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Jan 04

Story of my life

Have you ever wondered what is the story behind this website and all projects displayed there?
Have you wondered why I choose to work on my own rather than getting employed in a company?
Read this page in whole…

Note: I have rewritten this page several times during 2013 and onward after few WEIRD and RUDE questions from visitors (example). You can compare with original About Me page… hope is well written now and clear enough, if is not, please contact me and ask more specific what else I should write about me!


customer surveys

My life in pre-internet era

I am born in 1989 I was from young age a highly talented kid, creative and artistic talents, I love drawing and writing, studying, researching and collecting info, I am doing such things since before computers age, on paper. In my kindergarten years I already knew multiply and division. At 12 years old had an IQ test and the result was 130.

My mom is in finance, dad in engineering, grandma from mom in pharmacy, grandpa also in engineering. Other relatives were not involved in my life. I do not have brothers and sisters and my parents also do not have.

But unfortunately I lived under a tight-regulated familiar regime, my parents “love” me and guide me in life but doing more bad than good, according local friends as well visitors of this website.

My family was very private, neighbors were not knowing much info about my parents, and I was wondering who is living behind our apartment walls. My family monitored me to know every person I interact with, sent me to school, took me from school, discouraged me from making friends in school, for many years supervised me all time when I was outdoor supposedly to protect from “bad guys”. However, we had about 40 friends, other families with children (people trusted by my parents). They were spread around city so we were meeting (in best case) one day per week when my parents arranged meeting. This was my only chance to play and socialize with other children. Interactions with everyone else were monitored by my parents and free speech was impossible.

 

So, most of day I was staying home, alone or with family, social interaction only with my BUSY parents, annoying them.
What else I shall do, rather than staying at computer and develop various hobbies? These hobbies turned me into an internet entrepreneur earning more money than my parents. But this took few years because I did not had anyone to help me and the restrictions imposed by parents just made my life harder.

I am using computer since 1997. Unlike most teenagers who buy computers only for gaming, chatting and watching porn, personally I was mostly working in Word, Excel and AutoCAD, rarely playing games.
I was working with NO professional purpose and NO intention to earn money.
I had no knowledge about business or marketing, did not knew that there could be people willing to pay my works, but anyway during childhood my parents would not let me to have own money (read below Road to online business).
I always wanted to learn new things, other than what is taught at my school, but I lacked educational resources.
Over time I abandoned most of the childhood hobbies to concentrate to the hobbies that have business potential.

– In first year I was drawing in Paint and already decided that when I will grow up, to get a job as Paint designer (that’s funny!).

– Next year I learned AutoCAD by watching my dad working and I hoped that some day I will have a job in graphic / CAD design like him.

– Since 1999 I got a passion for cars. I design 3D cars in AutoCAD and collect technical specs into a Car Encyclopedia in Word and Excel, which in 2012 I had a surprise discovery that I can do a business from selling car data, but only after extensive transformation from the original hobby into a format usable for commercial purposes.

– Since 2001 I design buildings in AutoCAD (and I am not referring at drawing floor plan of my own home or existing homes, but at making new building concepts, although the drawing itself was quite simple, only wall axis and doors, 3D models also simple). I lost the interest for architecture in 2003 due to lack of educational resources, but resumed in 2008 with Teoalida’s Virtual City, which was so impressive, that people now hire me to work for them, turning this hobby into architecture business in 2012.

– Since 2003 I got a passion for urban explorer and real estate. I drew maps of my city and this evolved in 2008 in studying Housing in Singapore and Housing around the World for purpose of learning architecture and developing my Virtual City. Also an Excel database with buildings of Singapore that I intend to sell like the Excel car databases.

– I love (listening to) music and since 2005 I compiled a music database in Excel, rating songs and making top of best artists using complex mathematical formulas. Rarely updating after 2012 considering an useless project.

– Since 1998 until 2005 I made a geography encyclopedia in Word and Excel. Abandoned in 2005 since I connected to internet and discovered Wikipedia.

