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I quit my job to make free web tools

Ruurtjan on March 17, 2022

I quit my job. I'm now unemployed. It feels great to finally be able to write this blog post. I remember daydreaming about making an aggregation si...
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Nathan Hedglin

Great writeup! I've always been too scared to take the leep even though I could.

It is good to see the process. Despite many failures, you've found success. You only need a little success to sustain you.

Best of luck!

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks @natescode! It's been quite a long time in the making for me as well. So don't feel like you've 'missed it'. It's never too late to start something new :)

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Min

Wow impressive all your hard work on side project! very impressive!
I am also taking a break from being employeed.
Good luck for your planA and I will look forward to see more update from you!

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks! I hope you'll get what you're looking for in your break :) What's your plan?

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Min

Hm... not exactly easy to answer.
I am not actually a full developer, rather I've been a digital artist working in film/game industry.

Since I left a job a few years ago, I did a few freelance work but mostly my own project and study.

I sometimes feel concerned if it's really fine not to focus on fianallical profitable activity, but luckily like your own industry, my industry's demand for worker is very high. so when I think that, "hm I am never going to be starving even it's the worst case" and make me feel relaxed.

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Ruurtjan Author

💯
It was kind of surprising to me, though, that once I quit my job it didn't feel as 'free' as I thought. The power dynamics of a corporate job are gone, but it's replaced by a self-imposed pressure to make this once chance count. I can rationalize the risk by remembering that I can go back to financial security and try again later, but it still feels risky and I still feel pressure 🤷‍♂️ Still super glad I made the jump, and enjoying every minute of it! Mixed bag.

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Min

Yeah not feeling “free” as expect.. totally agree with that!

It’s definitely a big jump.
While the key point is being independent and self driven person, but also I discovered that lots of companies started to offer me way more than previous employer.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take the latest offer since my stupid visa takes forever for covid but you know… I can push myself alone even more.

Anyway you gonna be great. Congrat! 🎉

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Jorge Madson

Cool! Thank you for sharing your failed projects and the whys, I really liked the idea and I will do same with my projects.

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Ruurtjan Author

Great! Send me a DM on Twitter if you'd like feedback on any of your projects :)

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Jorge Madson

Okay I am gonna organize it and create a Twitter account hehe

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Ivan G

Well done, brave! If not a secret, what % of past salary are you earning from the last 2 projects?

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks @aloneguid :) I'm now making around 1/3rd of my past salary in profit. That said, no matter how much a side project makes, it's still 100% of your salary that drops when you go full time ;)

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Khokon M.

Hi, we would be very happy if you share the story and development process behind your nslookup project. Great Article

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks, you can DM me on Twitter about this :)

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Khokon M.

Sure, in a minute

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maxmarrie

Its a good decision that you quit your job to make free web tools. It will increase your experience and you will learn a lot of new things. I want to make a tool of my website UniPrint. If you can do it please do let me know. I am ready to pay you for this task.

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks for the encouraging words :) You can contact me via Twitter DM or at hello@nslookup.io to pitch your proposal.

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Vincent Martin • Edited on

How far did you get with your STT project? I left my job a while ago to build apps and one of them requires that I transcribe a phone call audio. Started to play with coqui go bindings.

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Ruurtjan Author

I got the basics working, but lost focus and motivation along the way. My idea was that users could upload audio without logging in, get a 30 second sample from 3 different AI's (managed services from AWS, GCP, Azure maybe?), select one and transcribe the whole file for 1.5x the cost I'd have to pay the managed services. Much more light weight than existing tools, that require login and a credit card upfront. I didn't research the market lately, but there might still be an opportunity for this. Take the idea if you'd like :)

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Emmanuel Aiyenigba

This is great. I also have a project where I leveraged the IPinfo API to do exact same thing you did with whoismyisp.org

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Ruurtjan Author

Nice, which website?

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Emmanuel Aiyenigba

I just re-checked (it's been a while actually). I realized I used Ipify not IPinfo. Here ipchecker.netlify.app/

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Mangor1no

Financial is one of the most important thing in life. I'm excited to see what's coming next to you, quitting a fulltime job is not an easy decision to make, specially when you have kids. Thanks for sharing the story with us.

Best wishes for you in the future brave man!

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Chao

Very cool, other than SEO, do you recommend other approaches for growth ?

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Ruurtjan Author

I'm by no means an expert, but for my projects, SEO makes sense. People who need these tools will search for them, so that will always be the primary source of traffic.
Once I start making products (like the API), it could make sense to join communities of people that need those products. If only to understand the pain points you can solve and improve the product.
Other possibilities are blogging, podcasts, ads, setting up an affiliate program, but that depends on the product and niche I guess.

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Chao

Thanks @ruurtjan , best wishes on the projects and adventures ahead!

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Arĥimedeς ℳontegasppα ℭacilhας • Edited on

I envy you! (In a good way…)

You got 17 ideas to explore (plus the ones you decided not to mention); I’ve been in the business for over 20 years and I haven’t gotten even one idea ever, even less a viable one, only making other’s idea grow. 😓

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Ruurtjan Author

No need to come up with ideas! You can just be mindful of whatever you're using at any point in time. If you think you can do the same thing better, just take that concept and improve on it. The great thing about this approach is that you know there is demand for it, and you know at least one use case for it :)

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Dan Vin

Great article! One thing I noticed, you never stop trying and that’s a very good thing 👍 I wish you success. You gave me courage to move on with projects whenever it is a success or not, we get experiences through all of these.

