My Life Reflection - 2021
A look back at what I learnt in 2021 and my ambitions moving into 2022.
If you’re like me, growing a site to hundreds of thousands of visitors seems a distance away. I couldn’t count how many projects I released, that faded out after a month or two.
It was only yesterday when I was mid-conversation with someone, when we both started discussing our life events and where we're heading for the future. It made me think - what actually got me to where I'm at today and I wanted to write a blog post looking back.
I got into Minecraft when I was around 10/11 years old - originally starting out with the "Pocket" edition (mobile) and then eventually getting the "Java" edition (computer). I officially got involved with the server community between 2013/2014 being 12 to 13 years old at that point.
This was huge for me, as I started connecting with new people, and which lead me to meet a best mate who has stuck by one another and been hugely beneficial in my projects - Gianluca. By this point, I wanted to start learning the programming language Java, so I could start creating my own content and in-turn not need to hire other developers.
By then I was between 15-16 and I started releasing public plugins, I had one propel to 50,000 downloads which was a huge achievement for me at the time. I built a few paid plugins and one especially which generated ~$10,000. This lead me to start getting invested with purchasing premium domain names, and in-turn wanted to learn web development to utilise these.
By this point, I had bought a 4-letter word domain with the .org and .net tlds, which together cost me a total of $1,850 - I wanted to build a gaming platform with it. However constraints of college meant that I ended up selling these - selling together for a total of $2,700. This was huge, it helped me to purchase a new laptop which started my journey - improving my workflow and making development easier for me.
I was 19 years old at this point, started dating someone, fell in love and wanted to be with her all the time - as young couples go. We wanted to get our own flat together, and it meant I needed to gain a full-time job to be able to do so. I joined an insurance company building dashboards that helped executives to visualise the data we had.
This was huge for me as it allowed me to gain a ton of experience with building dashboards, improving my SQL skillset, learning MSSQL and aiding in visualising data on the frontend. This helped me with a project I discuss much later on in this blog post.
By March of that same year, I wanted a project to do in my spare time and as I was working 6 days a week, I just wanted a fun thing to take my mind off work. A buddy reached out to me and mentioned building a tracking website for the Hypixel Skyblock server, I had no experience with Skyblock as it wasn't my thing - however it gave me a project to work on that was fun and data focused in turn. I started looking into docs, and api only provided the current price - it meant I had to retain it.
The site was built and launched and it took off much quicker than I ever expected, gaining hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors with around 1,000 concurrent at times. We had YouTubers making videos covering the platform, which was all organic growth and we didn't have to spend a penny on ads.
I was then approached by a friend to put Google Ads on our website, I was hesitant because previous experience it paid poorly - but went with it nevertheless. We was making around $500-1,000 a month which covered our server bills easily. It meant I was able to host giveaways and give back to the community without directly coming out my pocket.
This was fantastic for us, we was handling millions of rows of data a month and more than 80-90 million rows in total. We had stable ad revenue coming in that paid our bills, organic traffic from influencers and our Discord server was rapidly growing.
2021 - Q1
By this point we was continuing to generate, however I felt like experimenting with just directly reaching out to companies. I started talking to various MC hosting businesses and we managed to get deals on a pricing that I considered fair (by avg. market values) being $3,250 a month. This was doing very well but I started to feel like I wanted to work on something new and be able to escape my long time job.
2021 - Q2
By then I split with my ex, I had enough and it mentally screwed with my head, I felt like I was either forced to stay in this toxic relationship or pursue my career - and naturally I chose the latter. After coming back from holiday, I listed the site for sale which led to 3 weeks of zoom calls and emails with an interested buyer, this led to a completed sale and opened so many doors for me.
Fast forward to the current day, I just turned 21 in November and I finally have the freedom I always wanted - working the hours that I want, and being able to take breaks as I feel like its needed. I'm also travelling away next month for the first time, I no longer need to deal with managers and asking for time off and I can work away as I desire.
I have a multitude of projects planned from racing, to holiday booking, to game related stuff etc - it gives me 1-2 years of income behind to just go for it and kill it. If it works out great, if it doesn't work out then I have plenty of experience behind me in-turn.
With Analyse, a game server tracking platform to provide insights into community performance, not far from release and a lot of interested customers behind us, I feel this has such huge potential with such a massive market of server owners. I'm fortunate enough to have my buddy Gianluca behind me (mentioned in the beginning), together we both have like-minded ambitions and both believe there is so much to built from it.
I was never keen with the idea of a second partner in a project, however since Gian and I have been involved together, I've noticed how much of an improvement it really has. He has the ideas, connections and reach in addition to vision, and I have the web development and design aspect. We also both have a huge keen eye for clean UI and a good UX, which is massive for a project that needs to clearly show data.
Analyse is no doubt the project I'm most passionate about - I've put blood, sweat and tears into this and it's finally at a point where its near completed, and looks professional enough that would certainly help me if I ever needed to get a job
I honestly do not feel any prouder than what I do now, a project that is close to release that has been an idea for more than 2 years. I'm thankful to each and every friend that I've met, in addition to every person on Twitter I have connected with.