I've always pursued new opportunities on the side of my desk. My curiosity keeps getting the better of me. Thing is: I never found a way to make it work while being employed full time.
My background is in sales, but I've always been a tinkerer. My mind wanders and I like learning new things. I'm certified in Data Science, Digital Marketing, and Product. It's been an unconventional career.
I studied history in university, which has nothing to do with my current profession (I'm a Director at a Vancouver-based marketing agency). Before that: business development at a VR/AR studio. We combined branding, design, 3D modelling, and the new tech for real-estate developers. The company was LNG Studios.
A blog I authored thinking to myself: "a Harvey Spectre-type" will read it and offer me a job - actually got me that job at LNG. I expected a close to a real-life version of Suits... It kind of happened. But not really. Life's not like that. Lesson learned.
And it taught me a lot about making deals. It went well. I performed well. My individual sales over a couple of years were near $2M. In context: a year before I joined the company's total revenue was around the same. The company grew, learned many lessons, and I did the same.
Before and after that was a career roller-coaster. I tried all kinds of things. Freelance copywriting, brokering sales for local agencies, recruiting, mentorship, admin work on a Youtube show called Deal or Bust, and more.
Naturally, most of these endeavours led me to a classic fork in the road. Made enough money and liked what I was doing - but never jumped into full-time entrepreneurship.
My time managing Nathan Latka's SaaS Hackers Community opened my eyes. So many awesome founders in that community were building wonderful businesses.
I couldn't help but feel like what I was doing just wasn't enough. My excuses caught up to me. I entered a dark period in my career. I felt slow, embarrassed, and wasn't sure what to do next.
Why Ship 21 in 2021?
I landed on shipping 21 of my random ideas in 2021.
My year would be made if even a few people came to me and said "Darwin, I love what you're doing, you convinced me to ship my own side-project."
Of course, I also plan to make money here. Can't leave that out.
Starting so many projects in such a short amount of time is odd, I've been told. At the time of writing this, there are less than 7 months left in 2021. It's a tall task that defies "focus on one thing" advice. Whatever. It's possible.
My theory: systems and processes will alleviate much of the expected burden. It won't be easy though. Schedule management will be key (same with minding the budget 😅). My belief is that instead of focusing on one golden egg, this will force me to nurture a golden goose. One that continuously lays golden eggs. This is another concept I'm ripping from Nathan.
But I've no doubt that it'll all be worth it. I've told everyone I know about this. At this point, going back on my word would embarrass tf out of me. No choice at this point.
I'll be building all this in public, and will naturally share progress. For now:
I can't code. If that's not enough, no-code is fast, efficient, cheap(er) than other options, and well documented. There are guides to build many things without code already. The industry is hot (so well-funded), and growing. Part of the whole premise of this is showing anyone can do this on the side of your desk. No-code obviously supports that thesis.
"One tool, multiple instances"
Swapping in and out of accounts will take time and become an admin burden. I also care that the tools I work with are pleasant to use. So once I find one I like, I don't want to switch (provided they have these compounding gains).
Noton and Airtable are all I need for everything data and organizing. Super.so (a sponsor), builds websites on top of Notion. Buttondown allows hosting multiple newsletters on a single account. All of these compounding instances in single tools make the entire process more efficient.
I'm not just doing this for fun. I want to make money. So by building distribution-focused side-projects first (newsletters, social channels, video content), they can boost future projects. If I build products first, and then distribution first, the products won't make money until word gets out anyway. Might as well start with media projects.
These projects cost money. Sponsors who can benefit from the exposure of what I'm doing should join. Some of these may be in-kind. Others perhaps cash. As they become part of the community, it's a win-win for all of us. Especially the people who see the campaign and want to genuinely learn from my experiences for their benefit.
A hub (Notion), form builder (Tally), website builder (Super), email sender (Buttondown), database (Airtable), analytics, and a social media scheduler.
As of right now, this is all I believe I'll need. Will update as we go.
Making the Most of This:
I'm beyond excited as my fingers fly across this keyboard. I'd love for you to keep in touch by subscribing to my letters. It's the best way to learn the lessons, and be part of the journey.