Don't read this! Building a brand

You probably won’t be interested in this article, so feel free to scroll on. :) I’m about to write a boring, possibly lengthy story about my current challenges in brand building. I’d like to better introduce GoSecNinja OÜ and the Curious Minds Collective.

This surely won’t be an important lesson for you.

Whenever I show someone my personal website, where I’ll publish this article first, this is one of the first questions I get: How did you create it?

Let’s start with the format. I write everything in markdown. Why?

  • It’s free.
  • Because I want to focus on the content. It’s a simple text format with minimal frills.
  • But more importantly, I can import it into most places, or I can generate other formats from it.
  • Since it’s a text format… I can even generate content with AI help now. I use it to help with translations or to consult on the content.

Where do I store it? On GitHub, or more precisely, in Git. The provider is not important.

  • It’s free.
  • I am not tied to any particular service provider.
  • Git helps with scalability since it was designed to let multiple people modify text content.
  • Security Compliance. Who changed it? It’s clear to see.

What do I use to generate the site? Hugo.

  • It’s free.
  • All it needs is a bunch of markdown files as input.
  • Various templates help me quickly prepare a PoC.
  • It generates static HTML, so no backend is needed. It can be hosted almost anywhere.

Web hosting? Netlify.

  • I completely fit within the free tier.

Caching? Cloudflare.

  • It’s free.
  • Plus, it’s a Content Delivery Network (CDN). (Take that, multi-regional server architecture…)
  • I could start a separate blog post series about its security features… maybe I will.

But I made a mistake back in the day. I registered the first domain in this idea as The problem is with the domain name. How many sites would you willingly visit that end in “.ninja”?

The site is just a simple static website. Do you know how much it costs to operate? It costs nothing… Yes, you read that correctly. It costs nothing, apart from the domain renewals. What does it look like now?

Yes, I know. It isn’t pretty.

So, I recently reserved, where content will soon be available.

Why did I make this mistake?

I’ve mentioned pretotyping before. And how easy it is these days to try out ideas, so why didn’t I start with a good domain? Let’s see.

When I registered this domain, I wanted to pay my honor to my former team and the time we spent together. They were BitNinja. There were quite a few things we disagreed on. Partly, this is why I left them. (Also, because I went through a serious burnout. Maybe from there, you can count why mental health is so important to me.)

This would have just been a small hint for them on how to help coworkers in personal brand building. Wouldn’t it be cool, at this company, if every employee had a ".ninja" domain? Where they could describe in their own words how wonderful it is what they work with every day? Let’s make the internet safer together! Of course, go-based, microservice architecture could make a security tech software development much faster… But that’s another story.

Also, at that time, I didn’t own a company, so I didn’t feel “authentic” using a “.com” domain.

You need a company

To start, you generally don’t need many resources. Just create a landing page, post some ads, print some flyers, etc… This isn’t necessarily true. Over the years, I’ve dived into plenty of ideas and side income streams, but I always ran into walls that made me want to tear my face off.

Have you also heard that you can make money by creating content? Why else would we try to create and share something online? (Or maybe because we just want to share our experiences online…)

But here comes the twist. Content can generate income. A hobby can become a business. This counts as economic activity. After economic activities, you have to pay taxes in most places. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against the idea that some of my income supports the local community where I live. Indeed, they help maintain the comfortable state I’m used to living in.

Did you know that even thinking about side income counts as economic activity? (Depending on how you interpret local laws… but I’m neither an accountant nor a lawyer, so don’t take what I say seriously. Do your own research!)

So, I consulted with a few accountants, copyright lawyers, attended business development courses, but when I mentioned that I wanted to earn income from content or display advertising, it was as if I was talking about astrophysics to a caveman.