– Since 1998 until 2002 I was watching and playing football, and again making in Word and Excel database and statistics about matches. In 2002 my parents throw away my collection of football magazines, putting an END to this hobby. Even if this did not happened, I would have abandoned it in 2005 due to content existing on internet.

– Since 1995? (before having a computer) I was writing stories from my real life, something like a diary/journal, but very different that today blogs looks like. Almost abandoned after 2007. A dream diary was added since 2002.

– Since 1997 until 2003 I also wrote few series of fictional stories, something like a novel, funny adventures, stories inspired from stupid things done by schoolmates and friends, but not using people’s names, even replacing human characters with animals to avoid relating with reality and upsetting anyone.

Why I was doing all the above things? Some people may say that I had too much free time, blaming for wasting time doing stupid hobbies instead of spending time to work for money. This was TRUE, unfortunately.

When friends were coming at me, I was showing my works (is this a good or bad behavior?). I was often praised so I continued to do same things (there are rumors that the friends were TOLD by my family to praise me whatever stupid things I do, to make me happy) instead of constructive critics to do something more useful. However few friends said that I am talented, my works should be published, sell a book, etc. But my parents NEVER encouraged me to do something productive or to charge money when someone ask me help. They were against making my name public to the world. They encouraged me to continue the creative hobbies on computer, promising that some day we will publish them in a book, but this never happened. Just showing them to our friends circle (note: they may wanted to give me a solitary occupation to stop me disturbing them, instead of letting me to have a social life).

During childhood, the only form of professional activity was helping my parents at their work. Nothing in my name.

My family installed internet connection in 2005, after we connected to neighborhood LAN. I was 16 years old, was a total surprise for me. For first time I was free to speak and make own friends, and play multiplayer games in LAN. In contrast with the family’s friends which were (told to) praising my works, the online friends criticized me for doing useless works, plus a lot of critics towards my parents, assimilating my family with North Korean regime, accusing my parents for being too conservative, keeping me behind technology, limiting my education, discouraging me to use internet properly and make a living, etc.

For the first time I realized what does mean a normal life and how bad is the regime of my family. But the internet connection means unlimited access to information and this allowed me to lead towards BUSINESS…

Note: someone commented why I got internet connection so late? There are rumors that was a way for my parents to limit / control my education and prevent me to interact freely with the world (why?), another rumor was to protect me from BAD things (example: porn websites), but actually they protected from a lot of GOOD things. We were spending more money on books and magazines “to educate me” than the cost of internet connection, not counting incomparable amount of educational material on the internet. Today even if I am legal age and I have full freedom of using internet, I never look for porn… simply because I hate porn!

Moving away from parents and starting a second life

In 2005 dad scandals made my mom to flee away. Most people thinks that divorce is a bad thing, but actually it was my chance to do things never imagined before. I also abandoned my parents and I do not want to see them anymore. In 2007 I moved in another apartment to live alone, and being 18 years old I was looking for a job to support myself, meantime grandparents were visiting me regularly to bring food and paying utilities.

Grandparents continued to control my life as my parents did, supervising me all time outside home, not allowing me to interact with strangers, use phone, etc. They never gave me money so anything I wanted to buy I shall request them, effectively having control what to buy and what not.

But living alone allowed me to have a secret second life, violating grandparents rules, creating my own social life by inviting friends at home and leaving home without family consent, making money online, going shopping for first time, etc… things normal for a 10-year old but in case of me, even at 20-year old, my grandparents made a huge scandal when they found at home things not bought by them.

I love walking around the city, malls, parks, mountains, etc, taking myself photos in every trip, but not selfies from arm length, rather put my photo camera on various objects so most photos show me from feet to head. But my visual appearance is not very good from business point of view. Due to this reason I prefer to NOT make my photos public on this business website or to appear in front of video cameras. I love meeting as many people is possible, but only after we chat online, so people will know what kind of man I am and do not judge by visual appearance.

