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M&Ms 61: Mid-Year Earnings Update

Louie Bacaj
Louie Bacaj
6 min read
M&Ms 61: Mid-Year Earnings Update

Hey Team,

It's the halfway point of this year, and it's time for a small update.

An update on the Small Bets strategy I have adopted as my way forward for entrepreneurship this year. I have made about ~$50k in total from all of the small bets I have placed so far.

That $50k is a far cry from a Big Tech salary. And much less than I could make if I just stopped being stubborn and took a role back in Big Tech again. My old boss still keeps in touch with me and frequently asks, "Are you ready to come back yet?" While I am grateful he cares about me and my journey, I hope I can survive.

Even though that amount does not compare to a Big Tech salary, I am incredibly proud of these dollars. For one, that money gives me faith that it might be possible to survive out here and eventually thrive. Secondly, I made all that independently and did things I would've never imagined doing just a year ago. Things like selling, building an audience, teaching, and building various small SaaS apps out of thin air for communities desperate for better tools.

As a relatively awkward and introverted engineer, I am proud because only building things and managing engineering teams has come easy to me. All the other stuff was incredibly hard. This should be encouraging for you because if I can do this, you might be able to do it too if you wanted to, of course.

I will break the financials down, but first, I'd like to touch on one of my goals for this journey.

Last year I had a simple goal, to just put myself out there. I planned to start writing more regularly and attract like-minded people I could help, and that could also help me become an entrepreneur. By the end of last year, I got pretty lucky with a few viral Twitter threads, and I was well on my way. I was way "out there."

Earlier this year, my goal was to make my first dollars online on my own. I stated publically that my goal was to make 1/10th of what I could make in Big tech on my own. $100k placing various Small Bets would do it. And I had some lofty goals for Twitter growth. These goals are not easy for someone like me, and it's unclear if I will hit them. I am not a huge fan of goals in general, I don't have too many of them; but I do think it's good to have an anchor.

So to break down that $50k, it comes from one Info Product, one Cohort Based Course plus mentoring in other Cohort Based Courses, and from SaaS.

The vast majority of that money is from my one info product, the very first Small Bet. Exactly $37.5k comes from my Gumroad course.

The next few thousand come from running my own Cohort Based Course, the Newsletter Launchpad, with my friend Chris Wong. While we didn't earn enough on that to cover the time we spent putting the curriculum together and the content, it was very rewarding to teach live.

Besides, the Small Bets philosophy says you are after small wins that you can build on top of. The philosophy also says you should try and avoid failure at all costs because failure teaches you nothing.

This live course was still a small win for Chris and me, as we made a few grand from it. 11 Students joined; it was a 4-week course with two sessions a week live, seven live sessions total. The newsletters the students started are incredible; weeks after it ended, they are still going, so something worked.

Plus, we created a ton of content for it. And we started a free newsletter from that, aptly named The Newsletter Launchpad, which teaches some of the same concepts and is growing pretty steady. You should sign up to the newsletter and learn from us if you are thinking of starting a newsletter, its free.

More than $7k came from mentoring in various other Cohort Based Courses. I mentored in Write of Passage, The Minimalist Entrepreneur, and ran a few sessions for the Small Bets community on real estate, among other mentoring. I got paid for that work, but really I probably would've done most of that for free because I learned a ton mentoring in those high-quality communities.

And finally, I have made a little over a thousand dollars from my SaaS apps. It is a measly amount, but SaaS is a slow game, and I am far from done with it. I love building software, but I enjoy these other things too.

Stripe Dashboard from one of our SaaS apps.

I placed other Small Bets, such as our podcast on engineering advice. But I have not earned anything from that yet, so I am excluding that for now.

So what's next? Part of the Small Bets philosophy is to sell the sawdust. And there is a lot of sawdust here; our live newsletter course has over 13 hours of recorded content. We plan to re-record some of that, edit and compress it and sell it as a recorded course at a much cheaper price point than the live version.

I am also thinking of taking the live real estate sessions on becoming a Small Time landlord I did for the Small Bets community and package up the sawdust as a recorded course too.

Plus, we have big plans for the podcast. And more plans for SaaS.

The goal of this strategy is to survive as an entrepreneur. To extend my runway and remain an entrepreneur for as long as possible. If I can do that, it might even be possible to get to a place where I might thrive.

If you have thoughts, ideas, or advice on any of what I shared tonight, I'd love to hear from you. You can reply directly to this email.

Three Tweets I loved this week:

What I love most about this Tweet by my friend John is that I have learned an immense amount about the creator economy and entrepreneurship from those only a few years ahead of me.

And as a recent entrepreneur, I find myself unable to use anything people like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos have to teach. They are just too far ahead and are playing a very different game at a very different scale.

Last week I wrote a little bit about real estate and the potential of higher interest rates.

And the possibility of prices correcting too much due to increasing rates.
This chart helps put things into a better perspective.

The low rates we witnessed recently were unprecedented.

Two Articles I loved this week:

Study shows you can lose weight by sleeping more
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it’s estimated that around two billion adults worldwide are currently overweight. In other words, 25% of the world’s population is overweight. A group of 80 participants, 41 men, and 39 women, with a body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight in kilo…

A study on sleep and weigh loss had an interesting outcome I did not expect

"Participants who extended their sleep lost an average of 0.87kg (almost 2 pounds) in two weeks. Those who did not add an hour to their sleep gained 0.48kh (1 pound) over the same two weeks, regardless of other daily activities."

The $13,000 launch of my code review course
Several months ago I launched my first info product, a video course called Master the Code Review. I built it from scratch, on my own, and from my own ideas. So far it’s done over $23K in revenue, with $13K in the first month. I’m not writing this t...

My friend Curtis wrote about his successful course launch Master The Code Review.

There are good insights in that article for those looking to do similar things.

Thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.


P.S. you can respond directly to this email and I will do my best to reply. I'd love to hear from you.