2020 was not that bad for me

2020 was not that bad for me


10 min read

2020 was not that bad for me. This is one of those "years in recap" posts.

Let's rewind and go back to Oct 2019. This is how the story starts... It's also a post for those who want to get to know me better. (very long wall of text ahead, be warned)

Feel free to bookmark it ๐Ÿ˜… ๐Ÿ˜‚

My colleagues and I were attending the "How To Web" conference, late October 2019. Perfect conference for growth, entrepreneurs, and innovations. Little did I know that the year 2020 will go in that direction for me.

At that time, I was attending as a software developer. Nothing else.

But, let's go even before that. Bear with me, this is all to set up the scene for the 2020 story.

In 2019, the company I work for established internal innovation platform where you can submit your crazy ideas and win a budget and resources if you get picked.

Back to the Bucharest and Oct 2019. Middle of the busy conference day. My innovation mentor is sending me a message. He wants to have a call.

"I have some important news for you"

I was expecting the results of the internal innovation competition, but somehow I totally forgot about it, since we were traveling, visiting conferences and everything.

Then it hit me -> Did I just won the budget for my idea???

It turned out it was true. The journey started with the official training in Jan 2020 and afterward, I'm in charge of making that idea into the product.

Me. A developer. Regular guy. No experience. Boom.

Jan 2020 I attended the innovation training in Germany, at our company codecentric HQ town Solingen. 5 days of intensive workshops. Still, no idea about the world I'm going in.

Feb-Mar 2020 First users of the app, first tests. First assumptions. Heck, first conflicts in the team. Less development, more product managing. Phone calls. Yeah, I'm not really a phone guy. But for this product, I started calling people.

Then COVID-19 happened. My whole product was based on events and now more and more countries are banning social gatherings.

A lot of tough periods. Thinking about how to grow product in such conditions. Finding out new use cases and probably even pivoting?

I was working from home. Daycare stopped with their services so my 2yr old daughter was "working together with me". The wife was going to her job.

A lot of mental balancing in that period. You know how they say "flexible working hours". Well, it was.

At some point, I've started putting my laptop into the backpack at the end of the day, to increase the friction so I don't end up doing "just this tiny little thing"

In that period I've joined the #indiehackers community and I met a lot of wonderful people there. My mindset was slowly changing. My questions were different. My actions too. I've seen things people were building, and the journeys they're taking.

May 2020 is the period when I focused on my Twitter growth. I have an account since 2012, but only this year I changed the way I'm using it. Switch from consuming values to producing values mindset.

My goal for the end of the year is to grow my Twitter account to 1000 followers

Jun 2020 I made my first $$ on Gumroad by selling a course. Text version of the workshop material I held in the company. Wanted to feel how it looks like to sell info products online. Although I didn't achieve big numbers, the feeling was great. Someone is buying things from me.

I started a personal newsletter, so people can follow what I'm doing, in some structured way. It was crazy to see that ~50 people want to hear my updates.

May - Jun was also a period when I put my product into hibernate mode. Maybe some other times will be better. It was a hard thing to decide but it's very important to know when to stop doing something.

I learn from my processes. From the good parts, from the bad parts. Everything. Even the failure of that product brought me so much experience and connections. So many appointments were made on IH with people interested to help with my stuff. Wonderful

Jul - I had a shower thought. "Let's do a podcast. A video podcast where people will see all those indie hackers and hear their voice. They are not their avatars and profile pictures on LinkedIn and Twitter, they are humans.

I often have this "Why not" approach. That's how I managed to get Arvid Kahl as a guest on my first podcast episode of Bruno Talks With... I simply sent a DM to Arvid and he said yes, let's do it.

Jul was also a month where I had an emotional breakdown. Not happy times. Not because of these things making too much stress. It was something else. And these mini-projects helped me a bit to escape that

Aug - Sep I've been recording and airing episodes of Bruno Talks With. 8 in total. I met cool people and when we recorded it was often like we know each other for a long time. Then I made a break. I needed something different.

In Oct I had a timeboxed challenge to create an info product in 2 weeks and to make $500 in two months. It was the first time people pre-ordered things from me and giving me their money in advance. Awesome feeling.

I was still having a regular job. Thank god. Making money online is really hard. Full respect to everyone who is making it. These were my tiny little playground projects where I covered different areas in my life that I lack skill or confidence

I was constantly kicking myself out of my comfort zone!

Nov 2020 - Based on the video podcast and the style of the conversation I had with my guests, I got a chance to host a virtual remote event. Hashnode bootcamp on writing technical blogposts

The same environment, this time it goes live. YT and recording is one thing, this is another.

The goal of 1000 Twitter followers was reached in November

Dec 2020 I'm starting my tw500 newsletter that will help small-sized Twitter accounts to focus their energy and get their voice heard. A few days later, I have like ~60 ppl subscribed and the open rate keeps above 90%. Great

Also, in December I got promoted. I won't be working as a developer in a team on a project, instead, I'll lead several of those teams and several other projects.

A big step in my career. Still under impressions.

So, all in all, this year was not so bad. Sure, I miss gatherings, people, and interactions on a level we had in B.C. See what I did there. I'm still on a dad jokes level.

Luckily, I haven't lost anyone due to COVID, and that's one of the main reasons why I said "not the bad year" in the beginning.

All in all, it was quite a nice journey for me. All the transformation and changes in the mindset. Definitely can't say for any year that had so much impact on me.

For those who made it to the end of this thread, hats off. Ping me, I want to know who you are. Really. Obviously, you wanted to know who am I.

And, I see a lot of people here living times of their lives despite the year being this shitty and awful. I guess it's just how it goes with life. And I'm happy for all of them. All of those success stories in tough times.