consulting side hustle gig. Don’t wait. Just do it. Don’t wait. Jay, thanks for your time today. And I’m curious where we’ll go as we wrap up here. You know it well as a consultant, as an engineer, questions lead, answers follow.

[00:38:18] And in our life, we all want better answers. So we need to start asking better questions. What would be the question that you would lead the happy engineer with coming out of this conversation?

[00:38:33] Jay Aigner: why. Why haven’t you started your consultancy yet? I think that’s it. Why haven’t you done it? And then that will give you a list of answers that you can honestly assess and see if they’re just excuses or if they’re legitimate reasons or whatever, but just why haven’t you started yet? I mean, I like to see people be business owners.

[00:38:57] It’s a fun time you got to take advantage of now and you can wait forever if you want to. But, uh, why are you waiting, man? 

[00:39:05] Zach White: Why haven’t you started your consultancy yet? Jay, thanks again for the time, man. This has been super fun. We’ll have to do it again in the 

[00:39:15] Jay Aigner: future.

[00:39:16] Absolutely. Thanks for having me on Zach. Appreciate it, buddy.