2020 was a wild ride.
We laughed, and we cried, and we experienced every emotion in between. Truthfully, I felt more alive in 2020 than I have in a long time.
What did I achieve in 2020?
I launched a COVID19-related exercise startup in the Spring. We hosted 7 events with nearly 150 participants, before realising the customer-service effort was not worth the potential returns. Despite that, it was a very fun project. You can read about that here.
As Spring progressed, I helped a few COVID19-related SaaS startups launch their businesses, building out their MVPs.
I was inspired by a quote, “no data no business”, which led me to re-think how I collect data for my consulting business. I built out a project I call the “data warehouse”, which pulls in data from the various services I use to run my business and helps to visualise metrics & compare them to targets. I haven't written about this.. but I should.
I drove nearly 15,000km (from Montreal to BC, three times). We saw the true beauty of Canada, from the great lakes, to the prairies, to the mountains. We took our time enjoying the sand and the wind and the waves. Notably beautiful spots were Pancake Bay & Agawa Bay (on Lake Superior, my neck of the woods); Chutes Provincial Park (near Sudbury, ON); and of course everything from Calgary onward never ceases to amaze me.
I lost a brand new Macbook Pro, off the roof of a car, in the middle of the prairies. It was rough. Luckily data loss was minimal.
In the fall, I built another MVP, before realising it was an idea-driven product with no real market to sell. Back to the drawing board.
During the long driving, I listened an excellent audiobook titled Flawless Consulting. I haven't yet finished, but one idea has stuck with me: in every relationship, it is critical to maintain a 50-50 balance. Both parties must feel they are 50% partners in the engagement. Any deviation from this will cause issues and must be remedied. I intend to write a bit about balance in 2021.
Over the course of the year, I worked on a project that had an interesting twist: a third-party entered the mix of the project, and caused the project to completely change. My work became dependent on that third-party's work, causing me a major headache. Flawless Consulting covers this scenario, but I had not yet listened to the book at this point. It was a major learning experience for me.
I made some pretty large leaps with my hosting offering. I launched a Kubernetes cluster to replace the droplet + docker-compose that was running my hosting operation. I learned a lot about the risks of running your own infrastructure, and how to mitigate those risks (both in technical and business terms).
I closed out 2020 hitting a record yearly revenue (increased from 2019 by 78%), and pushing my ARR to record levels (585% increase from 2019). I've set my goals for next year, hoping for modest increases in yearly revenue as I switch my focus to pushing ARR.
I have another SaaS MVP ready for launch in 2021. This time, I flipped the equation. First, I verified I had the technical skills to complete the project. Second, I attempted to verify demand by driving traffic to a landing page, collecting “wait-list signups", and interviewing those who signed up. Third, after being confident in the project's chances of success, I finalized the MVP. Looking forward to launching this product in 2021.
I have some nice projects lined up for Q1 2021, and whenever I have a chance I'll be promoting my new product.
Finally, I decided to revive my personal blog (which you're reading!). I'll be posting often throughout 2021!