My computer and internet was the only place where I could do what I want without being caught, so let’s make money online. I was not familiarized with freedom, despite that I had connection to internet since 2005, first 2 years I avoided to interact online with people outside of my town, as I shared computer with my dad and afraid that will upset him. After moving, in 2007-2008 I started looking for friends all over the country and playing games on international servers. Most of early overseas friends were met in gaming. I became fluent in english thanks to gaming. Since 2007 I started looking for ways to make money over internet, posting in forums under fake names getting mini-jobs that can be done without legal contract (to make sure that my family will not be aware), earning several hundred dollars in 1 year… Was not until 2009 to have a personal website.

Despite of having internet connection, I continued showing my works to friends by sending e-mails and instant messaging to each person. Sometimes I took a laptop with me when I visited friends, especially to ones with no internet connection, to show my works.

I sent emails to various companies, showing drawings made by me in AutoCAD, hoping to get an online part-time job. But they were looking for full-time employees which grandparents would not accept.

In 2009 grandparents offered me to open a bank account in their name to get paid for working online so they can withdraw and buy stuff. These idiots wants to manage my money! I refused, because had already a PayPal account since 2007, and due to this reason I keep my business secret from family, being afraid that they will take my money.

My first website – teoalida.webs.com – free hosting

Friends encouraged me to publish my works on internet, so friends (also potential business partners) to view my work anytime, also to access my works from friends’ computers when I visit them.

So… this is how I started this website, that has to represent my image!
(despite of fear that my family will cut my internet connection if they see what I did)

I choose to host my website on Webs.com free hosting, under address http://teoalida.webs.com. By 2012 I realized that this was a huge mistake, Webs.com lack SEO features and limited the growth of my website.

I made this stupid choice because I had friends with blogs hosted on Blogspot and WordPress, posting their diary and stupid stuff, personally I wanted something more professional, a WEBSITE with static pages rather than a BLOG with posts sorted by date. Later I saw numerous professional blogs. Still, blogs are good if they cover one topic, newsy websites updated regularly, while my website cover multiple topics.

I started website in April 2009, originally having 5 pages, with a small example of works:
– Home page, with a list of the following pages.
– Teoalida’s Housing (floor plans and 3D models of apartment blocks).
– Teoalida’s Palace (3D model in AutoCAD).
– Teoalida’s Cars (again 3D models in AutoCAD).
– Teoalida in The Sims 2 (house models built in a game).
By August 2009 my website was completed, with 10 pages.

The purpose of website was originally to show off my hobbies and artistic works to friends, NOT to promote services directly via website, instead I tried to get CAD design work in freelance websites where I linked my website for portfolio, without success in winning projects so I stopped.

Because too few people are interested in my works and floor plans of imaginary buildings (perhaps architecture students and companies hiring AutoCAD designers), I decided in late 2009 to add more pages, to get more traffic and increase website ranking. Pages writing about real world: Countries & Cities (now Housing Around the World) and Singapore HDB housing study which included dozens of real floor plans.

I constantly added new pages and more content on existing pages.

My first website with blue theme (2009-2011)
Left photo show my custom-made navigation bar vs Webs’ default navigation bar (right photo)

My first website with white theme (Jan-May 2012)

My first website after expanding navigation bar (since Jun 2012)
Was a good or bad idea?

Each page began with an introduction about myself, the first page was the “About Me” page itself… this became a TROUBLE as the website grew beyond its original purpose. Many visitors were not interested to see personal websites, personal stories, etc, this leaded a high bounce rate.

in early times I sucked at SEO, the visitor traffic was rising but Google sent the visitors in wrong pages and they quickly left (example: searching “Singapore 4-room floorplan” and landing in Apartment Design page, searching “100 sq m house plan” and landing in Singapore page).

