MDC Update #1: Traction & Stack

As some already know, on the first of August I announced and wrote about the million dollar challenge. Including rules, restrictions and what skills I lack or have to push limits.

A couple days in and here is the first progress report, and the stack I decide to use when on a budget.

I would like to clarify that I decided the initial tools and starting stack I plan to use was based on having zero revenue or earnings and that it will evolve over time.

PS: Notice that this blog post is not on https://oos.news but on https://outofsigma.com. I made earlier this week a decision to transit all content and info to this .com domain.

And half of the shit is still missing here, so please ignore the empty pages 🙂

Numbers & Progress

Currently, I secured a total revenue of $1490 out of a million in under a week. Which is far more than I anticipated!

Here is the breakdown, and will explain how I got there.

Reasoning & How

When I was writing up my intro post about the challenge, I needed to find ways to run as fast as possible from zero. In my mind, I knew what I needed to buy from early days on and I was hoping to find at least one person on Twitter or cold DM that was in need of some consulting.

That way, I could buy a few essentials.

However, it went the opposite way. I added the ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ link in the post to display it’s presence rather than going for straight donations.

My reasoning was:

  • Making readers and followers aware it’s there
  • Build a blog/content or short form guides for free that would encourage others to buy a coffee.
  • Every dollar will count when the counter was looking zero

10 minutes in after posting the intro post about the challenge, I had two followers at random (without asking in a Tweet) buying me 3 coffees each, totaling a $30.

It wasn’t the plan, but it turned out to be very motivational (for me).

After all, $0 looks pale, but luckily, we left that number pretty quickly behind.

Few days later, that number rose to $165 and it was already plenty to buy/subscribe myself to some of the essentials.

But, a million is a big number and in order to increase my bankroll (read liquidity) in early stage, I was set to hustle my way to the top with consulting.

Consulting ($1325)

Eli asked me on Twitter how, what and where, and here is the breakdown: 

Honestly, I was struggling approaching others. For the simple reason that my Twitter profile and account is not screaming ‘selling services’ or being a consultant ever.

And that is challenging. How does one starts to sell his/her time to unknown people or followers when it’s not matching the DNA of my profile?

You don’t.

At least not with a direct question or sales pitch.

I broke down the 3 jobs I acquired and how I got them:

$75 for one hour

This came totally at random. During a few replies and Tweets in the last weeks with Igor about NanoHQ we were already set on having a chat/call. Which was considered a non-transactional call, as in just helping one out.

Then, on the 4th of August, he discovered what I was aiming for and he booked officially an hour (paid) for insights and opinion about NanoHQ.

To be clear, I never pitched it to Igor as in a paid consulting. It came organically and he used that Stripe link I added in the intro post.

$250 – fixed fee

This yet again came totally at random. I am not revealing the person/business here but it can be verified. 

I just need to ask permission if he/she’s okay with me mentioning it.

How it went:

I used to call with this individual a few times a while back and helped him (for free) with a few insights and tips. Afaik, he took over a hundred notes during those calls, so I am sure it was valuable enough for him/her.

Last week, I reached out with the intention to catch up as I know he’s brewing something big.

Fast forward at the end of the call yesterday (August 4th) I asked if he/she would know anyone that would need me for a few consulting hours to spice up my roll. (Person is aware of the challenge)

Well, because – I need to hustle through. 

But he flipped the script on me. He offered me a short term project with a fixed fee of $250.

  • It was never my intention to sell services to him
  • I was looking for referrals based on my previous convos with him as he knows what I could/can do for startups or newly launched projects
  • Mission accomplished in an unexpected way!

Scope of the project/consulting and fields:

Startup guidance / framework / SOP / business consulting

Completely different than Igor’s request, but still within my range.

$1000 – fixed fee

Yet again at random.

I am a member of a few Discord channels and some of them are aware I am primarily trading equities.

But in that particular channel, I provided input and feedback about SEO, niche blogging and business in general.

Fast forward, someone reached out to me because he is interested in day trading, commodities particularly and wants to understand the capital markets better from a micro and macro economical perspective.

He had some questions about a niche blog but was very much focused on my trading activities.

So, we went on a call. Gave him my insights (briefly) on his niche blog idea and talked about his current experience in trading commodities and equities.

