A few weeks back I came across a site (if you were in the concrete5 IRC room at the time, you'd know what it is) that had a lot of different tutorials and sample code released under the MIT license for image sliders, little widgets, navigations, etc. A ton of really good resources.
I'd link it here, but that might be counterproductive to my plans. :D
It seemed like a really good place to kind of plunder for good things to turn into concerte5 add ons. I kind of kept track of which ones looked the best and easiest to do, but didn't index them or anything. Just kind of put it in the back of my mind, thinking someday, maybe I'd do a couple of them.
Last weekend, I took a bit more time. Saturday was spent finishing up some upgrades on Grease Rag, they're deployed to the staging site. I was migrating from Items Calendar to ProEvents for the event listings, and that required a lot of changes to the core. It actually took a couple of months for me to find time for it. I updated the Event List add on to allow for an unlimited number of google calendar feeds, too, with background and text colors too. As is, the system only allows you to add google calendars to every calendar on the site, there's no finess at all. I had it most of the way done awhile ago, then got the revisions, and then didn't have time to finish the rest of it. I've been kind of guilty of that - get to the last point then drop the project. I don't know why that is. It permeates a lot more than just code projects.
I finished up the upgrade, then headed out to work a stop for House Party Cat. That was pretty off the hook. Lucid Brewing donated a lot of beer, there were a ton of people. They actually gave more on Sunday for Cranksgiving, but I didn't make it out for that one. Actually, I was trying to get caught up on stuff around the house on Sunday and knew if I went out for the race, and then the after party, I wouldn't get done with anything. I really wanted to actually race that one - riding to grocery stores to pick up pounds of cargo for Sisters Camelot is something I like to do. Last year it was the first real snow of the year and I was riding it on slicks, that was pretty difficult. This year was perfect weather, and from what I saw on facebook it looked to be a really awesome success. The winners, Namaste House were friends of mine, they hauled 273 pounds of food. The whole bus was full of food from the pictures I saw. It's so awesome to see things like that, people just coming together for the common good.
Anyway, I was home on Sunday and focusing on being domestic, and I got to thinking more about the future. What I really want to do. I love my job, don't get me wrong. It's the best place I've probably ever worked. But it is still a job. And if I could instead spend 40-50 hours a week doing stuff that I think is going to change the world without focusing on doing X for client Y, well, I'd probably be a lot happier. I think pretty much everyone would. So I'm thinking, what do I need to do to make it so I don't have to do, well, anything? So that it's all completely optional?
The only real answer I have is the concrete5 marketplace. I was thinking maybe themes because my add ons aren't the best right now, but never got anywhere with that. So it has to be add ons. My thinking in the past has been trying to come up with uber awesome things that would sell hundreds of licenses a month. Now I don't think that's possible. It seems like 10-20 a month on most add ons I've written is a good bet. Sometimes not quite even that.
But the ones I give away for free? That's a totally different story. They are factors of 5 to 35 more popular in downloads than my best selling paid add ons. Which is great, I love seeing people use my code, but it's not a way to put food on the table or pay my rent. I wish I could just release everything for free, but I need to make a living in order to continue to release stuff. I plan on releasing a lot of free stuff, but I think more and more of it will be like my custom objects demo - maybe partially functional, but you need to customize to make it really workable. And really for teaching people how to code, not providing canned solutions. If you want it totally done and ready to use, then it will cost money.
While between laundry and dishes and making chai and watching videos, I started to plan. What would I need to do to get where I want to be? I surfed back through the site's tutorials looking for the libraries I'd thought about using, and put them into a spreadsheet. Number of hours to set up, expected monthly sales, price, link to file. That's all the more I really needed to know. Before too long, I was looking at about 3100 dollars of potential income each month (fairly conservatively) with about 240 hours of work at the front end. Which, when you think about it, really isn't all that much. Realistically, with the amount of time I have to work each week, it's about 6 to 8 months of work. But again, that's really not too long. To be completely free from having to work except for a few support requests?
I did a bit more thinking about it after that - right now 3100 would be more than enough to sustain me for a month, but I'm not figuring in taxes and insurance, so I'd need more than that. But then I remembered three more ideas that I have. Ones that don't require external libraries. So more work, but much better. Adding in projections from those and it's up to about 4500 a month. Which should cover those expenses. Maybe a few more months to get set, but still, totally doable.
