Have you wondered what is the story behind this website and all projects displayed there?
Have you wondered why I choose to offer services on my own rather than getting employed in a company?
Have you wondered why I do have a great portfolio of building designs but do not offer such services anymore?
Read this page in whole…
Read About me if you did not read already, BEFORE going into very detailed life story.
Chapters: childhood – after childhood – first website – new website – earning first money – business breakthrough
I am born in 1989 in family with mom in finance, dad in engineering, mom’s grandma in pharmacy, grandpa also in engineering. Dad’s parents and other relatives did not involved in my life. I do not have brothers and sisters and my parents also do not have.
From early age I developed high skills of communication, self-teaching, creative and artistic talents, years later I realized that this may be Savant syndrome. In my kindergarten years I already knew multiply and division. Judge by these drawings on paper and notebooks written at 5-8 years old. At 12 years old a psychologist gave me IQ 130-140. In conclusion, a genius little boy that could reach top universities, but my parents did not know how to treat me properly.
I learned that they key of success is honesty and transparent, never lie and always tell the truth no matter how sad it is. My parents were lying me all time, but also speaking negatively about me to others, never telling about my abilities or projects I did on computer, only telling that I don’t cook, don’t clean my room, and other don’ts. Consequently they became my biggest ENEMIES.
This is also the reason I use name Teoalida, one of the dozens names invented by me at 6 years old, used to define myself since 12 to NOT have any reference to my family and the negative image they made on my real name, and later adopt Teoalida name legally.
According my local friends as well as visitors of this website, my family exaggerated with “protection”, restricting my life, traumatizing me psychologically and delaying my development. We had a computer since I was 6 years old and when I turned 16 they added internet connection, telling me to NOT publish anything on internet. They did not allowed me to posses money, although they wanted me to work, but in their name.
Luckily for me, my parents divorced when I was 16½ years old and I broke all communication with them, grandma been taking care of me with supply and cooking and continued to restrict my life, but been living alone most of time and this allowed me to break rules and do new things without threat of punishment. I created this website secretly in 2009 to show off my abilities, make new friends and put my business ideas into practice, hoping that by the time my parents find it, I will be rich and they realize that wasn’t so bad to do what I did.
My life evolved rapidly thanks to project requests and ideas from people visiting my website LIKE YOU, website turned me into international celebrity and (after 10 years) been earning 10x more than my parents salary.
Imagine that if the idiots would have supported my business ideas rather than restricting my life, I could have been a millionaire before turning 18 and on a different path than what I am doing today.
So here is how the story began…
My family was very private, we were not known by neighbors, and I was wondering who is living behind our apartment walls. My family let me interact only with people known by themselves, they sent me to school but discouraged me from making new friends in school. Outside home and school, they supervised me all time supposedly to protect from “bad people”, by this way, my family had total control who I interact with.
I was happy in kindergarten, playing with other kids, but also bored for not learning much, I wanted to go to school to learn real stuff. Once I started school, the story turned horror: no more toys but only boring learning, studying school textbooks at home I could learn in 1 month what school teach in 1 year. Violence from schoolmates made my parents to instruct me to NOT interact with anyone except teacher. I lost whole joy and no longer understood the role of going to school. Another problem were my classmates coming sick at school, making whole class sick even if teacher advised us to stay home until we are healthy. I was sick so often that 20% of school days I stayed home. Still, I was among best students when I finished 1st grade, I also attended half of 2nd grade, dad was beating me if I was not doing the boring homework, I became afraid to go to school and my parents also afraid to send me to school, being unable to supervise me in class.
Is debatable whenever leaving school was good or bad decision, but staying home helped me to self-taught things faster than school, researching architecture and automobiles that 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. My education was limited to what my parents were giving me: school textbooks for every year, books, magazines, newspapers, television.
They also bought me A LOT of toys that were useless without friends to play with. The best memories from childhood were when I was playing with other children, but this happened (in best case) one day per week when my parents arranged meeting with other families with children. The rest of days, my social life was limited to my parents and grandparents, annoying them talking almost all time and asking them to play with me, when they were busy with adult stuff. What else I shall do, rather than staying at computer and develop various hobbies?
I lost trust in my parents, they lied me all time, they promised me a lot of things, including helping me to publish books I was writing on computer, connecting to internet, etc, but doing nothing to achieve them and just made me waiting. I always wanted to learn new things, other than school lessons.
