Self Development January 17, 2020

Leaving my full-time corporate job at the end of the month to become a full-time Indie Hacker 😅 any advice?

Joshua Beretta @joshuaberetta

If you've done a similar thing or know someone how has, please share any tips for making a smooth transition and not going broke.

  1. 8

    Don't do it if:

    • You like knowing what money you'll have to spend each month.

    • You want to avoid at all costs uncertainty, stress and risk in your life.

    • You have family/relationship/friendship issues that need resolving

    This is gonna be one of the hardest, most lonely tasks you have on your plate and a huge life change in such a short space of time.

    The transition is never smooth, it is gonna be hard, yes you can do it but it is going to be hard and frustrating at times and that path is absolutely not for everyone.

    1. 3

      Thanks, Breffni! I'm sure the transition will be a roller coaster ride, but the alternative of staying in a comfortable, stable, well-defined job is just not for me - it kills me a little bit more every day. I'm looking forward to the challenge and grateful for communities like IH to make it a little less lonely :)

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        Good good, as long as you see it as a marathon over time and not a short sprint, you'll be fine.

        Look after yourself and focus on your relationships more, you'll need them.

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          I'm in it for the long haul 💪 (if things work out)

  2. 6

    I recently left my corporate job to work on my own projects. As far as easing the transition, I found it helps to have a dedicated space in my house to work, and to have a routine. Mine includes:

    • Making sure I'm showered/dressed and in my office by 9am.

    • Setting some objectives for each day (e.g. today my objectives are to figure out how to load test the registration API in my Next.js/PostgreSQL app, and write a blog post about it).

    • Eating a healthy lunch and going for a walk outside if it's nice.

    1. 2

      Great tips! I'm very much a routine-driven person, so I'm sure that will help to keep me sane and focused.

  3. 5

    Hey there! Kudos to you for making the leap! 🙌

    I left my job about a year ago to go full-time on my idea and to learn entrepreneurial skills along the way. This past year has arguably been the hardest year of my life, but it’s also taught me many important life lessons that I don’t think I would have learned until much later.

    Here’s a list of everything I’ve learned and would recommend:

    WORK

    1. Have a solid routine, a weekly plan, and know your most productive hours

    2. If you’re an engineer, learn marketing — this is a lesson I learned pretty late. Having a marketing process helps you create and work towards tangible goals

    3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help — this can speed up your process

    4. Be a perfectionist when it matters, but not ALL the time

    MINDSET

    1. Don’t tie your self-worth to your product

    2. Remind yourself of your accomplishments — I have a motivational list as my phone wallpaper and have another list pinned next to where I work

    3. It’s okay to have bad days. There might be days where you doubt everything you’re doing, but remember that these days don’t last forever. And you can always make a change tomorrow.

    4. Try to limit how much you compare yourself to others — I fell into the trap of comparing myself to others early on, and I felt very discouraged with where I was at. I also felt like I had to do a million things that had worked for other companies. It’s great to learn from other people, but make sure you do so in a way that’s not overwhelming for you. (For me, I now limit how much time I spend on Twitter)

    RELATIONSHIPS

    1. Try to have positive social interactions on a weekly basis — for me that was going to a weekly art class and being part of an awesome marketing community (https://forgetthefunnel.com/)

    2. Limit or cut off friendships that are toxic — this journey will be difficult, and you need as much support as you can get

    HEALTH

    1. Try to walk around every few hours — it’s not good to be sitting all day, and sometimes stepping away from what you’re working on can help you get a fresh perspective

    2. Eat healthy — breakfast and lunch are the most important meals for me. I try to limit foods that make me feel less energized and less productive

    3. Take at least 1-2 days off every week to recharge — sleep in, pursue a hobby, catch up on shows, etc.

    4. Make sure you have health insurance or are covered if you have a sudden health issue — you never know what might happen. I got hit with an unfortunate medical condition (something I absolutely never expected) in August that is still ongoing, and without savings and a good health insurance plan, I wouldn’t have been able to receive proper medical help.

    MONEY

    1. Have a reasonable amount of money saved up to cover living expenses for 1-2 years. Have a little extra for emergencies

    2. Cut out expenses wherever you can — I started cooking more at home than eating out, stopped spending money on non-essential things, etc.

    3. Consider working part-time/consulting if money becomes more of an issue

    My main takeaway — Happiness and health are most important. And only you will know what happiness is for you :)

    Just my 2 cents, but hope it helps! Best of luck!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the amazing advice there 🙌 I'll have to keep checking myself against this to make sure I don't lose my way.

