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Change of Career, from IT to Mushrooms...

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New Contributor
Jan 17, 2022
Hi All,
I have been working in IT as a senior infrastcuture engineer and also as a Senior IT consultant for the last 10 years. The money has been good but the job is soul destroying. Long hours, high stress. If you havent worked in IT before, the career is 24/7. Every waking moment you are thinking about the job constantly (and not in a healthy way). Money doesnt matter when you hate your job no matter how good you are at it. All i knew is that i did not want to spend the next 20 years in an office or sitting in front of a computer and making fortune 500 companies richer at the expense of my well being.
When the pandemic hit, me and my partner decided we need to look at doing something more rewarding. She is a senior developer. We talked and decided that i would not renew my contract when it expired and would look to do something out of IT. I know my skills are porfitable but only inside a business. It is not something you can "start a business" with. All you will do is create another full time job with a salary cap. However, my role did equip me with a lot of transferrable skills.

I decided to start an urban mushroom farm. What do i know about farming or growing mushrooms? at the time, absolutely nothing. Fast forward 1 year and i have developed the skillset to grow basically anything. I used my IT skills to automate the grow enviroment by using open source software and also built my own sensors.

I did some research and found only 3 other people are doing this in my city of 2.28 million and all of them started in the last 5 years and are doing very well. I know the market isnt even close to being saturated because i have been to every single farmers market and produce stores and in that time i found no one selling the gourmet mushrooms i grow. these are not the button mushrooms you get in your local supermarkets. I grow a range of summer and winter oyster mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms, lions mane, pioppino and more.

The local businesses that are growing mushrooms are selling directly to restaurants and cannot keep up with demand. i live in a city where summers average 30c days and the winter days are around 18c. These conditions make it impossible to grow gourmet mushrooms outdoors and must be done indoors and in a controlled enviroment, rasing the barrier to entry even further.

I have become obsessed with this business and have worked out all the "kinks" in the operation to where i now can comfortably say i am now ready to enter the market. I closely watched all my competitors locally and globally and learnt from thier mistakes and also thier successes.
I am only starting small as i learnt in my IT career to start small, perfect the process and then scale. I have built a modular system where it is easy to scale up with very little effort, when the time comes.

I have failed more times than not during this process and even shed a few tears when it got real bad. Each failure has always lead to a solution and improved the process. Failure is the greatest way to learn. Its been a real mental challenge to step away from a career i have been doing my whole adult life and do something with no experience.

I look forward to going through this fourm and reading on what others are doing. I have also listened to the audio book unscripted (this is what actually made me start this journey) and i am now currently listening to the great rat race escape . both books are amazing and I am very thankful MJ decided to share his knowledge!
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Last edited:

MJ DeMarco

I followed the science; all I found was money.
Staff member
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Jul 23, 2007


New Contributor
Jan 17, 2022
Mushrooms, nice! The edible kind only, or the psychedelic kind too?

Nice, I think you'll find the story relevant to your current course!
Hi MJ,
Yea just the edible kind. Unfortunately psychedelics are Schedule 9 (Prohibited Substance) where i live. However, the spores are legal for 'scientific research' ;)


Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
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Speedway Pass
Apr 23, 2020
Northern VA
Lion’s mane is valued for quite a few health benefits, and can be easily dehydrated, ground and put into pills so it’s quick and convenient.
Jan 14, 2022
Love this story. Something brilliant and like it was straight out of the far lane book. See a need, acquire the skills, and execute. Love it. Enjoy the fastlane!


New Contributor
Jan 17, 2022
can I ask if is easy to make that at home?
just to start a hobby and try something new

Hi Natan,
If you want to grow from spore to mushroom, it is not easy. Unless you have the right equipment you will just end up cultivating contamination instead of mushrooms.
If you want to skip all the steps and just grow some mushrooms, you can buy grow kits online. All the hard work has been done for you. All you need to do is provide the substrate block with the correct growing conditions (temperature, humidity & CO2).

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