My dad bought first computer in early 1995 primarily to work in AutoCAD, but I was living 5 days per week at grandparents home. In late 1996 I asked my dad if the things I was drawing on paper can be done on computer, he said yes and we were “working together” by telling to my dad what to write in Word or draw in AutoCAD. But shortly after this, dad allowed me to use computer myself.
While most teenagers buy computers only for gaming, chatting and watching porn, personally I developed creative hobbies with the limited information and software I had (or maybe limited access encouraged me to create things myself instead of downloading from internet). I had a special interest for collecting data, writing book-like stuff in Word and tables in Excel, also drawings in Paint and AutoCAD, everything done voluntarily, personal interest to fill up my time, with NO intention to earn money. My parents did not realized that I can make money as freelancer, they discouraged me from staying too much at computer, I did not knew that there could be people willing to pay my works (however, my parents would not let me to have own money).
- In 1996 I was drawing in Paint and already decided that when I will grow up, to get a job as “Paint designer” (that’s funny!).
- In 1998 I surprised my dad showing an AutoCAD drawing that he did not understood where it came from, it was made by me, learning AutoCAD by watching my dad working. Grandpa gave me engineering blueprints from his workplace, further increasing my interest, I hoped that some day I will have a job in computer aided design.
- Since 1998 I made a geography encyclopedia in Word and Excel, tables with country data, city population, list of natural features, etc. This because I had many geographic atlases at home. Once I connected to internet in 2005 and discovered Wikipedia offering same kind of data, and up-to-date, I abandoned most of my geography works.
- Since 1999 I got an interest for cars. I made a Car Encyclopedia in Word and Excel collecting technical specs and do data analysis, and also I designed my own car models in AutoCAD. I continued working even after connecting to internet because no comparable stuff exist on internet, and in 2012 I had a surprise discovery that I can do business, there are companies paying big money for such 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 original 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 material, but returned in 2008 with Teoalida’s Virtual City, made by researching housing around the world via internet, it impressed many people that hire me for architectural design services since 2012.
- Since 2003 I got a passion for urban explorer and real estate. Being unhappy of the maps available online, I made myself better maps for my town in 2005, and this evolved in 2008 in researching Housing around the World (especially Singapore) to learn architecture and design my Virtual City. I published research articles on website plus an Excel database with Singapore buildings which also turned into business in 2014 by selling it to real estate companies.
- 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 2002 I was watching and playing football with friends, again making in Word and Excel database and analysis 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 I kept a kind of diary on paper, notebooks, starting from 2000 also writing on computer various events from my real life, but different from what today blogs looks like. A dream diary I also started in 2002.
- In parallel with writing events from my real life, I was also writing fictional stories since 1996. Once starting using computer I wrote in 1997-1999 a series of humorous adventures in the form of conversations, inspired from stupid things done by my schoolmates but using own-named characters, another series written in 2000 featuring an unnamed man and a computer, this time written as third-person story, and another series written in 2001-2003 again in the form of humorous adventures in the form of conversation between 2 idiots.
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 visiting us, I was presenting them 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 did nothing, only promises that turned sarcasm. They were against becoming a public figure (note: they may have wanted just to give me a solitary occupation to stop me disturbing them, instead of letting me to have a social life).
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 could chat freely with “strangers” unsupervised by parents and make own friends, play multiplayer games in LAN, etc. They saw me like an alien and I realized how BAD are my parents, how I was brainwashed, and that every child should go to school.
In contrast with the family’s friends which were (ordered to?) praising my works, my new online friends criticized me for doing useless works, plus a lot of accusations towards my parents, assimilating them with North Korean dictators, accusing my parents for being too conservative, keeping me behind technology, limiting access to information, discouraging me to use internet properly and make a living, etc.
People comment why I got internet connection so late? My parents wanted to limit / control my education and prevent me to communicate freely, or because my family see things negatively, wanted to protect me from BAD things such as porn websites, but actually they protected from a lot more GOOD things. They excused that internet is expensive, but 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 can browse internet freely, 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 pay utilities.
Grandparents continued to restrict my freedom in similar way my parents did. They ordered me for example do not open door to anyone, do not leave home without announcing them, if I wanted to go somewhere one of them followed me and supervised all my interactions with other people. They did not allowed me to have own money and the only way to get a product was to ask them to buy, effectively having control what to products I own. Did not allowed me to have a phone.
