Self Care November 15, 2020

After losing $38676+ as an Indie Hacker. I can't do it anymore. I quit.

José León @jrleonr

Around a year ago I left my job as a Developer Advocate to bootstrap a company.

I had around $12K in savings. Enough to cover a year of expenses and a bit more. I stopped spending money on almost everything.

How hard could that be, right? I create something, find 10-20 clients, and done. I'll make $1K per month and from there grow it to $20K MRR. No problem.

Well. It didn't work that way. You all know that. I didn't. I was naive and I think I am not the only one who thinks like that.

News? Success stories? Books on self-help? podcasts? Guilt it of all of that. I thought I was smart enough. If other could do it... me? Even better.

Well. I am broke now. I hate the projects I created. I hate that I spent all my money and didn't make a dollar (well I made around $60, which is even more painful than $0) not from my projects, not from a client or a company.

So the real cost is more than the money I lost. I made my girlfriend stay home for a year, we didn't do anything, we didn't buy clothes and ate the cheapest food, etc. I feel that I have lost a year of my life.

I got much more from the articles that I wrote here on Indie Hackers than from any of my projects. And I did those in a couple of hours.

I know how to create, and how to make and many other things, but:

  • Every time that I want to promote something, my stomach hurts.
  • If I share an article on Reddit I feel anxious for a week.
  • When I go to a Facebook Group to suggest my apps, I feel sick.
  • If I send a private message on Twitter or Linkedin, I can't sleep.

All the time I think people are going to hate me, tell me that I am an idiot, a con maker, that my ideas are terrible, that I suck.

And they did many times, and I can't handle that while making $0.

So, I quit.

I always wanted to write more. I love it. But I felt that I couldn't write if I wasn't successful. But I guess there are no rules.

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  1. 54

    I feel this. It's totally ok to quit, and honestly I feel like we should normalize quitting things more.

    Tenacity and grind are a huge part of success, but if you believe "running a business is a marathon not a sprint", then we need to accept everyone has a different pace and stamina for doing so, just like running a marathon. I say "we" meaning us as individuals, not so much the community. From my experience, a big part of indie hacking is knowing yourself and being able to set healthy boundaries.

    Also, few things in life are forever. If you throw up your hands and quit now, it doesn't mean you can't come back and revisit it in the future. But you have do what's right for you. Take care!

    1. 4

      Beautiful words!

      That's how I feel, I need to reflect on what I want, and how to go about it. Sitting down for another 5 years trying to grow my SaaS or projects, it's not for me.

      At least not like this, not alone. There are other ways to make money that I may like more.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your ideas.

      1. 3

        Going at it alone, or essentially alone, 100% sucks.

        I have 3 businesses that I've done that with, and I don't plan on doing it again.

        Not that I do all the work, but I'm the only one making business, marketing, and operating decisions. Even though I have staff and support, I still feel very much alone.

        After 12+ years. I'm closing one of them, and may take an exit on the other two and start over entirely.

        Fwiw, you have not failed. You have learned valuable lessons that will help you should you decide to try again.

        Appreciate your honesty.

    2. 3

      Came here to say something like this. Very well said.

    3. 2

      I agree, it is okay to quit. Reminds me of this scene
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAQ4wyrremU&t=80s

      SaaS isn't the only thing, there are lots of other things OP can do

      1. 1

        I spent 20min watching these videos.

      2. 1

        I see an Enter the Dragon clip. I upvote.

    4. 1

      Agree, especially about revisiting in the future. This IH thing isn't a straight line trajectory. There will be setbacks. You are just resetting, not quitting.

      What helped me a lot after failing at some larger projects (e.g. a wearable) was to dial back the difficulty setting (info products, which are less all-consuming), get some easier wins under my belt and rebuild.

      This too shall pass.

  2. 35

    I am a game developer. I got fired April 2018. I used to make $3500 a month. I have made around 7000$ dollars in the last 2.5 years mostly all of it from freelancing. All my games flopped. I live with my parents and feel the same about the lost time as you.
    I don't know the purpose of this comment but I just wanted to share.

    1. 11

      I think that people need to know that this is hard. It is important to share it.

      Thanks for your courage.

      1. 3

        Yes indeed. If it wasn't hard, everyone would be doing it.

    2. 2

      Game developers are so under paid, and good games makes a lot of money. I feel it would be much wiser to transfer your skills to mobile and other platform, and then only do games in your spare time.

    3. 1

      Do u have a demo to show what's your game about? I am looking for someone with game creation knowledge, you can dm me if you're interested. Thanks

      1. 1

        I made a bunch of games, mostly casual PC games. Here are some of them. One game is NSFW. I'll email you.
        https://www.pcgamebenchmark.com/omey-salvi-pc-games

  3. 23

    This is so real and I can tell it’s filled with so much passion. Unfortunately this story is common among many IndieHackers out there. It takes a real mature person to admit defeat and realize when entrepreneurship isn’t suited for them.

    This topic isn’t brought up enough on this forum. As a community we celebrate things like $200 MRR, which is impressive at times, but it doesn’t pay the bills and won’t help you take the leap of faith to truly be bootstrapped.

    Do you mind sharing what you think you could have changed if you started over? I, and I’m sure other IndieHackers out there, would love to know.

    Thanks for sharing this because this truly hits home for me. I thought about quitting so many times, but small hints of success pushed me through. At times, those hints of success were actually mirages and I’m sure you ran into those too.

    Bootstrapping is HARD. My first two years, I walked dogs to pay my rent and maxed out my credit cards on developer spend.

    People don’t talk about the struggles, but they are ever present.

    Best of luck with your future endeavors!

    1. 3

      Hello Michael,

      I think is important for other people to realize how hard it is and what it takes to have some sort of success. For every new client, it's an everyday battle and not an easy one.

      I think I am going to write an article about that idea of what I would do if I start again. I need to spend some time thinking about this to make sure I learned my own lessons.

      Very happy to know that you keep pushing. I made some friends this year and we are all in a similar situation. Every day is a battle and you can have some wins but more empty days, and you need to find the motivation and your whys to keep pushing.

      Thanks a lot for all the ideas, encouragement, and for sharing your story. Wish you the best too.

      1. 15

        Duuuude, this sounds terrible. I'm so sorry you had such trouble and you're having to "quit" now. I'll second all the people saying you should take care of yourself and do what you need to do to for your mental health and wellbeing.

        However, what you've just been through is an incredibly powerful experience that you could share with the community. What worked? What didn't work? What would you do differently? Etc etc. Wrap all that up in a Medium article and start posting it. Build your audience using the experience as inspiration and fuel. Also, surely you learnt a BUNCH of skills along the way that you could now use to start freelancing or consulting. I would even say that it could be worth trying to get on the podcast to chat with Courtland about your experience, as failure and its consequences are a huge blindspot in the community's content. Or maybe IH should create a "Failures and Mistakes" group - that would be a gold mine.

        Obviously, you need to get a job to support yourself asap and forget about bootstrapping for now. BUT. . . if you do decide to give it another go again in the future (which I'm sure many of us hope you do) perhaps you could consider incrementally building up a side project (e.g. using Rob Walling's "stair step" approach) instead of going all-in and burning through your savings. I'm in a situation where I've got my job, I've got a small amount of savings, and I'm working on a couple of side things. But the idea of jumping into full-time bootstrapping with only $12k in the bank without a project already generating cashflows sounds terrifying. I aim to have a side project generating enough to income replace my employment income before I ever consider leaving my job, maybe even +20% just for good measure (as a buffer against volatility). Realistically, this goal might take several years to achieve.

        Entrepreneurship is about risk MANAGEMENT, not merely risk TAKING. I think this is a fundamental misconception about entrepreneurship that can be really damaging if we don't call it out. It is reinforced by the Silicon Valley and the VC "blitzscaling" and "hypergrowth" narratives, as seen in films like The Social Network etc etc. In the future you need to practice managing your risk exposure. Nassim Taleb and Naval Ravikant both talk about the "Kelly Criterion" as a heuristic for thinking about risk - it is definitely worth looking up. Taleb also famously talks about "ergodicity", which is another worthwhile concept that has direct applications to entrepreneurship.

