Kevin's Blog

90 后、随笔、感悟

Feasibility of Developing a Side Business


I stumbled upon a post on a forum where a user was asking about how to implement Docker service proxy. Since I had similar experience with this issue, I left my contact information for him. The next day, I received a message from him on TG, saying that he would pay 200 yuan if I could help him solve this problem.

An Issue Encountered During Deployment#

Initially, I asked him to add a proxy file for Docker according to my requirements. Based on my past experience, this modification should have allowed the Docker service to use the proxy. However, this time, my old method didn't work. Since that approach didn't work, I used CLASH in the desktop environment to achieve the same proxy functionality. To enable transparent proxy in the desktop environment, CLASH needs to enable the TUN module. Following this solution, I successfully implemented transparent proxy.

After fulfilling his requirement on one server, he proposed to pay me 200 yuan for each machine to implement a similar functionality. I thought it would be easy money by just typing on the keyboard, so I readily agreed. Following his requirements, I first configured overseas VPS as proxy nodes, and then configured the other machines to use the proxy to fulfill his needs.

Failing to Resolve Customer's Requirement in a Timely Manner, Watching Money Slip Away#

After successfully configuring the first few machines, the customer wanted to hand over more machines to me for proxy implementation. Since the second batch of machines didn't have a desktop environment, transparent proxy could only be achieved through the terminal. Based on experience, implementing transparent proxy purely through the terminal is not difficult. Downloading the proxy program and configuring the rules should suffice. However, I failed at this point, and it was precisely because of this failure that the customer didn't give me the remaining machines to configure. I did manage to achieve transparent proxy using the usual configuration method, but the customer's services were still located in China. To solve this problem, I spent two days troubleshooting, but it ended up wasting the customer's valuable time. As for why this problem occurred, I now think that it wasn't due to the configuration on the local machine, but possibly due to issues with the overseas VPS server. The overseas VPS had bandwidth problems, resulting in slow download speeds for the images. However, I didn't think that the speed of the VPS would affect the customer's services.

I couldn't resolve this problem in a timely manner, so the customer contacted the server provider. Initially, even the provider's technicians couldn't identify the problem, wasting another day to troubleshoot. Eventually, it seemed that everyone realized the problem might be with the proxy. They replaced CLASH with SHELLCRASH and also used their own VPS server. After a series of operations, they finally fulfilled the customer's requirements. The technicians directly explained the process to the customer, who could now complete their requirements with a few steps.

Lessons Learned from Taking on this Project#

Throughout the process of serving the customer, I received a total of 2,000 yuan in service fees. This amount made me realize that developing a side business could be a possibility. Providing technical support to regular customers is the most direct way to monetize one's skills. However, in the internet industry, the services one can provide to customers are limited to service deployment and Linux system maintenance. Considering that companies are unlikely to easily hand over server permissions to someone outside the company, there are hardly any opportunities to serve companies. Ordinary individuals also don't have access to servers, so whose business can they take on? I saw a post on a forum that gave me a direction. Many non-technical individuals want to make money in WEB-3.0 and purchase a large number of servers to participate in blockchain network testing. However, most people are not familiar with deploying blockchain services or configuring server systems professionally. Perhaps developing a side business through WEB-3.0 could be a possibility.

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