2020: I still can't believe what's happening

December 31, 2020

"I am not going to make the same mistake twice and predict in 2020. Instead, Iā€™d say I would follow hard after the course as it unravels."

Those where the exact words I used in conluding 2019: Unexpected turns. Still loving it and boy was I right!

Adam Wathan in his 2020 Year in Review sums up my thoughts about the year 2020:

This year ā€” despite all of the "2020 is so awful omg is it ever going to be over"-ness you're probably tired of reading about ā€” was better. In fact it was probably the most rewarding and productive year of my career.

Highlights

  • Started working on Sailscast full time - I quit my job with my former employer to travel the gloomy and yet exciting road of building a product - Sailscasts

  • Launched Sailscast HQ - As if one launch wasn't enough for puny me, The Sailscasts Company was also born this year.

  • Launched The Sailscasts Community - From a casual conversation was birthed the idea of starting a community on Discord where Sails developers can learn and grow together and just like that folks, that same community is 100+ developers strong!

  • Started Paid Writing - Now this one still baffles me, I did a lot writings in 2019, sharing my knowledge about stuffs I was solving and was excited about. I never would have thunk it that I will be writing paid contents in 2020. I still can't believe I wrote 14 paid articles in 2020!

  • Relocated...again! - My free spirited self thought it wise again to change locale.

  • Got me a practice piano - This one is a big deal for me as I've always wanted one and with responsibilities I didn't know how I was to pull it off but I did in 2020!

  • Launched this blog and website - I have been "some day I'm gonna, one day I'm gonna" about this website and blog.But 2020 saw the birth of it. I couldn't be prouder!

Personal

The biggest personal change for me this year was going after the dream of helping anyone build on the web by giving them a platform to learn real world skills - Sailscasts. Believe me when I say this; how the year ended wasn't the least imagined by me at all. Never would I have thought of running my own company alone to provide value.

You know on hindsight, I look back to a favorite quote of mine:

If your dreams don't scare you, you are going sideways not forward

This hits the nail on the head on how I feel as I travel this road less travel, this is huge for me - to leave the comfort of an employment and striving out on a mission to help developers discover and learn Sails. This is really personal for me because I am betting my career on this one move folks.

Business

Financially, 2020 was my best year so far. My paid writing brought in a revenue of $4,000. I know that amount is meagre but knowing where I'm coming from, it's a big deal for me to see that my writing can be valuable to be paid for, it's fucking awesome!

Sailscasts

Ah Sailscasts! What began as a side thing to grow the Sails community and ecosytem is metamorphosing into a full time business. This is jaw dropping for me. I discovered the Sails framework after being frustrated with the lack of structure of vanilla Express applications. I wanted something in Node.js as good as PHP's Laravel and Ruby on Rails and boy did I find it!

It was a breath of fresh air to see something so carefully thought of that suits my mental model of things, provides convention and useful configurations from the ground up! Damn! It was instant love.

However I noticed there was a void which seemed like a disadvantage at first but on second thought I felt it was an opportunity to give back to something I feel strongly about and made for the biggest chunk of my income in 2020! So in Introducing Sailscasts I talked about building a platform to teach developers this tech that I am crazy about. I announced on Twitter as well and got some really heart-warming comments that served as a pat on my back. I was still with my current employer at this time and I intended for Sailscasts to be my side thing.

So as the story may go, in November 2020 a series of events and a lot of luck led to the decision of going full time on this thing(building Sailscasts). To be honest, I never saw see myself as an employable person as I do not like traditional office hours and work environment. I see the Sailscasts platform as a way to do something that will allow me work on my own terms and at the same time give developers the tools and resources to be better, that was all the push I need to quit my job and go do this thing full time!

The Sailscasts Company

The Sailscasts Company or Sailscasts HQ as we refer to it internally was birthed to serve as the parent company for the Sailscasts platform and subsequent products we will be building(look out for it). At Sailscasts HQ, we want to show you that as we ask you to build with Sails, we also are building our business on the same technology and also will be helping startups, Big Businesses and Fortune 500 companies build their custom solutions and businesses on Sails. I discussed in my announcement article how I am motivated by the success stories of both Paystack and Postman as both companies uses Sails in production serving millions of customers!

Sailboat

Sailboat is the very first tooling I wrote for the Sails framework. It is a VS Code extension that is meant to reduce friction in web development with Sails. Though it's still in its early stages, I am excited at the vision I have for it and the improvements coming to it in 2021. I'm talking about Intellisense, linting and much more. As of the time of this writing, it has over 357 installs already. This is unbelievable for I didn't know that number of people are actively using Sails, it warms my heart knowing I am not building for nobody.

Becoming an entrepreneur

You know I have always fancied folks waking up and building a business out of nothing. My heroes are Mike McNeil(Creator of Sails), Adam Wathan(Creator of Tailwind), Evan You(Creator of Vue), Caleb Porzio(Creator of Livewire), etc. I see these guys as superheroes and I never thought I will be building something that I believe will be a multi-million dollar company someday. It's truly humbling. I can't help but repeat that this is strange waters to me and I am learning as much as I can as fast as I can. Experimenting, making mistakes, unlearning and more. I want to be able to make more than an average living from this venture of Sailscasts and Sailscasts HQ. I want to look back and say this was one of my best bets ever(hopefully)

The Sailscasts Blog

The Sailscasts Blog was launched this year as a way to go on teaching developers about Sails as they anticipate the launch of Sailscasts in the first quarter of 2021. In there you get detailed explanations of concepts about Sails and tips and tricks from active members and users of the Sails framework.

Friendships and Network

I made a few friends this year but very impactful indeed they were. It's truly amazing what you will discover and attract when you put yourself out there to help people. I am grateful for my frieds and network as they have given me advice and continue to cheer me on as I go on this journey of mine.

Relationship

And yes I am still with the love of my life Blessing Eyabrikeke. You know I want to give her the man and life she deserves so she is one of my motivations for success. She deserves the world and I am so lucky to have her. So you all look out for wedding bells sooooooon!

Looking ahead to 2021

2020 came not short of blessings and surprises. I can't predict 2021 but here's what I can say, it will be so much better than 2020 was. Here are things I am looking forward to:

  • I want to see Sailscasts bring in an MRR of $5000 or more.
  • See the Sailscasts community grow strong as a place to come learn and discuss Sails.
  • See more toolings and SaaS applications on the Sails framework.
  • Everything being equal, I want to travel in 2021 outside Nigeria to see more beauties of this world of ours.
  • Hone the screencasting skill to produce quality screencasts for the Sailscasts platform.
  • Becoming a member of the core maintainers of Sails and help bring ground breaking features and changes to the framework's core.

I hope this journey makes me a better person as I am excited as to what's to come.

Here's to a better 2021!