        It's like those "no diving" signs at rivers and beaches: don't dive head first into murky water because it may be more shallow than it looks or may have submerged objects. If you dive straight in you could hit your head, knock yourself out and drown in the water. It's the same for entrepreneurship: wade in and feel out the water - maybe even use a stick to test the depth and check for rocks. Perhaps IH should have a "NO DIVING" sign on it lol. Maybe this is taking the analogy a bit too far, but you really really REALLY shouldn't dive in if you're still learning to swim.

        Anyways, good luck and I wish you a speedy recovery. I hope you don't give up on your dreams permanently, and that with some well-deserved R&R you can give it another go in the future. STAY STRONG.

        1. 4

          Good text right here. Everybody should read this.

        2. 3

          Thanks a lot for this. I had to read it twice. Save it for the future too.

        3. 1

          Great analogy. +1

  4. 17

    It took me 7 years of trying after high-school to realize that I was not going to make it. 7 years. I not only was completely broke, I was broken. Emotionally, personally, financially, etc. I tried more than 20 ideas and felt the worst like you when it was release time.

    I just couldn’t continue any more.

    In 2016 I gave up and started coding professionally.y first job was remote 100% and 6k a month. Now I am 120k remote too. Traveled all over the world multiple times and met extremely talented people. I never worked for startups but well profitable businesses.

    The change was really hard. I had to break my ego and it was not easy at all. Was it worth it? Hell yeah. Will I ever make a startup or business? No. Period. I learned my lesson. I am not good at that.

    I gave up university, friends and family. It took me 5 years of therapy to finally have a boyfriend, a life worth living, start CS degree 10 years later, and enjoy my work. It was not with it. What I am good at? Solving tech problems for other people who is really good at business and not tech. I am going to be a great engineering while programming professionally earning 120k a year.

    If I am able to maintain this for 10 years I will be millionaire and in my mid 30s. I came from a very poor family and if it wasn’t because of the internet I would be poor too.

    I love my life now. I enjoy eating a very good restaurants with my boyfriend, not having to check the receipt, traveling whenever I want. Saving and investing is my favorite sport.

    It’s hard to give up some ideas. It’s hard to give up a mindset. But sometimes it’s worth it. It’s healthy.

    With you the best on your next chapter.

    1. 3

      Glad you found something which works for you!

      1. 1

        Only if you let us know why you just joined here first (2 months ago)

      2. 1

        Why can't someone create an account to comment on this post? What answer are you expecting anyway?

        1. 1

          They absolutely can. I was just curious.

          Did my tone come off as something bad? or do you think the question itself is bad?

          1. 2

            Yeah, your tone comes off bad.

            1. 1

              Well, I'm sorry then!

              I'll edit that part out.

    2. 1

      hello congrats landing safe side ,would you like to share with us. the details about your journey.as a young dev would like to learn from you.

  5. 17

    Did same. Better to build business on the side while continuing to work. Much lower risk. Adjust and try again.

    1. 1

      True. I think that's much smarter. I need to reflect on the things I did wrong and write an article about it.

      I don't' think in the end that there is a good or a bad way to do it, you just have to find what works for you, but I am sure that there are situations where is easier or at least less risky.

  6. 14

    Sorry in advance if im not sugar coating it as the other people here. I would've loved someone to be real and not just polite with me when i needed it. So here goes.

    I hate the projects I created.

    Then make something different. Find something that sticks. You think all the successful entrepreneurs have struck gold on their first try? Probably none of them. If you don't like promoting and marketing (for me the other way around), find a co-founder who likes to do that. Most bigger companies here have multiple founders so they can share tasks and responsibilities.

    If you find it uncomfortable, grow from this. Find comfort in uncomfortability.

    All the time I think people are going to hate me, tell me that I am an idiot, a con maker, that my ideas are terrible, that I suck.

    Sounds like you have a mindset problem. You're probably like many other young people on here, blinded by all the flashy numbers and million-dollar one man operations. You don't see the work behind it, or the purpose, you just see the money.

    You want that Lamborghini as fast as possible. Clear as day once I read "I'll make $1K per month and from there grow it to $20K MRR. No problem."

    If you want money, get a job.

    We're here to build a business. There is a huge difference. You put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and money). For a while you get nothing, you persevere. Maybe your product sucked, build a new one, make it better. One day you'll succeed a bit, and then more, and more.

    Most indie hackers take years to finally reach a threshold for success. Including me.

    Leaving with this article
    https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/the-majority-of-startups-fail-heres-why-thats-a-founder-problem-not-a-startup-problem.html

    1. 1

      Im thinking similar.

      First of all, feeling sorry for you that it didnt work out as hoped @jrleonr.

      BUT either you simply build the wrong Things or your mindest is not yet ready (maybe both).

      I think now it is totally up to you: if you still Want this freedom and Business thing in longterm, get a job immediately and try to build your side hustle in the evenings / on the Weekends. Make use of everything you learned in the past year and smack your goal in the second try.

    2. 1

      It is completely fine that you don't agree with my article! I appreciate your honesty.

      This post is a small part of everything I did and it can't capture the full reality.

      I am not that young. And I don't agree that if you want money you need to find a job.

      I was looking for freedom. I rather have $1K from a side project than $20K from a job.

      And no, I don't want the Lambo. Just time. I want to buy my own time. Also, I don't like having a boss.

      Many things to unpack.

      Thanks for the article and for taking the time to write the comment! Sorry, I can't explain more but today has been a very weird day for me!

      All the best to you!

  7. 8

    I also want to add one more thing I learned myself and from observing friends who are crushing at at insane levels. If you are building something and shit ain't flying quickly you should just kill it and move to the next thing. Every-single-success I have witnessed was basically getting good traction early on. This whole hustle to make it work is stupid, it's like saying you need to keep digging harder and longer for gold while in reality you need to pack your stuff and move to a completely different area

    1. 6

      I don’t fully agree, there’s a balance. Research from Baremetrics showed that on average it takes about 1,5 years to get to 1k MRR. Many IHs on Twitter indicate the same: perseverance is key. Keep at it. Now the question is: WHEN do you know it’s working or not and WHEN do you change plans. And that’s probably different for every business. But I see so many people constantly switch after 2 or 3 months which I think is way too soon.

      1. 2

        I understand what you say and also think 2-3 months is a bit too soon. But in my opinion you should know within 6 months if this thing is going to fly or not, at the end all that matters is product market fit and building the RIGHT it.

      2. 1

        Research from Baremetrics showed that on average it takes about 1,5 years to get to 1k MRR.

        Source on this? Do you have a URL?

    2. 1

      "This whole hustle to make it work is stupid" this! I am sure there are exceptions, but this feels spot on

  8. 7

    I'm so sorry to hear this José. I've been following your site with great interest ever since I discovered it from hacker news several months ago. I feel your pain, I really really do. In my case, I started a blockchain focused company and didn't make any money for over two years before finally admitting to myself that it's time to call it quits.

    I was depressed in my day job, and I naively thought quitting to start a company would make it go away. The bulk of my depression was just replaced with anxiety, especially in the early days. After rejection, my anxiety would turn into depression. Then I would feel shame for not doing anything, and try again, and feel anxious as hell after clicking 'send'. This cycle repeated and wore away at my mental health constantly. I was too ashamed to use my savings for things like a holiday, for fear it would be the next misstep in my business. In hindsight, not looking after my self care probably was the deciding factor.

