January 24, 2021

Hate corporate life. How to bootstrap?


I am a software engineer. I hate the job content, corporate life and the rate race.
Planning to start something on my own. b2c is what I am passionate about. But I need to be realistic. Its not easy to find a niche b2c idea and implement. Hence considering b2b. (To be frank, I dont like b2b since most of ideas are around CRM. And I dont want to do something just for the sake of money)

Can someone tell me how to get started ?. I wont mind if it doesn't make money. At least I will gain some experience. ( Although my long term plan is to monetize). Specifically, what platform to use ( AWS, digital ocean etc) and tech stack, other SaaS services to use.
Would be of great help, if someone could give some pointers.

PS: I am not asking for any business ideas/problem statement

  1. 5

    I would say that before you make any great leap you actually start giving yourself the space to ponder over ideas. Harnessing the skillset to quickly build products and finally find something that hits the sweet spot and create a living for yourself isn't done over night.

    Allow your mind to get creative with ideas that are not necessarily "the" idea everybody hopes for, but use those as playground to understand iterating and building products/services from scratch. Once you've learned how to properly go through those cycles it's worth taking the leap (with a more confidence) and start making a living out of it. It would save you from a lot of stress jumping in blindfolded.

    If you have enough financial backup to live without relying on some form of income you can already approach building products/services on a fulltime basis and learn going through many different ideas until you find a good one and you're able to execute that good one. Until that point you would likely do yourself a favour by sticking with that lame corporate job while building things in your free time.

    I find myself in these kind of cycles to improve my own problem solving and product building skills to, at some point hopefully soon, take the jump into building my own thing(s). Hopefully this somewhat resonates with what you are experiencing!

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot. Very good advice. I still have not been able to find an interesting idea. To be honest, I find b2b space boring. But still exploring.
      I can say, I am financially independent and can live off my net worth. Like I said in my OP, I hate the corporate life. Hence looking to do something interesting.
      Good luck to you too.

      1. 2

        It's amazing to have the financial freedom to let your full creativity reign! It's time to just build things and get better and better at it.

        Best of luck to you too!

    2. 1

      "Allow your mind to get creative with ideas that are not necessarily "the" idea everybody hopes for"

      I think this is one of the best advice when you start the bootstraper journey.

      The worst would be to wait for the best idea that may never come. Start building!

  2. 4

    Just my two cents from someone who was just like you, who did what you're trying to do.

    You're a software engineer, right? I was too. How much of your experience is in taking a product/service and making it better vs. taking something from scratch and trying to build a successful product/service around it? I'm going to guess it's the former and that's where your strengths likely lie. That was my case too.

    Therefore, you might want to consider an approach that maximizes what you're already doing. Start looking at what types of niches and products you can take over (not start on your own) - from someone that doesn't want to work on that idea any longer - that will satisfy that passion you're looking for and allow you to slowly work your way out of the corporate world. Not starting from scratch, but starting with some momentum.

    Let's do a thought experiment:

    Which would you rather have :

    •	Situation A (your current situation): Wicked strong dev skills, a few business ideas, some passions and solid ethical aspirations, but no product, no revenue, no market analysis, no website, no customers, and no prospects.
    •	Situation B: (Running Start) Wicked strong dev skills, a tangible product or service that matches your passions and ethics, some income/earnings, multiple engaged customers, functional website, profitable marketing funnel, growing email list, tax benefits, and SEO juice.


    Right now, you're trying to make Situation A your method for escaping the rat race. I get it, it's Indie Hackers, that's what you're here for.

    But if you're really serious, don't ignore situation B. Don't believe that you have to come up with the idea. That is not real life. Howard Schultz didn't invent Starbucks, he took it over from the Starbucks management team because they wanted to focus on Peet's Coffee and Tea. Do you think he cares today whether he started Starbucks from day one?

    You can find passionate ideas that you enjoy that are already being done by someone else that will give you a running start. Just because it's IH, it doesn't mean you have to start your eventual liberation business from scratch all by yourself. Trust me, if you take over someone else's project, you're still going to be an Indie Hacker working long nights and weekends to make the dream come true.

    Again, just my two cents and a my point of view based on how I did what you're trying to do. I hope it helps and expands your possibilities for the future.

    1. 1

      Wow. What a great advice. I have read it multiple times. Thanks a lot.

    2. 1

      This sounds interesting, but what do you mean by taking over from someone that doesn't want to work on that idea any longer? I assume you mean buying a small business that has up potential, but how do you find something like that and someone that is willing to transfer it to you?

      1. 1

        There's a bit of a spectrum of ways to think about it really, I think a lot depends on the financial resources you have available.

        As engineers, many times we can put a little away each month for a future purchase (much like saving for a downpayment for a house) of a business, if one so chooses. If that's the case, there are larger online business brokers out there that can help with this goal.

        If finances don't look like that's an option right now, there's a lot of websites that sell smaller projects (not just Flippa, which is mostly garbage listings anyway) out there, like SideProjectors.

        Also, IH likely has thousands of people here that have started a project, then pivoted to something else, but would be interested in someone else running with that prior project in the future.

        Even if today you can't afford to go that route, if you are thinking "in five years, I'd like to get out of the rat race", then saving a bit each month for that option might not be a bad idea to consider today to help you out tomorrow.

  3. 4

    If you cannot start on your own yet, join a small company/startup where you are provided the opportunity to have skin in the game and become very important (say #2, #3 , #4 in the company). You will learn tons and probably you could start your own thing in 2-3 years. Good luck!!

    1. 2

      Thanks. Yes. It does make sense. But at this point, I am more keen on doing something on my own. May be I will consider joining some other startup later.

  4. 3

    Hi, I write a weekly newsletter on profitable micro saas ideas.

