I had a solid year compared to the shit-storm 2020 had brought on.
Back in January 2021, I had made a pact with myself that I would be more mindful about my time and the things I would get myself into throughout the year (personally and professionally).
Reminding myself daily of this pact, was key. My monkey brain tends to forget quickly.
Claritask (the app that I ended up selling in March 2021) wasn't growing at a steady pace. It had a handful of big clients (+10 employees, with the biggest one having +150), but I was having a hard time finding new similar clients.
This stagnation had caused me a ton of frustration in 2020 and I didn't want to carry over that baggage in 2021.
With that, I decided to "clean up" code on Claritask, comment and document some of the most intricate areas code-wise, and "package" it just in case there was a potential buyer down the horizon.
Lo and behold, around mid-February, the second ever client of Claritask (headquartered in Chicago), who was still using Claritask with their +20 employees, asked if I wanted to sell. They were buying several other apps in order to create an umbrella offering (mydev.com) for their existing enterprise clients.
The catch was for me to go along with Claritask, to which I had to negotiate my way out of and end up selling just Claritask, the product.
There's an in-depth interview I did on the Product Journey about the sale, which you can listen here: Selling Claritask and starting anew with Val Sopi.
There's also an episode I had recorded on my Bootstrapping Saas Podcast, which you can listen here: Claritask, sold!
BTW, the buyer's devs never once called me to explain any bit of code in Claritask. Which, means a lot considering I only started backend coding a few years ago. It was the extensive commenting, I feel.
Graduating from the school of hard knocks
Selling Claritask, was a graduation of sorts for me. After years of struggling and not gaining much traction with any of my products, I had spent a ton of energy and cash, which left me drained and desperate.
The sum I sold Claritask for was "situation changing", if not life changing, and enough to help me make sense of my struggles up to that point, learn a ton, and end up only with a few scars I was able to heal from in 2021.
To put it in context, the sum was the amount it would take our family of four to live 2 years straight (private school, travels, and all).
My new product
Right before selling Claritask, I had started toying with blogstatic.io, which dealt with starting a new blog quickly. It gained a decent amount of users right from the start.
Right around September, I had hooked up Stripe, so users could start paying for it. Right after doing that, blogstatic sold its first subscription.
The product went on from being a simple blog-starting solution to a product that offers Email newsletters (at the time of this writing).
Compared to any of my other products, blogstatic has been the fastest growing by far. I managed to gain new users that had nothing to do with me or my immediate network.
In 2022, I am continuing with improving blogstatic and testing the waters by competing with a few major players in the industry and see if I can carve a slice out for it.
Starting to meditate circa November 2020 helped me clear out a few cobwebs going into 2021, which I continued doing right into the end of Spring on daily basis. Since then I have done it on and off, but plan to be more disciplined about it in 2021.
In January of 2021, I started working out 3x per week and only missed about 5 weeks or so during the entire year due to family vacation and lockdown. I feel super proud of sticking to it throughout the year. Key for me in this area was to keep expectations low and maintain a medium intensity with my workouts: max 5-exercises per day and no longer than 40-mins per session. Now, my strength and stamina are way up, which helps aim for a bit more in 2022.
This year I plan to go 5 days per week, potentially with a personal trainer, which should be interesting as I haven't had one in 10 years or so.
My kids are now 10 and 5, which has given me a bit more time to relax since they can take care of themselves for the most part. In other words, my wife and I, we don't have to wake up in the middle of the night or super early on weekends. They can now make their own minimal breakfasts and play with their gadgets or together. It's a world of difference compared to when they were babies.
Got to fly again
We fly at least twice per year as a family and business whenever necessary. That was pre-covid. Finally got to fly in December and realized how much I missed it. Also, happy to have flown with WizzAir's brand new Airbus 320's which are getting better in fuel efficiency. It's not electric by any stretch, but a bit better in terms of their carbon footprint.
The coolest bit was having our son Rion (10) go into the cockpit to meet the captain and the first-officer. He even got to sit on the pilot's seat. It was his milestone birthday a few days before, so this was the best gift he could have gotten.
Side note: Rion plays Microsoft Flight Simulator and knows a few things about taking off, flying, and landing. It was fun to see him talk shop with the first officer at such a young age.
We flew into Basel for a few days, which was a much needed change after 2 long covid years and not being to travel as much.
This year was the first one in a long time that I was able to help others in need. Right before Christmas, through family and friends, I found a few individuals whom I could make a difference by donating computers, clothes, food, and cash.
One that stood out was a hard-working "straight A" High School kid who couldn't afford a basic computer and was being raised by a single mother. I was able to give him a PC computer that he needed to complete his school work on daily basis.
Being able to do this has been the highlight of my year. I hope to be able to do more of this moving forward.
A few basic habits for 2022
In 2021, I set a few habits which helped me get over the pile of shit 2020 I had had (ending up in ER with a panic attack, messed up finances, etc.).
I plan to use these life-saving habits into 2022.
- Weight lift 5x week
- Run 1x week
- No coffee (or 1 once in a while)
- No alcohol (or 1 once in a while)
- Mediate daily for 10mins
- Continue eating well
- Take things lightly
- Practice gratefulness
- Read 5 select books until the end of the year
- Continue marketing blogstatic
- Build apps (CRM, ERP) for select clients
- Podcast solo and interview more makers
- Think about writing my first book
Consuming no coffee and no alcohol for long stretches of time improved my mood, stamina, energy, and made me 10x a better person.