    Count yourself lucky in all this that you simply just ran out of money. I got myself into debt to keep going. I sunk so low that I had developed a pornography addiction as a coping mechanism. It negatively affected my relationship with my girlfriend to the point where I was no longer able to meet her 'needs'. I managed to save our relationship by making it open but I still have to wonder if I had have quit sooner, would things have stayed as they were. I still feel bad for putting her through that stressful time.

    Anyway, now is the time to step back from the keyboard, and focus on self care.

    1. 4

      I hope after that you are now getting better and have solved your problems.

      Your story is far deeper than this one. I wish you share it in the future as a stand-alone post.

      All the best.

    2. 3

      I managed to save our relationship by making it open

      Excuse me, but what the fuck.

      1. 1

        It's simple: they love each other.

    3. 2

      Coincidentally, a few days ago I listened to an old interview of Tim Ferris by Kevin Rose. In it, Tim mentions his struggle with pornography and other issues during the early days of his online entrepreneurship (which he writes in the four hour work week). I would say this kind of thing is perhaps a taboo subject for men to talk about. I appreciate you being so open about it. I hope you're in a better place now. I too opened up my relationship with my wife about a year ago. I won't say things are perfect now because of it but we're still together, which is good for the kids. And you're right, sometimes it's good to step back for the keyboard for a while, do some outdoor activities for a few days at least to remember that there is a world outside of our computers. I wish more people did this.

      1. 1

        No relationship is perfect. Having kids changes everything, you probably made the right choice there, at least until the kids are older. Ditto on the outdoors stuff.

    4. 1

      That is one kind of addiction that guys seem to have a real problem admitting to. I hope you're doing alright now.

  9. 5

    There is one upside here: you won’t spend the next 5 years thinking how life would be if you were an indie hacker full time.

    You tried one approach, it failed, you cross it off and move on to the next item on the list.

    The enemy is “what life would be like if i ...”

    You know what doesn’t work so you can move on and look for what does work.

  10. 5

    Maybe it's like getting pregnant, often only happens when you stop trying.

    1. 2

      Haha! Did that work for you?

      1. 1

        I recommend the Dru Riley podcast episode about Trends.vc, he started it because his other projects failed and for once he thought he'd just make something he was personally interested in, even if no one else was, and after he got some traction, he made it paid. Perhaps you need to try something like that, just make something you like, for yourself, and not for anyone else.

  11. 4

    but i guess there are no rules.

    👆🏻 — you nailed it. there are no rules to this. you make them up as you go along.

    word from the stoics:

    he was sent to prison. but the observation "he has suffered evil," is an addition coming from you.

    — epictetus, discourses, 3.8.5b-6a

    events in life are objective. how we describe them... is up to us.

    malcomx went to prison a criminal but left as an educated, motivated, and deeply religious man towards civil rights.

    you've suffered... but, not until the point of death (yet). keep going.

    1. 5

      Yes, of course, what is a failure to me some people may think I was just starting.

      But I didn't want to spend my time hoping for something that was making me feel bad.

      I need to reflect on what I want and maybe find other ways to make money that can buy my freedom but I enjoy it.

      I really appreciate your thinking.

      1. 2

        :) glad you're here.

  12. 3

    I'm sorry to read this, José.
    I think you are simply unmotivated and you need to take a break.
    When you and I talked a few months ago, you helped me see that I had to talk to my future clients face to face first and hear what their real problems were.
    And your articles about how you have created your sideprojects in a short time, have motivated me a lot.
    Honestly, I think you know a lot more about creating sideprojects than I do. Or at least you are one step ahead of me.
    You may not have reached the end of the road, but I think you were following the right directions.

    I understand that what you have lost is the opportunity cost (the wages of continuing to work).
    I did similar to you. I left a programming job having saved money to "live" for at least 12-14 months. Luckily, I got a freelance job with some clients. I earn enough to "live", but I get half of what I used to get at my old job. Now I have much more freedom and free time to try new things and sideprojects.
    Right now, I don't regret leaving my job. But, curiously enough, I do regret being in college for almost five years. The opportunity cost of paying for 5 years vs. going out into the real world to work and make money.

    Failure is part of success.
    If you've made a lot of mistakes, you've certainly learned a lot from them.

    And in some comments there has been talk of the impostor syndrome. My impostor syndrome comes and goes every few weeks.
    I believe that it is something that you do not overcome, you only learn to detect it and live with it. Use it to your advantage and not against you. It serves to force me to be constantly learning.

    And as a final conclusion, if what causes you stress is using your own personal brand (your name and image), maybe it's better to do sideprojects without saying it's you. Use a pseudonym or the name of the sideproject. If you like to write, make a book or a blog.
    I'd love to see a blog of you with your experiences, your failures and the things you've learned.

    1. 1

      Hey Robert,

      You are amazing. I don't think I am ahead of you in anything. You are a hard worker and very smart and I am sure that you will find your way too.

      Thanks a lot for your words, for the coffees, for your support, and for being amazing.

      Keep in touch, please!

  13. 3

    Sounds like all the feelings you mention are aligned with "Impostor Syndrome" (most commonly known as the fear of feeling like a fake, or being exposed as a fraud), which is extremely common in entrepreneurship of any kind. I've struggled with this myself and I can really recommend to read up on it since it shows the underlaying reasons for your emotions, which are real btw (it's obv not just you being cranky) and that you are not alone.

    1. 1

      Make sense. I knew about it, but I never thought that it could be applied to this situation... Thank you.

      1. 1

        To me it sounds lika a classic case of it but Im no pro, haha. On the bright side, it could mean that you shouldn't give up on your business ideas, and instead just get over your emotional barriers :)

        1. 2

          Probably also I need to figure out what I really want and then work from there. I was going without a compass! Thanks a lot for your kindness!

  14. 3

    Hi Jose. You could try blogging for the first time. It doesn't require quitting job. But it also doesn't generate $20k MRR :)

    If you dive into it you will have some audience after a year. And maybe then you will be able to make some project for them. In the worst scenario you can sell a year old blog any time for 20x it revenue.

    1. 1

      pat walls makes $15k mrr...

      1. 6

        I realy don't like these loud numbers. Only a few people does them via single blog comparing to whole blogging industry.

        I met more people who earns less with single blog. But they do more when they have portfolio of different blogs.

  15. 3

    Your story is humbling. It is a much needed reality check for those of us still testing the waters.

    It also got lots of veterans to share their less than glamorous experiences, so thank you for sharing it.

    On the bright side, you’ve learnt some very expensive lessons on IH and still enjoy writing ... perhaps collect your thoughts and take some time to document your mistakes, things you could have done differently etc then publish it as an ebook Pitfalls: Things to avoid as a bootstrapped founder?

    1. 3

      Thanks to you for reading it!

      I love your idea! I was thinking to write an article about that. I have to say that I am very afraid to create an ebook and sell 0 copies. I don't know if I can take that, I need more time for another failure.

      But! I'll think about it!

      1. 1

        Haha at "sell 0 copies". I get it, the scars are still fresh.

        Take as much time as you need to decompress then if the idea is still something you want to pursue, I'll happily help you to proof-read it.

  16. 3

    Make your own rules - a quote from a young Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Do what you love. It doesn't matter if you achieve your 'dreams' of being an Indiehacker maker if they come at the cost of complete anxiety. You love to write, and you are obviously exceptional at it. Do what you love.

    Take the good from this year. You've probably learnt more than you ever will in a single year of your life, you're one step closer to what you really want in life, and you tested your personal realtionship with your loves ones and yourself more than you ever thought you could. If you've made it through this year, you can make it through any other.

    Good luck in the rest of your life, I hope to see you within the IH circles again (writing, not making).

    1. 2

      Ohh! I am very sensitive today. That's too nice, what can I say?

      Just, thank you, thanks a lot. For real!

