I have worked on one more project this month. Actually, another book. I left the rest of the projects on the sideline for this month at least. Will probably keep working on them after June, it depends on how the new book will go.

I have noticed that I am starting spending more for things related to my projects. Before I was just spending on hosting and domains. Now I have started spending on courses, ads, even considering spending for professional services like a book cover design. I hope those will bring returns, but for now my only stream of income are still the books I published 4 years ago. Ideally I would like to build a product, but I am becoming more and more open to the idea of making money with whatever it takes. Maybe a course, maybe another book.

Euro 2024 book

I saw the opportunity to write about the upcoming Euro 2024 tournament and write another book in the soccer analytics series. Since the first two are my only source of income at the moment, I thought I would do more of this. Since it works, just do more of it as Alex Hormozi often says. As I often do, I was browsing on Amazon and I noticed a few generic books about the Euros doing quite well already. The kind of books that come out with each major tournament. Some of them were already at the top in several categories, and must have made thousands of dollars every month.

So, on May 18 I set up a pre-order page on Gumroad and on Amazon KDP. I wrote down an email with the basic outline of the book, just a list of topics I would be writing about. And I sent the email to all my readers. I have been collecting their emails via Gumroad in the past years and I have also collected all emails of the readers who bought my books on Amazon. I always place my contact email in my book and offer all my readers to send them the code in the book if they write me. Works pretty well to build a mailing list.

I have then updated my readers on the progress of the book and published chapter by chapter, like in the old days. I think they liked it. Out of the 157 readers who received my email, I think 25 ordered my book before it was finished. It is actually only available on Gumroad for now, it will be available on Amazon from the 7th of June. I think I have 20-25 hard-core readers, that really like what I write, trust me, and would read almost anything from me. It’s around 15% of all my readers probably, and it might be some kind of universal law. Imagine selling 1 Million copies of a book. Then, you can assume 15% of those readers are going to become your hard-core fans. It’s 150000 people, who will buy virtually anything you write. Pretty big deal.

I have published the book on Gumroad on June 3, and it will be out on Amazon on June 7. As of today, I have sold a bit fewer than 30 copies. What would I consider a success? Probably 100 copies across all platforms would be good. Given that it will not sell after the Euros, it would already have collected almost as many sales as my less successful book.

I am spending the days up to the start of the tournament (and probably more) doing some marketing. My strategy is simple

  • Write a short blog post on my soccrbets website with the main results of the book and a link for people who want to know more.
  • Write a short version of the blog post and point to the blog post if they wanna know more.
  • Post the short version of the blog post on several subreddits and online groups.

It’s kind of a funnel that has worked well for me in the past, and it minimizes the risk of being banned on Reddit. So far, it’s working on 2 out of the 3 subreddits I have posted on. I wish I could find more communities to advertise to, outside of Reddit. But it’s been a challenge for me to find active soccer groups that allow long form post with links.

Apart from blog posts, I am also doing Ads with Amazon, but this only works for the KDP version, not for the Gumroad one. I have hired Levi to create a nice video for me. He did a great job, let’s hope the ad attracts some traffic before the beginning of the tournament.

Data Internships

As I wrote above, I left some projects on the sideline. With Data Internships, this month also brought another challenge to the tech side. I think LinkedIn has partially banned my IP address, and I am not able to collect as many job as I want. For this reason I have stopped sending the newsletter. It’s at least 3 weeks since I sent the last one. How to solve it? I cannot use my profile, LinkedIn is pretty aggressive. I tried it once and I got myself logged out. So I suspect if I try again, I will lose my personal account. Probably I need to use a proxy, but I still need to research how that is done and where to find it. I have never done it before, so it will take me a while before I figure out what to do, and I have a feeling it will not be cheap.

On the other hand, it looks like ConvertKit made it free for everyone to recommend other creators. So, I got a recommendation from a pretty big newsletter and my subscribers shot from something around 220 to almost 390 in less than 2 weeks. Maybe they are not very engaged, but they keep coming, and I have a feeling I could get more of them if I start to look actively for more recommendations.

Another option for me would be to pivot. My audience is made of Junior Data Scientists and AI enthusiasts, so I could start to repurpose some of my content on freelancing, or maybe write about the technical things I do around data analysis during the week. I like newsletters like the one from Pete or Marc Lou. I know I can read them in 5-10 minutes, they will give me food for thought and I almost always end up clicking on some of those links and reading further. It’s a good model I would like to copy.

X Topics

Neglected this month, I just made a bug fix. Which I think is a bug on the HuggingFace side. When you pause an endpoint with their API it somehow messes up the format of the endpoint creation date, So, when you try to turn on the endpoint again, it gives an error. The only solution is to start it manually. Anyway, I fixed it it in the but I really want to try to pivot it to something a bit different. In the past weeks I was chatting with a few people who were interested in a chat based on your past tweets. I have been researching a few models and also built a prototype that lets you ask questions, and it gives you the most similar tweets to the question you asked, plus a personalized reply based on those tweets. It looks interesting, but it’s far from being ready. I still need to

  • find a way to store vectorized tweets (probably I will use Postgres)
  • deploy the right models on HuggingFace
  • build the chat interface

I would like to do that in the next month. Maybe I will launch it as a separate product, with its own domain and copy.

Data Freelance

Nothing here, but at least 3 people have written me this week to understand when is this product ready. I want to build a community of people who are freelancing in Data Science, to share their wins, their strategies and their struggles. But it’s not enough to create a Telegram group or a Discord server. You need to keep the community alive. And I don’t have 100 people interested, I have less than 20.

The landing page is still there, but it doesn’t bring any traffic.

The cashflow

As always, let’s take a close look at the revenue and expenses this month.

Item Income/Expense
Amazon book sales + $104.70
Gumroad book sales + $56.91
Appliku - $10.00
Hetzner - $5.31
Twitter blue - $10.68
HuggingFace - $1.66
Brev - $0.32
KW Everywhere - $21.96
Italian PEC email - $13.11
Ads creative - $65
Total + $33.57

When I look at the income from my books in May compared with last year, I can only be optimistic about it. May has always been a slow month, but while I made $80 in May 2023, this year I made $160. I think there is a lot of margin to improve my book sales. How to do it? I’m not sure, but probably again, do more of what I have done so far. Write more online, share more, write more books even.

Even if I improve my margins however, it will be tough to get to let’s say $1k per month, without an additional income. Even if I am confident I will be able to earn easily that amount by freelancing, I will look for other opportunities to get to that number as soon as possible.

Life and friends

It’s always great to meet your Twitter friends in real life. I’m in Moscow now, so I had the chance to meet Pavel again. He has been working on a low-code project on Derek Sivers’ notes. Give it a look, it’s super cool.