My 2021 Annual Startup Review

Hey, it’s naii.io!

Time to review and wrap up how my “Little Disney” went during its first year after I had given birth to it.

Different from My 2021 Annual Review, I will be more brief, more “bullet-point”, and more focused on the startup itself.

If you’d rather not read, you can watch my 1st-year review as well:

Or just continue reading 🤓

Q1/2021 - Jan/Feb/Mar

Q1 was tough: I made €279 per month with average monthly costs of about €950 at that time. I was burning around €671 every month. It was a survival game.

I was all over the place:

On top of that, I spent 18 days in January and February to tidy up my apartment because I was, indeed, lacking work. So I had enough time for that, which was a necessary cleanup anyway. Doing the cleanup then also led to better sleep because of the physical, positive exhaustion I experienced.

Writing my {Sunday Truth} emails, I also focused a lot on the numbers, and how much money I had made each week. Eventually I got bored with it, and I focused more on the storytelling aspects of writing an email.

In February, I had started working on my first story production (Lucky Leo), but even in December was it not finished yet.

Building the company was absolutely not in the center of my attention at that time of the year because I simply didn’t have the energy or time to do anything else than writing commissioned pieces, making sure that what I’m sending to the clients is great work, dealing with bureaucratic obstacles, and some business development work.

While the young daughter of my Vietnamese neighbors is crying like she was tortured with leather strings and put into a room with no furniture and light, I’m writing these lines – trying not to let my calm be killed from the excruciating sounds of her (still) poorly developed vocal cords.

That’s how I experienced parts of March.

Another part of March was that calendar week 10 marked the third week in a row in which I had worked every day, and I felt overworked; working my ass off. Pretty much the opposite of the beginning of the year, and the classic “feast-and-famine” cycle.

While I complained about amateur communicators, I also solidified a thought that arrived at my consciousness after an emergency call with my best friend of 25 years; it was about a friendship being in jeopardy, and we agreed that our friendship needs work.

I concluded, “What matters is 1) Quality of your connections, and 2) Value shared with your connections (or the public).”

Q2/2021 - Apr/May/Jun

Building susē cannot be explained without talking about my income situation through client work. Q2 was the first quarter in which I had covered my expenses with a monthly average of €1,079, but it also meant that I had increased my streak of working every day to 6 weeks – six weeks non-stop work. On April 6, I wrote, “I’ve been on my last legs.”

The money came because I had started working with an agency, a U.S.-based client, and it took me about 9 months (from March to December) to reach an acceptable hourly rate of about €14/hr.

Story-production, the core of susē, wasn’t happening that much.

But inspired by the film Her (2013) I wrote this draft of a story called “H.i.M (2021)”:

Peter and Caroline have known each other since the age of 15 (16). They married at the age of 18 (Peter) and 19 (Caroline) and had kids early: a boy, a girl, and another (youngest) girl.

Pete always wanted a family and live a safe and secure life, so did Carol.

But Pete also grew bored, over time, of being with the “love of his life”, and he started cheating on Carol several times, which she has forgiven him every time it happened.

The “cheating gene” is what their teenage daughter Sheryl has inherited from her dad.

Pete works at a privately held company working towards the advancement of human technology and society.

Pete is a career person (Security/Diplomacy Officer for Foreign Affairs).

Having a career fulfills his ego, and he gets better chances to fuck other women (i.e., cheat on Carol).

Also, because of the high rank at work and the money he makes with his job, he can easily provide for his family, even without Carol’s income, which gives him leverage and power over Carol.

Having money is a strong argument when you’re fighting with your wife. It’s hard to beat cash in the bank when you’re married and have kids.

One day, Pete receives an invitation to join the Foreign Affairs Program with Mars.

Pete has experience working with extra-terrestrial governments: he'd worked with the government at Earlia, an Earth-like planet that was discovered earlier than any other planet. It’s a “backup planet” in case terraforming Mars won’t work and if Earth can no longer be inhabited because we destroyed it.

Will Pete go to Mars?

Does Pete know that on Mars there are no sexes and no gender?

What happens to his family?

And what will Pete and Carol do if they find out that their teenage daughter Sheryl is feeling attracted to the other kind of people that also live on Mars?

An actual story that I wrote as an explicit was about helping people with their sex life. You can watch and listen to it here: triplean.us feat. Fogher - I fogh your wife for 5 dollars. It was my first story I had produced in 2021, and it was May already. I intended to produce 12 stories that year.

Q3/2021 - Jul/Aug/Sept

Q3 was better. I found my groove and produced three more stories and a 15-page script:

And I learned from Joan Didion that “character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs. Taking responsibility is the first step. That’s when you start being on your own.”

At some point, I felt like showing myself on my susē YouTube channel. Maybe I wanted to add a personal touch, and not only let the channel live through polished creations, but something more RAW and unscripted.

The video hinted at my conviction that I really truly do not care whether I do indeed experience the end of my life trying to build up susē. The attempt in doing so is reward enough. Actually, achieving a successful susēpatrolā story production company and living in Singapore would be the cherry on the strawberry cheesecake.

I’m not saying my life is zaftig (ZAHF-tig) at the moment, because from the outside it could look like I’m living a sparse life, or no life at all. But that’s all by choice, and the perfect representation of my present state of mind in my now 38th year on this planet and universe.

However.

susē-wise, Q3 was my most productive quarter.

Q4/2021 - Oct/Nov/Dec

I never completely abandoned voice-acting. I only did it on a smaller scale. In Q4, I voice-acted the script of Lucky Leo, which was fun and exhausting. And in November, I got my first positive response to an audition, it was my 12th audition that resulted in a paid gig: nothing outstanding but at least $100 minus fees.

Mid-October was a turning point, because different from what I had planned, and nudged by my mum, I actually picked up the work I had left between 2018 and 2020, and I completed my brother’s wedding video within 108.75 hours in 2 months (Oct 11 to Dec 9). That was BY FAR my biggest achievement this year!

The most pleasant surprise was when my voice was requested for a project that plants trees. So far, the project has planted 7,000+ trees in Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique. Check thissongplantstrees.com for more information.

I broke even. Better even, I finished business year 1 with a surplus of €2,231.97, which was only possible because of €6,505.01 that had arrived at my bank account in October, as a way to support Corona-affected solo artists like myself.

Thanks for reading and paying attention.

Lots of love,

- Alex (naii.io) from susepatrola.org

What to do now

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