November 25, 2019

Reached $2,500 MRR

Harry Dry @harrydry

Have some good sponsorship news. Trainual came onboard as a new primary sponsor and EmailOctopus also decided to renew. The end result is MRR of $2,500 / mo.

Goal Nearly Accomplished

At the start of 2019 my business goal was to be able to leave my job and support myself. Being fairly young, and not have to worry about all the stuff proper adults worry about, I’m about 95% of the way.

Being crystal clear on the goal at the start of the year certainly helped making decisions.

For example, when EmailOctopus first sponsored back in August, I knew that was enough momentum to leave my job. I wasn’t making enough money at the time. But being so clear on the end goal it just seemed like the right step. And I guess my decisiveness was rewarded.

Longer term sponsorship cycles

I’d probably make more money if I spent time each week sending out outreach emails looking for new sponsors for each new edition of the newsletter.

But there’s an opportunity cost to this. 5 days working on the site would go down to 4 days.

 So I like to keep the sponsorship cycles at minimum 3 month periods.

The idea is to stay fully focused on growth. And it's self fulfilling because if your site grows then sponsors find you organically and you don't have to worry as much about outreach ...

Definitely inefficient

Despite the good news, I still feel like I'm pretty inefficient. Days where I go to bed thinking, “that was a good day ...” are rare.

I think the problem is I try to work all the time and the result is wasting a lot time. You fill the time you allocate. If you allocate 5 hours, you get it done in 5 hours. If you allocate 12 hours you can waste 7 of them.

Before Christmas I hope to solve this. It requires better time management, scheduling things in the day which aren't work, and being stronger mentally. Any advice, I'm all ears.

Thanks for reading. Over and out.

  1. 14

    In my opinion, the key to productivity is to have large chunks of work followed by long breaks for many reasons:

    -often the hardest thing with procrastination is to convince yourself to begin. If you do several short breaks, you will have to convince yourself to work multiple times.
    -entering the zone requires time, according to science about 20 minutes after every distraction, so people who take two breaks per hour are basically never working
    -during long breaks, you can do something meaningful and feel really rested afterwards.

    Consistency in all aspects of work is also important, particularly when, where, and the routine before a session.

    During breaks, you should change your physical state. If for example, you are working at your desk and during your breaks you watch youtube videos, you aren't fully resting. A walk or a nap are better because they make you change both mental and physical state.

    Another small tip is to avoid coffee and energy drinks as stimulants. They are usually followed by a period of down. Better a highly caffeinated tea, which is balanced with theine and so doesn't cause downs.

    I organize my day in three 3-hours session.

    1. 6.30-9.30 here I do the most challenging tasks
    2. 9.30-10.30 break
    3. 10.30-13.30 here the productivity is at the lowest in my day, so I put easy to do stuff that still needs to be done
    4. 13.30-15.30 break
    5. 15.30-18.30 medium difficulty task and at the end, evaluating where I lost time, what I didn't accomplish (if I missed a goal), why I didn't, and planning for the next day
    1. 4

      This is really useful. Read it twice. Thank you Luqa. A lot of stuff which makes a lot of sense but very few people actually do.

      I also think another key to your day is wrapping up at 6:30pm. Having that deadliner of when work stops just makes you more serious about your whole schedule.

      I just googled famous routines of writers. Found this you might enjoy. This one from Murukami is pretty good:

      When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m.

      I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

      But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

      1. 3

        Yes, Harry, I agree with you.

        Thanks for sharing the quote from Murakami, I find his attitude to his craft very inspiring.

    2. 2

      Excellent advice!

      1. 1

        Thank you, Pete. I appreciated!

  2. 5

    Crushing it - keep it up!

    Productivity solution: Just go to a coffee shop with no charger. Get as much done as you can before the laptop dies. Done for the day 👍

    1. 1

      Genuinely love that. Screw it, I'll try this Saturday.

  3. 2

    Love seeing you grow from consistently doing great content.

    Re being more efficient, are there things you're doing that don't matter that much? Can you track your tasks and try to figure out the pareto - there's probably only a few key things you're doing that are really contributing to your goals.