It seems like it could work. Maybe I'm just crazy. I don't think so, though. I'm pretty positive on the amount of work each one of these would take to program, I may be off 3-10 hours on some of them, but I don't think so. And I think that several of them could actually have almost a common interface for the add / edit block views, kind of carbon copied and then adjusted to the particulars of the library that I'm using. Which might cut some time off if I first lay out the common UI.
But the stuff I'm figuring on is just simply program, money starts flowing in. That's not the way it works, at least not in the concrete5 marketplace. There you are looking at at least a month for anything to get through the review process, more if it's complex or has bugs. So it could be a year, maybe even a year and a half before I have everything I've written published and available for sale.
Again, that's not really all that long. And depending on how I plan things out, the time could be improved. If I pick the ones that will make the most money and be approved the fastest, then I could perhaps use the money from them to cut my hours at work, giving more time to finish up the lesser projects and get to the final goal.
I kind of hate that my final goal is both not working, and an amount of money. As if that's needed to survive. I like to think of it more that my final goal is being able to apply my talents and interests to things that I really care about.
At any rate, I have the feeling that I'm on the right track. The thing I have to do is stop spending so much time going out and being sociable. And so much time being lazy and isolationist and watching media. Just put all of my focus into coding and coding and coding. The faster this is done the better. I'm capable of doing this, so I should do it. It could completely change my world. It could make possible tons of things I really want to do.
I'm sure that by the time it's all said and done, there will be at least 3-400 hours of coding. I need to set up a site to showcase all the stuff I build too, with links back to the marketplace add ons and vice versa. That will take quite a bit too. Then there's updating this site, it's long overdue for an upgrade. Especially after the post of the Custom Objects stuff. That's driving a lot more code related traffic to my site (though I think more search engine stuff still comes from chai recipe inquiries) and a lot more of that traffic is drilling through pages like about and musical tastes and living space / workspace and other areas of the site that I never really thought about having people look at. Mostly they were just filling up space, trying to have more pages of information on the site. So I need to update that.
And actually make a real responsive template, not just a desktop and a mobile version. With all the work I've been doing on our latest project at work with a super responsive theme, more than just an adaptive theme with a framework, I'm wanting to approach pretty much every personal / just for fun site that I've done and make it flex. There are so many things that I'm learning about device screens and how to measure fonts and widths to make things truly device agnostic, it's really making me excited. Thinking of what I could do that nobody else could do, if I start taking some time to get back in to developing my designer's eye as opposed to just the developer's.
It's possible I'm just crazy. Maybe it's impossible to simply live off the marketplace. But I don't really need a lot of money to live, and I can always live on less. But I have a few years of sales stats to look at, and some ideas about how popular other people's stuff is. I've seen how fast stuff is growing. I know how long it takes to make the things I want to sell now, and what their market value will be after they are created. So I think I'm probably pretty close to right. And if I am, it could change the way I interact with the world pretty much permanently.
There's a lot more I want to write, so much more. Another reason for wanting to work less on things for others, and more things for the betterment of society, for simple sale and not one-off development, to code for the simple joy of coding. To build simply to build. If I can get there, then I will have time to actually sit down and record what I'm actually doing, to work out systems to keep me on track. So many ideas, so little time. I think more and more every day about how short life is. I see photos of myself and can't believe how old I'm looking, how old I'm feeling, how little I feel that I can do what I really want to do.
I felt like I could make at least this goal, these 10-13 ideas that could turn into code that could turn into sustainable income, then maybe I can make the others. It's so hard to think that the only time I feel like I can really get things done and be fast and decisive and good at all the things, I have to be manic. And really, the more I think about that, the more I think that it's only then that I'm really alive when I'm in that state, so focused, so aware, so on top of everything. it makes me wish that I could just be that way, safely, at all times.
Anyway, I won't be that way anymore. That's what the meds are for. They work great. I'm just totally even. But that makes it hard to do things like work 60 hours a week instead of 40, to stay working and going and ON at all times. But it's the addict in me, the person wanting the quick chemical fix, why can't I just take a pill and be *better*? Wishing for the impossible.
But yeah, could I do this? I think so.