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Ruurtjan Author

💯

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Liviu Lupei

Thank you for sharing this.
And best of luck!
I just tried both of your services, it was a good experience.

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Ruurtjan Author

Glad to hear!

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jzombie

+1 for the article. +1 again for linking to and mentioning your passion projects.

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Ruurtjan Author

Glad you liked it!

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jzombie • Edited on

I have a passion project, called ReShell (reshell.org/about-reshell), that I'd be interested in making an application around one or more of your APIs, if you're interested.

Reach out to me if that's something you'd consider. My LinkedIn is: linkedin.com/in/jeremyharrisconsul...

The code is open-source, and would just be an experiment of course, so this isn't some ploy to try to make any $$.

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Renan Franca

Hi @ruurtjan ,
Thank you for sharing ☺️
How did you make partnerships with NordVPN and ipinfo.io? What Do they gain?

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Ruurtjan Author

Hi Renan, NordVPN gets immediate sales through my site, as well as brand awareness and a bunch of traffic they can retarget through social media ads. As for ipinfo.io, they sell an API that gives precisely the info I'm displaying on whoismyisp.org. So they can also get sales through people that click on their logo on my site.
I've contacted one of the folks at NordVPN and asked if they would want to trial ads on my site, and they agreed. We're still optimizing the ads, but it's going well so far.
ipinfo.io actually contacted me to ask if they could by whoismyisp.org, but we ended up doing a partnership where they give me the API for free, and a small monthly fee.

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Renan Franca

Congratulations 🎉! Thank you for the complete answer! I am already follow you 👏

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Rogier van den Berg

Very cool, congrats! 👏

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks @rogiervandenberg :)

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Ruurtjan Author

Find something that already has multiple sites dedicated to it with decent traffic. See how they approach it, and think about how you'd do it differently. If you're confident you can do significantly better, give it a try.

I started NsLookup.io when there were already a lot (hundreds?) of similar sites, but none of the popular ones were any good in my opinion.

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Harlin Seritt

Sounds nice. It always does. But, I would like to see your update on all this in about six months. Good luck.

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Ruurtjan Author

Absolutely! The trouble is that if it fails, then my write-up won't be as exciting and won't have the reach that this post had. Selection bias in action..

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Harlin Seritt

Hah hah true man! :-D but at least it could be helpful to anyone considering the same. Maybe adding some pitfalls and experiences would be kind of cool.

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Bhavesh Ramburn

interesting so the lesson is not to quit before you make money?

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Ruurtjan Author

I'm relatively risk averse, so I wouldn't be comfortable doing that. Some people do, but it's not for me. In fact, I've heard people growing it on the side until it surpasses their salary before quitting their job.

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Casper Rubæk

It would be awesome to have the side project surpass the salary. It would make it a no brainer to go all in.

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Zack Webster

Congratulations, this has always been a goal of mine, since when I first got introduced to the concept in my early internet days. I'm currenty saving for this. Hope to be on the same path!

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Ruurtjan Author

Nice! For me, it really helped that I already had something going before quitting my job. A lot of these things just take a lot of time (as in calendar days). SEO for example doesn't just take effort, but also has a delayed effect. So doing it on the side works quite well. DM me on Twitter if you have anything you'd like feedback on :)

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Paras Rawat

Inspirational story.😊
I do make projects for fun but never thought of launching them live on internet.
but i think now is the time.

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Brad Cederberg

This is great! I am relatively new to being a software engineer. But I feel like we are very similar.
Me and my family have spent the last ~20 years living below our means, paying off and staying out of debt and creating a bit of passive income. Just recently dropped everything and made the move to Costa Rica.

I would love to hear more about your story.

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Ruurtjan Author

Hi everyone! I'll hang around in chat today, so ask me anything :)

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Marco Moscatelli

Great article mate!

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Ruurtjan Author

Thank you <3

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Kirill

I'll write a follow-up blog on how to pick the right side project some time next month.

Please do!

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Zero.btc • Edited on

I too have been cautious to take the leap. Great information

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Tykok

Wow, it was really interesting !

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Marcelo Herrera

Good luck. I remember when i quite my job (outside IT) to work freelance un IT. Good decission at this Time.

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alexlqi

Hey! If you need help on this journey I'm glad to help. Free of charge!

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Ruurtjan Author

If you'd like to help, you can check out the browser extension. I'd love to hear your feedback, and a rating in the extension store would help too :)

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alexlqi

Which extension?

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Ruurtjan Author
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Hannu-Daniel Goiss

Great! It's a big step to resign and depend only on yourself! Good luck!

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Casper Rubæk

I would really like to see an article about picking the right side project. I have the same goals as you do.

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Tom Smykowski

Congrats! I am sure we will have some awesome services thanks to you!

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Ethan

Well done!
Great to see inspirational posts like this. :)

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Ruurtjan Author

Thanks :)

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Marco Agas

Congrats! How has your SEO progress been? Are going fully organic for content? Or will you soon dip into the paid side?

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Ruurtjan Author

I've got a freelancer (ex-Microsoft DNS guy) I pay to write high-quality content. I also write and edit myself. I've also done some cold outreach to win some backlinks, and try to share my content where it makes sense. A couple of times I've paid a 25-100 USD fee for backlinks, but I avoid it as much as I can.

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Daniel Alonzo

Best of luck man! You're living the dream! :)

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ffex

Thanks for this post!
two years ago drop my job to became a freelancer and have more space to do my projects.

But right now I work on a big project (it the same of an employee but I'm freelancer) but i don't have enough time to do my projects like when I was employee! 😂

This post help me to find out a formula for me! 😁