    Around that there may be things you 'have' to do (eg admin like posting the content to your site, copying and pasting content onto social etc). Can you use some of your revenue to outsource tasks?

    1. 1

      Cheers Paul. And totally agree. The way I self promote is all well and good, but content is definitely the key to my success.

      For example this lovely tweet from Laura (founder of Design Academy) earlier today. Little things like this have consistently propelled my growth.

      Good point re "things I'm doing that don't matter much." Essentially there's four key things:

      • Articles
      • Sharing articles
      • Twitter tips
      • Talking to users

      And yeah, I must waste a lot of time doing things that aren't the big four. I'll check myself next time I spend time on something not essential.

      Re getting other people to share it's tricky. I'm very hands on and that's both good and bad.

      Getting someone to throw my articles on Reddit etc... is one thing. But I like to respond authentically and that's tough if .. well ... it's not actually me responding. Admittedly this will have to break at some point. Food for thought.

  4. 2

    Totally feel you on having a bunch of inefficient days. First of all, you shouldn't beat yourself up about it. Congrats on the win!

    All careers go up and down like friendships, like marriages, like anything else, and you can’t bat a thousand all the time.
    – Julie Andrews

    1. 1

      Cheers Jonny. And good advice. Nice quote. You're right about the batting @ 1000. Ask Joe Root. Right now I don't even think I'm putting myself in a position to bat. Appreciate the support. And good luck with D3.js

  5. 2

    Wow congrats mate, hopefully you'll figure out a way to better optimize your time soon 😁

    1. 1

      Cheers Miguel. And I'm going to. Call me Loma from now on.

  6. 2

    I’ve found that for me the best way to be productive is scheduling things throughout the day that aren’t work and doing actual work in the remaining hours 😌

    This forces me to get things done quickly. If I spent all my day in front of a monitor I would waste more than half of my time!

    For example this afternoon I’m going to play tennis from 4pm, so I know that by that time I absolutely have to finish the particular task I’m doing right now!

    1. 2

      I have this same problem - I can get the same task done in an hour or three, so if I only give myself an hour I crank it out.

      This doesn't work with really hard things like (right now) getting my head around D3.js. I need hours of quiet time for that.

    2. 1

      Thank you. Makes complete sense. I need to start doing this. Enjoy your tennis. I'm going to look at some activities to do at 4pm today haha!

  7. 1

    I think the problem is I try to work all the time and the result is wasting a lot time. You fill the time you allocate. If you allocate 5 hours, you get it done in 5 hours. If you allocate 12 hours you can waste 7 of them.

    The funny thing is I feel much better with the 12-hour block. I'd spend more resources on actually producing good work instead of trying to force all my work into an arbitrary time window. And looking back, yes indeed I did most of my best work within 12-hour windows.

    1. 1

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing. Everyone's different I guess!

  8. 1

    I missed this update - well done mate! Keep grindin.

    I definitely prefer dealing with sponsors on a two or three month basis.

  9. 1

    Well done! especially because it's very hard to generate revenue from a newsletter!

    1. 1

      Thanks Matteo! Appreciated

  10. 1

    Freaking awesome...!!! Congrats!! My good wishes to achieve more goals.

    1. 1

      Thank you Shree!

  11. 1

    Awesome job, Harry. Keep up the good work. Yeah, productivity is a battle I wage on many (if not most) days. Going for walks in nature helps recharge me. Specifically, the more trees and less human-related stuff, the better. The Japanese call it tree-bathing :)

    I don’t do a weekly shop, instead I do a daily shop with a backpack to throw a few fresh groceries in. It get’s me out of the house of a morning and ready for the day ahead. I work from home so I need it.

    1. 1

      Those are some good habits right there. I need to get out in nature a bit more. Tree bathing is a nice phrase.

      Not gonna lie, you look like the sorta guy who eats a lot of fresh groceries haha!

