I’ve been striving for success for one of my products for a long time now. I started moneyio.co.uk, my first productized service in 2008 and had hopes and dreams it would go on to be a meteoric success, it didn’t. I then created a number of other products including (but not limited to): domdash.com, met.nu, known.io, appspike.com, microlists.com and followstatus.com. So far I’ve made roughly $1,200 from around 5,110 hours (averaging 2 hours every day for 8 years) working on these side-projects, $1000 of which was for the sale of tinylists.com (moved to microlists.com), the rest from advertising revenue.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not all lost time that I’ve sunk into these projects, I’ve learnt a lot along the way about MVC frameworks, PHP, Node.js, Docker etc, design, UX, speaking to customers, capturing metrics, selling domains, creating identities and branding. In fact I’m pretty sure my trade of being a frontend web developer has bonused 10x more than going on training courses.
Learn from your mistakes
I’m coming to realise my biggest issue has been lack of focus or more specifically, lack of focus on the things that matter. I’ve been caught up in tools, processes and spending too much time consuming Entreporn when I could be researching & developing.
It’s worth noting that my opportunities of spending time designing & developing have been sporadic, basically as much as a couple of hours each day either from early mornings in coffee shops before work or late into the evening in bed. These bursts are really too short to make meaningful progress on anything significant so I’ve just chipped away on stuff that takes my fancy in the moment. Given that I’ve got a growing family to support & entertain and a job to hold down, these windows of opportunity are going to have to continue for the forseeable future.
Work smarter, not harder
It’s time to get real, I need to solve a real problem well and market it effectively to become a profitable venture. I honestly believe I have the potential to achieve something that allows me to work for myself and employ people to help me, I can code, design & talk to people. I just need to get a hell of a lot smarter about what I do, how I do it and what I don’t do.
I‘ll write a follow-up post on how I plan on making changes and how I will measure my progress but in the meantime I’d be keen to hear your stories if you’ve been in the same boat?