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My 2018 story of how burn out led to my most successful year

Sunny Singh
Creating content and code
Originally published at sunnysingh.io ใƒป5 min read

Note: This article was originally written for my personal blog. I am republishing it here for the DEV community.

2018 was such a crazy year for me. In fact, it was my most successful year. I traveled, launched a course, made videos, read books, launched big projects, and revamped my personal site and brand.

What have I been up to?

Trips, product launches, content creation, and a lot of burn out. I didn't really think that I would be calling this my most successful year. However, the fact that I was able to launch IronMic and get paying customers for it was a huge milestone. I also continued to grow my personal brand through my podcast and connections that I've made on social media and online communities.

I'm not afraid to talk about burn out, I even did it on my first podcast episode. In case you're unfamiliar, it's when you exhaust yourself into a lacking state of productivity. To help understand this better from my own experience, let's look through my accomplishments month by month, and see where things went downhill.

January

โœˆ๏ธ CES trip to Las Vegas with Leon and Kyle

๐Ÿš€ Launched first YouTube video to vlog my Vegas trip

๐Ÿ“ Wrote a roadmap of what I wanted to launch in 2018

๐ŸŽ™ Published 2 podcast episodes

February

๐Ÿš€ Launched Skillshare course for beginning web development

๐ŸŽ™ Published 1 podcast episode

March

๐ŸŽ‰ Celebrated 25th birthday

๐Ÿš— Family trip to Atlanta

๐Ÿ“• Read "Rise and Grind" by Daymond John

๐ŸŽ™ Published 1 podcast episode

April

๐Ÿ“• Read "Crushing It" by Gary Vee

๐Ÿ“บ Started publishing podcast episodes as YouTube videos

๐Ÿ›  Began working on IronMic

๐ŸŽ™ Published 2 podcast episodes

Let's stop here for a second.

I started off strong with my Vegas trip; met up with friends that I run side projects with, got into YouTube with my first vlog, continued to podcast, and I even created a roadmap to keep myself on track! As you look at February and March though, my only launch was a course. Don't get me wrong, I put in a lot of effort into the course, but I started to neglect the podcast and did not stay on a consistent schedule. By definition, this wasn't really burn out, but you could still say that I created a lot of hype and didn't live up to it.

April is when I became more self aware of this, especially after reading Gary Vee's new book. I got back both into podcasting and YouTube at this time by doing a review of the book. I also realized that I needed to build a product that solved a problem. A problem that perhaps I had, as that would make me a lot more passionate to build it.

Thus, IronMic was born. It's a SaaS (Software as a Service) that creates automated websites for podcasts. Convenient, right? This means that I could build a platform that would automatically build a site for my podcast, and I wouldn't have to keep it up-to-date either. With design and a bit of coding help from Kyle, I passionately started working on an MVP. I had a ton of knowledge up to this point on building products, and I knew to watch out for burn out, so what could go wrong... ๐Ÿคจ

May

๐ŸŽ™ Published 2 podcast episodes

June

๐Ÿ‘ฅ Joined The Digital Era Facebook group

๐ŸŽ™ Published 1 podcast episode

July

๐ŸŽ™ Published 1 podcast episode

August

๐Ÿš€ Launched IronMic

โœˆ๏ธ Family trip to Cologne, Germany

๐ŸŽ™ Published 2 podcast episodes

Wow, I launched it! Let's celebr...

Hold on there pal. A couple more months...

September

๐Ÿ Break from side projects

๐Ÿ‘” Celebrated 1 year work anniversary

October

๐Ÿ Break from side projects

๐ŸŽƒ Dressed up as The Joker for Halloween

Now stop.

So yes, I did end up launching IronMic. It took me 3-4 months, and for the last four weeks I ended up working 16+ hour days. Not only was I on a clock to beat the market to this idea, but I also was on a clock with myself to finally create something that would move me closer to my goals.

After the launch, I continued to work on IronMic mostly by fixing issues and doing some marketing. For the next 2-3 months though, I pretty much took a break from side projects and stopped being productive altogether. Familiar? Yeah, sounds a lot like burn out ๐Ÿ”ฅ ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Where's the successful part?

Even though I burned out again, I learned extremely valuable lessons. The problem is that I did not build IronMic out in the open. I did not share progress to see if people were excited about the product (despite wanting to keep the idea secret, which did not help at all). Most importantly, I scope creeped an MVP that should've taken about one month to launch.

Even though I burned out again, I learned extremely valuable lessons. The problem is that I did not build IronMic out in the open. I did not share progress to see if people were excited about the product.

However, I did pull through. I started a project, and I launched it. Not only did I launch it, but I got paying customers for it. In my previous years of launching numerous products, I never had someone pay money for something that originally existed as an idea in my head. This, to me, is success. But, I still have a lot to do. Let's finish this year off...

November

๐Ÿ‘ฅ Joined The Maker's Kitchen

๐Ÿš€ Launched IdeaScratch

December

๐Ÿš€ Launched personal site redesign

๐Ÿš€ Launched personal newsletter

๐Ÿ“ Wrote article about 2018 in review (you're reading it)

๐ŸŽ™ Published 4 podcast episodes

๐Ÿ“บ Started live streaming on Twitch

โœ… Started actively logging tasks on Makerlog

Finishing off strong ๐Ÿ’ช

Things changed for me in November when I was invited to a Slack community known as The Maker's Kitchen, and it gave me exactly what I needed. My biggest lesson from my burn out was to build in the open to gain validation and motivation, and this community revolved around that exact principle. Logging my tasks publicly on Makerlog definitely helped as well, with both communities overlapping.

I was able to launch multiple things during this time: IdeaScratch, a new personal site, and a newsletter. I also was consistent with a weekly podcasting schedule, and created more content in a single month than I ever have before.

Yep, the most successful year ๐ŸŽ‰

At least it sounds like one to me.

It wouldn't be fun if it was easy. There are always bumps on the road to success. Here's to an even more successful 2019. Happy New Year!

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