December 1, 2017

Introduce Yourself! (December 2017)

Your eyes aren't deceiving you: it's already December.

2017 flew by a bit too quickly for me, but "Introduce Yourself" threads always cheer me up! Whether you're new to the community or you've been here a while, here's what you should do:

  1. First, respond to someone else who's commented, just to say hello or leave them some feedback!

  2. Next, leave your own comment introducing yourself, what you're working on (or aspiring to work on), and your biggest goal for December. Feel free to mention any tips, pieces of advice, or resources (books, links, etc.) you've found helpful!

And that's it. Can't wait to find out how everyone is closing out the year! 🎉


  1. 17

    Channing here! Years ago I would have called myself a developer, writer, and salesperson, but now I just go with the simplified title of "indie hacker". Courtland and I spent November on the grind, reaching out to founders that IH readers asked to hear from and building community tools to help makers get the word out about their products and side hustles.

    So keep your eyes peeled for our new product release this month. 😇 We'll definitely be looking for early adopters and feedback.

    My advice to every maker in December is to make a habit of identifying the most impactful things you can work on — especially the hard ones that your subconscious tells you to keep putting off — and to make them your daily priorities.

    Try to tackle the hardest, most important tasks first, even if they take up your entire morning, and then see how you feel for the rest of the day.

    1. 4

      Hey Channing, Long time lurker of the site. I like the advice you gave. It's too easy to not prepare my day and just get to work but taking the time to prepare my day in the morning makes all the difference for me. It's easier to say "no" to people who request stuff and give them my availability at a later time when I take control of it rather than being pulled around in the day.

      1. 1

        It's easier to say "no" to people who request stuff and give them my availability at a later time when I take control of it rather than being pulled around in the day.

        This is very true. And moreover, it's easier to say "no" to yourself when you feel tempted or torn between less important tasks.

    2. 3

      Hi Channing! Sounds exciting! :)

      Love the advice to get those hard tasks out of the way that we want to put off!

      1. 2

        Welcome!

        Love the advice to get those hard tasks out of the way

        It's the sort of thing you have to learn the hard way first. 😇

    3. 3

      Hi Channing,

      Definitely interested in your new tools, especially because I may start again a new Bootstrapping In A Nutshell series with my new project. Keep me in the loop please! I may also register on publicly.io by Mubs.

      Let me introduce myself: I'm Jérémy, a french solo developer. I've been here for awhile now! I wrote the Bootstrapping In A Nutshell series.

      I'm currently working on a new SaaS project that will help any mailing list owner (marketer, pro blogger, SaaS owner) to increase their open and conversion rates by providing personal information about their customers based only on their email address. My service automatically gathers data from trusted sources like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks from the given email address.

      My goal in december is to build an MVP that will allow you to send a CSV file with emails and receive the same file with enriched data like the full name, age, sex, and other relevant data from your customers. I'll blog about it here in a new Bootstrapping In A Nutshell series (season 2! ;)).

      I'm looking for some early customers that will allow me to test the service so if you use a mailing list regularly and want to optimize your conversion rates, please, please, PLEASE contact me! My email is available from my IH profile.

      I'm also learning design through the excellent Hack Design website and SaaS business with the free online book Web App Success. I recommend both!

      Happy hacking!

      Jérémy.

      1. 3

        Hey Channing, love IH(My partner thinks you guys pay me to start sentences with, "Today I read on Indy Hackers"). Looking forward to seeing your next project! I'll be releasing a new project myself called userchat.io in January some time. It's a User to User chat platform and toolkit. It's primary purpose is to allow you to build highly configurable full featured user to user chat into your application.

      2. 1

        Definitely interested in your new tools, especially because I may start again a new Bootstrapping In A Nutshell series with my new project. Keep me in the loop please! I may also register on publicly.io by Mubs.

        Will do! And damn, looking forward to the next series.

        I'm also learning design through the excellent Hack Design website and SaaS business with the free online book Web App Success. I recommend both!

        Oh nice, checking out https://hackdesign.org/lessons this weekend.

    4. 3

      Channing, looking forward to the new product release.

      When you think about most impactful, what sort of time horizon do you have in mind?

      1. 2

        When you think about most impactful, what sort of time horizon do you have in mind?

        Both!

