How I learned to code and built my first SaaS in six months.

ea_tldrip  •  24 Nov 2021   •  

I went from depressed and purposeless to driven and enjoying every moment.

Current stats: 30+ closed-beta users, no active marketing or speaking about the product.

It all started with an idea.


A bit of background on my Twitter journey:

From joining Twitter in October 2020 to February 2021 I had achieved:

  • 4k+ followers
  • Created a graphic design service and scaled it to $2K MRR as a side gig.

But I wasn’t happy.

I was building the wrong things, and willpower wasn’t enough to keep me going. I eventually burnt out. By March I had dropped everything all together. I stopped all client work. I quit Twitter. And I ended up dropping out of university.

I was in a creative rut at this point, and I honestly didn’t know what to do next.

What did I do?

I decided to only do three things outside of my job. Decrease my stimuli and focus on what I needed to do at the moment. I needed clarity as to where I’m going to take my life.

  • Hit the gym
  • Read books daily
  • Write in my journal

As the weeks went by my self-enforced, modern-day, monkhood began to positively affect me.

I was beginning to better understand my thoughts and body. I finally felt rested. I began to feel the itch to start creating again. This time I knew it wasn’t going to be just platitudes or logo design. I wanted to build something of a higher value that resonated with me.

Flashback to a few months before, I had started FreeCodeCamp on a whim.

Motivated by the prospect of leaving my current job to pursue programming as a full-time gig I made myself a roadmap.

PHP and JavaScript were the most in-demand languages in my area, and so I set my eyes towards becoming a WordPress developer.

My First Roadmap for Learning to Code looked like this:

1. HTML
2. CSS
3. ES6+ JavaScript (array functions, async…)
4. PHP basics
5. MySQL
6. WordPress

Resources I used to Learn to Code over the Months were:

(HTML / CSS)

- FreeCodeCamp
- W3Schools

(ES6+ JavaScript)

- JavaScript(.)info
- MDN documents
- Traversy Media (YouTube)

(PHP + MySQL)

- W3Schools
- Traversy Media (YouTube)

What happened to WordPress?

I never learned it, because TLDrip turned into something I never expected.

At this point in my journey, I was beginning to feel comfortable with tutorials.

I knew this was no good.

Tutorials and books can only get you so far.

You have to start applying your knowledge to truly learn and have results to show people.

Stumped for ideas I finally logged back into my Twitter and saw much of the community I had grown with move on.

Many were thousands of followers ahead.

Many had quit.

But the growth tactics everyone was using stayed the same.

I suddenly recall the time when I was growing my account and the continuous switching of scheduling tools.

I was never satisfied.

I asked myself.

Why not me? At the time I was research a lot about learning to code, and a universal truth in the space was that projects will give you the largest ROI.

I listed down the things that I thought many of the current tools out there were missing and turned them into an accountability article on IndieHackers

And I started building.

I started with what I knew at this point, which was Core PHP, MySQL, Vanilla JavaScript, and HTML and CSS.

Taking on a project meant encountering problems none of the tutorials have ever prepared me for.

To Overcome New Problems I used this system:

- Encounter a new problem.
- Research for existing solutions.
- Implement your own version of the solution after adapting to the context of the problem.
- Repeat

I learned that you have to top learning to learn, and start learning to apply, and then re-evaluate.

Using this system I built TLDrip bit by bit.

I went from knowing how to write simple JavaScript to knowing:

  • A bit of Nginx and Apache
  • MVC framework
  • Node/Express
  • RabbitMQ
  • Terminal
  • Git

I’m still yet to land a job in tech which is largely my fault as along the way I forgot to create a body of work showcasing my code skills, but now I can truly say that I’ve made a solid chunk of progress in full-stack web development.

What do I plan from here?

  • I will continue to build TLDrip and upgrade along the way.

  • Learn React this month to completely rebuild the app’s front-end alongside a UI framework.

The biggest takeaway for me was nicely summarized by Dan Koe and JK Molina:

Men who build aren’t depressed.

Take on a project.

Challenge yourself.

Connect with cool people.

Grow.

Grateful to everyone who has joined me on my journey so far, and looking forward to continuing to see you all on the timeline.

If you guys want to check out TLDrip, I just got the landing page up and would love some feedback.

Comments

That’s quite a journey you’ve had. Congratulations on your first post. Welcome to the community! I’m looking forward to reading about your endeavors toward independent income.

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therealbrandonwilson  •  24 Nov 2021, 1:39 pm

@ea_tldrip Wow what a journey. Can totally relate. Burned out a few times before. Had to re-prioritize too as you had done. Funny you mentioned “men who build aren’t depressed” - every time I felt low or burned out, I actually built more, created more side projects. Creating is life-giving!

Btw super glad you’re here to document your journey. I picked up coding myself too last year so the similarities are heartening. Looking forward to reading the details as it unfolds!

jasonleow  •  25 Nov 2021, 2:32 am

@therealbrandonwilson thank you! and I am absolutely looking forward to hearing everyone’s journeys!

ea_tldrip  •  26 Nov 2021, 2:32 am

@jasonleow It’s crazy how many of us are living such similar paths but on different timelines! This community is GMI

ea_tldrip  •  26 Nov 2021, 2:33 am

@ea_tldrip wgmi !

jasonleow  •  26 Nov 2021, 2:51 am