Webs.com lacks SEO features, I could not set different page title than URL or META description, the pages were originally named to look best in the navigation bar. But in 2010 I got idea of a custom-made navigation bar, I could write anything as navigation links, and changed page title (which is URL too) to more SEO-friendly, as seen in below screenshots (example: Teoalida’s Cars > Car Design, Housing-Current > Apartment Design). Traffic went over 100 visitors per day and higher engagement ratio.

New website – teoalida.com – paid hosting and .com domain

Webs.com is one of the most-limited hosting services. See my own Webs.com Review. Beside lack of SEO features, free users get 500 MB monthly bandwidth (if you exceed bandwidth you warning messages to upgrade or you risk to be suspended, the actual suspension happens only if you exceed twice the limit, and last until end of month). My website reached again 100 daily visitors in January 2012 and exceeded these 500 MB). I upgraded the bandwidth to 1.5 GB in March… but in September 2012 I reached over 200 daily visitors and exceeded bandwidth once again. I had enough Webs Credits to buy 1GB bandwidth 3 more times, BUT… is this is the RIGHT thing to do?

In 2011 I bought domain name www.teoalida.com then realized that I cannot put it on Webs.com-hosted website unless I pay premium account. See also: a Funny chat with a IDIOT who blame me for not putting teoalida.com on Webs website!

In August 2012 I started to develop a new website based on WordPress platform, using domain name www.teoalida.com and hosted on 000webhost.com (free hosting with PHP support) but they suspended my website 3 times due to too high traffic and high CPU usage so in November I upgraded to PAID hosting hosting24.com. I was very happy with Hosting24 services, for just $4.84 per month my website was running with over 1000 daily visitors.

On the former website, the main landing pages were Singapore HDB Floor Plans (35% of total traffic) and Singapore BTO List (25%), all other pages were max 10%. The home page was the About Me page (because website was originally intended as personal portfolio) but it was landing page for just 3% of traffic (as 2012), mostly my friends or people who bookmarked the URL. This turned into a PROBLEM: many people reading articles about Singapore (60% of total visitors) though that my website is an encyclopedia or a real estate agency, being not interested in the person behind it, if he remember the URL and next day he simply type teoalida.webs.com, he will see the About Me page shows my portfolio, may go away thinking that typed wrong URL.

SOLUTION: for the new website I made About Me as a subpage, while on home page I put articles about Singapore real estate, to make home page main landing page and get ranking in Google, and after a year to put my architectural designs on home page, to do business. But architecture turned to be a very difficult business and poorly paid so I decided to keep articles about Singapore on home page forever.

Sub-websites:
In February 2013 I rebuilt The Sims 2 (a category with 53 posts) as sub-website, separate WordPress installation, with own banner and own menus. Same thing done in April 2013 for Car Database (3 pages, which grew to 30+ pages as 2016). Why? Because people looking for a car database are not interested in the rest of my works such as architecture and real estate. Someone who is interested in American cars may accidentally click the menu World > North America, which is a page about real estate, no cars.

The road to online business

My family was providing me all needs to be not necessary to work and have own money. Moreover they did not allowed me to have a job or earn money in my name so I was working for my parents instead. However there were few things that my parents refused to buy for me, this is why I was looking to earn my own money.

During childhood, I was doing the hobbies I liked and distributed the works freely via friends. Probably the most helpful work done were the city maps done in 2005-2007, which today I regret distributing freely. Were used also by companies, for commercial purposes, who shall pay the rights of use. Someone offered me money for rights to use the maps, but due to my family regime, although I could meet people (strangers) under parents’ supervision and get paid, my parents would not let the money in my hands, so I had no reason to charge money.

First money earned was in 2007, when Paypal allowed unverified accounts to send money (previously you could only receive money, was no reason to receive money if I cannot spend it). I went into freelance websites and forums, looking for work. Although my dominant activity was designing stuff in AutoCAD, it was a non-profit hobby, and the little money earned was from webdesign-related services. I was not designing websites, but rather being hired to add content in someone’s website, create backlinks, submit it to directories, translate articles, etc. Quite boring jobs. Paid-To-Click (BUX) sites brought some money too. Having no credit card, the PayPal money could be spent only online, and in 2008 I went shopping for first time.

