Unbelievable! It feels like the New Year just started yesterday, but Easter is already knocking on the door. There’s an old Latin phrase “Tempus fugit” (time passes/time flies). It applies to the hilt today.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been much less active on social media the last month. Even the stream of my new videos has dwindled. It wasn’t because I stopped enjoying it. Quite the opposite. However, I was experiencing an even more turbulent period than is usual for me. I was juggling too many balls in the air and even though none of them fell on the ground, I really had a lot on my plate.
In my last post, titled Come Together, I wrote about my relationship. Unfortunately, the happy ending didn’t ensue. After about a week of living together, my girlfriend and I broke up. Well… life goes on. I’m taking it pretty well. Talking to my family and close friends did help me. Along the way, I’ve gathered inspiration for more articles and even videos. Relationships are an incredible well of stories.
For a few days, I’ve been wondering what to do next. I’m definitely not suffering from a crisis, but for a while I was sort of in a vacuum. I had to set a plan again for what I was going to focus on. I guess you could say I went back to what I was intensely involved in before my relationship with Nely. In this post, I’ll reveal my plans to you. Since I’ve learned some lessons regarding deadlines in the past, I won’t lay down any time estimates. But at least you’ll know what I’m up to, and you’ll be able to be there as spectators or readers.
I’ve been talking about being a YouTuber for a long time. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to bring it up again. But to the hecklers, my only message is, “Try getting in front of a camera sometime, too.” I’ve long admired everyone who’s put themselves out there. I’m definitely not done with videos. I’m learning a lot while making them, and I’ve found that I enjoy making them. Much like writing, I can get creative in the whole process.
On YouTube, every channel should be themed. Because if you’re making videos about anything, you’re not going to be able to attract viewers and build a community around you. However, there are so many topics that I would like to make videos about that one channel is not enough. Funnily enough, I’ve already started a few channels with no content. That will hopefully change soon though. In order to somehow make this all work, I’ve come up with a strategy.
This will be my main channel for at least a while. It will be focused on technology, programming and electronics. This means areas that I am invloved in professionally. I’m probably most at home in this domain and can provide plenty of quality content.
JSC electronics is my cousin’s company that I have been working with for a long time. We’ve also been developing various open-source products for some time now, primarily focused on Arduino. I figured I’d call this channel the same and use a name that already has some resonance in the community.
The key to any successful channel, besides content, is continuity. I’ve set myself a goal of recording one video per week. In the first phase, I’ll be making videos about what I’m up to. However, I believe that as my subscribers grow, my options will expand. I would like to create a community for whom I could do webinars and later sell them my online training courses, consulting or development services. The channel will be in English and you can find it here.
This second channel fulfills my second passion — I enjoy talking about business and education. I would like to merge these two hobbies of mine. Since I’m still in my early days as an entrepreneur, I’ll be learning a lot along the way as well.
I will document my journey through videos. I will study a topic and elaborate on it. I will also talk about real experiences from my business. If my business does well, you’ll see it. And if it goes bust, I’ll chronicle that darker side as well. You learn by making mistakes, so I won’t shy away from them. On the contrary. I’d like to upload one video a week to this channel as well. However, if time doesn’t allow me to do that, it won’t be a big deal. The channel will be in English and you can find it here.
This channel will cover my third passion — music. During high school, I attended a folk art school and learned to play the accordion. Now, after about sixteen years, I am actively returning to it. I try to play songs that I like. And when I think something is audible enough for a wider audience, I’ll add it to this channel.
I’m still an amateur musician. But that doesn’t matter at all. I’m sure these pieces will be appreciated by my family and hopefully the rest of you as well. I have recorded three songs so far, but I haven’t had a chance to cut the recordings and post them yet. I’ll get to it next week. I’ll add content irregularly, as it comes in. I’m curious myself if anyone besides me will listen to those recordings. You can find the channel here.
This is my personal channel and I will add videos here that are not focused on a specific topic. In short, if I come across something interesting, I will make a vlog about it. This will be the space to reveal a bit more of my private life and get to know my thought processes even better. The videos will be in English, and I have not determined how often they will be added. You can find the channel here.
And finally we come to the last channel, Vlad’s World. One night I had the idea to start a channel in Slovak. There are many people among my friends who don’t speak English and it would be a shame to deprive them of my content. Also, from the few videos on Facebook, I can see that there is interest in my videos among my friends. And I also follow trends. Even in our country you can build a successful Slovak YouTube channel. However, I didn’t want to mix Slovak content with English videos. So I gave it a separate space.
Thematically, I will publish non-technical videos here. Mainly, I will probably take content from my channel Vladimír Záhradník and supplement it with videos from my Comenio channel, which I will record in Slovak. Don’t worry, I’ll do it in such a way that you can relax here and understand the videos even without higher education. And who knows? Maybe I’ll attract new people too. I’ll let the YouTube algorithm do its job. You can find the channel here.
Along with all those videos, I’ve been wondering what to do with the blog. I’m not completely clear on that yet, but it’s getting clearer. I would like to use the brand zahradnik.io to link all my activities. I will expand my blog over time. I will add sections where the visitor see links to my online educational courses, videos and business activities.
