Getting Started July 13, 2020

How do you get good at indie hacking?

Rosie Sherry @rosiesherry

What would you recommend people new to indie hacking start with to help them towards a profitable indie business?

I feel that often people want to bite too much off at once. They end up burning out or don't understand when they fail.

In reality they need to start with a much smaller piece of the pie and work towards a more sustainable path.

Here's some ideas to get going...

  1. Review Landing Pages on Indie Hackers
  2. Write somewhere consistently
  3. Build trust with your intended audience
  4. Attend meetups
  5. Start conversations
  6. Build up your Twitter following

Over to you...

  1. 14

    Sell something tiny to an audience you already belong to.

    Most folks wanna get fancy. They read all the books, buy all courses, sign up for all of the software, test out off of the tools.

    But getting fancy without foundations will get in the way of you understanding the basic rules of why business works: why people buy, who buys, how to reach them, and how to do it all over and over.

    Every single successful business owner I know can tell you the turning point when they made their first sale to a stranger on the internet, and for most of them, it was something very, very small.

    Like, a lot smaller than you think.

    • Sketchnotes from a conference, sold to fellow conference attendees
    • A custom Lightroom preset, sold to fellow photographers
    • A code template, sold to professional peers
    • A set of research and recommendations written down into a nicely formatted PDF

    etc etc. SMALL.

    Now, you won't build your whole business on this tiny product but if you've never successfully sold your stuff on the internet before, you'd do well to take your first steps before you sign up for the whole marathon.

    Going through the entire experience of selling something very small isn't about the money you'll earn from that tiny thing, it's about seeing the reality of every step of the experience, and learning how it feels.

    1. 4

      Today I saw a post on IH, titled "What is the most underrated advice you've been told?" - this one should be pinned there.

      1. 1

        Thank you 🙏

    2. 2

      Getting paid on the internet is definitely a life-changing experience. Like wait, people on the other side of the world is perfectly willing to give me money for something straightforward. Up to, woah I've made a Honda Accord on the internet...

    3. 2

      OMG, thank you so much for the advice, I often forget to do small-first approach

      1. 3

        I'm glad it reminded you! It's basically gospel in the stuff we teach 😄 https://stackingthebricks.com/why-you-should-do-a-tiny-product-first/

        1. 2

          Wow... That's really an eye-opener for me.
          My biggest roadblock now is an impostor-syndrome.
          I've been front-end engineer for about 3 years, I feel I'm still a noob and I don't know where to start.
          I think I should talk with people in my potential target customers and find what is their biggest problem.
          Thank you again for reminding me :)

          1. 2

            Man,somebody was willing to pay me hundreds of dollars and be satisfied with something I've learned in a day. 3 years of experience is no joke you're already over qualified for a lot of things that people desperately need done today.

            Just need to know to put yourself out there and practice cold contacting people.

          2. 2

            I'm working on a new essay about how to build that confidence, cuz it keeps coming up a LOT.

            Talking to them is good, observing them is better :)

            1. 1

              I just followed your twitter so I don't miss to get that essay, thanks :)

              1. 2

                @alexhillman and @amyhoy's Stacking the Bricks is gold for this type of practical and actionable advice - I was glad to discover it early this year :)

                1. 2

                  ❤️❤️❤️

  2. 6

    I lack discipline in general, my workplace looks messy but still, I do one thing consistently every day without fail. I meet and talk to strangers every-day. I either write emails, interact on twitter or Linked-in, or sign-up on a new product page and talk to the one who sends me an follow-up email.

    OMG, the learning curve. I learn so much listening to people talk about their life, their business, and ideas. Sometimes, I have found interesting people to do business with and made some friendships too. I don't really start a conversation with an agenda but end up with much good stuff.

    1. 2

      Yeah this is pretty much the secret to everything. Don't try to automate or scale relationships, and make it a point to talk to people daily.

      1. 1

        +1000 Keeping it simple.

  3. 4

    Practice! Do a lot of work — build a lot of apps, focus a lot on marketing, etc. This is not something anyone magically gets good at.

    Here's a recent IH post from someone who's building 12 startups in a year: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/12-startups-in-12-months-9295bf36a2

    Classic Ira Glass quote: https://vimeo.com/24715531

    1. 5

      From my personal experience, I would say focus on finishing the product first or releasing early with flaws. After all the hard work done.

      About those 12/12 startups, while I was seeking for ideas I saw it first on levels.io and I thought if it's possible. Yeah it's possible if you don't provide a value. I can tell it only works for marketing. About 12 of them I believe max 2 could work. And other 10 just keep the community up.

      Like check out Pieter's last work https://levels.io/bali-internet-cable/ much wow
      I have no plans to go to bali nor care about their internet but I've already visited page a few times and now talking about it.

  4. 2

    +1 to these things!

  5. 1

    #5 is the most important! As well as #2...okay a lot of them are important.

    I think what has helped me the most is showing up consistently. 4-5 days a week for months and months and months. There's no hacking or automating relationship building. Recording video, reaching out to people is the way.