      I will keep writing. I was expecting to write about how to have success with your SaaS, I guess that's not happening :)

      1. 2

        I will keep writing. I was expecting to write about how to have success with your SaaS, I guess that's not happening :)

        Jose, you actually have a different perspective on your writing. You mentioned that everyone is sharing happy endings and how to reach $000 MMR but you can write about: "What to avoid when building SaaS" or "SaaS, all the things that can go wrong", "Developers obstacles when deciding to make a SaaS".
        You are going to write with passion and experience.
        I second @LouTromans that you've probably learned much more than you think.
        All the best for your future and always follow your heart. After all, it's all about what makes you happy.

  17. 2

    Whoah! Love this. Big, bold and honest share. One of the traits I see amongst so many founders including myself is the shadow like pressure to just keep going! It’s like an invisible force that we feel but can’t point to or even have words for. It shows up in so many different ways e.g. overworking, agitation, loss of sex drive, anxiety, loneliness, obsession etc. but the common experience I think that binds us all together is the undeclared shame and meaning we make about failure and worse, the fear we have of failure.

    In my experience working on developing mental skills for high performers it is the tangling of our identities with our businesses, ideas, and work that sets us up for this. Shame is a super powerful emotion and often is what drives many high performers to pursue the path they are on e.g. we want to prove ourselves, prove our value. BUT, shame is not a powerful place to build from. It’s unsustainable. It sets us up for failure.

    What I focus on is the deeper why to what I am doing? What values are driving? What does success look like? Why is that success? What kind of experience do I want a long the way? Who do I want to be when I am building my business e.g. I want to be focused, healthy, connected, joyful and committed.

    The first mental skill I would have every single one of us develop - mental skills are like muscles 💪, they can be developed - is awareness.

    Awareness is your greatest friend! It’s what has you stop and checkin and ask why? Is this worth it? Should I persevere and if so, on what terms? The coolest thing about @jrleonr story is the latest paragraph.

    If anyone wants to talk mental skills, I’d love to help if I can.

    1. 1

      Thanks, Tim! I am happy to know that you enjoyed the article.

      Mental strength is very important.

      1. 1

        Totally. I think also there is some nuance to be explored when we say "mental strength". By this I mean, sometimes to be mentally strong is to be flexible, self-aware to know the current path is not working and press pause etc.

        Put simply, sometimes mental strength doesn't look like strength; it looks like weakness, fickleness etc.

        What advice would you give someone who finds themselves in similar place to where you were in say month 7-8 of your journey? What questions would you ask them to aid their decision-making on whether they should persevere, pivot or pause?

      2. 1

        This comment was deleted 24 minutes ago.

  18. 2

    I feel you. These stories need a much wider audience. So many times I focus on the success stories, that I forget the actual struggle it takes for many. Thank you for sharing 🙏

    1. 1

      Yes, we need to know about the good and the bad.

  19. 2

    This has been my experience.

    I freelance to pay the bills, been doing it for 2 years while I improving my indiehacking skills and building. Gives me all the flexibility in the world to still pursue any opportunity I would like at any time.

    Building takes time and after a year or so you start to discover the areas where you lack, and need to improve on. If I had quit which I also did in year 1, I would not have learnt the lessons in year 2 to assist me in achieving my goals in year 3. It is a long term game.

    Doing stuff with your gf should not require a lot of money, taking a walk or hike in nature for example or visiting a lake. There is no substitute for living a balanced life at any stage in your life.

    Reducing the amount you spend does not necessarily mean you should reduce your standard of living. Resourcefulness is key the key to any en devour. Learning to spend less actually is an invaluable skill in managing your money.

    I would not be able to look in the mirror and tell myself at this stage, I needed to quit I just was not good enough.

    Ultimately you are the driver and each day you get to choose how your life plays out. The journey starts to be fun when you realise that you can overcome any obstacle.

    Whichever path you choose wishing you all the best

    1. 1

      Yes! I try to balance. That is one of my top priorities. But lately, I was feeling that I was losing it, so I had to stop.

  20. 2

    I worked 3 years as freelancer and felt like a great entrepreneur. But then I came close to a burnout. I started freelancing with work I love (development) but the constant pressure of converting work into money took all the fun and burned me out.

    Now I am an employee with a small Startup, don’t really earn big numbers but I enjoy my work again. Took me the entirety of 2020 doing unproductive stuff like playing computer games in my free time until the desire to create cane back.

    Now I am using some of my free time to try out side projects again hoping one catches on.

    I learned it’s very important you do things because it brings you joy and motivates you. The pressure to make something profitable can kill joy and motivation.

    1. 1

      You are free and you can choose, that's the beauty. I haven't played anything in YEARS!

  21. 2

    Do IndieHackers even need to quit their jobs to be "Indie Hackers" - I see this often, " I quit my job as X to do X" but why?

    Yeah, making even ONE dollar with your own creations can be incredibly difficult and scary if you don't succeed at first.

    Where were people insulting you? If you like writing so much, try blogging as a source of income. Tons of people do it(you can as well)!

    Be who you are, take care of yourself and your family and press on.

    1. 2

      I am thinking about writing very hard. Yes, it doesn't make sense to quick a job to do this.

  22. 2

    Grit. It’s more than just a novel concept. Without it and luck, you probably won’t succeed. What did you learn in the process?

    1. 1

      I will write about it soon!

  23. 2

    Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share this, José. I'm sure this was difficult to write, and a difficult realization to come to. Well done.

    There are always lessons to be learned - at minimum, you know now some things that don't work and you've got a set of experiences that you didn't have before.

    1. 1

      Thanks to you! It wasn't difficult, to be honest. It just came out without thinking and after I pushed publish so many people were so nice that It felt natural.

  24. 2

    Hey Jose, really sorry to read this. I could tell you that you probably learned a lot of useful things during this year but I know it's not going to make you feel better.

    I think the lesson here would be don't quit your job until you have a side project that has at least some traction.

    1. 1

      I think the lesson here would be don't quit your job until you have a side project that has at least some traction.

      I'd go further and say that don't quit unless your MRR == expenses.

      Never before. You don't need that extra stress and pressure.

      Even if you have savings.

      (Unless your job is toxic, but in that case find another one ASAP.)

    2. 1

      100% Andrea. It is too much pressure to quit your job and to try to make money immediately.

  25. 2

    This. Thanks for writing this. I started getting anxiety and even bowel problem since I decided to be an 'indie maker' a few months ago. I spent £3,000 and earned £2 from... Medium.

    There's a saying that "it's better to love and get hurt rather than never loved at all" - I believe that it's also the case here. You tried. You gave it your best shot. As you said in one of your comments, it requires braveness to quit. Good luck for your future endeavour, buddy!

    1. 1

      Thanks, Debbie. For your kindness and for your story.

      I feel the same that you are feeling. Don't push too hard and reflect on what you are doing before it gets worse. Patience. We don't need to run!

  26. 2

    Hey buddy, sorry about your tough year.

    If it helps you feel any better, you should know that anxiety over marketing and pushing the business side of entrepreneurship in general is very common.

    I think if you look at most personality diagrams that side is on the opposite of being analytical, so that's kind of to be expected.

    Maybe it's an opportune time to do exactly what you're thinking about doing, work for the man for a while, earn some self-confidence back and improve the financial side of things.

    If you do decide to give it another ago, maybe you should consider co-founding with some of these super-extroverted, overly confident, charismatic sales guys/girls? That way you wouldn't need to deal with the anxiety you feel when pushing the ideas/products to other people and could just enjoy creating.

    All the best to you Jose, get better and thanks a bunch for this courageous post!

    1. 1

      Thanks! It makes me feel better that other people have anxiety too over marketing. I was really struggling with that. I was doing it with my name, my face, etc.. and I felt really nervous about it.

      Starting something with other people is something that I've been thinking about it. I have a new client now and working for the man for a while. Don't' know what's next.

      Loved your comment, thanks for it.

      1. 3

        I also went back and looked at my revenue over the years releasing my own stuff.

