Building in Public January 12, 2021

I am a 12 y/o kid, I am having trouble with school and launching my startup.


Hello Indiehackers,
As I said earlier in the title I am a 12 y/o kid, I am having trouble with school and launching my startup.Any Advices

And Thanks in Advance

  1. 19


    Focus on school and friends. This is not the time of your life to be working on a startup. As one of the best startup people in the world has put it, this is premature optimization. Here is his actual tweet on the subject if you don't believe me:

    The crucial part of his Tweet being:

    (This is true before college too of course, but I actively discourage people from trying to start startups too young. It's premature optimization of your life.)

    He is 100% correct. Your learning right now is what will make for a great startup later in life for you.

    1. 1

      This 1000 times. If you ever feel like you have to choose between making time for your friends and normal 12 year old things, and working on your project, I'd personally suggest you choose spending that time with your friends. There is all the time in the world to work on a business, but you are only 12 once.

      1. 2

        @sweetheart Yeah, thank you for the advice.

  2. 9


    As a high school dropout who got into startups at 13, I've had a lot of students come up to me for advice on this topic. Here's my take:

    1. School is going to teach you a lot of things, well rounded knowledge across a wide variety of subjects, but also an opportunity to make friends, develop your people skills, get into sports, try out everything so you know what you like and what you don't.
    2. Your childhood years will never come back. Yes, you can be "young at heart", but it won't be the same when you have so many things to worry about - making money, doing taxes, paying your rent, managing your fitness, etc. Don't rob yourself of the only time in your life when you can be truly carefree.
    3. If you do both your school and your startup, you will be able to do justice to neither.
    4. You can always start up later in life, there is no age cap. KFC was started by a guy in his 60s.

    Here's the thing. If you want to work on this idea, if you really deeply care about it, make a "side project" out of it. Work on it after school and over the weekends, but don't let it take over your entire life. There is a lot to doing a startup - sales, marketing, accounting, design, development, legals. This is too much for a 12 year old.

    Don't drop out. You can reach out to me personally if you like.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the great advice @dhamaniasad , It was eye opening

  3. 3

    Hey. School is not for everyone and there are choices, parent and location depending.

    I've been unschooling my kids (aged 3 - 17). My older ones haven't quite started a business, but they have dived into things like creating a website and YouTube channel.

    1. 1

      @rosiesherry I am really inspired by the idea of unschooling kids.

    2. 1

      That's very cool. I don't have kids but I like the idea of unschooling based on my own experience with school. I feel like school in general fails to deliver on teaching children and young adults important skills in life.

      I'm curious what kind of expectations you set. Because being allowed to "not do anything" is probably not particularly conducive to a child's development. Also, a common criticism I hear is that children need to be around other children in order to learn important social skills, and that school is the prime environment for this. I imagine these skills can be learned in many socially-oriented extracurriculars like sports or clubs.

      Have you written about your experience somewhere? I'd love to read about it.

      1. 1

        The approach we take is to create our own rules which we believe are best for each of our children. There's some pretty crazy rules in school, but you don't realize how crazy they are until you leave and experience something else.

        Contrary to popular opinion, kids don't need to be around other kids for 30-40 hours a week to develop social skills. And actually, I seriously believe it does more harm than good. Kids end up being (peer) attached when what they usually need is a more consistent and older support person/parent/mentor. Everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to the harm that is caused at school, bullying, mental health, social peer pressure. It's been normalised that 'this is kids', I don't think it should be that way.

        The power of unschooling is we get to choose everything. It's not about just letting the kids decide everything and do what they want, it's more about guiding them and focusing in on the things in ways that suit them. It's pro choice, rather anti-school, imho.

        My 9 year old can't cope in loud environments, I'm 100% sure school convinced that school would not be a positive place for him. He also refused to read before March 2020 lockdown, then he just started reading. He's read at least 50 proper size books since, including the Harry Potter series...twice. He now doesn't come out of his room until 1pm (because he is reading as soon as he wakes up) and likes to escape the noise of his younger sisters (!). So if that is letting him do what he wants, so be it.

