2014 in Review and 2015 Preview

As every year, I take a brief moment to look back at the previous year and forward to the next year.

Previous years: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

1. 2014

The major change this year was going from full-time work to freelance contracting. Since October I’ve been a senior freelance Java developer at TomTom.

Although I did not really plan for it, I’m happy I finally made the switch. I’m working on a very challenging and interesting project and it’s a lot closer to home than previously.

1.a. FCTR – my SaaS sideproject

For FCTR, I did not achieve my main income goal I had set. In spite of a pretty serious time investment into marketing and sales, I did not come close to the numbers I wanted to reach.

I clearly have a problem solution fit. I have happy customers, that keep using the application and there are hardly any requests for more functionality or major changes.

However, the application does not have a product market fit. The customers that are using my application and that are generating most of the income, are not the ones I expected.

10 Steps to Product/Market Fit from Ash Maurya


Other things I did for FCTR:

  • I finally hired a part-time assistant.
  • I spent a ton of time trying to migrate of of CloudBees (here and here), but eventually realized that was costing me a lot more than paying for this excellent service.

Excellent service!<figcaption class="wp-caption-text">Excellent service!</figcaption></figure>

1.b. DiscogsScan – one-function Android app

I was not able to spend a lot of time on my DiscogsScan app. The little time I did have, I used to upgrade to the latest Discogs API.

Initially, I hesitated whether or not to upgrade the app at all. Without the upgrade, it would have become completely useless. But I still like the problem and there’s clearly a market for this so I went for it. Although the review are mixed, what it does, it does well.

1.c. Writing on the blog

I did end the year with a few posts 🙂

1.d. Kindle ebook

Back in 2012, I wrote a Kindle ebook. It basically explained how to set up VirtualBox and run Kdenlive. I did enjoy the process, but felt the material may have been a little too technical for the Kindle store.

It has been selling a few copies each month ever since August 2012.

And this year, I got my first 2 reviews. I’m not sure where these suddenly came from, but it was nice to read that my book actually achieved its goal for those 2 customers.

It’s a small one, but it’s a win!

2. 2015

My main goal will be to keep working on a successful Java freelancing career. But there’s always a little time left.

2.a. FCTR

I’ve been struggling with FCTR for about 4 years. It’s clear the current trajectory is going nowhere. This is not a long, slow ramp of death. It’s not “ramping” at all.

So something’s got to change. There are major VAT changes I’d like to add to the application, but I’m holding of until I figure out my market & how to reach them.

I want to have this figured out by the end of January, otherwise I’m putting the application into maintenance mode (probably even closing down registrations).

2.b. Other

Other than that, I have no firm plans. I’ve been aching to work on something different than FCTR. But I’m going to hold of for now.

It may be:

  • Something in the same market (smallscale entrepreneurs)
  • I have a lot of ideas for DiscogsScan
  • Revive my video eBook?
  • Something completely different

At the very least, my approach will be much more structured and I will be starting with a much smaller product.

Enjoy the end of the year and see you in 2015!