        Long term you might have a product roadmap, or even a bug fix roadmap — and you should priorities the improvements that will go the longest way towards achieving your objectives (e.g. getting people to return to your site or pay $).

        And in the near term, let's say in the next 24 hours, the same thing applies. If you have a lot on your plate, you're likely to gravitate to the work that's comfortable, familiar, routine — but that's not always the work that will most effectively move you or your business forward. I could say more on it, but Paul Graham has a good article on this: http://www.paulgraham.com/procrastination.html

    5. 2

      Hey Channing, what's the approximate proportion of time do you spend on building vs reaching out?

      1. 1

        Probably 4-1 in favor of building, since we're just a two-person team. But it fluctuates. In a perfect world we'd be able to automate all of the building and spend all our time reaching out and growing the site.

    6. 2

      Hi all, I'm new to the site but a friend turned me onto the podcast a few months back-- really inspiring stuff.

      My name is Peter and I'm a biz co-founder of GiveTide, a social good app that is sort of like Acorns for charity https://www.givetide.com/

      Now that we've put out our MVP on iOS, I'm looking for a mentor to help me prioritize next steps. We outsourced most of the development but I'm hoping there might be some Ruby engineers that would be compelled the cause of helping nonprofits raise money from rounded up spare change.

      We're still searching for our tribe so I'd love any feedback on how we're doing so far.

      1. 1

        Hi all, I'm new to the site but a friend turned me onto the podcast a few months back

        Awesome. Welcome to IH 👋

        Now that we've put out our MVP on iOS, I'm looking for a mentor to help me prioritize next steps.… We're still searching for our tribe so I'd love any feedback on how we're doing so far.

        Good work getting the MVP out! Feel free to post a thread asking for feedback on features and your product roadmap.

    7. 2

      Hi Channing! Martin from Buenos Aires here. I'm fairly new to the indie hacker scene though I've been freelancing for quite a lot now. I love the advice everybody gives, it's a pretty warm place to be.

      I often feel experiencing a "writer's block" which holds me back from making stuff. That and also jobs which I can't easily leave. But following the single most given advice I've read everywhere ("just stop thinking and MAKE something") I've started something that I'd like to develop, but I'm in need of feedback and/or guidance, because it looks like a global product and kind of feels a little big for a first project. I hope it won't be annoying to make a post asking for it.

      Here's a resource I'd like to share: https://github.com/mezod/awesome-indie

      And a big thanks to everyone in the community!

      1. 1

        I'm fairly new to the indie hacker scene though I've been freelancing for quite a lot now

        Welcome! 👋 Freelancers tend to fit right in.

        I hope it won't be annoying to make a post asking for it.

        Of course it won't — asking for feedback is one of the main use cases of our site! I say go for it: ask away, and if you don't get much help, give it a couple days and then ask again.

    8. 2

      Hey Channing,

      thanks for this opportunity.

      I'm Levon - founder of Zeroqode - the biggest issue for me and the team is to how to overcome the scepticism against the possibilities of no-code app creation platforms. We use Bubble to build ready made app templates without code and we really believe Bubble willl one day become the Wordpress but for more complex web applications. However it looks like there is an enourmous leap to take to make the platform popular and widespread. We try to make Zeroqode a central place for all things no-code and brought together no-code courses, backends and other solutions. We will be representing Moldova Pavillion at TechCrunch Distrupt Berlin which will take place on 4-th and 5-th of December. So anyone who will be around - we'd be happy to see you at the event :)

      Here is the link to our project - https://zeroqode.com

      1. 2

        Hey there Levon. 👋

        the biggest issue for me and the team is to how to overcome the scepticism against the possibilities of no-code app creation platforms.

        Stick with it. Bubble is onto something and, by extension, so are you! "Indie hacking" is contagious, and non-developers catch the bug just as readily as programmers. The platforms that recognize this early and provide for this growing base of makers have shown a lot of promise.

        1. 1

          Thanks Channing, noticed your reply only now, for some reason didn't get email notification. Thanks!

    9. 2

      Hey Channing! Love the site! I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys are working on

      1. 2

        Thanks! And thanks right back for your awesome contributions.

    10. 2

      Hi @channingallen. Thank you for your inspiring words.

    11. 2

      Hey Channing! Can't wait for the release! Always an early adopter so feel free to reach out :) Great advice!

