Today, I officially turn 21 and with that I wanted to write a blog to reflect my journey leading up to now. I have many goals to reach, and while I still have a bit to go - each achievement certainly helps with that.
For background, I've been into computer programming since I was 11 years old. First starting off tinkering with Lego Mindstorm - where you could program lego mechanics to do things.
As time went on, I started to get involved with Minecraft, which lead me to learn Java and building server-sided modifications for the game. I then began to learn to build websites, and the desire to collect premium one-word domain names.
Over the years, I've started projects, and also killed many in the process. I lost motivation too quickly, why? I was too engrossed with revenue, which meant if I didn't generate quickly, I felt like it just wasn't working.
The last year for me especially has been a huge game changer, and it has let me become more confident as a person, and I've learnt a lot in the process. Project Background
I started my new job in January 2020, working 6 days a week, and wanted a fun project to work on in my small but limited time. A friend played a game-mode within Minecraft, and wanted a website that could track the items within the game. I started work on the project, and launched it pre-covid (Early March), it gave me something to work on.
This was a project I solely built for the pleasure aspect, no form of monetisation was even considered within this project. However, I was unaware of the potential that this website would turn out to be. Shortly after it being live, multiple YouTubers with a high influence within the game-mode started making videos, covering it and how to use. This propelled my site, and we was starting to gain hundreds of concurrent visitors to the platform.
As we started to gain visitors, I was then messaged by another friend who mentioned the idea of putting google ads on my website. Considering the experience I had before, I was hesitant as from what I knew, the pay was absolutely awful. I agreed and set these up, and was shocked to see I was generating $700-$1,000 per month just from Google. This allowed us to remain free-to-use, whilst also covering our server costs - which was around $200, certainly not cheap for the 90 million rows of data that we had. The Last Year
By this point, the project was generating income, but I was also eager to earn more, as Google certainly doesn't have the best rates. I started to individually reach out to companies relating to my websites audience - Minecraft. We used the market average CPM, which I believe was $18-20, which gave us a price of $3,250 a month.
We started gaining sponsorships on a monthly basis, which allowed us to be at a higher income and build the ground work to potentially go full-time on this. I had heard of MicroAcquire - a 0% commission marketplace for smaller businesses to get a reach. It sounded crazy, but it sparked the curiosity for me to give it a go, at the end of the day - it cost me nothing to list. So, I decided to list it for a decently high 5-figure number, thinking it would just stay there unsold.
Shortly after listing, I was flooded with requests, most being spammy, one-word messages that never continued. However, a small few people was genuinely interested which lead to countless zoom meetings and back and forth emails. This lead to us close to acquisition, we negotiated on a price, and within weeks the money was in my account.
This is the first successful business I have sold, and wow, MicroAcquire just makes it super easy to sell your business. What I Learnt
Going from countless projects that failed due to lack of motivation, with too much focus solely on the monetisation aspect of it - my advice would be to focus on projects for the pleasure and enjoyment. You can still focus on the monetisation, but leave that to the end to implement and think, it'll mean you build features people want, and not features just for money sake.
In addition, go with the tech stack that you personally are comfortable with, I personally have come across a multitude of idiots telling me to use X or Y, but the end goal here is to provide a solution to a potential customer, not a developer or anything of that alike. Often when you get replies such as "ew php", or "but you're a php developer" it stems down to jealously, because so what? If it works, and you are comfortable - use it.
The final note I have to say is go build solutions that customers will want to pay for - but focus on your core functionality as your primary goal, and forget about being peer pressured into certain tech stacks. If it works for you, and it lets you build that solution, then.. go.. use.. it!