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31 Comments

[Discussion] Is Indie Hackers killing your business?

Sorry for the clickbaity title!

After closing about 14 open and unread tabs on IH Threads, Newsletters and Substacks I can't shake off this feeling, so I decided to start a thread.

I feel PARALYZED.

Information Overload is a real thing, and I feel like it's constantly killing my productivity when another IH Newsletter (Growth Bites, ...) comes rolling into my inbox.

On the other hand I feel like I have ultimate FOMO to miss out on a trend, or technique, or hack, or whatever information that has a tiny chance in helping my career as a solopreneur.

Does anyone feel the same way?

How much information do you consume daily?
  1. It's killing me on the inside
  2. Way too much, fam.
  3. I read, but I'm still productive
  4. I only produce and do not consume
Vote
  1. 16

    I think if you're blaming IH for killing your business you need to look inward.

    For the first ~6 months of going full time on my business I was lost. I had no idea what I was doing and thought the next post or success story I read would propel my business forward.

    Did that happen? Of course not. The only way to propel your business forward is to actually do things. In that vain, stop reading and start doing.

    What does this look like practically? It means allocating the first 3-5 hours per day for maker time. Use an app like freedom.to (not affiliated at all, just a big fan) to force yourself from visiting distracting websites (including IH). In this time, write a blog post, reach out to X potential customers, do SOMETHING to actually potentially move your business forward.

    IH, and other sites like it, are a fantastic resource in the right context. If you're relying on IH to magically move your business forward by reading what successful people have written then you're 100% misguided. The only way to move your business forward it to actually try things in the real world.

    1. 1

      There's just so many cool tactics here to get hung up about :)

      1. 1

        You don't need to know about "cool tactics". Honestly, if you sit down for a while and ideate you can come up with equal ones or even better ones yourself.

        Regarding newsletters, if you have been subscribed to "Growth bites" for some time now, you already have enough bites for you to take your business forward, take the step and unsubscribe if that isn't for you anymore. The same goes with any other content you see. Like if you have taken notes from what you read on IH, for let's say ~ 3 months, you have already got everything you need.

        Now, all you need to do is execute and share your "small wins" to inspire new IHers.

        For me personally, what you mentioned is one of the reasons I hate newsletters. As much as I love the author's (many are my friends too) work I hate their products. I mean my inbox is for my work and business, I literally pay for storage, so I keep it dedicated for work. If some random email comes in and that is not exceptionally good, I'd simply unsubscribe. Report spam and move on, if that happens again. Take control of your inbox.

        Take control of your other virtual habits. It could be not clicking on the "open in a new tab" or using the website suggested by Stephen above. I have goals such as finishing my tasks and then other tasks. IH comes into other tasks, after all, this and the community that I'm building is like the only place to talk with fellow makers.

  2. 5

    If you haven't already, I would recommend reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

    I think it's important to have an influx of new ideas via IH or other such sites but it's also important to learn how to be deliberate with your time.

    Acting with Intention & Deliberation is one of the keys. Other being assigning your team to tasks ahead of time. There's a lot of good material around this out there.

    Hope some of what I said made sense. Good Luck!

    1. 1

      Yeah I second this, anything from Cal Newport is spot on.

  3. 5

    I spend about 2h a day on IndieHackers, more on weekends.
    I don't care if I am addicted. I love it here :)

      1. 1

        Mostly reading through the top posts, taking notes on trends and preparing content for my YouTube channel based on what I discover. Additionally I am a mod on a fairly active group on here so I keep up!

        1. 1

          At my peak i was spending 45-1hour and I kept running out of content on new lol.

          1. 1

            You're a robot - moving at the speed of electrons :P

          2. 1

            This comment was deleted a year ago.

  4. 5

    Surely anyone who answers the last one is lying as they are consuming this post? 🙃

    It's all about self discipline, and it's not just IH. Everywhere wants your attention, we have to put things in place to create productive environments that work for us.

  5. 4

    I guess the poll is implicitly biased, as the "I only produce and do not consume" folks are busy producing and not answering polls 😅

  6. 2

    I love IndieHackers, but I moderate myself to only visit this site about once or twice a week, and only for about half an hour or so at a time.

    You are right that information overload is a thing, and I try to actually contribute more than I read on here, based on my existing experience and I hope others can learn from.

    I guess for someone totally new to building a business, that equation will be skewed the other way, but I think we can all contribute useful stuff no matter where we are on the 'build' cycle. I think if you make an effort to contribute at least once for every two or three things you read on here, then the experience will be better.

    But also, take time out. A lot of things must be learned by doing. Go. Build. Make mistakes, and then come here with specific things to ask or look for. Don't over optimise too early by trying to implement all the 'avoid problem x' posts on here (as well meaning as they mean to be). Some things are better learned by doing.

  7. 2

    I don’t read any newsletters and don’t have an RSS feed.

    I browse IH daily and am in a couple of indie hacker chat groups.

    I’ll check these groups a couple times a day, will ask questions if I’m stuck.

