Welcome to my income report 💰 for January 2020

In January I have earned $222 in total. About 32% more than in the previous month.

What I did in January

So what really happened in January?

Celebrated the Chinese New Year’s Eve

In January, our family celebrated the Chinese New Year’s Eve. The only family tradition we kept after moving to the Czech Republic.

Usually, during this time in Vietnam, the streets would be crowded with people celebrating, drinking, eating and having fun. Spending their time together with family and friends.

I remember my last Chinese New Year’s Eve in Hanoi, I was five years old and my mom drove me on a bicycle to the city center. As I sat on the back of the bicycle, I watched others on motorbikes driving like crazy, honking like a broken record and pulling behind a chain of firecrackers.

I loved that day. The everpresent noise, the gunpowder smell, the delicious food, the good times with family and friends.

Since then a lot has changed. The government prohibited drinking while driving and I believe people don’t go crazy as they used to.

In Czech, the celebration has shrunk to a peaceful family dinner. The only time when we all genuinely sit at one table together. If it was not for very specific food, you would not know, that we celebrate a New Year’s Eve.

Bought a new domain

I also bought a brand new dot com domain for one of my upcoming projects. I won’t reveal the niche yet, but I can tell the technology stack I plan to use.

Having had a great experience with Django in the past, I will build a semi-static website using Django as my backend and Django templates with Vue JS as my front-end.

Yes, you read it right. I am going to learn yet another javascript framework – Vue JS, knowing it took me two years to learn React JS and Redux.

Don’t get me wrong, React JS is a great framework for SPA. But since this won’t be a SPA and I am getting tired of managing jQuery codebase, I needed a lightweight javascript framework, that would allow me to use it anywhere without compiling the code while providing a simple component life-cycle logic.

Vue JS seems to be a great contender, originally invented in China by an ex-googler. It should serve my purposes well.

Failed to negotiate real estate deal

My real estate deal from the last year fell apart. I knew the real estate agent was a lying lazy ass, but I didn’t know how bad it is until she sent a reservation contract draft.

Even though the contract was more detailed than any previous one I read and was a three-sided agreement, the penalty clauses were clearly one-sided.

The seller would pay a small fine if he didn’t sign in time. But the buyer would lose the whole reservation fee deposit if anything went wrong with getting financing in time.

The weirdest part is what will happen with the reservation fee. Can you guess?

The agent and seller will split the amount fifty-fifty as a profit. I can tell you right now something shady is going on here. The seller and the agent have a closer relationship than it appears.

Of course, she went silent after I proposed to amend the contract with clauses defending my deposit. And I even offered to pay legal fees upfront.

Sigh, I should be glad, that I dodged the bullet.

Built a new rendering rig

Seven years passed since I upgraded the desktop last time. It was 2012 when my power supply unit died during a stormy night.

An ultimate sign from above, that I should do an upgrade. But at that time, I didn’t have any money, so I replaced only the most critical components with the best performance for price ratio in mind.

Fast forward it’s 2020 and my old Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM desktop cannot keep up with my needs anymore. When I faced the fact, that it will take me three weeks to render two hours video, I said enough is enough.

And as mentioned in the previous income report, I ordered new components, that should be powerful enough to reduce the rendering time to 48 hours for 2 hours video.

This time, I didn’t have a hard cap on my budget and I bought some really nice accessories, such as an overpriced PC case and 4 fans to cool this beast.

It took my bro one evening to build this thing from the ground up. And he did a really good job of creating a beautiful machine, that can replace any Ikea furniture.

Now I get why channels focusing on building PC rigs are so popular. Not everyone can build a car in his garage, but everyone can build their dream PC for less than 500 USD in his bedroom.

Released TheHustle to the public

Another milestone I achieved in January was to fix all visible bugs and finish the user onboarding process of TheHustle to the point I was not embarrassed to show it to the world.

The user can now register a new account, pay a membership fee and get activated after successful payment. That means TheHustle as a web app is done and now it is all about promotion, marketing and just doing everything to get the first paying customer.

And it is no easy task, let me tell you. If you thought, the money will start pouring in after you publish your SaaS, then I have to disappoint you. But more on that in the live projects section below.

Live projects

The Hustle App

In January, I continued to use The Hustle every day, fix all bugs and released TheHustle to the public.