        Year 1: $37
        Year 2: $80
        Year 3: $27

        Only after I changed what I was doing and how I was doing it did I start getting anywhere:

        Year 4: $745
        Year 5: $1,520
        Year 6: $1,740
        Year 7: $3,480 (2020, still in progress)

        But that's 3 years of basically zero and even today it's still far from being able to provide for my family in the countries we live in.

        Granted, I've been working full time all that time as well so luckily I haven't had to deal with the same pressure you've had over your past year.

  27. 1

    Thanks for sharing, I am on my way to bootstrap things on side, need to execute on them, your story doesn't discourage me at all, it helps to realise, that there is still room for improvement for everybody, create->fail->evaluate->motivate->adjust->create/execute again, thanks, good luck all!

    1. 1

      Great to hear! I am not trying to discourage anyone! Just the opposite! I am happy that you keep working on your project!

      1. 1

        Thanks and thank you for sharing!

  28. 1

    Hey buddy,

    Thanks for sharing.

    I love how you have managed to flip this though :) You just created a great audience and I also see from one of your other posts that it seems to be working!

    What you write doesn't feel too different from what I've experienced. I've spent more cash than I'd like to, Covid hasn't made it any easier, but I guess a crucial difference for me is that my previous job was very stressful and this year has overall improved my well-being despite making me significantly poorer financially. Plus I've seen more to my kids than I have any other year.

    And I just realised an important thing about myself reading your story, so thanks!

    I hope your newsletter will be come a success.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot! Working on it!

      I am happy that this story helped you!

  29. 1

    I can say I was the same when it comes to the social media, sharing, etc. But couple years passed and now I kind of know that nobody gives a shit, so there is no reason to be stressed about it.

    Its like caring what random people on the street will think about your shoes.
    Spoiler alert: nothing. Noone will notice, apart from you.

    So the best advice for anything in life basically, do your thing, and go for another one. Overthinking and trying to predict everything upfront is usually waste of time.

    Anyway, I think it comes with age and enough of disappointments.

    1. 1

      Fantastic advice! thanks!

  30. 1

    I failed a few times already, and I can say that you have to take a break. Refresh your mind, do something else for a while. Maybe you will find something better, if not still it's not the end of the world.
    Working for someone else while searching for a new thing to do is a good idea.

    No offense - but asking to buy a coffee .... man? :D this is sad. Cheer up!

    1. 1

      ^ This. Hobby! You have to have a hobby. I recently discovered that, after wasting ~year of my life on mental issues because of that.

    2. 1

      What's wrong with the coffees? I love coffee!

  31. 1

    First of all. It takes courage to write and share your story here.
    And I am also becoming a bigger and bigger fan of this community! This feels real.
    It is sad that so much of a time of a creator today is spent in hustling and selling and writing. I know as a creator myself, I have struggled with it and have not enjoyed it as much as building the product.
    But, you become thick skinned about it, and you also learn to identify feedback from the ideal profile to a random person with opinions on the internet (although I am one right now)
    So whenever next time you write, whatever it may be, do not judge it with the eyes of the others, not everyone can like everything. Take care and keep writing.

  32. 1

    What's the number 38676 stands for? The is the potential money you could earn or the sums you spent on the project?

  33. 1

    This was tough to read. Seriously, thanks for sharing & wishing all the best with your writing. -Toby

    1. 1

      That's very nice of you, Toby. I hope it helps you in the future to avoid doing the same!

  34. 1

    @Jose really connected with your story. Went through a similar path.

    Learning and keeping improving

    1. 1

      Thank you, Ricardo.

      Many of us have suffered from this, we should read more stories like this to be aware of how hard it is.

  35. 1

    Don't quit. You probably don't have the product market fit. And if you are freelancer then I would like to invite you to signup with my startup

    https://www.joinflexible.com

  36. 1

    UNDERSTAND, before you even talk to other people, that you are a worthless piece of sh*t until you thoroughly and ruthlessly prove otherwise.

    In order to be successful you must absolutely and indefinitely execute your value propositions and leave ZERO margin for debate, will, or any sort of ambivalence.

    There is a dominating mindset required to be successful in my opinion. That’s what I have found works for me.

  37. 1

    I don't think you should quit 100% what you should do is do this as a side hustle. Get get a job and continue to work on this idea on the side. Really give it a good go. It sounds like you have some anxiety about contacting people and getting rejected. The thing you have to remember is that contacting people and telling people about it is a numbers game. Conversion rates are about 1-2% for most things. So you need to tell 100 people to get a couple of customers. So you really need to get yourself out there and your service. If people say it sucks or hate it. Don't take it personally take it as feed back ask them what they don't like about it and why. It might give U massive insights on how you can make it better and could make Ur business better.
    On a more personal note it seems you have a some anxiety issues you might need to deal with as well. Don't be ashamed or anything everyone feels like this at some point or another especially now with so much uncertainty with the pandemic but your not alone that's for sure. Anyways I hope you this helps you out a bit. Good luck!

    1. 1

      Thank you! I will keep exploring my path and let's see what I can do from here.

      Anxiety is a human condition. What I was experiencing is like when you text a girl to tell her you like her. I suffered anxiety when I was younger and that's a different story.

  38. 1

    you will be back at some point mate dont give up

    1. 1

      I am writing now, so... I guess I'm back?

      1. 1

        yessssssss mate, shit happens you fail but you learn from mistakes. in the last 5 years of running my business we;ve made £50k of mistakes and losses that I can count.

  39. 1

    I'm also thinking similar.

  40. 1

    Sounds like you’ve learned a tremendous amount for $12k and one year of your life. I hope that knowledge and the wisdom of knowing more about your strengths and weaknesses benefit you in you next endeavors.

    There are so many reasons why products fail. Don’t let these experiences sour you on entrepreneurship in general. It may not be a good fit for you or maybe you haven’t found your niche yet.

    BTW, I launched 3 startups that failed before building my 1st $1M+ business. Each of my failures was tuition (including the 1st, in which I worked for 9 mos and had a whooping $0 is sales when I shut down).

    1. 1

      Wow! I will love to hear more about how those failures help you achieve that 1M, that's an amazing achievement.

      I am very happy to know your story and will help me to continue with whatever I decide in the future!

  41. 1

    There's a reason successful young entrepreneurs - for example Zuckerberg, Gates or Musk - come from wealthy backgrounds. They can fail and iterate to success without worrying about putting food on the table or paying rent, and their family connections provide them with plenty of warm introductions (Bill Gates' mother helped him get his IBM contract for example). If they ultimately fail they won't face bankruptcy or unemployment.

    Yes there are true rags-to-riches stories (Larry Ellison comes to mind) but they are vanishingly rare. Statistically you are better off buying lottery tickets. That's not to say some moderate success isn't possible in SAAS as a side income, but there are honestly easier ways to make beer money unless you just enjoy building for its own sake (and nothing wrong with that).

    In short, giving up a good job - or even a not-so-good-job - to start your own business before you have excellent traction or a family support network (or VC funding, but I guess it's not really "indie" any more) is a really, really bad idea, and should be discouraged here so more people don't end up like the OP.

  42. 1

    Been there as well and know the exact feeling. Mine was two years and 30k. I felt like I had nothing to show for it but the experience did help me going forward. I had some weird ego issues tied in my first business so it was really painful to shut down.

    Just remember it's just a step in your journey and probably preparing you for what's next.

    Also, if you give it another shot, I would reccomend finding a co-founder that can do the sales/marketing/business side. I would fail every time as a solo founder.

    1. 1

      And what are you doing now?

      1. 1

        Full time bootstrapper 4x SaaS's

        1. 1

          that's a lot of work! I will take a look at your projects!

  43. 1

    José, I feel you. 100%.

    My first startup was a catastrophic failure. Great idea, naive execution. I was on my ass, broke, having spent my savings - just like you.

    I was emotionally shredded for about two years. I blamed everything but myself for my failures. It was awful.

