Are you focussing too much on MRR?

Pretty much every Indie Hacker is chasing that $10K+ MRR dream and with good reason, right; until it’s making money its essentially a really, really labour-intensive hobby...

Or a really demanding relationship, with just yourself.

But what happens when that MRR doesn’t materialise?

When your runway extends into months or even years and STILL ‘no money, no honey’?

How long are we going to be able to weather the storm if we don’t know when it ends?

This thought occurred to me when I was chatting with Jeffrey Madoff, the author of Creative Careers: Making a Living with Your Ideas. A former fashion designer, owner of Madoff Productions – the company behind content produced for (pre-woke) Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Ralph Lauren, Harvard University and most recently; a playwright.

As you do.

Jeff is one of those frustratingly serial-successful dudes who always seems to land on his feet - some sort of Entrepreneurial Mr Bigglesworth. He attributes his successes to, first and foremost, pursuing that which excites him creatively:
“I’m ultimately seduced by ideas and I don’t think about ‘if I did this, I could make x’, it was more like: ‘I love doing this, how can I make a living out of it?”

Aha! He might be a creative but clearly he’s ALSO a realist, with a sharp business savvy.

“You cannot be the only one in love with your business idea. You have to get out there and establish proof of concept.”

Yep; closet Indie Hacker, about 40 years ahead of his time…

Going back to the neverending runway issue, it occurs to me that one of Jeff’s keys to success is that he only engages in projects that are of personal interest to him THEN seeks to make them financially viable. My interpretation of The IH Playbook is that P/M fit should be prioritised above all else – why? Because it is a critical roadblock to remuneration.

But what happens when the fit appears to be there but the money ain’t?

Or you haven’t found fit but you’ve been slogging away on that special something in the hope that you when you launch it'll be there, as you'd hoped.

There are myriad reasons why you could be doing everything ‘right’ but your bank balance says ‘wrong!’ – some within your control, others; less so.

This is where things get weird.

What if we stopped caring about MRR, for a second?


Just Michael-Jackson-lean into a new micro-project that would give us straight-up joy, for a bit.

Shelved that passion project we’ve leaned too far into OR the (potentially) lucrative one, that makes us want to rage quit every time we think about it.

After all, if things aren’t working out on our current project, what’s the real risk of switching grooves, even for a little while?

When Jeff was considering a move from his sleepy hometown of 1970’s Wisconsin, where he’d built a successful fashion label, and Into The Wild that was New York of the era, his friends and family were understandably concerned. Jeff recounts:

“’Aren’t you afraid of what’s going to happen if you move, Jeff?’”

“I said ‘you know, actually, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen if I don’t move.'”

Check out the full episode of the Doing Epic Stuff podcast feat. Jeffrey Madoff, here: https://utm.guru/udGPS

  1. 2

    This is cool.. I think a lot of the time, chasing MRR is the dream because you read about the successful ones. For everyone out there getting to $10k MMR there are plenty falling by the wayside. The trick is sticking at it and being consistent ( I think! Ask me in a year..).

    1. 1

      Catch that beautiful $10K MRR butterfly, @tshirtcandy ! I'm hoping the task management system I've developed to prototype stage is going to help with the consitency and effeciency pieces of the puzzle - meanwhile: canned tuna for lunch (again) >_<! :)))

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