  • This is economic activity. Taxes must be paid. How much revenue do you expect?
  • How should I know? I’m just starting. That’s why I came to consult about possible options.
  • So, you don’t expect revenue. Thus, you can’t establish a business. Instead, develop a product that you can sell.
  • But this can also be sold.
  • Then you should start a business and maybe channel this revenue into it.
  • Yes, I know. But now. Now, what are my options? How could I handle this potential revenue?
  • You can’t build a business on unstable revenue or on a non-existent customer base.
  • … (back to square one)

I think I live in some naïve utopian idea. I believe business is about creating a service that has value for someone. They honor this in some way. From this activity, I take what I need to live. The rest goes back into developing the service. Cash flow basics… revenue minus expenses equals profit. Am I stupid?

As a business owner, my job is to maximize revenue and minimize expenses. If a piece of content can generate revenue, why not use it? If I get a little support, why not accept it? Why is it necessary to react so cumbersomely and slowly to our fast-paced world?


I circled these questions for a long time to find a good answer. I live in the EU, so I have the opportunity to move anywhere within the EU and start a business in any member state. But potential customers aren’t limited to the EU area. Essentially, I could and should operate as a Digital Nomad. And when I found the e-residency program, I got answers to my questions. This is how GoSecNinja OÜ was established. A location-independent, digital, business.

And did you know? You have this opportunity not only within the EU.

Many people might misunderstand the program. It’s not about paying less tax because that’s not true. It’s about being able to start a business from anywhere, cheaply, with minimal administrative costs. And you only have to deal with taxes when you start taking money out of it. In return, you have a virtual identity who can issue VAT invoices and communicate with most of the digital world.

Of course, there are reporting deadlines that you could watch for yourself. But I would rather focus on other, more important things, so it’s no wonder I use Enty. Whenever I had any questions, they helped me quickly and at least I know that my finances are in order.

And here’s the point. After corporate income, you pay 0% tax. What counts as corporate income? Anything you can channel into it.

However, I should note that local activities are subject to local laws. So, this form isn’t the best for Mary’s bakery.

But activities conducted in the digital world, i.e., services that are available online, are location-independent.

Don’t… Don’t… Don’t get into where the servers are located. Which companies are making my site, etc…

If I want, I could deploy a CDN in front of the site, and it can be seen anywhere in the world. I git push my content to a server in another country and I’m again somewhere else. I go on “vacation” to Malta and can still connect to a Zoom conversation. Geolocation doesn’t matter anymore.

Next Steps?

I still hate this expression… What are the next steps? I now have a corporate form. I now find the “.com” domain ending well earned. I just need minimal-cost hosting solutions and figure out how to channel as many revenue sources into this concept as possible.

So, hosting. It should be similar to what I listed above. GitHub, Netlify, Hugo, CloudFlare. How about a GitHub organization? Maybe gosecninja? Wait a second… But that’s already done. o.O

Then, I need a private repository that contains the site for now. Wait a second… That’s also done. o.O

Then, I just need to update the site content to be Hugo… Oh, that’s already the case.

Oh, I get it. When I first thought of this, I didn’t have a business yet. So now I face a different kind of challenge. This is how to move the “.ninja” domain to “.com” with the least disruption. It’s not just about creating a domain redirection.

Because I’ve already created a digital persona. This process can be a bit like dealing with multiple personalities. In the digital world, numerous virtual selves can form. The human brain wasn’t designed to handle this.

That’s why our mental health is so important. I’m sure you’ve never thought about this. In every digital space, we have a different personality present. Are you taking care of each one of them properly? How many personalities can you still handle with a sound mind? How do you mourn their deaths?

  • Their deaths? What the f…?

Yes, you heard right. Their deaths. Every time when we lose a piece of our digital self, a piece of our personality dies. Don’t trivialize this feeling. And be understanding towards others who have lost their corporate access, emails, colleagues, jobs. They are not necessarily anxious and depressed because of their lost workplace, but maybe they don’t even know that they are actually grieving. #MentalInCyber

Call to action?

I hope you haven’t read this far through all this garbage stuff I’ve written. I’ve been thinking a lot about an impactful call to action section. The results? Well, basically, I’ve been constantly looking at various statistics, emails, and social network sites.

So, if you liked what I wrote please:

And DO NOT! I repeat, DO NOT follow my work. It would only feed my own Ego while I am working on the #MentalInCyber topic and trying to convey the (cyber) security-first business model.