    The truth was simple though. Emotions aside, I simply wasn't building something people wanted, in a scalable and profitable way.

    Simple statement, profound meaning.

    Years later, I'm running a firm of (slow) growing success that my partners and I are proud of. I don't think I'm built to start things from scratch as a true startup founder & disruptor. I've since become a strategist, designer, and optimizer of businesses.

    Absent these painful experiences, I'd have far less real-world know-how to inform my consulting practice.

    This is my truth and I'm thankful I swam through a river of shit for two years to discover it.

    I hope your swim brings you swiftly to a soft sandy beach and clear waters. Good luck my friend and chin-up. :)

    1. 1

      That story sounds like a really hard one. I am very happy to know that now you are much better and enjoying what you're doing. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  44. 1

    First of all, I hope you'll find how much you've learned from it, about both building a business/product, and about yourself.

    Second of all, $60 is better than 0. I worked for startups that wasted millions and didn't earn a penny. Not a single paid customer. Ever. For me, the very fact that you tried, and earned $60 makes you "my man".

    It's not really clear to me that you should move on (what is a good idea in many cases!). It seems like you need a sales person, or a different angle to think about sales, or… anyway: good luck.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Maybe, yes, better something than nothing. But also some people pay to help me, and that didn't feel right.

      I enjoy creating products, not sure If I enjoy coding them for a long time. Need to think.

  45. 1

    I'm sorry to hear that this happened to you. If it were as easy as you thought it would be then there would definitely be a significantly higher amount of entrepreneurs doing this and there isn't and this is a good thing IMO. Goodluck with your future stuff!

    1. 1

      Everything is fine, thanks a lot! You are very nice for taking the time to leave a comment.

  46. 1

    The rules are what others put on you, you tried & boy did you try so don’t beat yourself up just move to the next level & take the lessons you’ve learned with you.

    1. 1

      I feel bad sometimes, but you are right, learn, and keep going! Thank you!

  47. 1

    This is really painful to read. And I'm terribly sorry you're in this place, but I know for a fact that it will get better.

    I'm speaking from painful, personal experience.

    In 2017, I shut down one of my companies and gave up control of another. I'd bootstrapped these two babies for more than 10 years each, but it just wasn't working. We'd tested lots of iterations, done sales drives, gotten pretty large clients, but the numbers weren't working. We were always broke, no matter how much we did. I had sunk so much of my own money and made so many sacrifices that the thought still makes me sick.

    But I also had to let go of people who'd worked with me for years, people who had become like family to me, and then I had to turn my back on this dream I'd had.

    It was, hands down, the toughest moment in my life and I thought I was going to lose my mind. I was numb for months and could barely get through my days.

    I shared a little about it here - https://medium.com/@solomonking/on-pain-failure-stutters-and-perspective-d06f132a6347

    And for me, it was a turning point to stop romanticizing entrepreneurship and start sharing the reality of this life we choose live. But most importantly, I learnt to be okay with quitting, with failure and with starting again.

    It will get better, I promise you that. Hang in there, breathe, take the time to just enjoy the small moments with the people you love, and focus on getting you back to you.

    All the best!

    1. 1

      That's much harder than mine. Much harder.

      You are a very strong person, you should be proud of yourself!

  48. 1

    Thanks for sharing your pain, it's a long journey to eventually look like an overnight success and that's the true reality of Entrepreneurship.

    We should all remember these numbers as well:
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/01/the-meeting-that-showed-me-the-truth-about-vcs/

    And if the number of failure is so high for VC Funded ventures, I don't see why it would be easier as a bootstraped indie hacker.

    I wish you all the best, stay strong, you're not alone.

    1. 1

      The numbers are not good but you know... One always thinks "it won't happen to me". Thanks!

  49. 1

    If only we all learn and practice a little sales and marketing before we make our products or "next big idea". We would have less casualties- Shola Oginni, Founder, officegeeksupport.com

    1. 1

      Yes. That's my advice now for people!

  50. 1

    Honestly I don't know about you indie hacking skills but your writing is honest + engaging ❤️

    1. 1

      That's the most beautiful thing I heard today!

      1. 1

        It is just true 😊. The number of reads/reactions is a testimony of it 😊

  51. 1

    Hey José,

    I've read your story and it's a reality for a lot of people.

    I think what you need to do is declutter your mind and look inside for what you want to do in life. Once you've found that out, look for someone that is in the position you want to be in. (f.e. If you want to have a SaaS business, look for a person with a succesful SaaS business.)

    Then, contact or follow this person and try to learn as much as you can from them. This is also a great mindset booster. Basically find a good mentor for both physical and mental training.

    You will be surprised by the new pathways that will open for you.
    It worked very well for me and other succesful people in my circle. :)

    Good luck!

    1. 1

      Thanks! I will take some time to think about what I want and act on that instead of dreams or ideas that sound good.

      Good luck to you too!

  52. 1

    Hey Jose,

    Don't be too hard on yourself, most businesses fail in the first year. At least you've had the self awareness to quit on the current idea that isn't working. You never know down the line you may come up with something that does work.
    So long as you're learning while persuing these endeavours you can at least feel that something has been achieved, if nothing else you've spent a year figuring out what doesn't work, which at least removes the 'what if' from your head. With that in mind trying to go it alone is never wasted time.

    I'm also going to add a possibly controversial point. Most will have their business as a side hustle, or will freelance alongside it. I think the advantage of going 'all in' is that you can fail fast. You could spend 2-3 years working on something as a side hustle that just doesn't have a market fit. By going all in, you had the opportunity to test rapidly - so I don't think it was a mistake.
    I think the best bet is to go 'all in' for the first few months to see if anyone will use your product or service, that gives you proof of concept. Then you can go get the real job or the freelance work to prop things up, as reality is building a business big enough to pay your bills may take a bit longer. Unlike many posts on here, most won't be making enough to live off entirely in their first year. But, that being said in 2-7 years you may have something awesome on your hands.

    I totally get not feeling comfortable with promotion, or sending sales messages. However, I think a mindset change is needed. If you're offering something of value, you totally deserve to be paid well for that. You shouldn't feel bad about telling people about it, as at the end of the day you're giving them an opportunity to access some of the value you provide. If people think it sucks, amazing, it's better you know sooner rather than later, plus it gives you an opportunity to learn something, ensuring you're not wasting your time.

    Best of luck for your next endeavour buddy, this isn't the end of the road, just the start!

    1. 2

      This is a start!! Love that, Alex! Such wise and great life advice. Baby steps I guess. Thank you!

  53. 1

    Good article. It sounds like you need a co-founder for your projects. Do what you're good at and let the other do the marketing/sales.

    You posted this in Self Care, looking for a co-founder also is taking care of yourself. Good luck with your future plans, wish you all the best.

    1. 1

      I will think about it! I don't want to rush into any decision. But something needs to change for sure!

  54. 1

    Hello José,
    I'm sorry for your losses and I am thankful for how openly you share your story.
    It is completely fine to quit. It is also completely fine to take a job offer and continue building on the weekends, it is also fine to take a job now and come back as a full-time entrepreneuer. I is also fine to team up with a second founder who is more into market validation and marketing while you focus on the building part (your stomach is always right, listen to it). You don't have to decide now, you can change your mind anytime.

    Thank you for writing about your projects nomadmail.io (6 months), nomadnest.org (1 weekend) and coffeelist (1week). It encourages me to either make a project happen in 1 week or kill it with fire. I bought you a coffee and hope to see you again as part of the indiehacker community.

    1. 1

      My advice, do something small and test it!

  55. 1

    Stay strong brother. It's all a part of the learning process. The thing is people pay for something that helps "them" achieve their goals. We have to shift our thinking from what we can/want to produce to what "people want". Now it's hard to "find" what people want and will pay for. For that either you can work for some time, "discover" problems or be good at sensing the problems yourself.
    Definitely, there is a market for SAAS products out there, but it isn't just about building the product, it's about finding what to build which takes constant feedback and discussions, and more importantly, it's about getting some clients to sell your product. Access to customers is the key and it starts with building your networks.
    In your position, I would start working in a company, to regain my energy and relax for a few months. But I will try again with more understanding of the game.

