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79 Comments

I quit. 52 startups in 52 weeks

  1. 14

    Just an opinion.. How about 12 startups in 12 months?

    1. 2

      Honestly that's probably a better idea but I wanted a catchy title 🧐 I'll try 52, but it might ultimately evolve into more like one project every 2 weeks or every month... The real goal is finding a wave to surf on (product-market fit) and doing 5k MRR by August next year :)

      1. 2

        All the best. Do share them here as you build.

      2. 1

        Do you plan on any of these "startups" making money or is more of a cathartic process for you?

        I see threads like this all the time and generally I think it's a crazy move if your motivation is to start a real business.

        1. 1

          Oh the goal is definitely to make money. Not saying I can build a profitable business in a week but it's a good way to get the creative juices flowing imho. Once a project starts showing some promise I'll probably double down on it

          1. 2

            Not sure how you’ll get any to make money to be honest given that after a week you’re into the next project.

            Seems like lunacy to me but happy to be proven wrong.

            1. 1

              You're probably right. If necessary I'll switch to 12 projects in 12 months :) Thanks for the advice! And either way it's going to be an interesting journey 🤷‍♂️

      3. 1

        Good luck! 52 startups sounds pretty insane, the only question I have is - how will you know one of them is successful?
        And I believe it will take a huuuge toll on you.
        Even Pieter Levels I think stopped on his 6th or so...

        1. 1

          About one being successful: I hope I'll know it when I see it 😉 But I'll let most of them run for more than a week... No point shutting them down after a week. I'll try to quickly kill off the ones that don't seem to get any traction at all though.

      4. 1

        Having done about 20-30 projects the last year I do recommend doing projects that require more than a couple of days. They are great to get you started and put something out there but ultimately what is going to make you thrive is taking on bigger technical / business challenges.

        1. 1

          Yeah completely agree. Just don't want to make the same mistake of falling in love with an idea and working on it for months without feedback.

          1. 1

            Yup thats the other extreme. Staying somewhere in the middle probably works best. :)

  2. 9

    Look from the other side. One might think in the future:

    Shadowy did something similar, but he got already an experience by creating and selling a $6k MRR product.

    Good luck! 💪 Keep posting about your progress!

    1. 3

      Fuck yes this got me hyped. Thanks so much 🙏 I will keep posting!

  3. 5

    In that list of successful indie hackers you focus on what they had as advantages, but you don’t know what hurdles they had to overcome.

    I was “freelancing my life away” as well but I eventually did succeed (at 20K MRR) even while:

    • starting a family meaning limited time and constant distractions and worries
    • being relatively old (35+) meaning I don’t pick up new things as quickly as I did
    • health problems, I’ve been suffering from RSI literally from the start of my dev career, meaning limited time and days that I couldn’t work at all
    • not being an entrepreneur, I don’t have that entrepreneur spirit, I don’t see opportunities everywhere I just like to build stuff
    • living in the EU which isn’t super startup friendly
    • building a product for developers in a market that has free competitors, not the easiest route to take

    If I can do it, I honestly think anyone can.

    Do 12 in 12 months, I think you gotta give an idea some breathing room, 52 might cause you to quit startups before they’ve had time to get feet on the ground.

    Good luck! 🚀

    1. 3

      Thanks for this, it's really inspiring to read. Some of those points also apply to me. 20k MRR is crazy impressive

    2. 2

      This is inspiring at least. I've spent the last 3 years trying to build something and feel like I'll be forever stuck in a part-time freelancing bubble. It's incredibly disheartening and I don't know whether to give it all up, admit defeat and go back to a comfortable but uninspiring career working for other people.

      Thanks for sharing this.

      1. 1

        This is exactly the reason I'm doing this. It's so easy to freelance part-time, and not be motivated enough to work on side projects. It's very comfortable in a way but also very demotivating.

    3. 1

      Thanks for writing, it is super inspiring!!

  4. 3

    "But I'm a procrastinator. Scared of feedback. Not finishing projects. Getting super motivated about ideas and then not following through at all"

    This resonated so hard with me that Nikola Tesla wanted to use me as an earthquake generator...

  5. 3

    In my opinion this trend of launching things hoping that they'll stick in a short timeframe is... not a good idea.

    Marketing takes time. Unless you've a revolutionary idea, you won't be able to get traffic and conversions in just a few days.

    It would be better picking 3 different projects, keep them going for 6-12 months and then decide which one to focus on.

    1. 1

      I mostly agree. My plan is to prune some projects early on and keep some going for a long time. I might be wrong but I think there can be some signs early on that a project might have potential. Maybe not in the first week though... We'll see...

      1. 1

        Experimentation is the key to discovery. I agree, shortlist quickly then give atleast 6 months to the selected ideas. Maybe find a co-founder for each idea. Why not !

  6. 2

    Hey I made 4 projects within a month.Definitely going to write a blog post for it too. To talk about my experience.