        In more normal times we would take him to sports groups 2-3 times a week, again out of his choice. He can say no to pretty much anything and it's up to us as parents to help him find things that he'll say yes to.

        Anyways, I could pretty much go on forever about this stuff, but haven't found the time to write anything decent enough around it.

        1. 1

          @rosiesherry Is there any disadvantages of unschooling.

        2. 1

          This is super interesting. How do you battle with some people that say “kids aren’t well suited enough to make their own decisions 100% of the time”? For example I’m sure someone’s reading this saying, “more exposure to loud noise might actually help him better tolerate it”.

          1. 1

            I think kids are very suited at making their own decisions and adults lack empathy and ability towards them, often not treating them with the respect they deserve as children.

            Just compare how kids are spoken to...yet if we spoke to other adults like that then we'd be shown the door.

            For example I’m sure someone’s reading this saying, “more exposure to loud noise might actually help him better tolerate it”.

            That sounds like torturing a person unnecessarily to me and causes negative long term consequences. Who wouldn't have mental health issues if they were forced to be in an environment that wasn't good for them.

            Imagine if all indie hackers had were forced into a job, an office job, with set hours, meetings and rules. Indie hackers are the unschoolers of the adult world. 😇

            1. 1

              I also think kids are more capable than most think. My mother is a teacher and very much into Montessori. When it was available me and my siblings were in Montessori-oriented schools. The learning there is self-directed with a plethora of things to spend time on and often different age groups mixed together. Since most of life after school is self-directed it’s such an important skill to learn.

              You’re spot on with “it’s not anti-school”. I like that.

              Sadly I probably won’t ever be able to do unschooling. It’s illegal to home-school where I live (Sweden) unless it’s the only alternative.

              Indie hackers are the unschoolers of the adult world. 😇

              Haha let’s call it “unworking”!

  4. 2

    This might not be what you want to read but I join most of the comments here to encourage you to focus on School for now. In the next 5 years you will be more mature, have learned more and you'll be ready to jump right in.
    But don't get disheartened or abandon your idea because of this though. You can quietly keep working on it, design it better and incorporate the things you will learn going forward.

    To summarise, I would say dedicate no more than 5% of your time to the startup at this point.

  5. 2

    I know school is not for everyone, but why are you having trouble with school?

    Any advice has to be suited to your particular situation, otherwise it might be worthless. So the best advice I can give you is to find a coach or therapist, who are professionals in these things. They will talk to you for a long time every week to understand you and your struggles and be able to actually help you.

    Sometimes good therapists are hard to find. I went through 3 therapists I hated until I found one I liked and she has been a great help. My mom passed away last year and I was struggling on university. I wouldn't have finished my degree without my therapist and now I am feeling much better and just got a part time job as a researcher, which gives me a good salary and time to work on my startup without pressure. It's tough to listen to our gut when we are young and struggling and the therapist feels like an authority, but if we don't like them, we should switch until we find one we like.

    School is not very adaptable to our individualities. But the therapist can help you not only find the best way through but YOUR way through. Good luck!

    Concerning startup, a lot of people here are saying dont do it. When I was 13 I had a website with templates for blogger I made myself. I think it's cool to have side projects, they are fun and we learn a lot. But startups are very different because it has a lot of boring stuff that needs to be handled, like legal bureocracy, marketing strategies, project planning, etc. and they take way more time than the fun stuff. I wouldnt worry about any of that, and just make a free product for fun. At least this is what I did when I was 13 and bored with school.

    If you really need the money for some reason, for example if your family is struggling too right now, there are better ways to do it at your age. I hope this is not the case because that sounds like too much pressure to put on yourself. But for example, this person made a fun game with a 'donate' button and got 6000 dollars already:

    1. 1

      @etiene I am really inspired by your story but what I mean by I am having trouble with school is that I am having pressure from my parents to focus on my studies.

