Hi, my name is Jan, and I am forty-years old dad from Czechia, a small country in central Europe. That’s why you might find my English quite funny. I’m still learning and Grammarly helps me a lot.
I raise my 7 years old daughter Julie all by myself since 2016 when her mother (and my wife) died from cancer. Luckily, we are both healthy. Julie will start school this year, so it will be another great challenge for me as a single parent.
I have a decent jog, but I was always intrigued by the idea of financial independence, passive income, and the possibility to make money online. When my wife died, I wanted (or rather needed) to do something with a spare time I used to spend with her.
Long Hard Road to Passive Income
I wasted hours in front of TV or musing about the meaning of life, especially during the evenings when Julie was sleeping save and sound. One day, I have decided to take some online course about web development.
This was something I liked in the past. I worked for a while for a company that created online shops for its client and as a side project, I even programmed my own social network called Talker. This was in 1999, few years before Mark Zuckerberg got his brilliant idea 🙂
Anyway, I was wondering how things evolved after 17 years so I bought some web development course on Udemy.com and soon realize that I might be able to produce something similar.
I uploaded an introductory video from that course to YouTube, so if you’re interested look what it was like for me in 2016 to teach online. This course is obsolete because iOS evolved a lot since that time, all I have left is an old code nobody would benefit from these days.
Nevertheless, this experience motivated me to keep working on new courses which I published on both Udemy.com and Skillshare.com. Around 2017 I started to work on my biggest course which took me almost two years to finish. I called it Total Web Development Course and it’s about becoming a full-stack web developer. This course is still available online, and it generates around $200 per month on average. Nothing impressive, but this is actually a passive income in its purest form now, because since publishing this course three years ago, I didn’t touch it.
During my online teaching attempts, I also tried to establish my digital presence the worst possible way imaginable; by creating multiple websites, each focus on a specific topic or audience.
This might not sound as a bad idea. The problem was (and still is) that I struggle to find time for these different projects. When I look back now, I know that I should have stuck with my original domain name zavrel.net where I ran a simple blog about everything and nothing.
Unfortunately, I managed to buy a new domain name and create a new website for almost any crazy idea I got during the last 5 years. When I published my fitness book, I made a blog for it at thenewfitness.net. When I created Total Web Development Course, I didn’t forget to publish its own microsite.
Then, I started codewithjan.com as a programming blog, smartprofitschool.com as a passive income blog, and todaywp.com as a WordPress-focused blog. Finally, I wanted to create some content in my native Czech language, so I created yet another blog and YouTube channel. I hope you see what’s going on here: pure madness 🙂
I kept collecting websites to the point that I didn’t even know how many of them I had, until I looked at my registrar’s account overview.
I don’t write this to impress you. On contrary, I want to warn you discourage you from this approach. As Neil Patel once said: “Focus on one project at the time and only start a new one when the original can’t grow anymore”.
Currently, I’m thinking about consolidating all those websites under the one umbrella brand of Zavrel Networks, redesign my original blog and use it as a portfolio website because I don’t have the courage to delete all those websites I put so many wasted hours into.
Why this blog? Don’t you have enough?
On July 31st, 2021 (the very day I’m writing these lines) I realized while returning home from shopping that I never really put my skin into any of my past attempts to start some serious online business. I had too many projects that I didn’t manage to truly focus on any of them.
Also, I didn’t really set any meaningful goal with these websites. And since I didn’t know where I’m going, I didn’t go anywhere. That’s why this time, I want to take a completely different approach.
I will start from nothing (once again), but this time, I set a goal, and a crazy one for that matter: to earn $1 million from this blog in 10 years by helping people. This blog will serve as my public diary where I will document the whole journey and describe my every step.
Does it sound ridiculous? Maybe, but I have nothing to lose. If I fail, at least I will learn a lot from all the mistakes I will make along the way. I hope I won’t be on this journey alone, though.
I hope that you will join me, either by just watching my progress (or the lack of), or by jumping on the bandwagon with me a getting your feet wet too. If you decide to do so, here’s where you can leave your email address for updates, tips and other (hopefully interesting and meaningful content).
In any case, thank you for reading this personal story of mine!
July 31st, 2021
Attribution & thank you!
Featured images and custom-baked graphics are based on Freepik.com amazing resources, namely from pch.vector and stories. Modified with deep respect in Figma.