    While you didn't ask for business ideas/problem statement - You asked for a place where you can get started. In my newsletter, I don't just throw a random idea - All of those are profitable micro saas ideas and the best part is I also write about how each idea can be implemented and what stacks can be used - AWS, GCP, Render, Digital Ocean and what databases can be used for each idea. It also has a section that tells how to start getting initial audience. It also shows a pricing calculation for 100 customers with the tech stack I mentioned. Towards the end I also write a "must read section" that covers some must-read posts before picking the given idea.

    I believe this is what exactly you are looking for. Let me know if I could be of some help.

    1. 2

      Thanks a lot. That looks very useful. Will be reading it.

  5. 3

    Hey man, I'm in the exact same position as you. Coming up with ideas and validating them is super, super hard (for me at least). Identifying pain points and problems to solve, is going to be a something that'll always be passive skill, and I'm 200% sure I'll stumble upon a successful idea at some point.

    But for now, I just want to get started.

    Try and look for areas in your life, where you think a product would drastically improve it. In other words, you're your own customer. Your own early adopter. I know many people are against this, but what I've found is that there will always be a large amount of people that are similar to you; they share the same pain points as you.

    For example, the product I'm building now, came from the problem I have where I'm always going through agendas and daily planners, but none of them give me the timeframe or space that I really need. So I decided to build a web app for it. Simple!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the input.

  6. 3

    You'll need to find a problem you'll want to solve first, and everything else will follow.
    If the problem is best fixed by a SaaS product, then you build that. But on the other hand if a mobile app is more appropriate, then you build that.
    You'll need to realize that the SaaS'es and platforms are here to support you to solve the problem you're looking to solve. Using them for their own sake won't make you a product or any revenue.

    1. 1

      Absolutely. Great point. Agree that one should begin with the problem statement. But I want to play around with SaaS development and get started. Later on any idea can be hooked into it. Hence my post

  7. 2

    Go read makebook.io ;) totally worth its penny, made me start at last!))

    1. 1

      Thanks. That looks interesting.

  8. 2

    Hi @mait09,

    First of all just kudos to asking the question very frankly , IH always helps when you ask a crisp question.

    Can someone tell me how to get started ?. I wont mind if it doesn't make money

    This is the answer,


    P.S: Initially I just thought of answering the reply here but I thought it would help many IndieHackers so made a post. Thanks for asking a brilliant question.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for that link. Thats exactly what I was looking for.
      (Btw I got to know about what they call "saas starter kit". But these tools abstract the underlying tech and are also paid services. Its always better to do hands on. So your link is good)

      1. 2

        That's so nice. I made that post after you asked your question. A good question can always start new paths. Thanks.

  9. 2

    Make sure you have enough money to cover your living expenses for at least the next 12 months. This way even if you don't make money for the next year, you'll still be able to survive.

    But you don't have to wait till you quit your job before starting this. You can do it part-time. A lot of successful businesses started out as part-time.

    Try to use free tools in the beginning. You want to save as much as possible. There are a lot of tools that offer free tiers that are generous enough for someone just starting. Up til now, the free version of Asana and Slack are enough for us even though we have 10 team members and more than a thousand customers.

    AWS is more expensive than DO. I'd suggest to go the thrifty way when you can, as long as it's not downgrading the customer's experience. We switched from AWS to DO 2 years after running our platform, and we saved a ton of money. Money that could be used in other areas of our business.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the good advice and pointers.

  10. 2

    Try reading the article about startup ideas by Paul Graham: http://www.paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

    1. 1

      Thanks. Will go through that.

  11. 2

    Its not easy to find a niche b2c idea and implement. Hence considering b2b.


    But don't forget that fact that seeking and engaging clients in b2b are much, much harder. Sometimes it's almost impossible (if you don't have relations/connections with right people)...

    b2c is what I am passionate about. But I need to be realistic.

    The reality is if you don't start with what you have a passion about, your chances to survive there are lower no matter what it is. I heard the opinion that it's wrong to rely on your passion but I believe it's simply not true. Without a passion, it will be superhard (or even impossible) to stay your idea and your business whatever money you make there.

    1. 1

      Well said. Couldn't agree more on the customer acquisition part

  12. 2

    If you do have trouble finding a problem, I sometimes just start tinkering with something. When you put your hands and head into code the ideas come easier than when rotting brain on Netflix or something

  13. 2

    I worked on a product for almost a year now. Spent around 7 months + $20K building product without focussing on getting users that care first. We were able to raise a bit of funding using this product + concept + early validation from Angels.

    We now have a product, and are running various experiments to learn what the engagement/response looks like to those experiments. The experiments involve us doing the following:

    1. Set up a landing page with one tag line + a box for them to enter their phone number so I can easily reach them after they try the app

    2. Run ads with different tag lines and see what the engagement looks like

    3. Text/call the people that entered their phone number and repeat until you find that sweet spot!

    This is our site: www.snapsmile.io

    I spend around $50 on each campaign.

    I would love anyone's feedback on this approach.

    1. 1

      The approach seems fine, but that page seems sketchy.

      You ask for a phone number before telling people literally anything about the product.

      What does it do? Who are you? Why would I give you my phone number? What will I get in return?

      Apparently I can find out if I am a candidate. A candidate for what, exactly?

        1. 1

          No problem, man. I'm not trying to be harsh. Just telling you my initial impressions looking at this page for the first time without any other knowledge.

          1. 1

            This is the kind of feedback we look for - so no hard feelings at all!

  14. 1

    b2c is what I am passionate about.

    Yeah right. Nice passion m8

  15. 2

    This comment was deleted 15 days ago.

    1. 1

      Thanks. Will do that.

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