April 29, 2019

What is the hardest thing about indie hacking?

Rosie Sherry @rosiesherry

What would you tell your past self about the hardest and most challenging things about your bootstrapping / indie hacking journey?

And, for those with some experience, is there anything you would do differently now that you have some experience?


  1. 3

    For me, it's a market fit challenge and marketing itself. No problem with motivation and building (except a backpain :().

  2. 3

    I think about this a lot. But I don't have a good answer.

    Sure, some parts of being an indie hacker are really hard...

    But then some parts seemed to be really hard because I approached them in completely the wrong way. And when I later found the right approach, it turns out they were super easy after all.

    For that reason, it's hard to give good, generalised advice to indie hackers. But I think the following advice is often ignored and always worth following, no matter your situation or strengths...

    • start now and be consistent - even if you start really, really small. Compound interest is an amazing phenomenon.

    • prioritise understanding your customers' pain, objections and how your product can improve their lives above every other task. The more you listen, ask questions and really try and understand/help your customer, the better you will be at building and selling an awesome product.

    • align your interests with your customers. Make it a win-win-win situation. That way, it's easy to make the right decisions because they'll be the right decisions for everyone involved.

    • aim to charge more. Even if your product isn't underpriced today, aiming to charge more will constantly have you thinking about how to further help your customers and provide them with more value.

    • never lose sight of your personal goals and constantly check to make sure your indie hacking goals still match up with them.

    • even if it feels this way sometimes, your value is not determined by your indie hacking success . Don't let your startup/side project define you.

    1. 1

      But then some parts seemed to be really hard because I approached them in completely the wrong way. And when I later found the right approach, it turns out they were super easy after all.

      This is interesting. Would you mind sharing some examples from your experience?

      1. 1


        The loneliness of being an indie hacker was something I struggled with at first.

        But that forced me to rekindle more friendships/relationships outside of work - which in retrospect was an easy fix.


        Another example is that - in the early days - I found it hard to come up with a product idea people actually wanted to buy...

        But I now know that part is super, super easy.

        I just had to switch my mindset from "creating products" to "understanding people and solving pain".

        Does that help?

        1. 1

          Yeah, definitely helps! Really like how a slight change in perspective can change everything.

  3. 2

    Well. In my case, in particular, I didn't face any major challenge actually implementing my product. I'm lucky to be super driven and focused.

    My biggest challenge now is user acquisition. After you actually launch (in my case it was 1 week ago), you run out of channels to advertise your solution pretty quickly. You need to be super effective communicating to the first users to convert them into recurring users. This is not particularly easy to do.

  4. 1

    Thanks for this question! For me it was getting out of the mindset that I had to build something - there are plenty of other things to make that don't require programming expertise that I find equally fascinating.

    I started writing about my journey for 30 days straight and really thinking about what success looked like to me. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that it's the journey and not the destination that is most important.

    I wrote a bit about the importance of just getting something, a draft or simple MVP out there and just focusing on that initially as your win https://superhackr.com/the-hustle-journey-from-first-project-to-having-your-very-own-global-empire/

  5. 1

    For me conversions...my biz is more old school B2C although I am studying B2B and serverless diligently to transition. Reviews are 4.5/5.0 stars for a few years, clients are laudatory and refer often. But needs are infrequent and the target audience, 20-35 year olds, mostly China, don't understand the needs for excellent career documents (think resumes and LI Profiles) as an investment in their future path.

    *** I should qualify this, I convert 80% once in the door, I should probably reclassify as "lead generation".

  6. 1

    Lack of money and healthcare.

    1. 2

      I hear the healthcare concern a lot, for those in the US. Us Europeans just don't understand the US healthcare system :| Though the UK seems to be crazily heading in a similar direction :(

      1. 1

        From what I've heard, the US situation has gotten much more difficult over the past generation and has increasingly penalized those not working for a company or the government. In the 3 years I worked there as a FT employee, I had no complaints except that there was a huge incentive to stay employed.

        On the whole, China was much more stressful for healthcare. Things were improving but very inconsistent and chaotic in ways. I haven't ever lived in Europe, but from what I understand it actually spends a lot for relatively few benefits but works out well for citizens due to wealth and high investment in it. Overall, I'm a fan of East Asian countries' health care systems, like Japan, Korea and Singapore (along with HK and TW). I spend my time in those places partially because of the world class health care at a reasonable rate!

        It still costs money, though...

  7. 1

    Getting over feeling like you're "failing" all the time because you're not making enough to live off of. That's gotta be the hardest, especially if it's your singular focus.

  8. 1

    For me? Knowing what to work on in the first place.

    1. 2

      I used to be super creative and then I found out my ideas suck big time. From this time on, I quit being creative and I basically scanned Indie Hackers looking for stuff with good revenue and that I thought I could do slightly better in a timely manner. For me it is what seems to work

      1. 1

        I'm considering doing a "me too" product, as well. Nothing I've done has been fruitful so far.

    2. 1

      Do you mean that you struggle to find a project to build? Or do you mean that you have trouble prioritizing tasks within your project?

      1. 1

        Do you mean that you struggle to find a project to build?

        I struggle to find products that show enough promise to be worth building.

        Once I know what I'm creating, it's easy.

        I've never struggled with the actual project-management/production part. Only with the "identify something worth building" part.

  9. 1

    Motivation and decision making when you’re going it on your own.

  10. 1

    I'd tell my past self to get over the notion that my works have to be market-unique. I feel like I abandoned ideas at various times after finding out someone else already executed on the idea. Wisdom has taught me that they're doing you a favor, they're validating the market!

    1. 1

      There was a post about this on HN yesterday. Interesting read.

  11. 1

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 1

      Impostor syndrome sucks man.. Been there. I'm curious, what are your biggest roadblocks in terms of sales and marketing?