Bed Bugs and Patreon - The Check In

What I've accomplished, what my goals are, and a mini rant about Patreon.

Sun, 27 Jan 2019

I think a really important part of the whole digital nomad/indie maker thing is being open and honest about my journey. Which means I need to blog more. So, I’m going to hold myself accountable by committing to checking in with y’all at least once a week.

In each weekly check in, I’ll talk about my recent accomplishments, and I’ll outline goals for the upcoming week.

Things accomplished in January (so far):

  • Recently hit 1000 subscribers on Juniors in Tech
  • Started a Patreon for my projects (and people are actually pledging!)
  • Recorded a podcast interview (it’s not out yet)
  • Launched Juniors in Tech on Product Hunt (but not with a bang)
  • Did a Q&A with Soyo Awosika-Olumo and wrote a blog post for Juniors in Tech (How to Not Suck at Hiring Juniors in Tech)
  • Added a (half decent but not perfect) job board to the Juniors in Tech site
  • Applied to, a pre-accelerator for female founders, for Revolnote

I guess I’ve been kinda busy. And losing sleep because of it. But some of that is paying off, I guess. I was really surprised with how many people supported the Patreon. 13 individuals and 1 company (thanks Webflow!) have become patrons so far. I’m really thankful for everyone who is contributing. To know that people support me so much that they’re willing to voluntarily give me money to continue what I’m doing is really humbling.

As I wrote on the Patreon page, there’s more that I want to do. The newsletter is just the beginning.

Things started/in progress:

  • Signed up for Interaction Design Foundation and will be committing time each week to do their courses.
  • Started Google’s Machine Learning Crash Course (for the 3rd time). This is the year I become proficient at machine learning, I sweater god.
  • Starting doing the digital nomad thing again. Currently in Medellin, Colombia. Let me know if you have any recommendations.
  • Learning more about social media marketing, especially for Instagram & YouTube. Jade Darmawangsa has really good videos about this.

I got attacked by bed bugs my first night here. I couldn’t sleep for most of the night because they kept biting me. I really thought it was just some persistent mosquitos. In the early morning I saw a couple blood stains on my bed. I picked something tiny and dark red off the mattress, and rubbed it between my fingers. It burst and blood came out, so that’s when I knew that it wasn’t mosquitos. Ugh. So I told someone who worked there about the problem, then I left that hostel, moved to a more expensive ($24/night) hotel, and took all my clothes to the laundromat.

Anyway, always check the mattress/sheets when you get to a hostel or hotel.

photo of Keziyah sitting on some rocks in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Things I need to work on:

  • Not overworking myself
  • Self care (sleeping, having fun, doing my daily workouts)
  • Social media (been neglecting the Juniors in Tech Instagram)
  • Organizing my time better (really need to limit my Twitter time)

No matter how busy I get with work and my side projects, I need to prioritize sleeping, eating well, and working out. Those things help keep my physical and mental health in check. I’ve been working way too hard on Juniors in Tech lately. I like working on it but I won’t sacrifice my health for it.

It may sound weird but the Patreon is actually part of my self care strategy. First, just having a little more money in my pocket does relieve some anxiety. Second, having goals that can only be reached if I only get a certain amount of money in pledges keeps me from burning out from working on everything at once.

I never knew how hard it was to be a creator who gives access to your products for free. If this were just something I spent an hour a week on, then it wouldn’t be a big deal. But when you spend so much time working on something and trying really hard to make it good, eventually you want something back. (Especially when you’re working on something that people value. If no one gave a shit about Juniors in Tech then I wouldn’t have started a Patreon.)

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with creators asking for patrons. It’s voluntary. So you don’t have to become a patron. But if you do, you’re giving the creator another reason to do what they’re doing.

And I’m trying to think of pledges as a sponsorship, instead of a donation. You donate to causes because you feel like it’s the right thing to do and you want to help. But creators don’t want ”help”, or pity, or anything like that. We’re proving a product/service, and we want money in return. That’s all.

We’re so used to the idea of things being free. But nothing is free. Big companies like Google and Facebook provide a ”free” service but they use our data to sell ads. Other things like indie podcasts may be ”free” but the creators are getting sponsorship money. I could create Juniors in Tech without asking for patrons or sponsors, but it still wouldn’t be free because I would be paying for it. I’d be spending hours of my time doing something that doesn’t pay, when I could be freelancing, or working on something that does. Eventually, I’d get tired of doing it and move on to something else.

Anyway, now that I know what it’s like to be a creator, I’ve started supporting other creators in tech and indie maker spaces. Right now I’m supporting Veni, who makes Diversify Tech, and Marie, who makes Women Make.

Goals for this week:

  • 20 patrons/sponsors on Patreon (currently at 14)
  • Schedule social media posts for Juniors in Tech
  • Website updates for Juniors in Tech
  • Schedule more Juniors in Tech Q&As
  • Significant progress on my first IDF course (Become a UX Designer from Scratch)
  • Finish the Machine Learning Crash Course
  • 1 new blog post for Juniors in Tech (about what ”junior” means and whether or not it’s a bad word)
  • Start the redesign process for Revolnote.
  • Find a Crossfit box, or otherwise keep up with my workout schedule
  • Find a coworking space
  • Do at least 1 fun thing so that I’m not just stuck inside working all the time.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for checking in.

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Keziyah Lewis

Keziyah Lewis is a software developer, designer, and indie maker. She works on products that help people make a difference in their own lives, and the world. In 2019, she is documenting her attempt to monetize her side projects while keeping her full time job and being a digital nomad.