I love programming. I love learning new languages, trying out new JS libraries, improving my code, optimizing it, coding things to see how they work, making stuff, I love thinking about language grammars, writing unit tests, hacking code, engineering systems. In short, programming is my thing.
Six years ago, while I was working for Siemens’ molecular imaging team in Oxford, I met a guy who was making just shy of $1000 a month from adsense and ebook sales on a blog that he’d written, it was about living on a boat. That totally blew my mind. Up till then I’d never even thought about making money any other way than getting a salary from big corp and here’s a guy making four figures with information about something I would never ever have thought would be something that people would pay for.
So I started a blog about hearing aids, something I am passionate about, and six years and 400+ posts later it is still running. That’s where my $285 comes from, in Adsense clicks.
I’ve spent a good portion of those six years programming stuff, reading stuff and learning stuff. I’ve built some free things and one paid-for thing, but the bulk of those six years have been spent coding projects that don’t get finished or looking for the cutting-edge tech idea that no-one else has had.
For six years I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been geeking out on programming and tech instead of selling things. I don’t feel like that’s six wasted years, the blogging and the coding have been lots of fun, I’ve learnt a ton and met some cool people, but if my goal is to create a side-business then I’ve failed miserably so far.
I start something, code the interesting and hard pieces of the project and then get bored
I’ve realized that all of the projects that are sitting around on my hard drive half-done are all there for the same reason: I start something, code the interesting and hard pieces of the project and then get bored – I’ve filled my geeky desire to learn and write code and then the project suddenly gets way less interesting. Failed. Again.
So I’ve re-prioritized my todo list, any project that could directly make money goes to the top, anything that will indirectly help to make money comes next, cool tech investigations and free stuff go to the bottom. Then I ordered the top items in terms of how quickly I can finish them – shortest time to the top.
Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as an enterprising individual who builds capital through risk and/or initiative. Guess I forgot the bit about the capital.