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    How I sidehustled $72,167 last year, and what I wanna do next

    2017 was bonkers. It started with an almost finished rewrite of React+D3v4 and a realization that I had 6x'd my income in 4 years.

    πŸ’₯ Start with a bang πŸ’ͺ

    Then I got busy with the sponsored Shoutem React Native school project and everything else slowed down. Creating a new React Native app every other week is hard.

    So it took me 7 months of tweaking and updating React+D3v4 before it was ready. During this time, I also experimented with 1-on-1 coaching, tried selling React & D3 workshops to consumers, and started vlogging.

    Vlogging is fun, great for brand building. People comment about it a lot in real life, but they don't press the magic Like button as much. Β―_(ツ)_/Β―

    Overall, the business was on life support. I flirted with the idea of giving up and living a normie life almost daily. It just seems so much easier.

    You go to work, you build what you're told, you offload your stress, do overtime when the boss likes it, and collect your fat paycheck. Being a Silicon Valley startup employee is easy.

    But it's not as fun.

    It's like my friend said, "If you quit your sidehustle, you're just gonna start a new one. Do you really think you can sit still and focus on One Thing?"


    Business picked up again in September. React+D3v4 launched to little excitement and tiny fanfare. Preorders were great, but there's only so long you can keep people excited. When your product is 7 months late or more… heh πŸ˜…

    React+D3v4 did make $6.5k during launch, so yay. Best sidehustle month in history. πŸ’ͺ

    Until October. October made me crap my pants.

    A workshop deal from Real World React fell in my lap and I taught the StubHub SF team about React and Redux. I also turned 30 and ran a birthday promotion that made almost $6k in 1 day.

    Life was good. I was flying high. Then November was bad, then December was good again. Another StubHub workshop. This time in Boston.


    For the curious, here's how the year breaks down.

    Total revenue: $72,167

    Product sales: $37,240

    Packt royalties: $2,188

    Workshops: $19,684

    React Native School: $10,793

    Time investment: 864 hours

    An average of 16 hours per week, making a respectable but not great $83/h.

    Total cost/investment: ~$43,000

    Creating a measly post-cost pre-tax income of $33/hour.

    Better than minimum wage ($13/h) but talk to any engineer in Silicon Valley and they will tell you that number is just sad. I might as well give up now.

    But where's the fun in that?

    What I wanna do and build in 2018

    Ultimately the goal for 2018 is to maintain this trajectory πŸ‘‡

    Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 01.16.17

    That means I gotta 2x my revenue. A cool $144,000. Preferably without 3x-ing the cost or worse.


    Because freedom, that's why. Money is freedom.

    The more πŸ’° you have, the more you can do whatever you want. Something cool tickle your intellect? Wanna lock yourself in your room for 2 weeks and hack on something cool?

    Can't do that if you got bills to pay and nothing to pay them with.

    And I really want to do that.

    So how am I going to get there? I don't know yet to be honest. It's daunting.

    Hitting $70k was largely a matter of luck. There was no systematic process. No step-by-step plan I followed to get there. I just did things and hoped for the best.

    What I wanna build

    My strategic plan is a lot like that. I'm going to Do Things and then Stuff Will Happen. I need to work on that plan, but here's a list of some things plan to create πŸ‘‡

    • I wanna start a daily video series. Learn X while you poop. 2-min videos teaching React and Redux based on my StubHub workshop. Expand if that goes well.

    Not sure yet if this will be a paid product, a membership product, or a purely brand building marketing product. Perhaps all 3.

    • I’m going to update es2017.io for 2018 and add any new stuff that's coming to JavaScript. Keep that cheatsheet current.
    • Create similar interactive cheatsheets for React, Redux, MobX, and D3. Separate cheatsheet for each. They're great lead magnets for email subscribers.
    • I want to build an open source Make Your Own Blockchain library based on Redux, Firebase, and some WebRTC. This is already in progress. Not sure yet where I'm going with this, but it's scratching my intellectual curiosity real good.If the blockchain works, I want to use it for a project/product/startup I had in mind. Not ready yet to tell you what it is just yet. πŸ˜‡

    But that doesn't give me too many products I can sell, now does it? Guess I'm just gonna have to write books/guides/courses about the stuff I learn along the way.

    It feels dangerous to set that as a sort of throwaway side goal, but I want to get better at iterating and launching products quickly. When I learn a cool new piece of tech, or figure something out, it shouldn't take me 9 months to write a guide about it.

    What needs to improve

    And that's what needs to improve. I have to get better at launching infoproducts quicker. I'm already good at writing every day. I can sit down and blurt out thousands of words on a topic.

    Those Shoutem React Native articles, 4000+ words each? They took me 3 days to research and 2 days to write and video.

    If you put that in a book, it makes about 30 pages. I should definitely be able to launch more books and courses. Just gotta find the fire under butt. πŸ”₯πŸ‘

    Another very important part of the sidehustle that I need to improve is https://swizec.com. The homepage hasn't been updated in 3 years and doesn't even mention my sidehustle, which is ridiculous.

    My blog is also in dire need of an update. It doesn't work well on mobile, syntax highlighting is all messed up, and it feels crufty and weird looking.

    So I'm gonna fix that. But I'm going to hire someone to help me.

    Yes, I'm fundamentally a web developer. Yes, I can do it on my own. And yet I haven't found the time to do it in years. πŸ˜…

    Oh, and I have to work on my quote unquote Growth Engine. That's the part of the business that brings in new people every day that you can talk to. I have some ideas πŸ€”



    Published on January 3rd, 2018 in Business, Side Projects, sidehustle, Year in review

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