I didn’t quit my job but will build 10 products this year
There are many stories about people who yelled YOLO, quit their jobs and started building things. I admire those people, but I took a different approach.
I keep my job while spending most of my free time launching 10 products (MVPs) this year and also aiming to reach 1000 dollars revenue per month.
My Story 📖
Every single time I came up with a new product idea to test, I hit a roadblock.
I can’t code.
The next logical step would have been to learn to code and build my own stuff, right?
Instead, I kept procrastinating and taking the easier way, finding a semi-passionate developer who was open to join forces and build the product while I took care of everything else.
It was an easier approach for me because I could avoid learning and writing code. Obviously, for the sake of focus, I kept telling myself I shouldn’t be a jack of all trades master of none, I can't do coding and the other business stuff simultaneously.
Pretty solid excuse, if you ask me. 😎
But there are several problems.
1. It’s tough to motivate a developer when he has a full-time job and can take other side projects that are paying much more than I can afford.
2. Everything takes much slower since they also have personal lives as well as a full-time job.
3. I can't afford to hire someone full-time and build a simple MVP for thousands of dollars.
So most cases my dev partner just dropped off the project, and my project kinda died instantly.
At the end of 2018, I did a thorough reflection and planning for 2019. I put together a bullet-proof plan, clarifying my inner motivations and building up a strategy with daily or weekly actions to achieve my desired goals. You can see and copy my strategy here.
Long story short, the obvious turned out: I need to build and ship products 100% by myself, without developer and design help.
Damn, I always knew it! 😎
The good thing is that I had already taken actions 2 years ago.
Slowly taking action 🐌
Two years ago I published my first book, then almost a year later I released the 2nd one.
But the last year was the nuclear winter of product building.
The first significant milestone came in autumn 2018.
I came up with a cool product idea, and it seemed easy to build with tools I have been using for years. The best part? Without writing code, just a small HTML, CSS magic.
I was so proud that I built it without writing code. And this started the ball rolling.
I felt like I actually can build stuff!
I have several other ideas that definitely require coding. I think building products without coding is an awesome experience, but it has its limitations.
It was evident that I need to take my skills to the next level.
So here are my challenges:
- Learn to code (which happens simultaneously with building products)
- Ship products
- Reach my insane goals
- While working full-time
Learn to code 👨💻
I’ve already completed an HTML and CSS course in 2018 since then I can tweak websites and make simple ones from scratch.
Ship products 🚢
I have a super secret excel sheet with full of app ideas - some of them are pretty stupid - but I can’t wait to build them.
My approach is simple: I’m solving my own problems.
The thing is even if the idea is plain stupid and probably no one would use it by simply building a new product my coding skills will improve, and that will allow me to make much better and complex products in the future.
Insane goals 🥅
I set up a personal OKR for this year.
But what is OKR?
It stands for objectives and key results. It’s a goal system used by Google and other big tech companies.
Objectives are memorable qualitative descriptions of what you want to achieve.
Key Results are a set of metrics that measure your progress towards the objective.
The exciting thing about OKR is that it targets bold, ambitious goals. If you reached your goal, then it was too easy. Your goal must be stretchy; it should be a goal that makes you rethink the way you work to reach peak performance.
For me, aiming to ship 10 products is insanely difficult, but I want to stretch myself.
If I get close to it, then I will be happy. But what if I just ship 8 products? Or 6? That wouldn’t be the end of the world for sure. That would mean I still shipped 6 times more products than in the previous year, while acquired valuable coding skills.
Reaching 1000 dollars per month revenue would indicate that I built something that people want. This gonna be a much harder nut to crack.
While working full-time 🌝
Yeah, I won’t quit because I like my job.
I’m not starting new projects because I hate it, I’m starting them because I want to learn, enjoy building things, and I might get some extra bucks on the side.
If one of the projects really took off and required my full attention, then I will consider it.
I also enjoy having a stable income, so I don't stress about my cashflow every month. I have an expensive wife and a mortgage to pay.
It’s much sexier to say: “hey, I quit my job and followed my dream. I have expenses to cover, so I need to get shit done to survive.”
Maybe I’m not brave enough, but for me, this is the rational way: keep my job, experiment on the side and see what happens.
You might wonder, what about family and friends?
Hell, yeah. This is the most challenging part.
Having a full-time job and also working on the side with a tight schedule means making some sacrifices.
I will spend less time with friends, but I will visit my parents every month (I can work on the train), and I also will spend quality time with my wife (but probably a few hours less). I’m incredibly lucky that my wife supports me 100%.
I also need time to relax, I won't work on every day on my projects and spend the whole weekend working as well. Relaxation is super important. As well as exercising. So I keep doing fencing and yoga and also go swimming at least once a month.
And I also try to sleep 7-8 hours every day.
In a coming post, I will write about nitty-gritty details about my productivity strategy. Feel free to subscribe below so I can ping you once the post is published.
If you want to do the same here are some takeaways:
- Start working on a simple product right away even without coding skills (if you get stuck try Google search)
- Take a basic coding class so things will come together
- Come up with any stupid ideas and build them
- Even better if you can solve your own problems
- Take care of your body and soul: exercise, eat well and relax
- Define your inner motivation and set your goal
- Have a strategy with exact actions you should take every day to reach that goal