      1. 1

        Can't wait for the release! Always an early adopter so feel free to reach out :)

        Fantastic — will do.

    12. 0

      Hi Channing! My name is Juan, I've been here for a while and it's becoming one of my favourite places on the net! Great atmosphere, I feel comfortable here and love the community.

      The project we're working on is https://instavast.com and it is a cloud-based app for automating Instagram.

      Until the end of the year, I would like to work on link building, I'm planning to start guest posting even though my own blog is almost empty yet!

      Also, we're working on an Instagram post scheduling with handy tools to edit pictures and videos.

      Another side project is an easy Instagram backup, i.e. you enter the username and in one click, download all your shared content.

      Finally, I think I have an advice, buy BTC!

      1. 0

        Hi Channing!

        👋

        I've been here for a while and it's becoming one of my favourite places on the net! Great atmosphere, I feel comfortable here and love the community.

        Really amazing to hear this! When a lot of people come together to work toward similar challenging goals, the vibe tends to be a lot brighter and more positive. It wouldn't be this way without people like you, so thanks a lot.

        we're working on https://instavast.com… I'm planning to start guest posting… also, we're working on an Instagram post scheduling… another side project is an easy Instagram backup

        Wow, you've got a lot on your plate. 2018 should be a good year!

  2. 9

    Everyone calls me Mubs! Been a member here for a while, but thought I'd say hello again.

    I spent most of November deep in the Product Hunt global hackathon, and submitted my projects yesterday.

    I documented my process for making my PH project Deaton on Medium: https://medium.com/makesideproject

    I'm particularly excited by Publicly which I launched a couple of weeks ago, and I know a few people from here are using!

    1. 3

      Always an inspiration for us Mubs! Keep making! 🙏

      1. 2

        Thanks Channing, great to be here, feels like I've found my tribe :)

    2. 2

      I never heard of Publicly before. Thanks for the link!

    3. 2

      Hi Mubs, cool project. I love his community and what guys are building

    4. 2

      Using Publicly and Deaton are on my todo list. Even after you've revealed your tech stack, I still don't know how you can release multiple projects so quickly

      1. 1

        Haha, sometimes I'm not so sure myself either.

        A few people have asked me to do a live stream of actually coding up a project. Don't really like live streaming, but might do this for my next fun project.

    5. 2

      Noticed you through my engagement during the hackathon period. I like the idea behind publicly.io and using it for my own project too.

      Question: how do you work on 2 side-projects?

      1. 3

        If only it was just two 😀

        Since I try and focus on projects that I use myself, it makes it much easier to keep them in mind, and make real updates that will be useful.

        Take Publicly, I use that everyday for projects that I'm working on, so I see what is going on, and any issues with the platform. This makes it easy to decide what to work on next, without having to spend time reaching out to users and discussing things with them (which is also still happening too, just slower)

        I find I'm most productive when I feel in the mood to work on something, having a few projects means that if I'm not in the mood to work on one project, I can do something productive on another.

    6. 2

      Hi Mubs, have been using Publicly and love it!

      1. 1

        Love to hear that!

    7. 2

      Been using Publicly now for https://jobeir.com.

      If anyone's curious to follow check it out: https://publicly.io/projects/jobeir

      1. 1

        Damn I absolutely love your site design! Did you do all the design? :)

        1. 2

          Yes, did all the design. I'll start sharing it all on dribbble soon. One of the main reasons I wanted to start the project was to be able to have full creative control.

          Thanks for the kind words :)

      2. 1

        Awesome, following!

    8. 2

      Hi Mubs :)

      I've been eagerly awaiting Deaton. Hope to be able to use it while building and hopefully growing my side project into a business :)

      I'm also fascinated by Publicly. However I couldn't understand what 'building in public' actually involves... For noobs like us, maybe have a short explanation there in the about page? Maybe a few examples of updates or something..

      Best of luck with everything and I'm grateful to people like you who share their knowledge and path with folks like us who are still trying to get up the nerve to dive in :)

      1. 1

        Hey!

