The three self-sabotaging steps of every indie hacker.

I was listening to the My First Million podcast and the guys said these 3 steps are the self-sabotaging actions of everyone building things.

It resonated so much that I thought I’d share it. No matter how many things I’ve launched, I always go through these myself.

Pre-launch phase:

  1. Death by analysis. Overthinking it and doubting ourselves: Am I good enough? Do I have enough time? Do I have the skills? Am I passionate about this? What if it doesn’t work? What if it does work out?

  2. “It’s harder than I through”. Once we start building we always find unforeseen challenges. This is when we want to quit because it seems too difficulty, it’s taking too long, it’s above our pay grade. Doubts all over the place. Sleep on it and keep going.

  3. The Perfectionist. Finally you made it to the 90% mark but you’re so close to launching, all the fears rush back to you as you think about releasing your creations into the wild. We all find enough excuses to keep us busy for another 3 months. We work on useless details that don’t matter for the business and nobody will ever notice.

If you’re going through these stages, just know that EVERYONE is experiencing these and it’s okay. The superpower is to recognize that you’re in one of these stages, overwrite the fears and keep on pushing forward.

You are capable of incredible things that you’re not even aware of yet.

Live Lucky.

  1. 6

    Interesting how most of the phases have roots in fear and protecting the ego. It reminded me of this post by @amyhoy https://stackingthebricks.com/the-sounds-of-self-sabotage/

    Self-sabotage is a choice. It’s a bargain you made with yourself.

    Self-sabotage is a shield. It’s a strategy. You deploy it intentionally. And you do it because it works.

    It gets you the result you want: plausible deniability

    1. 2

      Plausible deniability. So true!

    2. 1

      Great article and so so true

  2. 4

    Been going through these stages with one of our projects but tbh I am really considering if we have enough time to pull this off, it's quite big in scope and we have not done a good job on the validation / distribution side of things.

    Sometimes it's also good to cut your losses and not jump down the sunk cost fallacy rabbit hole 🤙

    As long as you make a conscious decision and learn the right things from it, it's all good I think

  3. 3

    Been feeling the first two hard lately now that I’m starting the most technically challenging part of my project. My anxiety has been a bit debilitating lately, but I think after reflecting some my strategy is to just start with what I know and go step by step towards the end goal. Breaking things down into smaller chunks can help.

    Any progress above zero is a win.

    1. 1

      That's a great perspective, any progress in the right direction is good progress :)

  4. 2

    Like everyone else here, I totally see what you mean. I've been through any combination of those many many times. However, I've come to think of those situations not as something to plow through, but simply part of the "will it stick?" process. If an idea isn't strong enough to survive those things, I just move on to the next one, no hard feelings.

    1. 1

      That’s also a great approach!

  5. 2

    definitely been through some of these with my previous startup. too focused on the product, less focused on validation + getting as much feedback as possible. it's a learning curve. great share

    1. 1

      Totally agree, I think that’s the most common mistake. Too much focus on building features

  6. 2

    We've made exactly these mistakes when building our first product. Especially thinking that it wasn't good enough to charge money for it, until we had reached some sort of "finish line" (point 3).

    At least we've learned from our mistakes and build an MVP (a little more than that) for our current SaaS :)

    1. 2

      That’s great, congrats on overcoming it. It’s a big mental barrier to climb when asking for money from strangers on the internet.

  7. 2

    Can totally relate to these, its a mindset shift required to focus on the end result

  8. 2

    I have another stage, where the workload picks up because you start getting some traction and very fast it becomes too much.

    Because I'm solo (like many here), the workload became overwhelming at first and you find yourself thinking: "I have x tasks for today and I know I only have time for x/2 or x/3 tasks" and it can eat away your mind.

    I tackle this by deciding that I don't dwell on the lost tasks, I do as much as I can each day. I did this till I could afford to bring someone to the team to take on some of the things.

    Just wake up, start sprinting, and stop when it's time to "go home". That way I know I didn't waste time being overwhelmed. Part of that process is improving tasks prioritizing and allowing yourself time to reflect and prepare.

    1. 1

      Great insight. We should do a post about post-launch activities.

  9. 1

    Point #2 is almost a given - the idea starts small enough to be written on a bar napkin but as you start planning and building the full complexity is revealed. That's normal. there is always more complexity but as long as it still does what's on that bar napkin that's all anyone is going to care about to begin with as well.

    1. 1

      True, feature creep is real

  10. 1

    The last one has been the worst for me. I live my product 24/7. I know every details and every pixel but man... people will not be looking at it like I do and I just need to launch!
    The fear is real. What if people don't like it has held me back for the last month. I am making 5% improvement but I got to launch.

    1. 2

      Now you know what you need to do :) do it man!

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