My one-year anniversary as a full-time indie hacker

I woke up this morning with some random "Congrats on your work year anniversary" messages on LinkedIn.

Wow! It has been one year since I quit my full-time job...??

One year of waking up every day and working with no pay checks coming back my way.

And. It's been the best year of my working career!

Why'd I quit my paying job?

I wasn't enjoying it. I've worked for years for other people, working on their desires, being a good employee and a good team mate.

The only time I truly enjoyed work was when my last company gave me and a co-worker the opportunity to start our own "startup" within their company.

That experience was so amazing that when I had to go back to regular work (after 3 short months) as allocating us to non-core business wasn't sustainable, it was tough.

After a year of being back in the core-business, I wanted my life to go back to how it was when I was working on a startup.

There was really no better time. Waiting for the "right" time is folly as that's just an excuse to either never do it or put off to the point where you receive drastically diminished returns.

Why I jumped out of the bucket to take a leap of faith into the unknown

What have I been up to?

I quit my job with no real, conclusive thing that I was going to work on. Nothing that was really started. I just had an itch to do something.

Started a dietary health business with my wife

One of the first things I wanted to work on was an idea my wife and I had for a dietary business that we could quickly spin up and use to fund life.

She is a registered dietician but wasn't working for the last couple years since our oldest child was born. So, she needed to get her licensing up-to-date and get registered in the new state we are living in. Plus, establish a network with physicians that could recommend her.

Our idea was pretty cool and mainly focused on telehealth.

Then COVID hit. Amusing enough, this drastically impacted what we were trying to do for the better and for the worse.

For the better, many telehealth regulations were loosened or even gotten rid of.

For the worse, the lockdowns made it next to impossible to create the network needed to get going.

Long story short, COVID made it too difficult, my wife lost interest, and I moved on to other things.

Tried a couple of social sites

My business partner and I tried a couple of more social-esque type apps.

One was to provide up-to-date statuses of what's going on in your local neighborhood. The other was a product listing / feedback generating type site.

All I have to say about social sites is => yeesh. Maybe not for me. Lot's of effort for likely never getting any returns unless you get pretty damn lucky.

Worked on a backend framework

My business partner is the technical genius and loves building things. Alpas is a Kotlin-based backend framework inspired by Laravel.

This framework was never meant to directly be a money-generator. But, potentially something that, if popular, would open up some other channels to monetize off of.

We worked on this for several months. But, it doesn't appear that people are looking for a backend web framework written in Kotlin. Kotlin still seems to be mainly used for Android development and those developers don't seem to be interested in web development.

Cleavr - server provisioning and app deployment

We then put Cleavr into high gear. Cleavr is a server provisioning and app deployment tool that my biz partner first released as a desktop application in 2017.

We decided to bring Cleavr into our ventures and take it up a level and transform it into a web SAAS application.

Starting in April 2020, we put out a beta version and tested it with a handful of beta users.

In mid-July, we made Cleavr available to purchase.

Since then, we started to put a lot of focus in having Cleavr provide first class support for NodeJS applications - with a focus on AdonisJS and NuxtJS frameworks.

We put out a ton of new features via the pull-method of having customers pull us towards their needs.

We've met a lot of cool innovators in the NodeJS community and have picked up nearly 70 subscribers.

We're still a ways away from ramen profitability and sustainability with Cleavr. But, I feel that will be a major milestone that we'll hit this year.

Lessons learned and musings

  • Creating a "social" app is tough. Don't expect anything that you do to just automatically make you money. And times that by 100 if you're working on a social app.
  • People will tell you what you want to hear and what you don't want to hear. It's up to you on how you handle and what you do with that information. You are in control. You decide your fate.
  • Take time to form and keep up relationships. In the least, you'll learn something.
  • Keep building. Don't just give up. MVP is a popular catch phrase. But it shouldn't be. Think of your product more-so in a bunch of different phases where you can have users/customers interact with and then learn from. You may learn that your product has no chance of being minimally viable. Or, you may learn how you can get closer to that milestone.
  • Don't listen to the plethora of generic and dogmatic advice thought-leaders that are out there. It's like having a baby. Any parent knows what I mean. Everything you do is either killing your baby, or saving your baby. There is a bazillion different ways in which you can achieve success. Quickly do, quickly learn, have persistence, have thoughtfulness, and have a little bit of luck is what you need.
  • Don't listen to me. I'm just a dude you're reading on the internet. 😎
  1. 2

    Great reading, dude! :) https://pagemtr.com is a tool I am babysittering for a few months yet recently started to promote a little bit, and finally taking leads.

    Making own, profitable saas is a really hard work. All gaps in the market are already filled, companies have lots of money for building and promoting similar tools (any tools), and we are alone, small, yet having dreams :)

    I will say once again, making a saas is a big effort which actually can be understood by others making their own saas. On the Internet there are lots of great stories on success, yet nobody wants to share how heavy way the success had :)

    1. 1

      A very big effort indeed! But, you'll never get anywhere if you never go anywhere.

      Good luck on your project and your dreams!

      1. 1

        Yup, and thanks!

  2. 1

    Wow, that sounds like an intense year. Congratulations on building a product that people will pay for - that's huge!

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