Growth May 23, 2020

I lost my job and sold all my stocks to become an indie hacker

Jamal Mashal @jamalx31

I hesitated a lot before I decided it's time to share this. I could be making the worst mistake of my life.

Earlier this year I had a great well-paid job at a startup based in the US. I've been traveling the world for the past 3+ years and life couldn't be any better. Yes I was trying to bootstrap some side projects but I was doing it from the comfort of my job, I never pushed myself to the edge or out of my comfort zone.

And then COVID-19 hit the world and turned it upside down. I got a call from my boss and he told me their investor bailed on them and they don't have enough money to pay me anymore.

Immediately I started applying for other jobs and I got 2 interviews in the same week. But deep down I didn't want to go through that process again, I don't want to work for money, I want work for myself!

A week later I got a "No" from both companies. I was disappointed, but happy at the same time. It was the push I needed to escape the comfort zone, and then the silver bullet came from Sahil Lavingia with his tweet:
"Investing in the stock market can turn $10,000 into $100,000.
Investing in starting your own business can turn $1,000 into $1,000,000."

And without thinking I opened my account and sold all the stocks that I invested in since I started last year. This may sound crazy and maybe some of you would say: "this is the worst time to be selling stocks", "you should buy the dips", "hold on cash" etc.

But for some reason the quote "To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did" keeps echoing in my head. I knew that if I want to conquer a new land I need to burn the ships first and forget about going back.

Now what? I jumped off the cliff already and now I'm assembling an airplane on the way down. I have 6 months, more or less, before I hit the ground. It's scary but I believe I can fly...

If you want to follow my journey (or better say: free fall) you can find me on twitter

  1. 9

    Awesome man. I also quit Amazon in Feb, haven't sold all stocks yet.
    Working fulltime on pipfeed.com now.

    1. 2

      Nice job! How does it compare to Pocket?

      1. 1

        I do like pocket but it is not very good at content discovery.
        Pipfeed lets you save any link like pocket, read with no popups/ads, and also lets you chose your font. Offline reading, listen to articles and dark mode will come very soon.

        But the main power of Pipfeed is in the curation & recommendation engine

        Pipfeed also lets you:

        • subscribe to any blog
        • recommends you article based on your reading history
        • Sends a daily digest email with these personal recommendations
        • Learns from your evolving reading habits

        I wanted an app that will save me time and which will find me articles to read each day based on just my preferences, that's the reason I made Pipfeed.

        What do you think?

    2. 2

      I liked your idea man. I checked pipfeed linkedin. I suggest you to update it. Your website is amazing. following your journey man. Good luck.

      1. 1

        Thanks a lot.

        This is the page for Pipfeed:
        https://www.linkedin.com/company/pipfeedapp/

        I think you might have opened a different pipfeed page. Did I add a wrong link somewhere?

    3. 2

      Nice man, your app is 🔥I will definitely use it!

      1. 1

        Thanks a lot. Do let me know if you have any suggestions.

        Also, I would highly recommend reading "Fastlane Millionaire" by DeMarco.

        1. 1

          Sure thing.
          I will check it out and dm you on twitter

    4. 2

      This looks legit by the way.

      1. 1

        @yaroslawbagriy Thanks :-)
        Try the app if you have some time.

    5. 1

      The website looks great! But as much as I love reading on my phone, I spend more of my time on my laptop. How about introducing a web version of the same?

      1. 1

        We are more focussed on the app at this point. We do have a web version but it is read-only at the moment-> https://app.pipfeed.com/

  2. 5

    I would relate to that, I already did it once before. I have no shame in admitting that I failed at it, picked up what ever pieces I have left and started a job again.
    This experience however will not stop me from doing it all over again...once more!

    1. 1

      Love this spirit!
      There is a good chance I will fail too, but as you said, pick up the pieces and do it again! never give up

  3. 3

    Left my comfy job as a front-end dev two years ago to focus on my startup dream full time. I thought that doing it only as a side gig would never get me in the right frame of mind. You grow faster when you have no escape, but I underestimated how stressful and scary it would be 😅.
    Good luck!
    Ps: double your runway if you can

  4. 2

    Good luck man! I'm currently working a 8-5 job and 0 ideas, but im struggling to find problems, I hope you have found a great problem and can solve it. Me personally I would have kept the job and build an MVP, if it rolls then I would think of stopping the 8-5 job, but in your case it's different.

