A new chapter - Going to work part-time and start my own thing

Starting to work more on my own things. Will it be a Flutter app, more blogging, live streaming? I have no set plan yet but some ideas.

3 cats in and before a fridge explains the HTTP status code 300 - Multiple Choices
Status Code 300 - Multiple Choices from HTTP cats

Currently, I am working full time at gridscale.io as a Systems and Software Engineer. That means 5 days and 40 hours a week of work. Pretty normal in my area as far as I can tell.

Beginning of January 2022 I will be working part-time and cutting down to 4 days a week meaning 32 hours of work.

For some, that does not look like a lot but this is 20 % less time spent on work. Which means 20 % more time for me and my ideas. Also, there is the financial aspect. I am working less therefore I am paid less. For me personally, it is a BIG deal.

My first target is to compensate for the loss of my income due to the part-time shift. I do not know how exactly.

What do I want to do then with my 20 % more time?

Well, that actually is a damn good question. I have so many ideas but little time. I like the approach of having some small bets which I heard from Daniel Vassallo:

Filip Hráček (yes, I had to use copy-paste for his name ) also has written a nice piece about bets. It is a little different but the core idea is the same. Do many things, talk about it, and therefore create a greater surface area for having luck. 🍀

Small bets - ideas

In general, I want to do multiple things. By doing so I am hoping to find people who are willing to support my work like on Patreon. But instead of Patreon, I am using my own platform which is built with Ghost.

Here I can have different plans for people who are willing to support me: https://www.ajfriesen.com/#/portal/

For one-time payments, I have set up a Ko-fi page

I am not sure at all currently about pricing, benefits, and all things considering money. I mean I first have to provide some value to people right?

Living from supporters would be a dream come true. But let's start small and first do some stuff. I still have my day job for 4 days anyway.

A SaaS app would be appealing to me as well, but I think this is a damn hard thing to achieve. I guess I will just work on things and see how things go.

Okay, now let's see my ideas I might work on in no particular order:

More blogging more (oddly unspecific I know)

I would like to document everything I am doing in this blog. For my future self which will be thankful someday, for others to simply enjoy the content and people who want to build/do something similar as inspiration and also as a tutorial or explanation.

The blog seems to be a good starting point to get some visitors.

Diagram showing visitors per month from July 2021 till December 2021
Analytics from 01.07.2021 - 09.12.2021

For other folks, this does not look like much but for me this is impressive. Starting with 2-5 in July 2021 visitors a day I am now seeing around 30 visitors a day in December 2021. Especially when I engage with communities on Reddit or Twitter the traffic will spike like crazy.

It looks like at least some people are interested in a few things I have written about. That is kind of motivating. 🙂

Building community/audience

This blog is a nice way to show what I am working on. But I am also thinking of building an audience/community here as well. Basically, find people who like what I do and serve them. That was and is always a huge motivator for me: Solving other peoples problems

That is why I have set up a Discourse forum for commenting on blog posts like this one and a general discussion forum. Let's see how this goes.

Live Stream while I build stuff

I find the idea of seeing the whole thinking process appealing and also really scary. I could look like an idiot when doing things live and I do not find a solution immediately. I think this makes me vulnerable (and others as well) but also opens a lot of potentials to grow and trust. Things are never perfect and I like to see the non-perfect world myself.

Thinking about this. Not sure how much interest there is though.

I played with my OBS set up an evening. Never worked with this stuff but got it working on my Linux Desktop pretty quickly.

I have a Twitch account. If I ever do something there you can give it a follow.

Working on a Flutter App

I am learning Flutter and Dart by building my own app currently.

It is called FitLib and scratches my own itch. Not available in the Play Store yet!

Another app in the fitness area but build for people who need physiotherapy. When you go to physiotherapy they are always happy to show you exercises you can do to improve your current condition. These need to be done at home and I always forget the exercises. With the app, you can create that exercise on the fly and let the physiotherapist record your movement. That way you remember the exercise and also how to do it the right way which is really important when you have injuries like I had.
Since I had this need two times already this year (shoulder surgery and broken elbow) I am working on this app.

This could be something interesting to share as well. Especially because I have almost no experience building such things and the struggles are real!

Maybe even live streaming would be appealing? It is kind of scary but I could jump over my fear and do that if that is interesting enough.

Mentoring & Teaching

I joined a Flutter/Dart mentoring program in January 2021. Why? Because I wanted to build an Android app to scratch my own itch. I have gone through tutorial hell a few times already with Go and Python and never did build actual projects with those languages after the tutorial itself. Why? Because I got stuck in some random problem and lost motivation.  

I wanted to change this by having someone who can unblock me and I can ask every question in my app building process. This helped me to some extent Maybe this is something I can offer as well. But not on Flutter or Dart yet!

I sure as hell like teaching people new skills. It is amazing to see others achieve their goals!

I have a couple of years of experience in teaching kids to swim. Did that also for a few friends as well. Always started a teaching/learning circle at work for knowledge sharing about complex topics like Linux, Kubernetes, Docker, distributed systems, etc. Learning and teaching are things I have always enjoyed.

Write about Home Lab & Self-Hosting

I have an Opnsense box, a Mikrotik router, UniFi wifi, a server with some self-hosted things running. Planning to get a small rack, etc.

Quite experienced with Kubernetes and docker due to work.

I also like to self-host things. Like this blog which is self-hosted on a small Hetzner VM running Ghost and my analytics tool and a discourse server.

Maybe people want to know more about this? I could write about how I keep them up to date or even live stream an update of Ghost and my Discourse forum?

Create and maybe sell the pc-switch

I have created the pc-switch. It is composed of different tutorials, blog posts, and videos. There are still things I have to figure out. Like, how to create a sensor to check the pc power-on state. How to build my own PCB and get a few for testing.

Maybe even selling this thing as a kit for the DIY enthusiasts.

Write about Home Automation

I already created a few articles regarding Home Automation with Home Assistant:

A few of these I promoted on Reddit, Twitter, and the Home Assistant forum. They got good traffic.

If I have more silly ideas I will definitely blog about them.

Build Home Assistant Add Ons

I recently was looking into Home Assistant Add-Ons. Basically applications you can just start via the Home Assistant interface without much knowledge.

A good first candidate would be Heimdall and Syncthing. These are things I already use in my network anyway. Making it more accessible for other people who are not that technical is always a good thing!

Create and sell an ESPHome beginners kit

ESPHome is an awesome project which takes away the complex coding part to build your own electronics. But it is still a lot of time you need to put in for researching the right components (sensors, displays, etc.), small parts (cables, connectors, PCB), and tools (soldering station) to figure out a relatively simple build to get just the temperature. Then there is the question of powering the device and of course building a case to have a more finished product built on your own.

I am still an ESPHome beginner myself. Maybe it makes sense to create a decent kit with a few supporting parts and create a few projects with this. As I said, not sure at all about this. Especially about this kit idea.

Podcasting

I am a simple man and I like good podcasts. I also love talking about interesting things and interesting conversations of any kind.

Would have to learn a ton for this. I guess being on a podcast is much more realistic than creating my own at the moment. But hey, who knows.

Writing a book

For some reason, I have the long-term itch about writing a book. I have an idea in my mind. Maybe something about my personal experience to get a job in IT while having no former training. Just self-learning by self-hosting and playing around with things.


I bet I could come up with more stuff, but I think this should be enough as an idea pool. Feel free to comment and discuss what you would find interesting.

If you are interested in my journey follow this blog via RSS or become a free member. You will get E-Mail updates that way.

And please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments below!