Success takes more time than most will admit.

Hey IH - I just had a quick thought I wanted to say that I think is helpful for people just getting started.

No doubt, there are some new indiehackers on here hoping to get started and create a product/service that earns them a living for themselves.

All of the time I see posts that are titled "I made $XX in Y time, here's how I did it."

Avoid those, if you can. They're inspiring, for sure, but there's always something that's missing from the story.

You see, if I just told you about my product's revenue growth - it would be a wild story. Starting from "nothing" and growing it to where it is now. What a dream.

What's not told, is the years and years of learning valuable skills required to pull something like that off.

Not only that, but the longevity of the story matters. Where are they at a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now?

Many people do short term things to earn a short term income that is helpful in the moment, but doesn't sustain for the future.

Sometimes, people do short term things to earn popularity, when in reality there's no sustainable way they can keep going the way they're going.

The stories you should pay attention to are from people who've been at it for at least 5-10 years. They are doing the real work, and they're in it for the long haul. My son will turn 5 in a couple of months, and I started 6 months before he was born.

Any real success takes a lot of time, and chances are, if you're not what you consider "successful" you may not have been doing it long enough.

I had several failed attempts before my current product was created. My successful product didn't just come out of thin air. But those failures don't gain you popularity points, or social status.

For the first two years I was still working a full-time job while growing the product. The rockstars aren't the people who quit their jobs to start a business, it's the people who've put in the time (years) and work it takes to make something truly valuable.

That's not nearly as sexy of a click-bait title, though.

  1. 7

    massively well said Jordan, and really inspirational too!

    I've not built anything successful, but i can look back and think how long i've spent on every project, the majority have been 5 months max. This and many other sources make me think, and hopefully everyone else, we need to stay committed to the product/idea we are building.

    Stay committed everyone!

    1. 1

      Exactly. When I was in the learning phase, I spent a few months each learning web development, SEO, design, and writing every day to improve my writing. It too over 2 years to get to the point where I could start something like Closet Tools, and now I've been working on it for three years.

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    Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.
    -- Nick Fogle

    1. 1

      Actually a quote from Bill Gates but it's a good one nonetheless!

      1. 1

        I saw it on Nick's blog, so I shared with that attribution, Good to know! :)

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    There is no quick hack. There is only methodical and consistent work.

    Love your essay, Jordan. We're all in it for the long run. And those who are not will quickly drop out.

    1. 1

      Sorry for topping your book launch post 😅 love how you just keep going. Not sure I would have the energy for that.

  4. 2

    I have a quote too that I don't remember exactly where I heard it, but when it comes to entrepreneurship the thing to remember is "most people quit."

    That's it. If you don't quit, you're already ahead of the game. Because you're giving chance a chance then.

    The other key perspective to notice here, is that perhaps the single most important thing to attribute to most people's successes is the fact that they survived. They survived long enough for compounding to do it's work.

    Compounding doesn't only apply to your finances, it also applies to your relationships, your grit, your ability to handle shit shows, and your core skills.

    Which is nice because sometimes not quitting just means choosing to survive.

    Sometimes of course that's also not the easiest thing to do. I've found it's helpful to think of the concept of "M" from poker - which is the number of rounds you can sit through and do nothing.

    But yeah. Success definitely takes more time than is visible.

  5. 2

    This is the kind of post which has to be made sticky or need to act as an often reminder. I have been in this journey for an year now and built 7 projects, out of which only 2 made me something. Still on $0 MRR.

    But my focus is entirely on learning the lessons and maintaining the consistency. Seeing write-ups like these really really help to keep pushing. Thank you..

    1. 2

      Right, if you're building real skills and building things that are valuable for people (i.e. make them money, save them money, or save them time), then eventually you're going to get something that sticks!

  6. 2

    Totally agree with you. I have worked with multiple businesses, and started a few of my own over the past 4 decades, and can confidently say that the best businesses I know were built over a span of years.

    Solid foundations = strong basis for growth and sustainability.

    Or as another mentor once told me: "Quick uptick = Quick slide back down again". That has held true more times than I can count.

    1. 1

      Yup, as quick as it comes is as quick as it goes. The foundation is all that matters, and then iterating and building on it continuously.

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    Great post Jordan! As my mentors have always told me:
    "focus on building the soft skills."

    I'm still using skills I learned nearly a decade ago when I was just entering high school. A lot of founders and builders don't have "nothing" when they go into building. In fact, in each new engagement or project I do, I bring in a lot of my old frameworks and methodologies that I continue to iterate and improve on.

    Good job in articulating your thoughts, let's keep building!

    1. 1

      Exactly – knowledge compounds!

  8. 2

    Fantastic post. Becoming a master at anything worthwhile takes huge amounts of effort and time. Seeing those I made x in y time can be a little demoralising because comparison is the thief of joy.

    1. 1

      Exactly. No reason to be jealous or envy them. Just compete with yourself and keep getting better over time.

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    Thank you for the post Jordan! 👏🏻

    It's a bit frustrating knowing the long road ahead waiting for you, before being able to live thanks to your own product. I'm actually at the beginning of the journey, maybe.

    What I do whenever I have this feeling is stop thinking about all the hard work and years in front of me, but look behind instead and celebrate what I've completed already.

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      The long road ahead just means you're doing something valuable, and it's a long term investment that will pay off much larger in the end.

      Pushing through that hard work is what makes it all happen!

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    I completely agree for bootstrapping which is also what I am doing. However it must be said that some get funding which accelerates things.

    On the short term nature of some ventures -


    Poshmark down 58% today? What the heck is going on?

    1. 1

      Everything was down today - but that's a big dip!

  11. 2

    Brilliant post thanks.

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    There's a lot of truth in your post, but then you go and end it with, "The rockstars aren't the people who quit their jobs to start a business, it's the people who've put in the time (years) and work it takes to make something truly valuable."

    These things aren't mutually exclusive. You can still be a rockstar and quit your job to build something truly valuable. Things always take longer than expected, but that also doesn't mean people can't create and launch something valuable in months instead of years.

    I can understand the frustration of people chasing get-rich schemes and putting out utter shit. I can also understand the irritation with people fabricating or embellishing stories for internet points. But the way you end it just makes you sound bitter.

    1. 2

      I added that last bit because people seem to think that quitting your job means you're an entrepreneur (or IndieHacker, in this case). Some people are really good, and get a bit lucky, they're definitely awesome!

      But it's not a sustainable model for most people, as most people have other responsibilities and needs for a stable income (like a family to provide for), and I think starting products on the side while working should be regularly celebrated just as much!

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        "Starting products on the side while working should be regularly celebrated just as much!" 100% with you.

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    Thanks for writing this down! So much truth here. I've definitely noticed the "missing" details, so I look up things myself to fill those gaps every time I consume those success stories. I also like to track companies 2 - 4 years out. Those are the two things I started sharing in the Why It Works IH series.

    Thanks for taking the time to write. It would be valuable to the community if more Indie hacker alumni have a place to easily share their thoughts like these.

  14. 2

    I agree 100%.

    And after a while you start noticing when in a “case study” something is missing. It makes me so disappointed in the author.

  15. 1

    Thanks for posting this!

  16. 1

    Oh, for sure. Success is a marathon, not a sprint.

  17. 1

    A refreshing reminder, thank you

  18. 1

    You're totally right. I no longer read many wild success stories either, for the same reasons.

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    That's not nearly as sexy of a click-bait title, though.

    I think this is the main reason for this haha.
    Nobody wants to hear it took 6 years and was a lot of work just too primed to look for quick results

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