Road to Ramen: Conclusion

Today is my last day in Asia, before next time. I'm moving back to Europe for a while. I have to attend my graduation ceremony, and I need to see my family and friends.

I set out to become a full-time indie maker 6 months ago. My goal was to build my own tech products and make a living out of it, just enough to cover my living expenses - also known as ramen profitability - while traveling. I called this adventure Road to Ramen: 6 months to reach ramen profitability as a maker in South-East Asia. Today is my last day in the Road to Ramen journey, and it is time to sum it up.

Finance

I need $700 per month on average to live in South-East Asia. A bit more to live in Eastern Europe. And a little more to live in my home country, France. I have made $652 in gross revenues so far. All of those revenues were earned over the last 2 months only. $35 were made from 7 pre-orders for my upcoming book. The rest was made thanks to my 200 Words a Day patrons.

My online businesses take me $25 per month to sustain, and I earn a monthly recurring revenue of $114, making a profit of $89 per month. 200 Words a Day is bound to evolve quickly so I'm stashing the money to sustain its growth. I still need $611 per month, or 244 200WaD patrons, to reach ramen profitability in Asia. I didn't reach my ramen profitability goal, but the progress is highly encouraging. All I need now is to keep going and to keep aiming higher.

Travel

I visited 3 new countries (2 months in Thaïland, 1 month in Vietnam, 3 months in Malaysia) and met my extended family for the first time. It was an enriching experience. I definitely love slow travel. In fact, 1 month per city is definitely not enough in my opinion. Next time I travel I will stay at least 2 months in a given city. The social dynamics are entirely different with slow travel. I don't mind traveling solo either, but it gets lonely. It's something I think a lot about, how to manage life as a nomad to make it more sustainable. My answers are still far from perfect but I got to know a lot more about what works for me.

Products

I made 4 products during my time in Asia: one was a flop, one got some initial traction but I didn't find any motivation to keep it alive, and one got half built but never launched. 200 Words a Day was my first success as an indie maker and it is still doing well with 2400 registered members and 5300+ posts written. Let's see how I can propel it to new heights over the next weeks!

I managed to grow my following on Twitter from 10 to 480 individuals without any marketing trick (no follow/unfollow game). It was done purely organically by just getting involved in maker communities, launching products, writing, and sharing. My Facebook account didn't take off as well, and I poorly managed my Instagram account.

In parallel, I wrote 114 short posts (41k words), contributed to 4 articles on Maker Mag and I am about to release my first book Alter-Nomad.

What's next

The last 6 months were great in terms of both business and personal growth, but there is always room for improvement!

Once I'm done with my first book I will work on a new one focused on entrepreneurship. Making a living from my own creations is still a huge goal of mine during 2019 so I want to experiment with new possible income streams, all related to my work at 200 Words a Day: authoring, patronage, 200WaD spin-offs (our own book marketplace) etc. Maybe create a freelancing business on the side to earn some side money from time to time. Maybe I should call it Road to Ramen v2 and make it an open project? The possibilities are many.

Location wise, I'm going to stay in France during March. Then I will probably live in Odessa, Ukraine for at least two months. After that, I would like to travel to Vietnam with my parents and my brother for 2 or 3 months.

I wrote a new year bucket list I'd like to fulfill, so I also need to fit those items in my agenda.

In the meantime, I want to thank all my users and my co-makers for helping me during those 6 months. I am no one without you pals. My gratitude toward you is infinite. I hope I managed to add value to your lives. Let's see how we can grow further together.

Much love,
baz