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 internet and potentially contact anyone in the world, first 2 years I interacted only with people from Local Area Network, in a chatroom where I earned reputation of “computer guru”. I shared computer with my dad and afraid that will upset him if I interact with foreigners. 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 posted in forums looking for jobs, using generic names like “Somebody” or “Future” to prevent my parents or anyone to identify me. I was sending samples of my works privately via emails or instant messaging, to friends and to people offering me jobs. Sometimes I took a laptop with me when I visited friends, especially to ones with no internet connection, to show my works.
I got several job offers, full-time, part-time, work at home, etc, but most required signing a legal contract, but my family forbid me from sharing personal info over internet and also I was afraid that they may figure out that I have own money and get angry. All what I could do were the mini-jobs without legal contract. I earned few hundred dollars in 1 year. Until 2009 did not had a personal website.
In 2009 grandparents offered me to open a bank account in their name to get paid for my online works so they can withdraw money and buy stuff. These idiots want to manage my money! I refused, because had already a PayPal account since 2007, and for reason I keep my business secret from family, being afraid that they may take my money.
But living alone allowed me to have a secret second life, violating grandparents rules, in 2008 I bought few things from eBay and showed them to grandparents, leading to a huge scandal about who gave them to me, who I met, etc, even if I explained that postman, they got angry because I can open door also to “criminals”. Imagine their reaction if I would have been going in the city alone (and they catch me). Since 2009 I invited friends in my home, having a new social life that my family knew nothing. I was so scared that couldn’t even leave my apartment… until 2011, and I had to be careful to not be seen by anyone who can betray me.
My first website – teoalida.webs.com – free hosting
My friends encouraged me to publish my works on internet, so they could be viewed by anyone with a link, also to access my works from friends’ computers when I visit them. Initially I was afraid that my family may cut internet connection if they discover that I publish stuff on internet, but in April 2009 I finally published my website that was to represent my image, making “Teoalida” name public for whole world. The website was http://teoalida.webs.com and in 2012 I realized that this was a huge mistake, Webs.com free hosting 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.
The original 5 pages:
– Home page, with name, age, contact email, and 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 hobby works to friends, NOT to get customers directly via website, instead I tried to get jobs in CAD design in forums and freelance websites where I linked my website for portfolio.
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 floor plans which became the most visited page. 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” itself… this became a TROUBLE as the website grew beyond its original purpose. Many visitors were not interested to see personal biographies and 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 lack 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 to make custom HTML navigation bar, I could write anything as navigation links, and changed page title (which is URL too) to more SEO-friendly, as seen in above screenshots (example: Teoalida’s Cars > Car Design, Housing-Current > Apartment Design). Traffic went over 100 visitors per day and bounce ratio was reduced, but in 2011 it became neglected.
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 lacking 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 1 GB 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) and in October 2012 I transferred content from Webs, making website suspended 3 times due to too high traffic and high CPU usage so in November 2012 I upgraded to PAID hosting hosting24.com. I regret for not choosing a paid hosting earlier.
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 they remember the URL and next day they simply type teoalida.webs.com, they 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, planning that after a year to put my architectural designs on home page, to do business. But architecture never been a successful business so the articles about Singapore will remain on home page… forever!
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.
Screenshots of my website from May 2014
And from October 2017 (just before changing theme to Graphene 2.0)
The road to online business
My family was providing me basic needs so in theory I did not needed to work and have own money. Moreover they did not allowed me to have a job or earn money in my name. However, some things my parents refused to buy, this is why I was dreaming to earn my own money.
During childhood, the only form of professional activity was helping my parents at their work, nothing in my name. But they did not rewarded me with anything, thus I lost interest to do their job and I did not know to charge money for work, and went back to my hobbies such as drawing in AutoCAD and compiling car databases, both distributed freely via friends (probably this made my parents to NOT trust me that I can perform at work thus banned me from having a job).
Probably the most useful work was the city maps made in AutoCAD in 2005-2007, which today I regret distributing freely. Were used also by companies, for commercial purposes, who shall pay the rights of use. Since 2006 few people 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, I had no reason to receive money if I cannot spend it). I started posting in forums, looking for work. Although my dominant activity was making drawings 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 got paid to add content in someone’s website, create backlinks, submit it to directories, translate articles, etc (boring jobs). I also tried freelance websites where I linked my portfolio website and bid about 10 projects without winning any so I gave up. Paid-To-Click (BUX) sites brought some money too. Having no credit card, I could not withdraw PayPal but spend them online, and in 2008 I went shopping online 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).
