Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

Senior Mindset Book

Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

Senior Engineer Mindset cover
Learn more

    After a year, my first business diary retires

    This week last year, I started a business diary. Spurred on by the success of React+d3js, it was time to get serious.


    Every week, I would write down some numbers, take stock of how I pushed my side-hustle forward, and brainstorm some ideas on what to do next. Here’s what that first page said:

    Sales this week - Aug 9th, 2015 - Aug 15th, 2015:

    10 Student packages -> $87

    1 Engineer package -> $59


    Udemy course -> 112 students1

    Reactd3 email subscribers -> 160

    Blog subscribers -> 78


    React page views: 380

    Adwords: $70, 11k views, 30 clicks

    FB ads: $1, 5 actions, 4 clicks


    • published promo blogpost, this one
    • adjusted Drip campaign timing
    • researched email performance
    • started working on React+d3js update


    $75 profit


    This Sunday, I wrote the last page that would fit in this notebook. Most entries were about a week apart, but some had an entire month between them. Life gets busy, and transcribing stats from charts you find online into a notebook is never a priority.

    Here’s what the last page says:

    Sales this week

    7 student packages -> $117

    4 Why programmers work at night -> $0

    53 ES6 cheatsheet -> $8


    Reactd3 -> 4,341

    Why programmers work at night -> 736

    Blog -> 944

    Live coding -> 194

    Medium -> 427


    FBads: $46, 29 leads, decent reach


    $201 loss ?


    • paid my editor
    • I should move this to a spreadsheet

    I probably should move my diary into a spreadsheet, but I’m on the fence about this. A spreadsheet makes it easier to look at trends and draw pretty graphs. A notebook makes it easier to appreciate life.

    And yes, the last week in this diary is a $201 loss while the first week was a $75 profit. What a colossal failure! But not really. It fluctuates. Unlike a year ago, I have an editor now. I pay somebody to look at every single thing I publish.

    I started looking for one right after that first week in the diary. A few weeks later, I had an editor. My side-hustle usually has a loss on the weeks that his monthly invoice comes through.

    Such is life.

    Here’s what happened in this year of side-hustling:

    React Indie Bundle - 6 authors, 1 sale, $30k in a week

    React+d3js ES6 - book rewrite, relaunch, $9k in first month

    Weekly livecoding - pure fun, excuse to do cool shit

    React+D3 workshops - 3 iterations, about $9k

    ES6 cheatsheet - 1,184 emails, $314

    Daily blogging experiment - ongoing, stay tuned

    $27k in my share of sales2; 4 products launched; 2 things started to encourage doing cool shit; $4k spent on advertising; $2k on consultants; and some $2k on education materials.

    That’s an overall profit of about $19k.

    Which means I’m not investing enough in growth.

    1. This was my Mastering d3.js video course published through Packt. It has since died a whimpering death and has gone from Udemy. I don’t know if it’s still making sales somewhere else. We never even broke through the advance amount. ↩︎

    1. React Indie Bundle and the Workshops are a collaboration so I don’t get the whole pie. ↩︎

    Published on August 26th, 2016 in Business, Learning, Personal, side business, Side Projects

    Did you enjoy this article?

    Continue reading about After a year, my first business diary retires

    Semantically similar articles hand-picked by GPT-4

    Senior Mindset Book

    Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companies

    Learn more

    Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.

    Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.

    Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.

    Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev

    Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization

    Want to get my best emails on JavaScript, React, Serverless, Fullstack Web, or Indie Hacking? Check out swizec.com/collections

    Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog

    Want to brush up on your modern JavaScript syntax? Check out my interactive cheatsheet: es6cheatsheet.com

    By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️

    Created by Swizec with ❤️