Entrepreneurship Journal, 9/20/2017

Product

Last time I wrote it was to say that I decided to back-burner Angular on Rails.

I had decided to move onto a new idea called Landing Page Breakdowns. The idea seemed good for a while but then I realized I didn’t know exactly who I was targeting with LPB or what exactly I was offering them. I found it really hard to even begin to gain traction for this reason.

Since then I’ve moved onto another idea that’s less of a radical departure from what I’ve tried before. I’m calling the new project AWS for Rails Developers. The idea is similar to the Angular + Rails idea except I’m of course applying it to AWS instead of Angular.

Here are some reasons why I think I can reasonably expect AWS + Rails to go better than Angular + Rails:

  • AWS changes at a slower rate than Angular, and the back-end world in general is less fickle than the front-end world
  • I personally enjoy AWS as a topic more than Angular
  • Unlike Angular, I don’t have a philosophical problem with AWS as a technology (although I might have some philosophical problems with Amazon as a company, but then again I definitely have some philosophical problems with Google as a company, the company behind Angular)
  • AWS costs money to use (sometimes a huge amount of money), so I think I can reasonably expect that the people I attract might be more closely tied to serious commercial activities than the people Angular + Rails attracted

All this is unproven and remains to be seen. I don’t even consider AWS for Rails Developers to be my official next business endeavor yet. I view what I’m doing as research. I’m asking the question, “Does anybody give a shit about this?” and trying to arrive at a reasonably confident answer as fast as possible.

So far I’ve put out one blog post which gave me a modestly good spike in traffic (~50 visits the first and second days of the post being live) and two email subscribers. I consider the email subscribers a stronger indicator of people caring about the topic than the traffic.

Right now I’m working on a second blog post that I think speaks more to the heart of the challenges encountered when working with AWS + Rails. My next goal is to get 10 email subscribers.

Service

I’ve decided to drastically simplify things on the service side. I’m not planning to take on any new training gigs anytime soon (unless on the off chance a wildly lucrative one falls into my lap). I started working with a new client full-time about 7 weeks ago. It’s a contract arrangement but for all intents and purposes it’s basically a full-time job. I’m okay with this. I’ve spent about 6 years experimenting with ways to get to a better place with freelancing and the only thing that has resulted from most of the things I’ve tried is disappointment, frustration and lost money. I’m glad I tried everything I’ve tried, though, because now I have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned that freelance programming is basically a sham and it’s futile to try to have a good freelance programming career because “good freelance programming career” is basically a contradiction in terms. The vast majority of freelance programmers (like 99%+, I would guess) are just contractors, just a tiny notch away from full-time employment. I do believe it’s possible to create a lucrative and enjoyable service business for oneself, I just believe it has to involve selling a service other than coding. (The service itself can involve coding but the thing sold can’t be coding, the thing sold has to be a result that may or may not be achieved by coding.) So long story short, I plan to take a long hiatus from attempting to improve my freelancing business. I have a small amount of discretionary time/energy available to me outside of client work and family time and I plan to devote 100% of that discretionary time and energy to moving forward with product income. Oh, I also stepped down as organizer of Grand Rapids JavaScript Meetup and stopped attending all three of the mastermind groups I was part of. I’m really making it a point to concentrate my efforts and simplify my schedule.

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