      1. 1

        Haha! That's all on the camera. :p

  12. 1

    Awesome! 👏
    Couldn't agree more with the below statement regarding productivity:

    You fill the time you allocate. If you allocate 5 hours, you get it done in 5 hours. If you allocate 12 hours you can waste 7 of them

    1. 1

      Cheers Sajid! It certainly rings true. And thank you for the support.

  13. 1

    Congrats, Harry! This is an amazing milestone unlocked. What's your next business milestone going to be?

    1. 2

      Cheers Qabil. Congrats on yours today. I've got no idea. Might be a high / might be a low. Who knows which way Fortuna's wheel spins.

      1. 1

        Thanks, Harry! Always hoping for the best for you.

  14. 1

    Nothing much to add other than my own congrats, Harry. :) You've been doing a fantastic job with Marketing Examples.

    1. 1

      Thanks Peter! Means a lot good sir. Appreciated

  15. 1

    I have been feeling inefficient for 10 years... except in hindsight, a whole lotta dev got done over 10 years.

    Make sure you get enough sleep. Being tired screws your whole day.

    Find 1 thing and do that, then do the next thing. Don't do everything poorly, just do things well one at a time.

    1. 1

      yeah. very much relate to this!

      I've had 3 bad months in a row. And yet I turn back around and I've grown to $2,500 MRR, something I didn't think would happen. So exaactly your point. Can't be too bad.

      And agree with the one thing well mindset also.

  16. 1

    Congrats!

    1. 1

      Thank you Andrei!

  17. 1

    Congrats on the new sponsor!
    About productivity: I find it helps to set 3 top (realistic) work goals for yourself the day before and commit to completing them the next day. Once you get them done, you will feel more accomplished than you would if you tried to "work all the time".

    Quick question about the sponsors:
    Wondering, how do you collect payment from them? Example: do you invoice them every month and have them transfer the money?

    1. 2

      I like the 3 essential things tip. Thank you! Something to work on. And thanks for the support.

      Re money - Pretty much. I invoice for the 3 month period. And then if UK (where I'm from) they do bank transfer. If America we haven't really sorted out that properly yet. As fees on the last one were pretty bad. We used PayPal. So in the future might set up Stripe or something.

  18. 1

    Good stuff. Heads up: the link "the newsletter" in your post is broken because of the missing "s".

    1. 2

      Thank you! And cheers for pointing out. Just updated it :)

  19. 1

    Congrats bro 😊

    1. 1

      Cheers Davis. Flying high yourself with OneUp!

  20. 1

    Great work mate! Looking forward to seeing where you take this.

    1. 1

      Cheers Peter. Appreciated. Hopefully let's catch up next IH meetup. Early December I think.

      1. 1

        Sure, I'll see you there, mate.

  21. 1

    Good stuff bro. Proud of you.

    1. 1

      Cheers Shash. Appreciated

  22. 1

    super happy for you Harry.
    keep it up.

    1. 1

      Cheers Musty! I intend on doing so

  23. 2

    This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

    1. 1

      Firstly, big thanks Alex appreciated.

      And secondly thanks for sharing your story. Totally agree. 15 hours sounds like a lot. But I've realised not to equate time with value. I once spent two weeks grinding on an article which ended up being my worst received arguably. What I needed to do was get my head out the sand and take a break.

      The 1 complete day off a week also sounds like a nice move and something I've been failing at doing. Will give it a try. Closed on Sundays!

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 4 months ago.

        1. 1

          your the number one. with the lemonade
          Agreed. Less is more. Speak soon

  24. 4

    This comment was deleted 7 months ago.

    1. 1

      Hey Chrissy! Firstly, thank you very much.

      I think the following line you wrote is smart. And something I need to get better at:

      You should be proud of yourself and give yourself a break from your own expectations.

      Been telling myself 10k email subscribers by Christmas but the reality is it doesn't matter if I get there or not.

      Lots of good advice in this post, and I'm going to add medidation. Funnily enough back in the day I did 5 minutes each day before work and genuinely made a big difference. Can't remember why / when I stopped. But I'm going to pick up the habit again. That and waking up early are the keys (for me at least)

      All the best. Thanks for a lovely message

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