I am definitely not done with blogging. I’m just thinking about the content. I can handle some topics both as a video and as an article. I can be more detailed in an article. And I think that the bulk of the content on my blog will consist of personal texts. More precisely, a look behind the scenes. Actually something like this text you are reading right now.
I will unite all my activities under the brand zahradnik.io. It makes sense to me to show my readers a broader perspective from time to time. My blog hasn’t been technological for a long time. However, I have gained readers who would never have discovered me because they don’t understand the tech stuff. I’m happy to be in a conversation with you, though. You read my texts and I’ll get feedback through your comments.
Online educational courses
I believe educational courses hold a lot of potential. However, I will handle the marketing part myself. I don’t want to go on a platform like Udemy and thus I’m building my own instead. That’s why everything has its time. First I need to build a community around me. Later I can start doing webinars, answering questions from the audience, and eventually promote my course. I believe this is the right way to go. It takes time, but I’m in no hurry.
I will start with courses focused on Arduino, Android, and open-source development. Later on, however, I may also prepare courses on how to be a YouTuber. Because I’ll gather that experience in parallel with what I’m doing. I wanted to start doing the first course now in March, but I can see that I’m not ready yet. I can’t estimate when I’ll start, but I’m publicly committing to you this way that I’ll finish at least one course this year. It’s going to be a grind, but it’s something I need to complete.
Comenio is an educational platform that I am building together with my friend Marcel. We are progressing slowly, but the project is moving. I’m trying to divide my time in a way that I can manage to develop the platform and at the same time, work on the content. I will probably be the first client on this platform and I believe my courses will entice potential other instructors as well as students. By being both the creator of the platform and a customer at the same time, I’m gaining quite a bit of insight into what our platform needs. Every day we are fine-tuning our platform to ensure it stands out from similar platforms on the market. And I think we’re slowly starting to figure that out.
Bloggers in Action
Finally, I’ll tell you about my latest activity, which started just as an afterthought. My friend Jan Haláček and I have been on the phone for a long time discussing various topics. I can see that there is a creative soul hidden in him, just like in me. Only he hasn’t had the time to exercise his creativity the way I have. He is busy with work and although he wanted to start blogging about a year ago, he hasn’t published a single article yet. I recently suggested to him, “Jano, how about we have a regular meeting say once a week where we just focus on blogging?” I think even the busiest among us can write one new piece of writing a week. We just need to build a support group.
I developed this idea further and posted about my idea on Facebook. I told myself that maybe there were others who could take up blogging but lacked the desire to start. Our group could motivate each other, give each other advice and feedback. Sort of like the Toastmasters speaking clubs, only for bloggers. I want this activity to be community driven. I don’t need to have the main say. I’ll let anyone interested in joining us in and I won’t control them in any way. I believe that those who are active will want to progress on their own, and those who are not will eventually stop coming to our writing sessions.
Last night I set up a Facebook discussion group called Bloggers in Action, and this morning we had our first meeting via Zoom. There were three of us. Quite a decent start. We’ll be meeting regularly every Sunday. If we set a goal of writing one post a week, that’s close to 50 articles in a year. That’s more than I’ve written in two years of blogging. Occasionally, I’ll post how we’re doing. But you have a unique chance to be at the start of something new. We welcome anyone who doesn’t want to be just a viewer or reader anymore, but wants to create content as well. If podcasts or videos are your goal, you won’t be lost either. We are not narrowly focused and are still in the process of creating our very own writing community.
Phew… I’ve written up a storm once again! My cousin Jaro recently said that I have an awful lot of time on my hands. I don’t know… I don’t think I have any free time at all, but I prioritize my activities. The result is what you see. When I look back, I can see what a long way I’ve come. And I have an even longer road ahead of me. Where will it lead? I don’t know at this moment. But if I did, it probably wouldn’t be so much fun.
Reading this blog in hindsight, I realize how much plans change. I had it all figured out nicely, but the reality was very different. I kept YouTube on schedule, but only for about a month when I didn’t have a project. And it was taking up so much of my time, it felt like it was my daily job.
In June, I started a new big project and I wasn’t able to be nearly as active as I wanted to be. Work takes precedence, though. Of all the YouTube channels, two are active now. The other ones exist and maybe I’ll revive them one day. I’m starting to have a clear understanding on what content I’ll be creating, though.
As for the Comenio educational platform, that’s over for now. I realised that I had almost no free time left, I was on the verge of burnout, and our small two-person team was unable to innovate and compete with products where hundreds of thousands to millions of euros were invested. I want to continue to be in the e-learning segment, but for now only as a content creator, not as a guy with his own startup. Lesson for me: if you take the big bite, which e-learning is, put together a clear business plan and get an investor. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance.
Bloggers in action are asleep at the moment. I’ve heard from a few people saying they like it, but the only active blogger has been me. The idea is a good one though, I haven’t wrapped it up yet.
It’s nice to have plans, but be prepared that they may not materialize the way you envision. And so keep them updated from time to time.
Here’s to creative tomorrows!