January 24, 2020

Hoping to go from lurker to hacker, but I have a small problem.


You could say that ever since I have discovered the Indie Hacker community I have almost fallen in love with it, although I hate to admit that I have been more of an "Indie Lurker" than an "Indie Maker". I'd really love to build something but I have been struggling to think of ideas lately that I think that I would be passionate about. Does anyone else experience this?

  1. 4

    I know your pain, it took me a year to just get started. I came up with hundreds of ideas, started working on a dozen (not at the same time) and dropped them as soon as I lost interest or things became challenging.

    Looking back I now think that everyone has to go through this phase. For some it takes days, for others years.

    There's not really a right or wrong idea, or an idea that you are passionate about. You will eventually find out that an idea either fits you or it doesn't and there's no way around it, better find that out sooner than later.

    My advice would be to make a list of your ideas, or better yet drop them (if you haven't yet decided on one chances are they aren't worth it), open up ProductHunt, choose a category you like and start scrolling.

    Ask yourself two questions, if you were to pull out your credit card right now to pay for one of these products, which would you pay for as a:

    • Customer, yourself today (B2C)
    • Founder, imagine one of your ideas is live (B2B)

    That's a simple question, but goes a long way of 1) validating a problem - since you are willing to pay for it immediately, and 2) ensuring you understand the problem/solution - since you know the value it provides you, and 3) showing you if you prefer building products for businesses or consumers.

  2. 2

    You can't get good at something without practicing.

    There's lots of ideas I put together and never share or publish. Whether I write something down. Create mockups. Put a simple website together. It helps me think through things and decide whether I want to continue with it.

  3. 2

    Try to think back on things that you have needed that didn't exist, or didn't exist in an optimal form. Think through the times you've had to build something from scratch because there wasn't a better solution. It's possible that others have experienced, or will experience in the future, the same scenario and would pay to avoid having to do it themselves.

    In my previous 3 roles I built the same thing, from scratch, for the companies I worked for. This showed there was a demand for something that didn't exist yet as a service, so I made it one.

  4. 2

    I had the same thing until I decided to just do something simple that helps me with something I need. The scope will be so small that I should not be able to fail 😄

    Is there anything in your life that you can improve/automate with relatively little effort?

  5. 1

    What "problems" do you encounter frequently? What niche do you find yourself exploring? These are areas where I find myself coming up with product ideas. Once I notice something a couple times I'll spend the energy doing the mental gymnastics in order to hash things out into a platform/app/website and it's basic functionality.

  6. 1

    I would suggest starting to talk to people. If you have a link to an industry (maybe you have worked there previously), or if you have friends and family who work in a particular domain, then try to get a coffee and listen to them. This is a skill which must be practised. You should learn how to listen properly (also a skill). It's amazing how much people will open up if you are willing to listen to them.

    Try to speak to as many people as you can. Even striking up conversations on trains etc can be amazingly informative. I know of people who got their break by doing this. If conversation is not natural to you, then organisations like Toastmasters are a great way to practice communication skills.

    You need to be on the lookout for the "expensive problems". What pain are they experiencing, and what would make it go away? Would they pay to have this pain solved?

    This approach may help you niche down on an idea, and then prepare a solution which helps your target market. Focus on an area that you have a personal connection or interest in.

    Just be wary of leaping in too soon, try to get as much up-front validation as you can. If you can even get people to pay you up front then that is the best approach. Once you get started on an idea, it may be years of your life, so choose carefully!

    Good luck.

  7. 1

    You can always join with somebody who is already into building something. If you work with somebody else, the potential for success is higher you can share responsibilities. Good luck