Welcome to my income report for September 2020

In September I have earned $99 in total. About 2% less than in the previous month.

What I Did In September

So what happened in September?

Worked Hard On The Flask Project

Since the moment I was contacted by a real user, who showed an interest in my project, I have been obsessed with making it better.

You have to understand, that none of my previous projects, except for this blog, gained any positive or encouraging feedbacks in the past.

I always developed something, put it out there, saw no interest, and moved on.

This time, it’s different. I am finally experiencing a startup phase called the product-market fit. There is a need for my minimum viable product, but it does not yet solve a problem painful enough for the customer to put their money on the table.

What I have to do is to make fixes and changes, that reflect customer needs more closely.

So I spent a lot of time showing the MVP to my friends, who gave me a lot of insights on their user experience. Some of them were not at all obvious to me.

It is always good to have a second opinion. For example, who would think, that it is a bad user experience to have a min-max slider?

Say, the user has a certain value in mind, but it takes him ages to hit the right number because of the huge min-max range.

I could go on and on, but you see the point.

My todo list grew to epic proportions, after the interviews and I have been slowly coding the changes one by one. You can find a more detailed list below in this post.

The moral of the story is…it is fun to develop something people want and like to use.

Migrated VPHVentures Blog To a LEMP Stack

Usually, my WordPress projects are hosted on a shared LAMP stack hosting. LAMP stands for a technology stack combining MySQL database, PHP, and Apache server.

It is very easy to set up a WordPress from scratch on shared hosting. Just purchase the plan, copy files to the FTP server and run the installation wizard.

In 10 minutes, you can have a working blog and you can immediately start writing content.

If it works so well and the blog does not have any performance issues, why even think about migration to another hosting service?

Well, most shared hosting providers baits you with steep discounts valid only for the first year.

In 2018, I paid only 5 bucks. The year after, without the discount, I paid 25 bucks a year.

Not so bad right? Premium WordPress hosting providers charge 25 bucks a month! The thing is, why pay more if I can consolidate all my online projects into one VPS server, self-managed by me?

Since I already pay 6 USD a month for the smallest Linode VPS server, it made sense to consider the migration. The issue though is that my VPS uses Nginx instead of Apache as a server.

So I had to learn about installing and running WordPress without Apache, with fewer resources and weaker computing power.

I was afraid, that MySQL and PHP will bog down the processor and RAM and will make my other python projects slower.

Fortunately, WordPress can run blazingly fast even on the smallest Linode thanks to various optimization and caching techniques such as PHP Fast-CGI, gzip, etc.

Not only is my blog much faster now, but I also saved a lot of money too! Talk about win-win.

I planned migration the year before, but I was about to start a 9-5 project in Vienna and was afraid of the complexity, so I am glad I got it done this year.

The process alone was not so daunting at all. Just the research itself. Install PHP, Mysql, make configuration for NGINX, back up my blog, migrate DB data, and redirect DNS settings. Easy!

Ditched My Productivity Framework Based On Maslow Hierarchy

My attempt to use my new productivity framework, introduced in the last income report, didn’t last long.

After two weeks I felt being dragged down by mind-numbing tasks, that might be important according to the hierarchy, but utterly unrelated to my long term goals and my inner voice.

While my gut told me to work on the Flask project, my to-do list suggested researching pension plans. As a result, I have not enjoyed either.

So I decided to listen to my gut and just do whatever I wanted the most.

While I got more things done, meaning big chunks of work, that would otherwise take weeks or months, I felt burnout more often because I wanted to overcome the roadblocks no matter what.

Sometimes I just could not make any progress and procrastinate by watching youtube.

So the good middle ground would be giving the priority to the most wanted tasks.

Then if I face an unbreakable challenge and was idle for longer than 30 minutes, I should take a break and switch to a task with different contexts.

That way, my brain will rest and I will get more practical things done in total. Let’s see how it goes in the next month.

Live projects

The Hustle App

In September, I continued to use The Hustle every day.

Unfortunately, I have not touched the project since August due to being fully focused on my Flask project. For now, I am putting it on hold, because I believe my attention is better spent elsewhere.

Since I am permanently working from home, tracking time is not that important anymore, because I will always find 4 hours of my free time for my personal projects every day.

Such is a great benefit of not having to commute to work, dressing up, and eating outside. Those three hours will count up.

If I ever decide to continue with the pivot, the priority would still be the same, finish fancy UI features on the settings screen and move quickly to the main screen.

Good House Music

At the time of writing this post, my Good House Music Youtube Channel grew to 161 subscribers. A 6% increase over the previous month.

I have uploaded only 3 videos and the statistics reflect the inactivity. While during the summer, when I uploaded almost daily, the number of views doubled to over 100 a day, now it settled on 30-40 a day.

Youtube just doesn’t like inactive channels.

To play the game, 1 video a day for music channels and 3 videos a week for branded channels is an appropriate number if you want steady growth.

I will keep uploading till I reach 200 uploads, then we will see if it is going anywhere.

Financia

I worked hard on Financia in September.

  • Started a regular discount list newsletter
  • Changed the design and content of my Facebook group
  • Also revived a Facebook page
  • Refreshed savings accounts database
  • Improved SEO a little bit
  • Added various information on the listing page
  • Fixed savings accounts calculator
  • Fixed savings accounts infobox
  • Made listing items clickable
  • Added various information on detail pages
  • Added a community page with a link to my Facebook group
  • Added a map view
  • Added collective ownership properties
  • Improved content locker
  • Refactored aggregation logic in the backend
  • Added breadcrumb navigation
  • Added listing view state persistence
  • Did various backend and database optimizations

I have covered Financia above, but except for the excitement from product development, I have experienced a fair share of hurdles as well.

Sad to say I lost almost two weeks of my time because I accidentally deleted some crucial data from a production environment.

How it can happen?

Well during the development I was too lazy to create a dedicated DB table for testing purposes and used the same as the production one.

I had not foreseen, that someday in the future, I might want to touch the table to introduce new features.

And that is what happened. I forgot to switch to the testing environment and executed truncate on a production table.

In the following weeks, I spent whole days recreating the data I lost. It was a painful experience, but now I know better.

I learned a lot about database optimization in the process, such as creating materialized views, indexes, and optimal configuration of Postgres databases.

Well, I had to.

The project still runs on the smallest Linode VPS with 1 core and 1 GB Ram. If I wanted to scale it to cover triple the amount of data, I had to do a major refactoring of backend logic and database structures.

I hope it will pay off in the future. I am not ready to pay 10 USD a month for VPS since I don’t earn any money yet.

Income Report Breakdown

For charts and numbers, click on my new Open page

P2P Lending

Nothing has changed in September.

My P2P strategies are turned off and I am still waiting on the sideline. Mintos lenders are still owing me a lot in pending payments.

Savings Accounts

In September, I rebalanced a small portion of my savings. It seems interest rates will stay near zero for another year.

Used Stuff Sales

My path to life minimalism went well in September. I got rid of an ethernet switch and a pair of car speakers. The less material things I own, the more freedom I get.

Plans, dreams, and wishes

My goals for October are the following. Make Financia better, start a new authority website, and finally start producing video content on regular basis.

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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