  7. 2

    Hey friend I literally like you I was also thinking to go anonymous when starting project, it felt somewhat uncomfortable, but as you said no excuses! I will do the same, you earned a follower , I hope you make a project which can lead to 5k MRR but 20k MRR! Good luck my friend

    1. 2

      Thanks, much appreciated :) Let's make it happen together

  8. 2

    Excellent. Great to see you trying this pseudonymously. It seems like a good strategy for introverted hackers. ajlkn does this well.

  9. 2

    Good luck!

    I am inspired to do the same thing

  10. 2

    Keep us posted. You'll make it work!

  11. 2

    TL; DR: give your self time to (1) gain confidence (2) build distribution channel (3) (magic) (4) profit. It may take a while and it is normal.

    Hey you, we have a lot of similarities based on this:

    But I'm a procrastinator. Scared of feedback. Not finishing projects. Getting super motivated about ideas and then not following through at all.

    When I started IH 5 years ago, I had big plans; couldn't any finish them. It was weird because I could finish big projects at work, why not by myself? It was more mental than anything else; when you go indie there is no team/coworkers. It is all on you.

    Once I realized this was my issue, I went back to my drawing board and said what is the smallest thing I can ship? I started building web extensions. I built many extensions until I was 100% confident I could go from an idea into to a shippable product independently. After that I could on take on bigger projects, though I still prefer 2-day MVPs to this day. If you are a non-finisher, you will need to give yourself x amount of time to go through this process; to learn to finish.

    Now, once you are able to complete an idea you still have to promote and sell it. IMO having a usable implementation is the bare minimum to get to play. Depending on how long you build, sometimes you want to share long before it is even ready for beta; depends on your approach it, but again, this is not my style so I cannot speak of it. You also have to get a bit lucky. I have built stuff and gotten crickets, and I have built stuff and gotten quick adoption by just by sharing at the right place at the right time. It's not a repeatable process unless you have a huge social following already? Even after you master your own mental readiness for this process, you cannot control how users perceive what you have made. Allocate some time to setup a product launch/distribution pipeline, especially if you plan to build many things.

    I'm sharing this because what you are describing is perfectly normal, and many of us can relate to you. Also, what you've set out to do takes time. It takes repetition. Set goals but try to make them short-term, realistic and achievable; re-evaluate and adjust as you go. Your MRR goal is quite ambitious. With the plan you have laid out so far, it may be doable if you hit a niche early on, but it also might not be? Do not get discouraged if it doesn't happen in the first year. Keep at it and find what works for you. Many of us are working daily (nightly?) for years to be overnight successes 5 years from now.

    1. 2

      (magic) 😂

      Thanks for the advice. Super useful! I definitely realize it might not be possible to reach the goal in one year, but it's a very good motivation. It's been a long time since I was this ready to prove everyone wrong 😄 Working in public, the deadlines and the accountability are going to be key I think.

      Thanks for writing this out. It means a lot to me.

  12. 2

    But I'm a procrastinator. Scared of feedback. Not finishing projects. Getting super motivated about ideas and then not following through at all.

    This! This is totally me as well. I've been procrastinating for a year now, started a couple of projects, but nothing that would be even close to generating revenue.

    Good luck! A project a week is a really tough challenge.

    1. 1

      Thanks, I'll need all the luck I can get :) Hopefully I can get over the procrastination now that I have a concrete goal and some accountability...

  13. 2

    That looks amazing, I wish you success with that idea!

  14. 2

    Coding is comfortable, sales is not.

    FACTS. Good luck on your journey, Rooting for you!

    1. 1

      Find a marketing co-founder. Simple as that.
      Co-founder becomes 50% partner only once he takes the biz to x MRR per month.

      1. 1

        I'm always open to that idea

  15. 2

    Hey, this resonates quite well. A lot of similar thoughts went through my head more than once. Followed you on Twitter!

    1. 2

      Holy crap, that looks badass. I think you're doing this at exactly the right time. Good luck electrifying stuff, could be HUGE 🤟

      1. 1

        Thanks. Hope we can’t share what we learn w each other.

  16. 2

    Nice words. Make it happen. 💪

  17. 2

    I feel the same way man. Probably in similar shoes.
    Good luck! I am excited to see what you will come up with!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the encouragement :) Good luck to you too!

  18. 1

    Feeling Deja Vu reading through your 'internal thought process' on other indie hackers!!

    All the best, mate. I am sure we will be reading your success story next year same time 👍

    1. 1

      Thanks! That's very nice of you, I hope so :D

  19. 1

    I see where you're coming from however, I think the levels.io approach is best. That's what I'm currently doing myself.

    1. 1

      Hey MrTerrific, you're probably right. It's very very intense to put out 1 product every week. And possibly not sustainable. But we'll see. The goal is to get to 5k MRR, not to actually finish all 52 so :) Best of luck with your 12 in 12 challenge!

  20. 1

    My friend I'm following! 😃 I will support as much as possible! 👌

  21. 1

    Excited to see what you come up with!

  22. 1

    I can 100% relate to this. I started something similar months ago with solomaker.life. I thought by putting myself out there, I'd be more consistent in following through with my ideas (good and bad). I had hoped that I could build one out per month similar to @levelsio and find one (or more) that would gain traction and generate income. After almost a year I silently launched 2 half-ass projects that don't even have payment forms attached.

