Ramen Profitability in 3.5 Years

It’s been a couple months since I hit ramen profitability.

I celebrated that night with a long walk filled with relief. Since then I’ve been stumbling around in what seems to be a limbo. I’m not sure what to do next.

Out of the 10 products I’ve shipped, only 3 are still up and profitable. I know what I need to do to scale up (it’s marketing) but I just can’t bring myself to do it, and the reason why is the same reason I’m feeling stuck, it’s because I don’t really give a damn about what I’m building.

For the most part I’ve been building e-commerce widgets on Shopify, little apps that help people sell more stuff. It’s alright and it feels good knowing people actually find my products and service useful, but it’s just not enough anymore. And the fact I would have made more money if I had just stayed employed or even worked at McDonalds these past few years weighs on me heavily.

What did I even do this for?

For financial freedom. For the ability to have all my bills taken care of without having to work, for passive income, for my own personal UBI. I figured if I don’t get this in order early in life, then every thought and action for the rest of my life will be sullied by financial desire. Every project I start will have to be justified by if it can make money and pay the bills, and so much gets lost when such a filter is added. I don’t want to deal with these half-assed compromises for the rest of my life, so let’s just get it over with now.

And I got what I wanted, for the most part. My products pay my bills month to month, and most of it is automated, having only to put in a couple days a week for maintenance, fixes, and support. It’s enough for me, for now, but not for my family, and not enough to build a substantial buffer.

So what’s the issue? Why can’t I just sit my ass down and grind out the last mile.

On the surface it kind of is that simple. I’ve reached product-market fit on at least one of my products, all I’d have to do is continue talking to customers, build features, keep track of competitors, and, most importantly, go heavy on content, to be “loud”. I could also just keep building more stuff.

But the real issue comes back to the question, “What did I even do this for?”

Financial freedom, yes. But why do I want financial freedom so bad, what is it I want to do, and what’s stopping me from doing it? And to these questions, I just don’t really know.

I’ve been on autopilot for so long. I figured if I don’t know what I want to do then I should at least just stop doing what I don’t want to do. Like that saying about obtaining gold, you obtain it not by growing it but by washing away all that isn’t gold. But what do you do once you find it? It feels like I’ve now found a nugget but I don’t know what to do with it, if I even want it anymore.

But of course I want it. Time is more precious than gold, I just don’t know what to do with it.

The more I think about it the more I think it was just me lacking the courage and conviction to pick a damn thing and do it. Instead, I’ve occupied myself with “busy” work. Endlessly learning new frameworks and libraries and optimizing my flow. Such work can be useful but I didn’t learn to code to endlessly optimize, I learned to code to build some cool shit, and to help me make something of this life.

So long story short, I’m now learning how to build on the blockchain, again. The possibilities it enables are far beyond what I can imagine, and I find inspiration in this unknown.