When I made my own website in 2009 to publish my portfolio online, I wrote on home page (About me) “most of works are made for passion, but I am ready to work for you” and contact email below. But the potential customers were coming from Google in subpages and very few clicked the About me page to see my contact info. Only in 2012 I added on every page BIG RED messages with what services I offer, plus contact email in website banner. Only now customers started contacting me. But the business was still not successful, for example many people looking for house plans do not realize that I am CAD designer and I can work for them, they confuse my personal website with the websites who are collecting floor plans found in Google Images, they rely only on what they see on website, if they cannot find a suitable house plan at me, they go away instead of contacting me to design a house for them (and pay me for the architectural design service).

I attempted to make money from freelance websites, linking my portfolio website. I bid about 10 projects without winning any so I aborted it. In 2010 and 2011 I had almost no income, spending my time on AutoCAD hobby and playing games. I realized that making money online is difficult, my friends encouraged me to call authorities to take action against my family, so I can get a job. But authorities considered that if my family give me food, everything is OK, ignoring my request to have freedom to get a job.

Since 2006 I got also few legal job offers, but getting employed without family consent was impossible so I had to say NO to any job that could not be done from front of computer.

First major work done for a customer (opposite of works done from personal interest) was in 2011, an insurance company requested to expand my Hong Kong Public Housing Database by adding private housing estates. I made the mistake to work for free without agreeing about price. Only after I spent about 100 hours I decided to sell the database for $200 but the customer didn’t agreed to pay, so I kept the database for myself and after one year I posted for sale in Store for anyone else. PS: I do not complain for the time spent. In 2011 I did not had many customers to work for, working in Excel is a pleasure and I made also the Singapore Housing Database since 2009 as hobby, without having any customer requesting to do this job.

The business success came in 2012 after I discovered the chat software in January 2012 (a MUST-HAVE for websites that sell products or offer services), allowing me to interact with website visitors and engaging them to request work from me, understanding market demands. After working for few people for free, I started charging money for services that takes more than 1 hour, but rarely get paid.

In 2012 an architect impressed by my 3D models of buildings invited me to collaboration and wanted to promote me in his directory of architects despite that I did not attended architecture university, but he put me on wrong track (read full story). I changed my page from “AutoCAD graphic design services” to “architectural design services”, making some money from this field too.

In 2012 I earned for first time a 4-digit sum, mostly from AutoCAD drawings made for Michael Lee.

The chat software helped me to understand business potential of another hobby, the Car Database. I spent a large amount of time transforming my hobby databases into a product usable for companies, and in 2013 my earnings were dominated by sales of car databases.

Moving to paid hosting and WordPress platform, expanding website content and doing SEO increased traffic from 100 daily visitors in early 2012 to 500 daily visitors in 2013. In late 2013, due to incorrectly adding ALT tags to all images on website (keyword stuffing), Google dropped my website from search results, traffic felt down to 150 daily visitors, I asked help on forums, the “helpers” mislead and distracted me from finding cause of problem and only few months later was able to restore traffic myself. In these months I read a lot of SEO articles, becoming myself a SEO expert, once penalty was removed, traffic rose to 800 daily visitors, biggest rise being in car database section.

The situation became clear: making databases is more profitable than architecture, thanks to SEO and volume of sales (a database once made can be sold to multiple people, while a house design is paid only by the client for which it was designed).

In 2015 I discovered things done by my family and that they were lying me whole life, turned into psychological trauma and forced me to leave architecture business. In late 2014 I started expanding European car database from 20 to 40+ columns to sell at double price, also I revived another project started in 2009 with no commercial purpose, the Singapore Housing Database, these 2 projects finished in mid-2015 doubled my income.