    1. 1

      True, we all hear stories around that but there is a gap in between that is confusing I think.

  56. 1

    I think building a business on the side can be better, but not because you have a stable income, but the lack of time is very focusing. With so little time, you will want to test things out - both testing the market, and testing what YOU like.

    In such a scenario you would realise quickly you hate promoting your stuff. Then you work on that, either by eliminating the problem (partner with someone who will promote for you) or by learning to be OK with promoting yourself and getting better at it.

    It takes a lot of self discipline to quit a job and work full time on a project without a boss, without a specific deadline. I know this simply from taking the odd day off work to do it, and trying to stay focused for that day!

    1. 1

      That's interesting. I may need to work with other people on my project or other projects. Also not using my name could help.

      So many things to think about!

  57. 1

    I'm really sorry to read this Jose. I can feel your pain in this awesome, genuine, transparent and human story.

    I can tell you how I'm failing this year and how I've been fired. But I don't want to make this about me. This is about you, and now it's time for you to know that we are here to support you. How can I help you?

    1. 2

      Thanks, José. Having your support means a lot. I don't need anything right now, I just wanted to share my story!

  58. 1

    Hola José, este es el único comentario en castellano (ojalá que no). Creo que deberías de intentarlo de nuevo pero ahora con pequeños pasos, teniendo un trabajo de tiempo completo y ser indiehacker medio tiempo o al menos dedicarle 2 horas al día (hay personas que están haciendo eso en este foro). No te rindas aún a menos que tu corazón realmente quiera una vida normal. Suerte. :)

    1. 1

      Gracias, Marlon. Qué bonitas palabras. Algo haré, pero no sé qué. Gracias!

  59. 1

    I think it's okay to quit or just take a break. Quitting may be an option if you have found yourself not passionate with what you are doing. Maybe someday you'll find the passion again and just like most individuals here, you're a builder by heart. If you count the things you have done that worked, they can be considered small successes and can be referenced as one of your self acquired skills - something you should still be proud. If you're now in the crossroads and have decided to call it quits, that's also fine. Tools are just lying around for you to pick up again. Take care and stay safe.

  60. 1

    @jrleonr Keep writing. I can tell you are a great writer!

    1. 1

      That's very nice. I tried my best. English doesn't make it easy. Thanks!

      1. 1

        If you have sales, you can hire another person, though. Money is air for the business.

  61. 1

    All you needed was for someone to handle the organic outreach, and lead generation/sales part of the business while you focus on the tech side of things

    1. 1

      Yes, and probably even another person who helps me with the tech. The part I like the most is working on the Product.

      I need to think about this.

  62. 1

    Damn, feel you fella - the path is tough. I know it's hard but try to keep your mental health (and physical) as a priority - you have the whole life to live and this might be just a bad time but it's still temporal - a lot of good moments are ahead. I don't think I can add something new that others didn't write already but...

    Maybe, I have a solution for the future with some help from neurobiology (I'm an AI researcher and a citizen neurobiologist a.k.a I study mind full-time) called Re-Association. You can read my thoughts on it here: https://tikirey.com/posts/re-association-self-therapy-how-asymmetries-create-inactions

    Let me know if this helps and don't hesitate to ask any other question you have - I will be glad to answer them. We as a community are here to help.

  63. 1

    Echoing what others have said: It's completely fine to quit.

    Speaking from experience (3x in fact), I think that with time and distance, you will see you learned something about yourself in the process. This is a really special thing, and many people never get to know themselves in this way. Sure, maybe there were less painful ways of learning it but maybe there weren't. You will never have to wonder "What If?" You did it to the best of your ability, and you're walking away when you're done. That is brave.

    If I might make a suggestion, try to tease apart the feeling of 'imposter syndrome' from the year you spent on the project(s) you dislike. I'd be curious if they are indeed linked--did you feel that way because you didn't believe in the projects? Or do you feel that way regardless of what you're working on? I ask because one of my biggest revelations in life was when I realized almost everyone has a degree of imposter syndrome. This was very liberating to me because I realized all those times I thought people were judging me, that they instead were feeling much like I was.

    Take care!

  64. 1

    Your cadence in your writing is enjoyable to read.

    1. 1

      Thank you! I struggle with English though. I need to study someday (never did). That'd help me a lot.

  65. 1

    I have read your post and some comments, you got depressive mood after all of this. First just relax get out of your environment don't make something for a while. Spend some time with loved ones.

    Best way to recover failure is learning from what happened in the past, just relax and think about the lessons you got from failures, then you will feel the improvement and progress. I will help.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot! I've been thinking for a long time now. I will try to share more in the future!

    1. 1

      Ok! Save it for later! Thank you!

  66. 1

    Hey man! I just read this and had to write you a comment. Look, respect for what you did. I tried freelancing for 2 years and nearly left me broke and without friends, I almost lost the missus because of that. I also couldn't take her out as I lived on savings and 24/7 working... Now I got back to a 9 to 5 outsource job and still trying to fix my health and care for my family... I want to tell you this. If you need any kind of help in DevOps or Java BackEnd just holla! I will help you however I can... A bro to a bro and not just a cup of coffee:)

    1. 1

      Thank you, my friend! Balance is key to go in the long run.

  67. 1

    "So the real cost is more than the money I lost. I made my girlfriend stay home for a year, we didn't do anything, we didn't buy clothes and ate the cheapest food, etc. I feel that I have lost a year of my life."

    Sorry mate but millions of people had (and currently have) to stay home since March, most people didn't do that much this year either, no pubs, no restaurants, no gyms, no holidays. This year has been a tough one for everybody.

    Also, indie hacking is a long term game and everybody agrees that's not easy at all. Take a break for self reflection and ask yourself whether all this makes you happy, if the answer is no then quit otherwise try again and don't give up.

    Tip: consider looking for a co-founder for the marketing side of your projects.

    1. 1

      Yes, I know. But in a relationship counting every penny is not healthy and can cause other problems.

      It can be not going out to a restaurant, not buying clothes, not ordering food, but it was also not buying good meat, or other items that are necessary, not fundamental, but important to stay in shape and to have a balanced life.

      Thanks for your comment and I will think and reflect on everything I've done.

  68. 1

    I can totally relate and have been there three times in my life, and the worst one was about a year ago. Also did not do shit with my GF and it was a nightmare that you would not want to believe. I am now rebuilding my savings a bit to $50K and taking a bit of time off but will still give it a go. Learned a lot and will adjust course. I suspect you will also get to that point but it might take years. All the best in the mean time.

    1. 1

      Thank you! Some people laugh because I couldn't take my girlfriend to a restaurant... It is not that, I know that there are worse problems in the world, but this is my relationship, restaurants are just an example, and counting every penny is not healthy for any relationship!

      The best to you too!

  69. 1

    Write a newsletter and monetize it!

    Also, i think everyone struggles with fearing what others think. Recognizing that it's normal is a healthy way to start overcoming it.

    1. 1

      That's I nice idea but I am afraid to start something new right now. I need more time to think about it!

      Thanks!

  70. 1

    Hey, I could say I am sorry to hear this, but the reality is that your story is true to so many people, it's more of a norm than an outlier. Some people get lucky and find the gem on their first try, many give up along the way, and a few more eventually figure it out and get profitable.

    As you talk to successful founders you realize that even many billion-dollar success stories were on a brink of death at least once, and often numerous times.

    The good news is that you will disconnect for a while, process, and realize how valuable this year has been to your life. It probably looks like a waste right now, but you will eventually start to appreciate it. You might even try it again sometimes, maybe even sooner than you think.

    Also, if you are game to do some part time projects, can you email me (email in profile) and let me know your tech stack. I might have some leads.