        Deaton is ready to use, still in "beta" but should work, just putting the finishing touches on a few things, you can sign up at:

        https://deaton.io

        In regards Pubicly, I'll try and expand the purpose on the about page, but simply it's means sharing what you're doing, what you're trying and the results of those. No more startups that just puts out press releases every 6 months saying how great everything is going :)

    9. 2

      Wow excellent, I love most of these projects and to find them, and many others, in one place is even better. Thanks

      1. 2

        Really hoping the trend continues, love building in public! :)

    10. 2

      Hey Mubs! I really enjoyed your updates on making Deaton! It was cool to see how you approached the various challenges of building a startup. Love the final design of the landing page!

      1. 1

        Thanks Tyler. So much still to do for Deaton, but been a fun month writing the articles and building the app.

    11. 2

      Hi mubs.

      I've read almost all the parts. And it's just awesome. Thanks for sharing this kind of informations, your processes. That's great. I'll definitely apply them asap!

      1. 2

        Glad you're finding it useful, feel free to ask any questions if something isn't clear.

    12. 2

      Hey Mubs :), I've been using publicly this last week, love the idea!

      1. 1

        That's great to hear!

  3. 8

    Hey @channingallen ! :) Nice to meet you, love this site and this seems like a good way to meet others on the site too haha!

    My name is Callum Harrod and I'm currently working on the MVP for my online book club platform: https://www.bookerino.com. It's something I wanted and thought I could build it for others to use as well. I've taken loads of inspiration for comments from Reddit and Indie Hackers too ;D

    My main goal for December is to really refine the MVP and have my site be super user-friendly for new users and also to get some regular users on the site.

    I haven't really got any other advice other than to set yourself a deadline for your projects, I always found I would come up with an idea and never execute on it. But I finally said, "No you're going to get something done (super MVP) within a month". And since having said that I have gotten to that point and more!

    Again, this site is such a massive source of inspiration and thanks for helping make this, because you're helping me and tonnes of other people out! :)

    1. 2

      Ah, I regularly try and find ways to discover new books, so that's interesting. You should have a newsletter with updates on the new ones you have (unless you have one already and I can't see it?)

      1. 2

        Ah awesome! Damn no I don't have a newsletter, however, it will be a feature for signed up users ;) haha!

        But seriously I'll set up a newsletter section on the homepage over this weekend to let people know. Thanks for the recommendation!

    2. 2

      hey Callum! I love this, and I wonder if there might be a post-MVP education play here. I remember during undergrad I had online courses where we had mandatory book discussions and the platform we were forced to use was atrocious.

      Good luck!

      1. 1

        Hi @remyp :) Thanks haha! And it's not something I've really thought so far, but I do want to eventually build out a way for users to have their own private book clubs with users they invite, so that could easily tie-in.

        My focus at the moment is building out solid commenting features, user profiles, a recommendation section and getting users. Once I have sorted that out I will definitely look at incorporating education :)

        Thanks for taking a look though! Really appreciate it :)

    3. 2

      Hi Callum! Nice to meet you. I love the look of your site. I used to work as a dev for an online bookseller and had some ideas about book club sites in the past. I'm new on indie hacker if I can be of any help let me know!

      1. 1

        Hi Calandlorie! :) Thank you, already changed loads with the design since I first put it live haha! It's an ongoing battle haha!

        Would love to hear some of your ideas on book club sites if you're willing to share and I'm happy to share some of my expertise in return haha! :) my email is callumharrod1994@hotmail.co.uk if you want to chat in private!

        1. 1

          Thanks! Email sent :)

    4. 1

      Great project, Callum! I love how you can discuss chapters of the books. I'm mostly reading personal dev books and would love the hear the insights of other readers.

      1. 1

        Awesome! Well if you want a book put up there I'll do it just for you to discuss with some other people :) Let me know what book it is and I'll purchase it too!

        1. 1

          Would love to see Russell Brunson's book "Expert Secrets" being discussed on the website!

          1. 1

            Hey! Just thought I would let you know that the book is now live on the site! At: https://www.bookerino.com/books/expert-secrets/ Hope to chat with you on there soon on there! :)

          2. 1

            I've just bought it now so I can gather all the chapter info, I'll have it up on the site tomorrow, will reply to you again when it's up! Looking forward to discussing it with you! :)

  4. 6

    Hey @channingallen! Great advice on try to tackle the hardest thing in the morning—always love eat the frog philosophy.

