Self Development July 13, 2020

Lessons learned in a year of indie-hacking

Jim Raptis @dmraptis

Last year, I started my journey on indie-hacking. After hundreds of hours side hustling, I do a retrospective on the basic lessons I learned during this 12-month period.

To put you into context, I co-founded and work full-time for VisualEyes, a startup about AI design analytics.

So I work on my projects in my free time. Most of them were made for fun or to automate annoying daily tasks. Even though monetizing them was not my No1 priority, I managed to make some profit by selling a couple of them.

Today I want to give back to the indie hacking community by sharing the top 10 lessons/advices I learned during my journey so far.

1. Love what you do

Bootstrapping a product can be stressful, exhausting, and full of surprises experience. The only road to success is by loving what you do and the process itself.

2. Solve your own problem

Look at your process, focus on possible flaws, and annoying repetitive stuff. If you face a major problem, it’s 100% guaranteed that other people have the same issue too.

3. Admit your weaknesses

Only by understanding and admitting your weaknesses, you can really evolve!

4. Share your progress

It’s the perfect way to inspire the next generation of makers and give back to your own community.

5. Document & share your resources

Not only it supercharges your workflow by organizing and centralizing your asset but it can become a great product someday.

Many people (me too) love to discover curated collections for tools, resources, or guides.

6. Keep up with the trends

Your product is nothing without its users. Set as your ultimate goal to please them and understand their daily workflow.

Closely monitoring your niche and your users in their “natural habitat” can give you these valuable pieces of information.

7. Focus on Monetization

Adding a paywall is not the only option. Affiliate links, sponsorships, locking features and many more options exist.

8. Build a network

Always be open and communicate with like-minded people. You always have something to learn from exceptional people in your field.

9. Use the tools that fit you

Never use tools that don’t fit with your skills. If code is your strength and you can create a prototype in a day, go for it.

10. Prioritize your projects

You must focus on your full-time job first and then find some time to your side hustle. Remember! It’s a side project unless you pay your rent from it.


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  1. 2

    Great tips, thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      I always love sharing tips and helping other makers. I'm glad you like my post, Marty!