The major milestone was

  • Adding public profile pages
  • Adding missing registration workflow pages
  • Adding paywall to the registration process
  • Redesigning landing page
  • Redesigning app itself and make it responsive
  • Finishing user testing with family and friends
  • Adding legal stuff
  • Posting TheHustle on Subreddit and Quora

As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t found the product-market fit with TheHustle yet. The competition is fierce and every week, someone launches his own productivity tool and offers it for free.

And because TheHustle is a paid SaaS, it is hard to convert people to pay for something they don’t need. Yeah, I said it. Productivity tools don’t solve any pain. What solves the pain is procrastination, being lazy and doing nothing.

Doing something and hustling creates unbearable pain in our brains. That is why most people try random productivity methods or tools and give up after a short period of time.

Then why I have wasted two years creating something useless? Well, because I needed a tool, that tracks how well I am utilizing my free time. And for this purpose, It serves perfectly well.

So maybe I should be more specific with the sales proposition and promote time tracking features instead of productivity features. Because after all, my pain was watching life go by without taking any action.

Anyway,  I got the courage and post about TheHustle on subreddit and got only 5 upvotes, one registration and zero paying customers.

To be honest, I expected more buzz from the crowd but downvotes kept my post buried deep in the feed. The good news is I got no harsh reactions or critiques.

Most of the comments were on the curious side asking questions on how it works and if it’s free. One Redditor was especially nice and wrote a long comment with valid suggestions.

First, it is not clear how my app looks like, there is no video or image showing the full app.

Second, my sales copy is too cheesy, full of emojis and dumb jokes. He suggested me to reconsider a more serious approach so people don’t get an impression, that TheHustle is a scam.

Third, I should bring more of my personality to the project. After all, TheHustle was created to solve my problem and I am the one, who should explain that the problem exists, that it is painful and that it can be solved with TheHustle.

So that’s for my first initial launch to the public. Not a success, but also not a flop. There is a lot of work to be done before I can launch on ProductHunt and I hope I will get first paying customers soon.

So in February, I would like to:

  • Create an animated GIF to visualize the app
  • Launch on Producthunt

Good House Music

At the time of writing this post, my Good House Music Youtube Channel grew to 47 subscribers. A 9% increase over the previous month.

For the time being, I put the channel on hold, because I didn’t have time to set up my new rendering rig for DJ production. I have installed Serato DJ Pro, but I still have to migrate all the music from the old computer to the new one.

I also did some research on Visual mixing aka VJing and as far I know, there is no automatic way to generate music videos with compelling visuals.

Some forums mention Blender, Unity or other 3D engines to manually create infinite loops, but it will require so much time to learn from scratch. So for now, I will stick with my simple audio visualizer.

Financia

I added a few articles to my personal finance niche site to make it appear more alive. I also checked my Mailchimp account and was quite surprised, that my newsletter list grew to 12 subscribers!

People seem to be interested in the finance topic, so I should keep my word and send a real newsletter from time to time 🙂

Other than that nothing much happened.

💰 Income Report Breakdown

For charts and numbers, click on my new Open page

P2P Lending

There was no progress in diversifying my P2P portfolio to different currencies and lenders.

Savings Accounts

One of the banks started to offer a regular saving program, giving me 2% for a 4k USD monthly deposit. The rate is valid only for six months though. Since it is better than 1.6% on the best no commitment savings account in the Czech Republic, I opted in.

AdSense

There was a nice bump in AdSense revenue thanks to increased traffic on Financia and deploying AutoAds feature on my blog.

Used Stuff Sales

My path to life minimalism took another step in January. I revised all my belongings and was shocked I still own over 641 material items.

Most of them are useless, without purpose, which I collected or bought over the years. So I decided to declutter my life even more and get rid of the stuff.

Right now about 79 items are in active use, 79 have been put on sale, 91 will be stored for later use and 61 will be archived due to sentimental value (treasured memories). The rest ended in a trash can.

The time spent on inventory audit paid off after I sold two Playstation 1 games, a Windows 98 installation diskette, an old VHS Panasonic camera, and an outdoor mat.

Future plans, dreams, and wishes

My goals for February are following. Launch TheHustle on ProductHunt, finish a chrome extension MVP, diversify portfolio with EUR denominated P2P lenders and reboot my crypto trading strategy.

That would be it. Thank you so much for following me on this journey and see you in the next report.

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