Turns out, he loves and is obsessed with it, just like I am, and he took a few courses but never made it out of the basics.

He asked me if I do courses, sell one etc.

I said, not really. Because selling courses in that particular industry gives me too much of a fake guru vibe. 

But I did offer that I would help him understand:

  • how to trade better
  • how to differentiate technical indicators (like Fib, Ichimoku, MacD etc)
  • how to use bank math and variance in intraday trades
  • How one should trade commodities
  • etc.

Whilst this is not a course, it’s consulting and coaching to determine his struggles, including mindset. (day trading in any form is a mental game)

Not long after, that person paid me $1K in BTC (can be verified), but he asked me not to mention him (for now).

On a sidenote, I trade equities and commodities for more than 15 years. And what most people see on YouTube from those dumbass traders driving Lambos and throwing money in the air does not represent the career or job. It’s boring, it’s intense and it requires 99% research and 1% execution.

If I make 10K in 10 minutes, it’s representing 15 years or more of my life. Not 10 minutes of a trade that looks easy from the outside.

So there is that!

These are the three consulting gigs (should I call it this?) I have currently racked up.

All three in different verticals and industries.

All of them tied to my current or past experience.

I would say, this is pretty successful after starting low-key on a million dollar challenge with no intention to directly sell.

Now that I secured a mini-roll, ($1490 in total) here is what I plan to do with it:

Smart Money & Stack

So is it time to celebrate and order champagne?

No. But $1490 is better than zero.

I could go on an immediate shopping splurge, but it would not fit my current risk parameters.

Since I am usually obsessed with the term ‘risk parameters’, and apply it primarily in equities and investing, there is no difference turning ‘dumb money’ into smart money when starting a business.

And this is hard for me. From a perspective I am using in my daily ops a different set of tools that are attached to a premium price.

Which I cannot afford today with this roll, but it’s not stopping me from being more creative.

Here is the current list (clean links, no aff links added) of tools and platforms I will use:

Obsidian

I needed a note taking tool that is solid, stable and can be taken offline. Obsidian is something I use daily, and luckily they have a free version which is more than sufficient.

This is also a powerful tool for me to use during consultation sessions or take notes from clients to revise.

Total cost: $0

Google (Sheets, Drive, Docs etc)

This is a BIG sigh for me. I do NOT love Google space as in docs or sheets because it’s too clunky for me and working in Sheets versus MS Excel is like riding a bike in a Nascar race.

But since I need to keep my budget intact, I make the current sacrifice.

Plus that I would need storage space. In my daily life I use Tresorit, which costs me about $200 a year but well worth it. Sadly enough, not an option today.

Total cost: $0

Proton Mail

E-mail is going to be a big part of the challenge. As in leads, and communication.

Whilst one would think Google Workspace is suitable enough, I like to de-risk myself using too many tools from the same platform. And e-mail is an absolute must for me in terms of de-risking, separation etc.

I like Proton Mail for plenty of reasons and it’s also my daily driver.

But mainly that I this plan includes:

  • Storage space (for backups or daily use instead of Google)
  • VPN, which I need for a few reasons and one urgent one

E-mail address will be hi@outofsigma.com, but is currently not active/set-up yet. 

Cost per month: €4.99 per month or $5.5 (with the current rates)

Canva

Yes, I can’t design. But I know my way a bit here and there in Canva. I just never used it properly on a mass scale, but it’s time to discover its potential.

It will be useful for SM posts, Pinterest pins and content, logo ideas, covers, YT thumbnails for a faceless YT channel etc.

I was thinking to go for the free version, but then it hit me. I pay a few Canva yearly plans for a few people in the Philippines.

They used my card, and I remembered it was only $45 per year in the PH versus $119.99 in Taiwan or the USA.

Price parity does exist and with Canva it’s no different.

So this is where the urgency of the VPN via Proton comes into play.

Sign up on Proton, use VPN, sign up on Canva and route through the PH and pay $45 for a year.

Total cost: $45-ish per year

Porkbun

I need domains. As in a few. But particularly 2 or 3 domain names to start with.

Reason? Need to flip up a few things, including a niche blog and consulting page (I think)

My goal is to aim for .coms here and the price for .com on Porkbun is $9.73 per year.