    Very recently, I quit my job to focus on these my unfinished side projects. I was very unhappy with my perceived failures and at my job and it began to show in my performance, both at home and at work. Since I had sufficient savings, I thought it was time to go all in and stop making excuses about 'not enough time' or 'being burnt out'. I'm in month 3 and still find myself procrastinating, not being able put in full days of code, not being able to produce the content I laid out for myself.

    I'm very happy that I came across your post today, because it shows me that I'm not alone in these struggles (as do many posts on IH). I'm going to spend a bit of time today to step back, evaluate where I'm at in my current project and set a deadline to a real MVP, after which move on to one of my other ideas. Like you said in your article: "...I'm being judged anyways..." so I have to let go of the fear and anxiety, accept that I can't change the failures of yesterday, and be productivity today, and every day moving forward.

    Your article was a well need boost, and I look forward to following along your journey as I kick my own backinto gear.

    1. 1

      hey Scotalia, that's really good that you quit your job to focus full time on the unfinished projects. I hope you can motivate yourself to finish them :) Your blog at solomaker.life is super interesting btw, keep going. Honestly I'm almost 100% sure that the big "winners" in indiehacking are the ones that just keep at it. Most of us (including me in the past) just give up quite quickly if there's no feedback... I'm hoping to be able to avoid that this time... Let's both get it done 🙏

  23. 1

    For someone who is bad at sales and marketing you have managed to get people interested in your story. Follow the same process with your 52 startups and it will work. Also consider, a co-founder along the way, it might help.

    All the best. I'll be watching your progress.

    1. 2

      Yeah honestly I did not expect this reaction at all. I thought I'd get 2-3 upvotes. Seems like more people are struggling with the same stuff :) Thanks for the feedback!

  24. 1

    You should start a newsletter with that.

    1. 1

      I'm using Ghost for the website so it comes with a mailing list :)

  25. 1

    Nice, I also think 12 in 12 would be better but up to you. Either way, looks like that audience thing won't be an issue for long, 120 followers (including me) already 😀 I've been at it a month and at 153 🤣(and that includes a not too bad Product Hunt launch)

    Good luck. Looking forward to your progress

    1. 1

      Congrats with the PH launch Simon!
      Haha yes it looks like schadenfreude is a real thing, everyone wants to see if I succeed or fail 😂

  26. 1

    " I've built a $6k MRR product and sold it."

    That's a dream! Even $3k/m would be nice. Anything, really, to allow me to escape the part-time freelance rat race in which I seem to be eternally trapped. So incredibly sick and tired of making money for other people with my software and not being able to make it for myself.

    I hear you loud and clear Shadowy!

    I do agree with the other comment about 12 projects in 12 months. One week doesn't seem like enough time to even think through a problem to solve.

    Also be VERY careful not to confuse initial excitement or engagement with your product as viability. I did that with a crypto app I spent 12 months building out only to realise nobody cared at all enough to pay for any of it. I'd recommend asking for money almost immediately. I will never make that mistake again. Just wanted to make a point in case one of your 52 projects get a bit of an audience and you lose sight of business viability.

    1. 1

      That's a really good point about not confusing initial excitement with product viability. I'll definitely have to be careful about that. It's a pretty easy trap to fall into probably

  27. 1

    best of luck; I'm a big believer in 'portfolio of small bets'.. my only small suggestion: don't just follow the money; follow your interests & curiosity... I've found if I'm just chasing money, I feel like a corporate cog again (even if I work for myself).

  28. 1

    "Fuck perfectionism".....oh yeah !!!!

      1. 2

        100% right... perfectionism is a nightmare for some ppl to ship (like me)

  29. 1

    Good luck. Never know what will happen unless you give it a go.

    Be great for you to document the different ways each project is created and then marketed. If nothing else you will learn loads.

    It's day one, project one. What you working on this week?

    1. 1

      Yeah definitely going to try to document everything. On the other hand, don't want to overload people with useless details. Hard balance to strike?

      Currently drinking lots of coffee, getting panic attacks realizing what I got myself into, and brainstorming 👌

  30. 1

    I think it's a good idea. People don't realize how much luck is involved in building a successful startup. It's probably the biggest factor. And luck is not some magical RPG property, it's a real thing that you can influence. Building 52 half baked (even shitty) projects gives you much bigger chances than building one perfect fully featured great idea endgame masterpiece.

    1. 1

      Completely agree! With my first product that somewhat took off, in hindsight I realize it was mostly luck

  31. 1

    What tech stack will you use for your projects? When you reveal your identity?

    1. 1

      I'll try to code as little as possible. But I'm mainly a native iOS and Android developer, sometimes some React as well.
      Identity, probably soon when I start writing about more personal stuff or when I inevitably fuck up.

  32. 1

    Wish you the best of luck and gonna follow your journey!

    I'm in a somewhat similar situation myself, recently quit my day-job and decided to focus on building my own product(s). Can recommend Show your work by Austin Kleon if you haven't read it yet.

    1. 1

      Thanks Andy, good luck with your journey as well! And thanks for the book recommendation :)

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