    My name is Philip Young, I'm a marketing graduate who fell in love with branding in college. Have designed some brand identity in the past, got bored, and decided to join a startup and learned to code on the way! It's been 1.5 years since then and I'm proud that I can build my ideas now :)

    I'm currently working on my a GTD based task manager—http://www.getcontextual.com. (Not full time though, as I still focused on contract work for a startup)

    There's already 300 people signed up, and I haven't scheduled a call (or email-ed them) because of irrational danger: fear.

    My main goal for December is to overcome it and talk to the user!

    Have been lurking for a while in IndieHacker and excited to be active and contribute to the community! 🎉

    1. 1

      Hey Philip, this site looks cool. I'm currently using Nirvana, but I like how your product supports a SQL-like way to search for tasks.

      Small note: I noticed what's maybe a bug in your pricing page. It has $29/year crossed out, but no price in its place. Is that intentional?

      1. 1

        Hi Michael! Yeah that's intentional. For now, I believe the price is not worth it compared to the problem it solved.

        So I decided to cut reduce the price to $15 per year and raise it until I believe it provides enough value to the user ☺️

        http://www.getcontextual.com/pricing

        Can we chat? Would love to know how you manage your days and task in Nirvana!

    2. 1

      hi :) I will def try out getcontextual soon :) BTW I caught a typo i think in your story page : aveliate ought to be alleviate

      1. 1

        Thanks InfiniteCosmos! There's some typos that need to be ironed out (English is not my first language). Would love to hear more from you :)

    3. 1

      always love eat the frog philosophy.

      Thanks for this phrase! Didn't have a clue what you meant so I went off and discovered an awesome new Mark Twain quote (which you're already aware of): "If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first."

      I'm currently working on my a GTD based task manager—http://www.getcontextual.com.

      Great landing page, and great concept. I have an unhealthy and unproductive obsession with productivity psychology, so it's right up my alley. Best of luck!

      1. 2

        Thanks!

        Regarding, "eat the frog", I also want to force the user to assign Most Important Task everyday. Hopefully found the right UX for that!

  5. 5

    Hi all, I'm Jonathan and I run https://ipdata.co which is an API that provides location data on IP addresses. This is my first try at running a saas product (or a product of any kind), it's also the first business I've tried in my life that has ever had any success.

    My goal is to grow my MRR to to $2000. I have a very solid backend, very highly available and I'm trying different things to learn how to sell this.

    1. 3

      Hi Jonathan!

      Ipdata seems awesome. I've been looking for a good geoip solution for some time now and wasn't content with anything.

      I'll try it next time; upvotes for now because beautiful frontpage design matters.

      1. 2

        Hey Theodore! Thanks for the awesome feedback!

    2. 2

      your site appears to be down for me all of a sudden.

      1. 1

        Hey Travis, thanks for the heads up! It should be up now. there was a small bungle up with cloudfront. Thanks!

    3. 1

      I was actually going to build this because like you i wasn't happy w/ any of the options. Both mapbox and google are insanely expensive. Will definitely use in my next project i require geloc.

      1. 1

        Awesome! Let me know if there're any features you'd have wanted to see and we can talk about adding them jonathan at ipdata dot co

  6. 4

    Hi! I'm Mykal (pronounced as Micheal) and I'm just starting to work on building and shipping my first product (Hopefully by the end of December!) but I've been working behind the scenes as a web developer and data analyst of sorts for the last year.

    I don't have any super insightful pieces of advice but I do have a few resources that have been super helpful to me over the last few months.

    Wes Bos Courses (wesbos.com)

    Syntax podcast (syntax.fm)

    Front End Happy Hour Podcast ( frontendhappyhour.com)

    Mozilla Developer Network ( developer.mozilla.org)

    Product Hunt (producthunt.com)

    1. 2

      The time just before launch is stressful and exciting (or was for me at least). Hope you can make your goal and launch by the end of December. Want to share what it is yet?

  7. 4

    Hey all, my name is Tony. I started reading IH regularly after quitting my day job as a data scientist and working full time on "side projects".

    I'm currently focused on a note-taking and passive learning app called Harvest https://harvest.li/ (of which I am still the biggest user). Here's an example of content you can capture (from the CoderPad article yesterday): https://harvest.li/shared/4a6cc3b767090db7d95c27920d767953f4aa847f0f229995ee948d6794107f2d

    1. 2

      Hi Tony! So glad I found this comment. Harvest is just what I was looking for. Excited to try it!