Yes, I can go to https://tld-list.com and find cheaper ones. But as a seasoned domain investor I tend to stick with platforms that have the best reputation. And sadly enough, I already used the promotion on Spaceship (a subsidiary from Namecheap) so I am out of luck there.

I plan to buy 3 domains with an average price of $9.73

Total cost: $29.19 per year

Kuna Host (WordPress Hosting)

Ok, a small confession to make. I own the majority of this boring business.

But even without this, I would hunt for WP hosting and cPanel. Primarily because I am so used to it.

And at this very moment, I would only need this to start for niche blogging, small websites and not making it too complicated.

But then it would be called cheating right?

No.

I literally have to pay for it, and will pick the $9 plan per month. (for now)

That plan is plenty enough for me to start.

If paid yearly, I can take the yearly discount, which costs me $81 per year. And that is exactly what I will do.

Will post an update and verification I actually paid for it as well, since some might think I would use my own stuff to give me an advantage.

Total cost: $81 per year

Email Octopus

Swaying back and forth between email platforms, I decided to use Email Octopus. Since they offer a generous free tier: I can add 2500 subscribers and send 10 000 emails per month. 

It helps me to cut currently on costs for sending email updates to my current 35 subscribers that signed up for following the challenge (woohoo!) 

In case you missed it:

Okay, I already started using it, but I am still hunting for a backup email platform to copy/upload subscribers. (de-risking myself) Just in case Email Octopus goes bust or closes my account at random.

It’s not the first time email platforms like Brevo or Mailchimp (worst out there) close accounts.

Total cost: $0

Discord

I need some sorts of channel for communication and updates, including private message.

Since I already use Discord for FocusX, and other communities it’s a natural decision.

I decided to open up a channel for people that want to follow the challenge a bit more closer where I will post updates and/or answer direct questions if needed.

This might the smartest or the dumbest idea ever. Since adding more channels might distract me from doing my actual job and complete the challenge. But the upside is that it’s helpful to gain traction.

Total cost: $0

What Else?

Plenty of things, except that this is more than sufficient to move myself from A to B and I will update the total stack and costs on a recurring basis on THIS PAGE (soon)

The current line-up in tools are enough for now.

Total Cost 

  • Proton Mail: $65.96
  • Kuna Host: $81
  • Porkbun: $29.19
  • Canva: $45
  • Obsidian: $0
  • Google: $0
  • Email Octopus: $0
  • Discord: $0

Totalling $221.15 per year OR $18.42 per month

Taking yearly plans will make a lot more financial sense than monthly and I do not have to worry about subscriptions or costs I won’t be able to cover in case my challenge is going downhill. (read variance and bad beats)

By the time of writing, the bankroll (gross revenue) was $1490

minus $221.15, leaving us with $1268.85

What am I going to do it? Not sure yet, but here is a list of things in the pipeline:

What Comes After?

Well, to close this progress and lengthy explanation I have the following items in line.

Some of them are just ideas just yet, but others will be executed. In no particular order:

  • Start a niche blog
  • Build a micro SaaS product
  • Write up a guide for Pinterest (this has been requested and people were willing to pay for it)
  • Build a secondary blog but not very hyper niche
  • Day trade commodities and FX (which can be tracked in public)
  • Play low-stakes PLO and NLHE poker
  • Develop a Chrome extension
  • Add more consulting (current focus now) and build a consulting website
  • Write a business playbook (for sale? maybe)
  • Start an e-commerce store
  • Develop a WordPress plugin (in case i can figure out how to)
  • Start a faceless Youtube channel (I already know the niche I want)
  • Invest in stocks (like a regular individual) aimed for mid-cap and dividend stocks
  • Build a very boring business (TBD)
  • Sell blogs as a service. As in setting up blogs in WP plus x amount of articles with the right keywords. Pre-made blogs to sell
  • Sell merchandise – POD style with OOS or MDC challenge
  • Newsletter monetization
  • Buy a blog
  • Buy a business

That’s currently a short list of items I plan to do, or consider doing. Depending on future growth.

Ideally, I would need to move 1K to day trading so I can boost my liquidity much faster. But that needs to be hedged with a different model that includes lesser of a risk.

BUT I AM EXCITED! AND I HOPE YOU ARE TOO!

Do me a favor and share it within your Twitter circles (or X circles?), and last but not least, a shameless drop from my coffee link right here.

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