My income doubled from year to year, reaching 5-digit sum in 2015, exceeding my parents salaries. Monthly earnings are variable, about 20x difference between poorest and richest month. My friends thinks that I got rich from architecture, but actually less than 10% of 2015 income came from architecture,

I learned about web scraping (making a script that visit automatically all pages of a website, extract specific data and put it in an Excel table), allowing me to quickly create new databases. I create additional car databases for America, India, Middle East, as well as real estate databases, mobile phones database, etc, for purpose of selling via my website. In addition of this I offer web scraping services, creating new databases at request in any field. All these further increased my income.

I stopped promoting architecture business, it being a waste of time, when only 1 of 10 people contacting me is willing to pay for service, in 90% of cases I waste time chatting 30 min in average to realize that the customer is not paying. In databases, 1 of 3 people contacting me do make a purchase, he pay and receive database automatically without any extra work from me. The non-paying people waste me in average of 10 min, less time wasted than in architecture.

A huge scandal broke up in 2016 when my family figured out that I have a major income, my mom and dad done illegal stuff in attempt to gain access to my bank accounts, without success. Seems that living away from my parents don’t protect me from being abused.

After all this bullshit, my parents told me that allow me to go out of home alone and have a legal job, under some conditions. But for what reason I would be employed full-time if I am able to earn from my hobbies more money than salaries in my country? Note: I was leaving home alone occasionally for 5 years while family know nothing. Currently I can leave home anytime I want, but doing this I would not be able to answer chats, losing sales and customers. So I try to stay home as much I can, going out for social life or leisure activities max 1 day per week, but when I had a must-do activity such as driving school I had to leave home daily.

Whenever authorities will take action against my family, so I can enjoy my life without conditions and restrictions, we will see…

Conclusion

My parents gave me high IQ and a computer at an early age, and I turned into a businessman earning more than parents in my 20s. But I could have been a businessman at much early age, if these idiots would have helped me instead of putting restrictions to make my life harder, and making me to suffer whole life from psychological trauma. Or at least, if I found chat software earlier and move my website from shitty Webs.com to paid hosting and WordPress platform earlier, I could be richer now.

Should I be thankful to my parents or blame them?

I wish to have another family, a family that help me improving my life rather than restricting it, continue my education, and live in a house with many people rather than living alone.

7 comments

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  1. Clara

    great work, you have compiled housing statistics which intrigued me. I admire young people whom have determination & passion to collect data and share for all benefit. Did you study architectural course finally?

  2. Choo Meng Foo

    Saw your description of your work, just wondering, do you have a degree in Architecture? Or are you only self educated?

  3. Teoalida (site owner)

    Everything is self-educated.
    Note that even if I design building (as passion for 3D design), I was advertising as “CAD / Graphic Design services“, I had NO intention to take any architectural courses until 2012 when an architect invited me in collaboration, he suggested to add into “architecture services“. He said that my skills in architecture are impressive and does not matter if I have a degree or not . Other people told me that he is an idiot.
    Nowadays I would like to go in architecture university, but due of family problems, this is probably an impossible dream. Some details shouldn’t made public.

  4. Property Investment Singapore Blog

    I didnt expect you to be so young. Initially, i thought you could be an ex staff or retired officer from HDB/MND. Amazing compilation of singapore housing information

  5. Value Investing Singapore

    Hope you can continue your work here and we can benefit from your information be it free and as a paid service.

    Value Investing Singapore

  6. John Tan

    Have courage my friend! i had chanced into your website many years ago and was amazed at your talent and person! but had not contacted you before. Indeed life bring us on many paths and places as much if not more unfortunate restrictions and chains than good fortunes.. I pray earnestly that your psychological chains may be broken, or than providence gives you strength and shelter and joy in your soul to take refuge from the turbulence of life. Peace be with you my friend! =)

    Cicada sky
    (lost my olg blog.. re starting another )

  7. Yoon Lee

    I am impressed with your self thought life skills. congratulations. wow! You’re a very talented person.

  1. About Teoalida – AutoCAD designer, 2D, 3D and architecture services » Teoalida's Website

    […] « About my life & why I made the website […]

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