In 2010 and 2011 I had almost no income, spending my time on AutoCAD design hobby and playing games. I realized that making money online is difficult, my friends encouraged me to call authorities to take action against my grandparents, so I can get leave home and get legal job. But authorities considered that if my family does feed me, things are OK, ignoring the severe violations of my rights to education and independence from family.
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 made voluntarily, by adding private housing estates. I made the mistake to work voluntarily 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 one year later I published it on website for sale. PS: I do not complain, I didn’t had other paid projects anyway so the time wasn’t wasted, working in Excel is a pleasure and I made also the Singapore Housing Database since 2009 voluntarily, without having any customer requesting to do this job.
The business success came in 2012 after I discovered the website 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, get suggestions for website, etc.
In June 2012 an architect impressed by my 3D building models offered to promote me in his future directory of architects despite that I am NOT architect and I was presenting myself as graphic designer. He pushed me into architecture misleading me that I can make loads of money (read full story), if he did not came, other architects would push me anyway. I changed titles from “AutoCAD graphic design services” to “architectural design services”. After working for few people for free, I started charging money for services that takes more than 1 hour, but I rarely got paid, some people insulting me for refusing to work for free. 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 discover that the car database page is being visited by companies looking to pay big $$ for a complete, accurate and frequently update database. I spent a large amount of time transforming my hobby-made car databases into a product usable for companies, and in 2013 sales of databases exceeded earnings from AutoCAD services. Never imagined before!
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 mid-2013. In October 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 (read more: dealing with Google Penalty). Until traffic was restored I read a lot of SEO articles, becoming myself a SEO expert and raising to 800 daily visitors in 2014, biggest rise being in car database section.
The situation became clear: making databases is more profitable than architecture, a database require major effort as initial investment but once finished, effort to update regularly is small, and thanks to SEO and volume of sales, the effort is paid off over time.
While I did heard some rumors over years, I discovered the truth in February 2015, my family has been lying me, lying authorities, doing a number of things that I do not want to publish here because would damage my image, this caused psychological trauma and sleep disorder, losing interest for living and working for people, I did not made new projects in architecture for few months and delayed database projects to contact authorities and save my life. Finally, authorities involved replied my emails and got involved.
Another scandal broke up in 2016 when my family figured out that I have a large sum of money, had to disclose them that I am running a secret online business for 8 years. Since mom and dad never allowed me to have own money, they lied people and did illegal stuff in attempt to gain access to my bank accounts, without success. Seems that living away from my parents do not protect me from being abused.
After all this bullshit, parents and grandparents finally told me that I CAN go out of home alone and have a legal job, under some conditions. Too late! I am no longer looking for a full-time job because I am making more money from my hobbies than full-time jobs in my country. Note: I was leaving home alone occasionally for 5 years while family know nothing.
Whenever authorities will take more actions against my family, so I can enjoy my life without conditions and restrictions, we will see…
I returned in architecture business in late 2015, but two projects started in late 2014, expanding European car database from 20 to 40+ columns to sell at double price, and reviving the Singapore HDB Database (made voluntarily in 2009-2010 and left unfinished), each one taking few hundred hours of manual data entry, when finished in late 2015 they doubled my income, exceeding my parents salaries and achieving my target of $1000 per month to be financially independent from my family.
In August 2015 I learned web scraping, allowing me to create new databases using scripts that automatically extract data from websites. I created additional car databases for America, Middle East, India, Australia, motorcycles database, real estate databases, etc, and offering web scraping services, creating custom databases in any required field. My income hit $2000 per month in 2016.
Lots of people told me that I have a great talent in design and I can get rich from architecture, wishing me to pursue this career and go to university. I am glad that I did NOT went to architecture university, I would have been a poor architect. I met more architects and they told me that barely hit $2000 per month and this after being in business for 10-20 years, I further lost interest for architecture. What I earned from a house design could earn from web scraping services at 1/10 effort. I had to raise design rates but would have been stupid to charge higher than professional architects given by my lack of university, and raising prices does not solve the main problem: non-paying customers. Their high experience and low prices made me ashamed to continue my architecture career.