    1. 1

      Thanks man!
      nobody can tell you to quit your job (especially nowadays). But from time to time ask yourself, Why I didn't quit yet? why I'm not building my own business?
      I believe this is what you want, otherwise you wont be on IH. Be honest with yourself, make sure you have good answers to these questions and not just excuses.

      1. 1

        Totally, but leaving the job would mean to stop my only income, I do have some money in the bank, But leaving the job with 0 ideas? What if in 6 months I cant even find an idea, will be hard, stop paying rent, etc . But not having a job would be totally different I guess, you would focus a lot more to avoid crashing.

        1. 2

          100% .. you shouldn't quit your job without a plan. What I'm doing is too risky and stressful. and if you can't handle stress it's a very bad idea to do the same. Its better to keep your job and focus on building something on the side

  5. 1

    We shared almost all of the same stories, except I didn't have stocks to sell. Haha. Was working with a leading p2p fintech in SEA too.

    1. 1

      What are you up to nowadays?

      1. 1

        Here... https://www.migmarketingresources.com/about-us/
        feedbacks welcomed :-)

        I have had several leads generating sites for years, ranked on 1st page in initial years too, but got too caught up with day job, it gradually died off, until this recent wake up call (or blessing in disguise, however u want to see it)

        I realized there's no private messaging on IH, perhaps promoting openess.

  6. 1

    Wish you luck dude 👍 you are doing awesome

  7. 1

    Good stuff. I gave in my notice in February, figuring I can always get another job if my project doesn't take off (https://www.holfolio.com), and by mid-March when I started working for myself the UK went into lockdown (something something roman general burning ships behind him?!). I think you'll often do your best work when your back is against the wall (here's hoping anyway!)

  8. 1

    Great allegory with the plane! Good luck to you!

    1. 1

      it's not original 😅
      it's by Reid Hoffman: “An entrepreneur is someone who will jump off a cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down.”

  9. 1

    +1, best of luck mate!

  10. 1

    Brave move man! Fingers crossed, I hope life is going to reward you 💪
    I wish you all the best.

  11. 1

    Hi Jamal,
    Your story resonate a lot with me. Before leaving my cushy law job, it took me a while to realize that, as you mentioned, I could fly. I was plagued with self-doubt and most plans didn't seem to hold. But funnily enough, the fort has been holding!

    Best of luck on your journey and make sure to have fun doing it!

    1. 1

      Thanks man, glad to hear that!
      Best of luck to you too!

  12. 1

    All the best. ! :)
    Following you now.

  13. 1

    Hi Jamal,
    Your story resonate a lot with me but I still don't have courage to quit my job to full-time work on some project. I wish you luck.

    1. 3

      Also you shouldn't, you can always bootstrap on the side until your risk matches the traction of your project. I quit my job 2 times to start something without knowing what it was, no audience, no customers and it was a mistake. De-risk your position by working and creating something tangible before you take the leap.

    2. 1

      Totally agree with @kirso & @theguifraga.
      everything is risky. but you better take a calculated risk.

    3. 1

      Hi! I struggled for a while with the same issue. For me, it came down to actually do the math and see the numbers (funny that numbers reassured me considering my background didn't involve 'numbers').

      Figure out how much coverage you need, don't rush it, and like @kirso mentioned, de-risk. Otherwise it will become too stressful. Best of luck!

      1. 1

        Also it its a shitty position to be in, seeing your savings go down, with no lifeline. It creates more stress, anxiety and not a mental state meant for productivity and starting a business. Lots of people say stress is good which is partially true but not the stress of paying the bills and taking care of family, that is just not worth it.

  14. 1

    Risky but exciting especially when the possibilities seem limitless. I'll follow your journey.

    1. 1

      Yes, all in!
      Thanks for following

  15. 1

    Congrats on taking the leap, big risks can lead to big rewards.
    I hope one of your ideas works out. Have you validated any?

    1. 1

      Thanks you!
      Yes I'm working on validating my ideas. I got positive reg https://github.com/moufette-tools/moufette. And I wanna lunch it on Product hunt next week. still trying to figure out how to build a business around it.
      and also trying to validate some shopify apps ideas while building a newsletter

      1. 1

        In terms of making money from it. You could embed some ads or branding for free users and then charge to remove them.
        You could ask users to pay a one off fee per app and then they get the code snippet.
        I would check what competitors do and see if that works for you.
        Happy to have a chat if you want some advice or want to talk through things.

        1. 1

          yes i'm considering these options.
          ping me on twitter and lets chat about this :)

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