    If things need to get done / I’m working towards a “deadline” I will ignore everything.

    It’ll be fine, it’s impossible to keep on top op everything.

  8. 2

    If you don't have Jocko Willink discipline enshrined; I think one thing that actually helps is to make starting productive tasks as easy as possible.

    This could look different from one person to the next, but the point is that it's really easy to go on YouTube and get that dopamine rush from watching something interesting/stupid.

    Starting a productive task is typically harder.

    The easier you can make it for yourself, the less likely you will be to give into the desire to waste your time here reading my comment.

    1. 1

      Any tips on making productive/(boring) tasks easier to start?

  9. 2

    For me the issue is not so much information overload, but the abyss between the wild success stories I read on Indie Hackers and, well, reality.

    1. 1

      Do these actually motivate you? Whenever I say these "oh I made this one product and in 6 months im making 300k MRR" it's just so far away that it almost demotivates me

      1. 2

        Wild success stories do not motivate me, I elaborated on this here.

  10. 1

    sorry, no time to respond. I've got 4 responses on IH to do, 17 Medium articles to read, 4 Linkedin connections to respond to, a couple of cofounderslab posts to comment on!! and then it's time for breakfast and the day can start.

    Who ever said being an innovator and hacker was an easy job.

    But yeah, I think all those things do help propel me and are worth it. But control it - do not let it control you.

  11. 1

    I was also procrastinating. Now my trick is to read during my coffee time quickly, quickly after eating and in the evening. Each time maximum 20 minutes. I bookmark the content I want to read later (even if I don't read, psychologically it helps to tell me I'm not losing the super interesting stuff).

    If I have lots of tabs, I record the whole session ("session manager" Chrome extension). Then from time to time, I delete the sessions (seeing that it's old content, oddly it doesn't matter much). Do not hesitate to close everything! Otherwise it consumes too much time, it's not worth it.

  12. 1

    I had a similar issue, not with IH but reddit and other social sites that can paralyze you. Here is how I approached it.

    1. Unsubscribe. Just do it, if you don't miss it you weren't getting that much value out of it anyway
    2. Use email rules/filters to automatically move emails from your inbox to a dedicated IH folder. That way you only read them when you choose, not when they are sent. I use protonmail, https://protonmail.com/support/knowledge-base/filters/ but most email providers have this feature
    3. Start (intermittent) fasting to work on self control. Helps with dieting, but I've found it helps you control your urges in general. Mediation is another option that can help.
  13. 1

    That’s why I build this actually: https://indiehackers.news/so I can get all my indie hacker posts just once a week (how I found out about this post actually)

  14. 1

    Yup I get what you mean too! I browse IH, reddit and twitter daily for inspiration and ideas, or just to see what's new and interesting.

    About information overload, I think it's important to know what are the tasks/activities that will move your business forward and set time every day consistently to do these tasks.

    However, it's easier said than done, especially if you procrastinate a lot or get distracted by what's new and upcoming (shiny objects syndrome).

    For myself, I've been using google sheets as a habit tracker every day (i.e. green box if done, red box with cross if not done) - it slightly gamify things and make you feel like you want to get more green boxes than red ones, and also lets you know if you've been slacking off too much if you see a long row of consecutive red boxes.

    You can also try using the pomodoro technique (doing work in small blocks of time like 20mins), it helps to reduce the inertia in getting started.

    The most important thing is to have a bias for action, and to just do something and get things done. If you set this as the primary goal every day, and researching/spending time on IH and other platforms as the secondary goal, I think you will feel less FOMO and more accomplished at the end of the day.

    Hope this helps!

    1. 1

      especially if you procrastinate a lot or get distracted by what's new and upcoming (shiny objects syndrome).

      Yeah that's me on Google Web Stories right now.

      Thanks for the tips!

  15. 1
    • Find your personal most productive hours and decide they are only for production work not learning unless 100% stuck or drained.
      Use the low hours for reading what you like.

    • Think about vision and strategy vs tactics
      there are infinate tactics some are very specific, many are time and context dependant
      strategy has more generic less detailed information, it should be the focus
      bookmark tactics with some indexing without readin the content in them
      until such time as it's actually the step needed for you.

    • I think it's ok, well at least for me to be at an ebb-flow about some of these things..

  16. 1

    I have around 70 tabs open in my browser. I check IH almost every day and spend 5-10 minutes for it. I unsubscribed from all the newsletters I'm not going to read. I'm okay, thanks for asking.

    1. 1

      What's inside these 70 tabs then?

      1. 1

        Haha, I need some of them for work, others are news sites/twitter pages that I check from time to time. Others have some useful information or pages I don't want to forget to check. I do cleaning sometimes because I know I don't need so many tabs open, but the main point is to control myself from spending much time on them.

  17. 1

    Sure, but it's less IH than it is other places for me: Hacker News first, then probably IH + Reddit, then YouTube.

    1. 1

      YouTube is a time-sink supreme.

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