Although I spent most of 2020 at home, I am proud to say that it's been by far the most accomplished and productive year of my life even with this pandemic. This was the year that I began to see the habits I began forming two years ago really begin to shine.
📚A Little Back Story
I started taking self-education and personal development seriously three years going into the freshman year of college. Like I expected it was a struggle. Trying to teach myself code and focusing for prolonged periods of time while exercising, eating healthy and reading was drastically different from my high school lifestyle. I didn't optimize a single facet of my life in my teenage years. I would do whatever I felt like which I paid for later on down the road. I was addicted to video games which meant nothing else mattered.
But I kept pushing forward because I knew if I wanted to accomplish the huge dreams I set out for myself, I had to start from within. Thanks to my perseverance I didn't quit, and each year I saw huge improvement and 2020 did not change this trajectory.
“Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.” - Jim Rohn
😊 What Went Well this Year?
When the structure of the school/workday was taken away from me by COVID-19 I was unfazed. I woke up the same time every day, read for one hour in the morning, exercised, and then got started working on my passion projects. School to be honest isn't a priority for me but I always managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA by using the pareto principle.
I successfully created and uploaded my first official app to the Apple store in July. The purpose of the focusbyte was to gamify the process of focusing while at the same time helping people fight phone addiction and laziness. It has since then gone on to amass over 15,000 downloads and maintain an average rating of 4.9 stars. I'm really passionate about this genre of making boring important tasks fun. I plan on making spin-off apps for budgeting, sleep, etc. However, I need to make Focusbyte profitable first before I can commit.
I bought a kindle paperwhite and was able to read 50 books. Some of my favorites: Sapiens, Elon's Biography, Mastery by Robert Greene, and Post Corona. I also began taking and uploading my notes, something that Ali Abdaal strongly recommends and regrets not doing sooner. I remember just how hard it was two years ago for me to finish reading a single book it took me over a month. But now I've reached the point where I love reading and is something I look forward to. Just the process of learning is something that I have taught myself to enjoy.
I also was able to land and complete my first freelancing gig. This was such a huge accomplishment for me because it was the first time in my life that someone paid me for a skill I developed (I use to work at a cafe in high school but that doesn't count). It took me a little under four months to finish the task but my client was extremely happy with the finished product :)
I was able to exercise consistently throughout the whole year and maintain high energy levels which in turn resulted in massive productivity. If I didn't feel like doing an intense workout I at least forced myself to take a 20-minute walk around the block.
👎🏼 What Didn't Go Well this Year?
I was so invested in my personal projects, and seeing if I can make money online that I neglected my friends and family. This is an area of my life that gets worse every year. I feel a big reason for this is because my friends in college and high school don't share the same values and goals as me. I like talking to people who are obsessed with something and spend every day becoming a better version of themselves. So other then the people I live with, I have cultivated very few relationships this past year.
I want to invest in relationships where both parties grow and push each other, and so my circle gets smaller every year because people who want to accomplish something massive in life are few in this world. The thing is though, I don't really feel lonely. I have so much on my plate and enjoy what I do which makes it hard to be lonely or sad.
I believe that the world is moving towards everyone working for themselves. 2020 was my first try to see if I can use the skills that I have acquired over the past two years to make a full time income for myself. Although I was only able to make about $4000 both from app revenue and one freelance gig, I learned so much. Not just coding, but sales, writing marketing, and paid advertising.
In the beginning of December I injured both my forearms while working out which has prevented me from coding and typing for over two months. There's dull pain all day, it has really been a test of my willpower not to fall into an abyss of depression. It has become slightly better I am able to type for two hours a day but that's my maximum. I took an MRI but nothing showed up so my doctor recommended that I go see a rheumatologist. My appointment is 45 days from now because they were all booked... As long as the pain doesn't get worse I can manage.
🎓 Most Powerful Lessons I Learned
- The world doesn't owe you anything.
- We should take pleasure from our––in taking the right actions, rather than the results that come from them
- The score will take care of itself.
💙 Favorite things I discovered, watched or listened to
- Naval Ravikant -> brilliant man, read all of his tweets and listened to all of his podcast episodes.
- Indie Hacker Podcast + Newsletter -> So much free value it's insane. If your thinking about creating a side hustle then check out indiehackers.com.
- Ali Abdaal -> Youtuber who actually provides entertaining educational content instead of random dopamine inducing videos.
- Roam Research -> one of the greatest writing/idea generation tools I have ever come across. It really does feel like I have a second brain using that tool and really highlights the use of technology in a positive empowering way.
- When Breath Becomes Air -> non-fiction autobiographical book written by American neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi. It is a memoir about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer.
🥅 Goals for 2021
- Using Twitter and this blog meet brilliant individuals who I would love to be friends with.
- Hit $10,000 of MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) either through freelancing or software that I have created. Yeah I know this a big goal but I feel like I have all the right tools and knowledge to achieve this by the end of the year.
The key with accomplish this goal is not the coding aspect but more the marketing.
Skills I need to improve to accomplish this:
- Content Marketing
- Paid Advertising
- Get this blog to 1000 monthly readers and hit 1000 followers on twitter.
- Read at least 40 great books.
- Write at least 12 blog posts.
Get better at DevOps, I'm comfortable with coding but since my goal one day is to create a startup I need to learn how to create scalable applications that aren't going to break 4 months down the road because I didn't know what I was doing. Here are some of the things I am aiming for:
- Unit testing
- Writing clean, well documented code.