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My first post - my backstory

rickblyth profile image Rick Blyth ・4 min read

Here's my first post and I thought I'd let people know my journey from career 9-5er to being by own boss.

I started as a Software Developer around 20 years ago,
I worked hard and climbed my way up the corporate ladder (Dev -> Senior Dev -> Team Lead -> Dev Manager) until finally I was promoted to Technical Director of an Insurance Software company 🏅

In theory, I should have been happy … I’d reached the “pinnacle” but within a few years I was feeling unfulfilled and sad 😔

I was leaving the house at 7am and getting back at 7pm, just in time to see my kids for 30 mins before they headed to bed. Those 12 hours were generally made up of commuting (on a busy train with standing room only), pointless meetings and general chaos, interruptions and firefighting on the daily… 🔥

Eat. Sleep. Pain. Repeat. x 5 days a week.

I was living for the weekends although even then, quite often there’d be ad-hoc support or weekend work required. I was being paid very well (close to a six-figure salary), but I was unhappy with the grind and thought there must be more to life than what I was experiencing now I was “at the top” 🗻

In 2016, I started reading self-development books and became obsessed in my thirst for self-improvement books 📚

There was one book in particular (Rich Dad Poor Dad) that would teach me principles that would change my life forever. I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in a weekend.It’s an old book but the principles it teaches around being paid per hour vs “passive income” will hold true forever. It set me off on a journey to find my own freedom.

I started looking if I could build some digital assets that could bring in passive income whilst I was asleep/working. I briefly flirted with some Amazon selling platforms (FBA, Retail Arbitrage, Private Label) but they weren’t for me. I then discovered the world of print on demand products which didn’t require any inventory or cash investment up front which seemed a safer and easier way to build up some digital assets 🏗

It was now 2017 and Amazon had launched their own print on demand platform (Merch By Amazon). It was ok but at the time the UI for creating the designs sucked. It was very tedious to create/edit products and involved a lot of copy/paste and repetitive work. I wondered if I could use my coding skills to make something to help make it all easier 💻

I built my first chrome extension in one weekend and it was both super simple and super UGLY! However, it did make it way quicker to edit products so it was useful 👍

I had written a post promoting it to the Facebook group but I was stuck with my mouse hovering over the “Publish” button on the Facebook group for ages. Worries were creeping in:

😱 “Will anyone buy it?“ …
😱 “Will they think I’m hacking them?”’ …
😱 “What if someone at work sees it?”


I hit publish and went to bed 🛏

I was excited/nervous to check my emails the next day …. holy smokes … people have actually bought it! Even better, they’re starting to rave about my app in the Facebook groups and more people are buying it. My crappy looking app was a success 🏆

I was making sales in my sleep ….

I was receiving direct, positive feedback from the users …

I was in sole charge of the code … it was my baby …


In 2018, I went on to build more apps for the same community, working evenings and weekends but it was truly a labour of love 😍

One day whilst walking my dog, an idea for a Merch app popped into my head that literally stopped me in my tracks (my dog just stared at me bemused). I felt I was on to something big and I was right, it turned out to be my biggest app and it changed everything for me 💡

I worked hard on developing and promoting it … made cutbacks and saved money such that we’d built up a small runway of savings and at the start of 2019 I did it ....


No more crappy meetings/office drama/chaos/commute 💩

More focus/family time/freedom/calm 😃

Through hard work and determination, these apps have generated six-figures in sales and my last app launch was a five-figure launch which has meant that as a family we’re comfortable and barring a total disaster …. I’ll never need to go back to a 9-5 again 🤞

From my first crappy app in 2017 until now in 2021, I have learnt (and continue to do so) tonnes about developing apps that bring in passive income.

When I meet other devs, I can’t stop talking about the passive income opportunities they could explore. I’m like …

Do you know there is another world outside of the 9-5 where you get paid to be a superhero to a community by building apps for them?!?

Now that my apps are stable, I’m making it my mission to help other programmers do what I’ve done and unlock the potential they have inside them 🚀

See you around,

Rick Blyth

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