Boy, I was so naive when I discovered IH

After freelancing for some years I found myself in a good position, with a few low maintenance contracts with startups that I helped to build, basically 10hour/week work that could sustain myself and help my family. Finally, I had time to work on my own stuff.

I was on top of the world and very arrogant about the future. That's when I discovered IndieHackers. I would browse products here and think “this product is so simple to build, I could build something better with less time”.

If they are earning that much money with a simple product like that, I will be rich in no time. Right boys?

Damn, I was dumb, so narrowminded, the only thing I saw was the technical aspect of building a product. I was completely blind to how hard it actually was. Ended working 5 months on a product that I could not sell at all, didn’t know shit about the industry. The product was just a “pretty face”.

After realizing it, I just shut down the product and the struggle began.

A year into this "IH quest" and my confidence is not as high. I used to have many ideas for basically every problem I faced, but now for every idea arrives the question “can I market it and work years on it?”, mostly succeeded by a clear “no, I can’t”.

And the COVID pressure added a ton to it, got the feeling that I was running out of time to have success. Soon I would not have as much time as I had. This lead to me working 70-80/hours/week, often not sleeping for more than 24hours, desperately in search of something.

But yeah, It’s settling a little bit, everything passes in life, right? I’m becoming comfortable with the idea that, as an IHer, I have to choose a product that makes sense to me, a problem in a market that I’m happy to talk about. Leave my tech bubble and connect with people.

As @csallen said other day, 37signals had a blog and built their audience for 5 years before building Basecamp. I’ll need to prepare myself for a marathon, not a sprint.

I will build products that I’m passionate about. I'll have a balanced life. I’ll take care of my health, sleep regularly, run, eat healthily, stop drinking soda. I will write, share, and connect with people.

I will be better every day. Then maybe, one day, I’ll be in one of those success posts we see here on IH.

  1. 5

    Being an Indie Hacker is certainly a hard thing! Most of us learn it the hard way.

    1. 1

      Yeah, it is. Hopefully, we'll succeed and it'll be worth in the end!

  2. 3

    I keep flip flopping between excitement and disillusionment with regards to indie hacking. On the one hand, it's ridiculous how easy it is to make money online: Make something. Add a credit card input field. Find ways to get it in front of people. If it doesn't exceptionally suck, some fixed percentage is going to pay you.

    It happened to me on the first try (to my complete amazement), though in retrospect this only worked because it was not a subscription in a field that is not winner-take-all.

    On other days, I'm thinking this: Is there anything you can type into google where there won't be a saas product for it already? Even if I found something, there's thousand of people just like me who have all the tools I have, hoping for the same lottery ticket style win I do.
    It starts to feel like music or arts, where people keep producing for reasons beyond any commercial sense, with the crushing tournament-style competition that accompanies it.

    I guess it comes down to, how far are you willing to venture into winner-take-all territory. SaaS being near the tail end of that spectrum, while freelancing is the other end (no scalability, and therefore no winner-take-all outcomes).

  3. 3

    I appreciate your reflection and development so much. Being loud about it, that is what we need. And you are damn right. There is so much more about creating something. It is more often an art. Technology is often only a means to automate a solution. For me that means, success if a lifestyle. Because when you have to work hard for a long time, the question rather be how you want to spend your time while doing it. Lifestyle design is so important on that entrepreneurial journey. And for everyone it might mean something completely different. <3

    1. 1

      You're absolutely right Tim, it is so important. Realizing it is, honestly, a very important step.

      Thanks for your comment, friend, really appreciate it!

      1. 2

        If there is anything, call me maybe. I mean it.

  4. 2

    Thank you for your vulnerable, honest words.

    Agreed that's a process and it takes time. A lot of people seem to focus on the ends -- getting that success post, getting the MRR, etc. However, I think the means are much much more important. I.e. how one is going about it, what one is choosing to work on, how one is looking for ways to help people.

    ^ Just my .00002 bitcoin

  5. 2

    Making it is only 1/10 of the battle. You made a common mistake that every engineer makes. However, you’re one of the few who recognizes where they went wrong. Welcome to the struggle!

  6. 2

    I always knew this was going to be hard but boy I never thought it would be THAT hard, it took me years to get a couple of customers and even after that when I thought "ok, things are starting to work" only problems came up, the app wasn't exactly what they wanted, customer success struggles, also once I had some other clients I started to invest 80% of the time to teach them how to use the app and the remaining 20% was only for bug fixing (0 new features), I think there is always a couple of painful experiences at the beginning and even after that success is not guaranteed, making a living out of it can be a real nightmare.

  7. 2

    Thank you for sharing this Giancarllo! It's honest and vulnerable. I have burnt out several times over the years. It hurts when you try to "will" a product to success without having it work out, mentally that takes a toll. I think you hit the head on the nail, you need balance and to find something you love and are passionate to talk and work on. Then you can truly grow it into something meaningful. Keep on hacking!

  8. 2

    Hehehe...we all learn the same lessons after making the same mistakes.

  9. 2

    I really appreciate your honesty and genuineness and the reminder to all of us that it's essential to be kind to ourselves and stay balanced on this long road. Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart! Sending you good wishes...

  10. 2

    Yep, IHing is really, really hard. But somehow I'm hooked.

  11. 2

    Built Sharetoall (to "compete" Buffer), imagining that everybody will donate for a free product like mine! Only a bunch of API, it will be so easy to make.


    Of course I shut it down. Welcome to the Marathon!

  12. 1

    NGL, being an Indie Hacker makes you feel like you can do anything and when you did do something, it's not what it looks like.

    As you said, it's a, marathon, not a sprint.

  13. 1

    Here's my 2 cents to the topic:

    I'm building a dynamic data table / grid component for various platforms.
    I never finished a product before but I promised to myself that I will finish this one. The scope of the product isn't too vast for one person but it's still a lot of work.

    Right now I am like nowhere near the finish line man.

    I have no idea what I'm doing.... but tell you what. I don't expect to be rich at the end of this journey. I expect to gain knowledge and skills.

    • How to create a blog that people read.
    • How to write a comprehensible docs.
    • How to implement a payment gate.
    • How to support and bugfix a product.
    • How licenses work
    • Get better in the tech I'm building the product on


    I thinks there's always something new to learn from the project for you as well.
    Take care

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