~ 6 min read

The 2022 Retrospective

We are into the final few days of 2022 and as any good dev should I wanted reflect on how I think it’s gone for me.

Back at the end of 2021, I mused on how downbeat I felt especially with the prospect of another lockdown on the horizon. Well, that was before 2022 reared its head. It brought with it a war in Europe, cost of living crisis and then killed off our Queen for good measure. In the rear view mirror, 2021 seems positively tame by comparison.

I have enjoyed some success this year with many of the ventures I started in 2020 yielding their first fruits. Here’s my 2022 by the numbers.

Highlights of the Year:

Published Articles

When I look back on my published output things are looking great. Despite still freelancing I’ve managed more posts over the previous year on my blog, with visitors increasing by 50%. The content has been extremely varied, with tutorials, tips and projects all forming a part. I recently published a collab with Supabase. I’m not sure if this variety is actually detrimental in any way, but I enjoy sharing anything if it helps another soul who is looking for an answer I have.

I also wrote a technical article for Scraping Bee which focused on the longevity of every product ever published on Product Hunt. It ended up reaching #1 on Hacker News. To be able to work on something that pulls from both my research and programming background was really fun.

Sharing what I’m doing is definitely indirectly useful to help me become less reliant on a single source of income. I’ve secured technical writing work as a result of sharing details of projects that were simply fun pieces of work for me to do. I would love to do more of this sort of thing though finding clients I’d like to work with is tough.

YouTube Growth

I also published 21 videos to my YouTube channel and gained another 567 subscribers. It’s hard to understand again if variety here is hurting me (or I’m just bad at making good videos!). An oft quoted statistic is that you should be pushing out new videos every week, but this is often impossible for me simply down to practical realities of finding a quiet recording space in our family house.

Something that’s really interesting is that none of my posts or videos from 2022 were the most viewed things I published across the year, with content from previous years proving to be more popular. It makes me wonder which videos I should be producing now that will stand the test of time.

Making Money with My First Digital Product

Early on this year, I decided to compile all the side projects listed on Hacker News with MRR details as ”Side Projects Making $$$+”. Originally just for my own reference, I decided to turn it into a paid product which enjoyed most success this month when I held a discount for the holidays. I talk more about it in my last newsletter.

Goals for 2023

Curbed Expectations

At the end of 2021, I made a video which involved a lot of research, development and work. Released just before Christmas it was a massive effort to publish and was completed just as my family all got covid (I somehow managed to avoid it). So I had a lot invested in it at a really awful time for us. But it performed really, really badly. A year later, it has just under 300 views 😞. I was pretty upset at this and the knock on effect was I didn’t publish another video for 2 months.

I realise now I really should have lower expectations for videos and move on if things don’t go as planned. If I’d cared a little less and continued producing I may be a little further along today. This is easier said than done though when you’re so invested in what you’ve worked on.

Better Content Planning

Although producing a video can take no time at all, it’s success is down to execution. My stats this year have clearly shown a direct correlation on time spent preparing and views once published. Some types of videos can get away with less planning (e.g. unboxings) but then their views seem to be short lived. It also makes the video far less stressful and easier to record when it’s all scripted out. There’s also the opportunity to repurpose what you write for it - I’ve noticed later on this year that visits to my blog from YouTube have increased dramatically when I’ve chosen to publish there too.

More Digital Products

It’s hard to convey what an eye-opener having a digital product was for me this year and what I felt as payment notifications first started trickling in for it. Sure, in total it wasn’t a massive amount of money - but it’s enough to make me realise I’d like to make more of them. I already have a couple of ideas based on things I’ve already created for myself that would be useful for other developers. Keep an eye out for updates on that in 2023!

Final Thoughts

My numbers may not seem huge, but they mean a lot to me. I’ve worked hard for them and I’m very grateful for the growth I’ve experienced.

I’m looking forward to next year and hopefully reaching the hallowed 1000 subscriber milestone on YouTube which is just within my reach. It represents a huge amount of effort and may even give me a couple more pennies to talk about in my 2023 retro.

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