      "Happiness and health are most important" - so true! 😊

  4. 5

    I was in your position about 6 months ago, almost. I made the jump only after securing a couple contracting gigs that probably just made the situation worst tbh (story for another day).

    The other advice here is solid.

    It is hard, stressful, lonely, and challenging.

    But if you can do it, it's so much better than dying everyday for a salary.

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      Sounds like an interesting story there... I'm glad you can still recommend the journey!

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        It's been a rollercoaster. I've been paid mostly in "lessons learned" rather than USD. Haha.

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          The MBA of life 🙈

    2. 1

      How did contracting gigs make things worse? Wouldn't it be nice to have income coming in?

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        Contracting gigs without proper management skills (even if you work solo) can turn into a mess. Clients get frustrated. Maybe you don't know how to be pushy for their own benefit. People, by default, love to waste your time.

        The money is nice, but it was very inefficient. I would have been better off working as a part-time dev somewhere.

  5. 2

    I did this 5 years ago.

    Make a budget for your savings. Plan on living without income for 12-18 months. Tools like EveryDollar are simple and have a free option.

    Work hard and start making a profit before then - even if that is partially to leapfrog to your ideal way to make money. (At least your free to make your own workload now.)

  6. 2

    I did it. I'd say quit only if you are okay with 9 months without an income and really know what you're working on! It may take months to figure out what you're working on otherwise. Being an Indiehacker is different than starting a business. A business is more than just you - it requires networking, building a team and you need resources. Make sure you know the difference and what you want.

    1. 1

      I have a good idea what to start working on right away, so I'm not going to be wasting any time 👌 The intention is definitely towards things turning into viable, profitable businesses, not just side projects.

  7. 2

    I did this 6 months ago. I don't know your context but but one thing I have learned and relearned and reaffirmed is that action beats any planning, researching, strategizing by far. Another is getting mentally comfortable with being uncomfortable each day. One thing I really enjoy is the freedom to craft my day, my daily habits.

    1. 1

      Love it! I can't wait for that freedom 🙌 how have things worked out for you since?

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    There will be great days and there will be tough days but remember about looking after yourself.

    Build a roadmap of what you want to accomplish and keep working on it even if its just a small amount a day.

    Reach out more and get involved in local groups with like-minded individuals, it's always great to have someone to bounce ideas onto.

    1. 1

      Thanks for this 👌 I'm going to get more involved in the IH community and hoping that will help to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  9. 2

    My guiding principle as an indie hacker has been mimicking the best, that's all.

    I got my Idea after leaving the corporate world and quickly modelled it after a couple of successful projects I liked. I'm not sure if this is the best way but it has worked wonders for me so far.

    1. 1

      Great advice 🙌

  10. 2

    If you want to find a side gig to ease the transition, we just launched Froggodoggo (https://froggodoggo.com/) where founders like you can find part-time gigs. In any case, all the best!

    1. 2

      Thanks, Can! I'll be sure to check you guys out :)

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        Awesome!

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      hi, i will be interested. Please let me know how to start

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        Cool! Just go to https://froggodoggo.com/founder/ and fill out the short form. We'll get back to you quickly!

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    1. Look at a few projects and do not be pigeon-holed into a problem.

    2. Be frugal and cut expenses that aren't adding value.

    3. Focus on making money and getting money ASAP after providing value.

    4. Validate first and work on the project later.

    I learnt the hard way but I did learn it eventually.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the tips!

  12. 1

    I left my job almost 4 months ago to work full time on Scribbl.co. I don’t know that there is a smooth transition from relative certainty to complete uncertainty. I do know that the free fall to freedom is worth it! What I found to be really helpful is to get familiar with why your are doing it. Without a good reason or at least one that motivates you enough to walk through fire the pain to acquire the freedom you seek could quickly become suffocating. If you want to avoid going broke make the decision not to. It’s amazing what types of creative things you will come up with to survive when you have decided failure is not an option.

    Congrats on taking the first step towards freedom!

  13. 1

    DON'T LEAVE YOUR JOB UNLESS YOU'VE FOUND A REPEATABLE REVENUE MODEL WHERE IF YOU PUT IN X AMOUNT OF RESOURCES, YOU KNOW YOU'LL GET BACK Y AMOUNT OF RESULTS.

    That's it.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the words of caution... I guess it's too late for that now, but if things go horribly wrong, I'll suck up my pride and go on the job hunt again.

  14. 1

    One more tip: it doesn't have to be alone - even if you work alone on your business.

    Have lunch with others. Have breaks and walk outside with others. Work in a co-working space or ask friends to come over. Tell others about your goals. Ask others for feedback. Make user interviews. etc.