As architectural designer, I was overwhelmed by bad customers, 90% of them were located in developing countries of Asia and Africa, and 90% of them did not wanted to pay my prices. Customers are ordinary people with no ethics, disrespecting architects, refusing to pay in advance, requesting a sketch before paying, simply trying to understand their project requirements to make a sketch and quote price for complete project means wasting 30 min – 1h and fail to convince customer to pay, effectively making architecture a waste of time.
Starting from 2015 I choose to not make more free sketches to attempt to convince customers to pay, and work only for the few ones paying in advance. Taking advance payment caused another problem: had obligation to finish project and some customers asked so many revisions wasting me whole month for a house design, too much for the price we initially agreed. I disabled chat pop-up for www.teoalida.com/design section and I was even thinking to delete all my architectural works to make sure no more customers will waste my time asking for free services or take too much time, but later decided to keep them as educational material for students, while customers I passed to other architects for a referral fee (read more: retire from architecture).
As data provider, most customers are company managers from Europe and America, with ethics and respect for my work. In web scraping services I also had several customers who requested work and ran away without paying after database was completed, but I published each database on website and some databases been purchased by other customers.
In 2018 I realized that I made too many databases and I decided to stop updating databases with less than 5 sales per year, also stop offering web scraping services unless someone come with idea of a database with high sales potential. I earn more money than I need for my daily life and is not necessary to start new projects, especially projects requested by customers who have no use for anyone else than themselves, instead I focus again on doing voluntary projects that I publish on website and help large number of people.
Currently I have few dozens projects (databases) and few hundreds customers buy them every year, generating few thousand dollars per month depending by volume of sales rather than amount of work. Some people consider this a passive income… they are wrong, I still need to be active and update databases regularly, but is highly rewarding, certain databases generate from sales over $100 / hours spend updating them, plus I need to be online and answer chats and emails from customers looking to purchase databases. Usually takes just few minutes to answer questions, without requiring any extra work from my side to convince them to pay like the sketches I had to do in architecture. If the data suit their needs they will talk with their boss and sooner or later they will pay. Some people never contact me, they just pay and receive database automatically. Of total people contacting me for databases, 30% do make a purchase.
In 2017 and 2018 I have been contacted by several big companies looking to employ me for design jobs in ArchiCAD, Blender, Chief Architect, Revit, etc. There could have been companies looking to employ me in early years too, but they turned away for some reasons (they asked me “Do you use software X?” and I answered “No, I use AutoCAD” without realizing that they want to employ me, I could have said “I can learn new software if there is a business opportunity“). I came in conclusion that one of reasons for failure of my design business is that I stick on AutoCAD which is a bit outdated software.
Working for such company would guarantee a constant payment and in <2015 was a better option than working for ad-hoc customers who may not pay my services. However, they wanted full-time employment and most likely would have overloaded me with too much work, which as 2017 could not do due to my database projects, I can only work part-time and is questionable if the hourly pay is high enough compared with what I am currently earning from sale of databases.
I try to avoid projects with one-time payment (unless the payment is very high) and reduce time spent working for other people, to focus on my own projects that help large number of people even if I am not directly paid, for example Map of HDB blocks created in 2017 does help whole 5 million population of Singapore with free information, increasing audience on website, and may indirectly increase sales of databases.
Currently I can leave home anytime I want, but doing this I would not be able to answer chats, losing sales and customers. I avoid projects that require travelling, I try to stay home as much I can, going out for social life or leisure activities max 1 day per week, except when I had a must-do activity such as driving school, when I left home daily. I got driving license in 2018.
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.
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.
I am also looking for a woman (girlfriend), but need to be careful to choose one that does respect my hobbies and wants to do business together, NOT a bitch who stay with men just for sex, wasting my time and eating money.
I would like to know if reading this story make you more willing to work with me, or contrary…leave comments!
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?
Saw your description of your work, just wondering, do you have a degree in Architecture? Or are you only self educated?
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.
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
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
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! =)
(lost my olg blog.. re starting another )
I am impressed with your self thought life skills. congratulations. wow! You’re a very talented person.
You are a very talented and persistent person, I think your best projects are still ahead of you!
Migrate to NZ and you should be able to support yourself through architecture school.
How architecture school would help me? I hate architecture, 9 of 10 people contacting me do not want to pay for services, is impossible to make a living from this, and I am already earning from databases more money than needed to support myself.
…va dove ti porta il cuore !