      1. 1

        Did you already try to focus and it didn't work? Or are you just not interested?

  6. 2

    I disagree with people advices for you to "go back to school".
    I mean, obviously you should finish your school :D But don't stop on that. Do your startup, and many more startups as side projects and read books. Fail often, ask your parents for help, don't be discouraged if you are not being understood by them or by your colleagues. In a couple of years you will be way ahead.

    In my experience school can only destroy creativity and potential. Don't let it do it to you.

  7. 1

    I started coding back in 1995/96 (around your age) and walked away from it for 10 years. Don't make that mistake. Keep coding, it's awesome. Keep working on your startup. You can have friends and code at the same time.

    1. 1

      @rjbrown3 Thank You for sharing your experience.

  8. 1

    Seems like a mistake, don't do startup because you are not doing well in somewhere else, launch a startup when you need to solve a problem and enjoy solving that problem.

  9. 1

    Remembered anecdote:

    • Ale, this is the international marketing agency "Name"

    • Yes

    • I need a service to bring a new brand to the market

    • Well. Please call back in 15 minutes. I have a literature lesson.

  10. 1

    School is fun. Get to know people. Those are the people who lift you up.

  11. 1

    When I was young, I worked on a lot of open source projects. I learned a lot from other people about writing software, it helped me build skills and it also landed me my first job. Practice like this is invaluable.

    Don't let other people discourage you based on their assumptions of what you can or cannot do.

  12. 1

    Hey! Why are you having trouble at school? Is it about the other students, the teachers or the things you learn or don't learn?

    1. 1

      It is the pressure from my parents side to focus on my studies

      1. 1

        @TomGrigory I understand and I guess it must be frustrating sometimes. While I agree that you should still focus on school and on spending time with your friends, I also think that it's cool that you are getting first experiences with startups. I think the most important thing is that you enjoy doing it and don't put yourself under additional pressure. I'm curious what your startup will be!

        Just a thought: I guess you are not alone and there are many students of your age that have problems at school. It may be interesting to build a community of students in your situation and create a hacking club or something similar.

        Take care!

  13. 1

    Hey there!

    Don't worry about having trouble at school, we've all been there :D Hang in there! Explore as much as you can, read a lot, build life long friendships, develop good social skills, and everything else will follow.

    Here is some great advice from the CEO of Stripe for people in their 10-20:

    Best of luck!

    1. 1

      @tkar Thanks for sharing their article

  14. 1

    Please tell me this is a joke account. please!

    if this is not a joke..
    do what you feel you want to do. don't think in terms of "I need to do a startup". think "I need to build and sell". even if it makes just $1, that's a start.

    1. 1

      @codezed My name is Tom and I am from India and This is not a joke account.

  15. 1

    Watch this, .

    Every youngster that had success ( like this one had an environment in which they could thrive and support them. Don't get confused by shinny headlines.

  16. 1

    What's your startup? I would focus more on teaching yourself valuable skills like software development and less on school.

    1. 1

      @JoshTernyak I am Launching soon, I'll let you know if you could share your mail or connect with me in linkedin

  17. 1

    Just Come back After you finished school 🤓

  18. 1

    what are the problems?
    in both you would be learning
    the reasons school is good for you are above just the content they teach. you would still need to understand people including yourself for your startup.
    you should self reflect and try to understand what are your pain points, so you can handle yourself better.
    Is it just lack of patience?
    is it focusing on the right thing? is it the content or the people? the teaching style? what things do you like?...
    Maybe some self development stuff would help you like Jim Rohn, Tony Robbines, Jordan Peterson..

  19. 1

    Please go back to school... even if you hate it, it will give you a unique experience, knowledge, and skills. If you have trouble with other students/teachers, you (probably) can jump to the online education, if it's about trouble with education itself, you need it more than anyone else.

    Good luck, kid.

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