    Cheer up, and good luck!

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot, Kirill! I hope I can learn as you said! Probably I will try something in the future, but I am almost sure that it will be something different or with a different approach.

      I'll follow you on Twitter. I already have a client and it is going to take all my take, but it's nice to have people around!

      1. 1

        Feel free to also email and say hello to stay in touch. I've basically left Twitter when Covid started and haven't been back. It feels a lot healthier this way, and I might never go back to it. 1:1 communications build strong relationships anyway!

  71. 1

    Only upside in life is to be able to survive.

    If you survived, you will be able to do lot of things that you want to do.

    Just be grateful that you got to do all these things. Indie Hacking is not easy. Also not for everyone. That's why we have people who work at jobs (9-5) they are comfortable with.

    Indie Hacking is not only about earning money, but also managing the risk. The risk is being not dead.

    So if you survived after all your efforts, you won.

    People who have been successful, had multiple shots equally, but we only see the successful events, not what they have failed at.

    Failure is a teacher, probably the best teacher.

    1. 1

      I am alive. That's definitely very good news. I appreciate your wisdom!

  72. 1

    All those stories about people dropping everything to start a company that makes a tonne of money usually miss out a lot of important info.

    i.e they have a rich family and support network, or some other giant fallback.

    I'd suggest taking 6 months off this totally to get things back in order then resume on evenings and weekends only.

    1. 2

      No idea if they have money or a big network! I am not friends or know anyone like that!

      But I will definitely take some time to reflect on the things I've done.

      Thanks, Richard!

    2. 1

      This is VERY true and NEVER discussed. Especially in the mainstream media.

  73. 1

    Sorry to hear this man! your story resonates a lot with me, and with a lot of other indie hackers.

    I lost a year and a half working on multiple side projects, all have failed. But I don't regret it, you know why? because building, creating is what I love. I was the happiest ever when I was working on those projects!

    You have made a good decision to quit for now, find another job, live a "normal" life for a year or two, then maybe if you want, you can work on side projects for fun! and then profit, that's what i'm doing right now.

    Best wishes!

    1. 1

      Yes, let's pause for a little while!

  74. 1

    Sorry to hear that, dude. It's definitely a tough racket and requires a lot of luck.

    I agree that promo part is tough. Many of us are just builders and love creating things, so the idea of selling our work to others feels wrong and like you indicated, stresses us because of judgment.

    I just posted my app on reddit somewhere and immediately someone just downvoted it. Self-promotion is even allowed there, but somebody saw the post and thought, nah, not today.

    I hope you can get back to trying to make things in a smaller capacity as a side gig or just a hobby! I'm doing it as just a hobby and already realizing that I probably couldn't do it full-time like a lot of folks here.

    1. 2

      Yeah, Reddit is hard.

      It makes me very nervous to share my projects. I tried it, but it's the most uncomfortable thing in the world for me.

      1. 1

        It's definitely demotivating when your attempts get shot down. That self promotion post I mentioned? Well it just led to me being banned from the subreddit because I didn't read absolutely all the rules before I posted. So yeah, now I'm annoyed.

        I also wanted to say I've built some free things in the last few years (fun websites where people can draw or share short interactive fiction) and have had very little traction in them and almost turned me off to creating another project. It's just hard to find users out there to even try what you've made.

        I think now I am trying to just build things because I like them and try not to worry about people using them or not, but obviously I want users.

  75. 1

    I totally understand. Quitting is just fine.

    If you are putting your life and loved ones at the risk of the unknown, you shouldn’t pursue it. They are important than all of indie hacking combined.

    1. 1

      100%. Balance is key.

  76. 1

    Love this. I recently killed a project I put 2 years into. It took killing it to see how wrong it was - as a business and for me as a person.

    It taught me a lot tho. Like you, I put effort only into product and zero into promoting it. This time I’m starting the other way around. A product that markets itself ;)

    Good post. Takes guts to admit. 👍

    1. 2

      That's brave, Burry. To kill a project after 2 years. I hope you share your story too.

      No guts, really, just my story. I don't think is brave to share. It is just what happened. But I at least I hope it can help other people.

  77. 1

    I wish you nothing less than a v-shaped recovery. Often times, the greatest wins come after tremendous losses. Maybe take what you learned and use it to fuel a micro-saas app. It sounds like you are starting to regress to a bit of "impostor's syndrome" because in my opinion, you are fully capable. I always thought some types of journal or goal-setting or tool for fighting impostor syndrome would be extremely cool. We often forget how capable we are. Everybody in this community is here or found this place for a reason.

    1. 1

      Thanks! I need to reflect on the things that went wrong for me and see how can I adapt my learnings for future projects. I hope the best for your projects too.

  78. 1

    I see your story in myself, probably in a lot of indie makers, and there's gotta be ways around it. Do you think working on it alone was part of the problem? if there were any partners or even advisors, would it make a difference?

    1. 1

      I have to think about it. I am not sure, hard to know. I need to reflect on those things.

  79. 1

    That's tough to hear man! Hope you will find something that works for you, it's important to enjoy the ride! Cheers and enjoy your coffee ☕

    1. 1

      That's very kind Wouter. Thanks a lot for your words and for the coffee! You made me very happy!

  80. 1

    Jose - glad you took the time to share a brief post on why you're choosing to quit. Opportunity cost is a bitch.

    1. 1

      That's 100% true. Happy if helped anyone!

  81. 1

    And yet here you are chaval, promoting yourself, so it's doable. I lost 5X what you lost with more time invested, more stupid decistions made and more strain on my personal life. You have to keep going.

    1. 1

      Thank you! I hope you are well and not paying a high price for your decisions. We learn every day.

  82. 1

    You quit because you lost > $38k. Not because you failed. Because failure is the part of the success.

    1. 5

      That's 100% incorrect.

      I failed because I thought it was easier and I realized that I didn't want to spend another year, or 5, sitting down coding every day and making almost no money.

      I quit because I want to live and I want to spend time with my girlfriend, visit my parents in Spain and have money to buy good food.

      I quit because I realize that it is not for me, at least not the way I was doing it.

      I quit because I wanted to quit and that's brave too.

      1. 1

        This post is a demotivation for those who failed multiple times but still don't want to give up and continue again.....showing the pure perserverance; and now they quit.
        And a motivation for those who are doing extremely good.
        Damn!!!!

        I understand your situation now.

        :)
        :(

  83. 1

    Sorry to hear this. You learned so much during this year so probably after some time you can try again.

    1. 2

      At least I learned what I don't want!

      1. 1

        What is that? What do you think is the main reason of not being successful?

        1. 1

          No, I don't think so. I think to be successful it takes longer to focus on doing the same thing over and over. I didn't know how to do it. And I didn't like to do it.

          1. 1

            I wouldn't agree on that to be honest. Being successful means always do A/B testing and checking different hypothesises. Doing the same all time is not leading to success.

  84. 1

    I am sorry to hear this. It seems you are a very prolific product creator. Not many can make as many products as you did this year. Was the money you lost due to direct investments in your projects or the money you could have got while working in your previous job?

    1. 2

      It was my salary, net. I didn't want to make the maths to calculate the money I spent, etc.. because the loss is, to me, bigger than money. Feeling that I wasted my time.

      It is very subjective, but that's why is a feeling.

      Thanks for your comment.

  85. 1

    Sorry to hear that dude! It's a hard way to earn a living for sure.

    1. 1

      Thank you, Pete. Yes, I have to recommend to people to find another way to do it.

  86. 1

    Sorry to hear this, brother. It is tough. And you're spot on about that feeling of making $60 being worse than $0. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

    What are you doing now as a restart?

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for these words.

      I now have a client and creating an MVP for them to make money again after being very close to 0.

      In my free time, I am thinking about writing more, which may help to understand a little bit better what to do next or how to find the freedom I was looking for.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

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