      1. 1

        thks Christina! i also took a look at your product, Amazing Marvin. looks really slick.. may borrow a lot of your ideas!

        1. 1

          Thank you! You mean website design ideas? :)

          1. 1

            yep the flow is really nice

    2. 2

      What gave you the courage to quit your day job and go full time on your own stuff?

      It's something I'm interested in trying to do, but I worry about going full-time on projects before I have any income coming in.

      1. 2
        1. Reducing expenses drastically

        2. Saving aggressively over the last several years

        3. Having (probably unreasonably high) confidence in myself

        And a timeline to see if my projects go anywhere. I guess everyone's situation is different though depending on where they are in life

        1. 2

          Congrats! I want to do the same, but still struggling with confidence, I've managed to ship one side project and get a couple of customers which felt awesome and probably helps with the confidence part. For you, what helped imporve your confidence and do the jump?

          1. 1

            That's great. I saw you launched a shopify upselling app, what is it called? I have an account and will check it out.

            For me, I guess I've put in a lot of work over the years in learning a wide range of skills like coding, design, marketing, etc. I have a solid generalist base (though obv still lots to learn). Reducing financial stress helps a lot too and gives you some mental breathing room.

            1. 2

              Yeah I think there is no way around putting in a lot of work and learning much more than just coding / building a product.

              The app is called "Shop The Look":

              https://apps.shopify.com/shop-the-look-4

              Churn rate is a bit high so I'm trying to get more feedback (so hard to get people to reply to my emails.) Once I'm more comfortable with the product and its added value, I will work on driving more traffic to my listing page and improve my copywriting and logos.

              I'm also thinking of building one more app, but honestly I'm afraid of not having enough time and effort to support and grow them while mainting my day job (still working on saving more money.)

              1. 2

                Very cool. I don't have an ecommerce store, but I can see how this would be a useful plug n play. Screenshots worked well

    3. 2

      Nice!

    4. 2

      Good luck, I love side projects :)

      1. 2

        thks! saw you also launched publicly.. i got harvest on there https://publicly.io/projects/harvest

        1. 2

          Awesome!

  8. 3

    Hey I'm Brian and I'm late to the monthly intro party again.

    I'm still working on my main project TheyMadeThat, but now I'm working on finishing up a public release of my PH hackathon project Muchcloser for January.

    1. 1

      I'm late to the monthly intro party again.

      Time for a New Year's resolution! 😉

      I'm working on finishing up a public release of my PH hackathon project Muchcloser for January.

      Good luck! Looking forward to the launch.

  9. 3

    Hi, my name is Travis. I'm a 35yo indie hacker from Burlington, Vermont area. I'm the father of a 10 year old and a 2 year old. I am an avid snowboarder, a budding micro farmer, and a certified scuba diver.

    Currently I'm the founder at http://grillwork.io a development studio run by myself and my partner. We do all the work. We specialize in Elixir, ReactJS/Javascript, React Native, and Ruby/Rails.

    Right now we're building userchat.io a user to user chat platform for your application that is due to launch in January. We're already at $50/MRR before launch as we had a client from our agency business under contract to be our first customer as soon as we had the requested features built. We sat down and built exactly those features first(took about 3 weeks) and put it into production for beta testing on their site. It's been running flawlessly ever since and has even had a >$5000 deal closed on their site, in part thanks to our chat platform. To say we're excited about how we're helping their clients facilitate transactions in a 2 way marketplace is an understatement.

    1. 2

      I'm interested in the development studio. I would love to hear more about what that's like. I've wondered what it would be like to run a dev shop: what the money's like, the challenges of doing software development for people who don't have software development expertise.

      I checked out the company's blog and it seems like one of your recent posts and the blog post I'm working on might have a good conversation (https://imgur.com/fRN38RM). Although realistically, I don't think they'll disagree because mine is aimed at developers and yours is aimed at non-developers.

      I tried checking out userchat.io but it seems to be down at the moment: https://imgur.com/AHykMl7

      1. 2

        We're not really a "dev shop" but more two freelancers who joined together to take on projects to big for just 1 developer.

        We've been doing this for about a year and a half now and are on pace to do 200k in revenue in our first full year together. Prior to last May I was a one man team and I did about 110k in my first year pre-taxes. My rates are $150/hr and I stay pretty booked up at that rate to the extent I would like to be.

        We try to keep no more than 25-30hrs a week for contract gigs, but ideally 20hrs is the sweet spot. We like to spend the other half of the week working on our own projects which will hopefully replace the boom and bust cycle of contract work.

        I've honestly never been happier in my work/life balance.

        The biggest challenge as a freelancer is just getting stake holders to understand the real costs of building software correctly. They can't understand why some devs quote 15k for an app and I'm quoting them 50-100k or more.

        It's one of the reason we switched to hourly contracts also among other things. We wrote about it on our blog https://blog.grillwork.io/why-we-no-longer-use-fixed-price-contracts-and-our-clients-love-it-20a4d871efc9.

        Userchat.io doesn't even have a basic splash page yet. We're working on it, but it's not a priority for us. Our time is better spent else where. I just don't have the time to pre-market and dev and run a "studio" :)

        We have a potential 3rd person coming on to help us that will be handling all our marketing/social/etc but we're just in the early stages of this work. Until now it's just been two developers, lots of turning coffee into code.

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          The biggest challenge as a freelancer is just getting stake holders to understand the real costs of building software correctly. They can't understand why some devs quote 15k for an app and I'm quoting them 50-100k or more.

          Yeah, this is what I worry about. My biggest fear in getting into that space is that I really love writing high quality code, but I'd be giving it to customers that can't tell the difference between what I'm doing and what an overseas developer could do for $15/hr.

          It's one of the reason we switched to hourly contracts also among other things. We wrote about it on our blog https://blog.grillwork.io/why-we-no-longer-use-fixed-price-contracts-and-our-clients-love-it-20a4d871efc9.

          Awesome, thanks for sharing.

          Sidenote: I noticed a few small errors:

          Soon contract clauses get triggered, renegotiation's begin, and no one has time to actually do the future work.
          When a project is fix bid, the developers are going to do everything in their power to stay under that bid amount.
          Our clients can stop or substantially accelerate forward progress at anytime.

          For my blog, my last step before publishing is to run the post through Grammarly (just the free version). It has false positives, but it prevents careless errors. I also usually send it to my editor for deeper notes. She's improved my writing a lot. I'd be happy to put you in touch with her if you're interested in working with her.

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            Thanks! I'm a terrible writer with no hope for improvements. We have a guy who is possibly going to take over the marketing side of things from my partner and I, he may take you up on that offer!

            Honestly never thought about hiring an editor. How much does she charge?

            Don't be afraid of being underbid by overseas devs. It's going to happen, some people just can't see the value of what a fair market value dev costs. But I can assure you once they do, they get it.

            In fact one of our clients who was interviewed here on IndieHackers originally hired my partner as temporary help while he looked for over seas devs that were less than 1/2 our cost. We did a bunch of work for them over a few months and then they hired their devs from over seas.

            After a few weeks with his new dev he let him go and brought us on "full time" because the money was better spent. It has worked out to be one of our best working relationships and they're flat out killing it on the SaaS front :)

            Most importantly it allows us to work how we want to, and build our own things on the side.. it's really a great life and there is a lot of work out there to be done if you're 1/2 decent at finding clients.

            One trick we use is to give a 10% referral fee to anyone who sends us a paying client. The client I'm speaking about above was referred to us by a friend. He's made probably $3-4k off this project alone.

            That's a pretty good incentive to have people send work your way, and after that you just gotta deliver and then some on what you say you're going to do. All of our business cards also have a referred by line on them. We leave them at our barber, etc.

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              Her rate on Upwork is $80/hr. She took 2 hours for each of my articles, but they're a bit longer than yours:

              https://mtlynch.io/editor/#cost

              You may be able to negotiate lower if you contact her directly because the $80/hr is with Upwork taking a cut. I'm michael@mtlynch.io, so let me know if you want me to put you in touch.

              When I hired her, the intent was like a "tune-up." I wanted her to point out what repeated mistakes I was making. But her feedback completely transformed my blog and brought in way more readers than I expected, so now I have her review almost every post. I think it's definitely worth trying, and then you can decide based on results whether to make it a regular part of your publishing flow.

  10. 3

    Long time lurker. I'm a UK based DevOps engineer, working for a medium sized ISP, looking after many, many Linux machines! I graduated 5 years ago with a BSc in Ethical Hacking. At my 9-5 I mainly focus on monitoring and scaling out technologies to do with proxying, logging, graphing, alerting and similar stacks.

    Currently working on my pet project which is a website monitoring tool/SaaS, simply put your URL in, tick all the services you care about and get notified (Slack, Pushover, SMS) when there are issues. Also collects graphs and similar data to give you new insights in to your website.

    Lover of PHP/Python/BASH/Perl and know a bit of NodeJS. Goal for December is to try and get an alpha version of my project running, and possibly finding some other small projects I can contribute to or help people with!

    I also run https://www.discuvver.com/ and https://www.uselessweb.com/

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      Always good to see another UK bod. Good luck with your Dec goal!

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      Currently working on my pet project which is a website monitoring tool/SaaS, simply put your URL in, tick all the services you care about and get notified (Slack, Pushover, SMS) when there are issues.

      Awesome. If you manage to hit your December launch goal, do you have future plans for charge for it? Or will you keep it free and open?

  11. 3

    Hi everyone,

    I'm still pretty junior (5 months out of a bootcamp) but have recently been working on my first sideproject

    www.runatpace.win

    a small calculator to tell you the pace to set your treadmill at.

    This month I'm working on MySpendingPal where you log in all your expenses to track your progress through the month.

    Its so cool to be able to make something from nothing, so I'm still on the newbie high right now - long may it continue!

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      long may it continue!

      Hear hear!

  12. 3

    Hey all!

    I'm kinda new here, been a longtime lurker of the site and newsletter but I'm looking to get a bit more involved. I've been a programmer for almost 10 years now working on a number of projects for clients in agencies and as a freelancer. I've also got my fair share of product development both as a freelancer and in startups.

    I'm currently working on a project that I've been planning for a couple years now that I believe will be tremendously useful for anyone who is working independently.

    I'm calling it Indie Experts: https://indiexperts.com

    Indie Experts is a community of people working for themselves to connect with others to help build their business.

    You can read more about the idea on my blog: https://jrtashjian.com/2017/10/indie-experts-a-community-for-independent-experts/

    My biggest struggle is trying to determine how much effort I should put into the design, and if my initial features are enough for people to see value in it. Nothing is public yet except the minimal launch page.

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      Hey I know you! ;-)

      Lots of people have tried directories like this before, so my suggestion, for what it's worth, is release quickly and iterate based on usage and feedback. Also focus heavily in one "expert category" before expanding.

      I don't think the design is going to play a huge part in the success/failure here, something clean and minimal should work fine, but can't say if what you have is good enough without seeing it.

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      Just subscribed. Curious to see where you're going with this.

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      Can we see the design you currently have? Hard to say if you should put more effort in it or not w/o taking a look, but it's definitely easy to get hung up w/ design.

      You want to do as much as you can before launching, but stop once there are diminishing returns. Otherwise, you'll find yourself working on design almost as a way to procrastinate launching! (Or that's what I did at least. 🙈)

      As someone who freelanced as a web developer for a couple of years, I definitely had tons of questions about what to do. The default is to be a full-time employee, which makes it seem pretty scary to go out, form an LLC, and find your own clients.

      Looking forward to seeing how this develops though, and let me know if you need any specific feedback! 🤗

  13. 2

    Howdy! My name is Alex.

    I've bootstrapped a couple of businesses:

    1 - Indy Hall is a coworking community based in Philadelphia. Since 2006, we've grown from a few friends taking over cafes and bars that had wifi into running our own community and workspace. Now, with hundreds of members (including many of our original members) we're one of the longest running coworking spaces in the world and we've done it without ever taking a dime of outside investment!

    2 - I'm also Amy Hoy's partner at [Stacking the Bricks](https://stackingthebricks.com. We've been teaching creative people like us how to bootstrap businesses for a long time, and more than anything love helping people that want to earn a living by helping others.

    I host a couple of podcasts, too. If you're into coworking and community building, check out The Coworking Weekly Show. If you're into products and business, check out Stacking the Bricks. Search 'em both out wherever you like to get your podcasts, we should show up!

    I'm also pretty active on Twitter, which is one of the best places to find me :)

    1. 1

      Really enjoy Stacking the Bricks!