September 16, 2020

What was your job before you became a full-time maker?

David Delahunty @daviddel

What job did you give up to pursue your dream of a full-time maker?

Are you planning on leaving your job soon and if so what is your job?

  1. 4

    I had a web dev job.

    But even before that, I work in a bakery. I bake banana break, cookies, carrot cake, .... 😘 delicioso

    It was a nice time, working with nice people

    1. 2

      Don't think I could work in a bakery, don't have the will power not to eat everything :)

      1. 2

        😄 We get used it over time. Though, it’s nice to bring home some cakes sometimes

  2. 2

    I used to be a Nanotechnology researcher dealing with Self-assembled quantum dots... so, I was a MAKER ... but at the Nanoscale 🤪

  3. 2

    I was a software developer. A profession much less creative than I thought.

    Basically, you're given specification, and your job is to "build" those specifications. This gives you very little time for creativity.

    Being a founder / an indie hacker reversed that. Now I can code without any boss telling me what to do & I can do it in any way I want.

    1. 1

      I find restrictions in a job the biggest reason why people either leave to go to another company or set out on their own.

  4. 1

    I was a director of Product Management in the largest media and tech in Scandinavia. In addition to PMs I had all of the analysts in the company reporting to me.

    My cofounder was my engineering director counterpart, and we have been working together on and off for about 6 years.

  5. 1

    I just graduated before I fully committed to following my dream :)
    I had several small side projects, but still studying and researching were my main activities. I always wanted to become a maker and was searching for new smart ways to tackle things. Though I was quite picky about which ideas to follow and which not, I am delighted that to the end of my master thesis I came up with an idea which fitted perfectly with me. Luckily I already found my soulmate, with whom I can now realise this idea together :)

  6. 1

    I was a former Wall Street Trader creating novel quantitative trading algorithms for cryptocurrencies and being a market maker for Australian options.

  7. 1

    Seems silly! I've been working as journalist for a long time, lastly decided to quit and start my digital nomad lifestyle. Now I'm on the road and working on my new project:

  8. 1

    I usually do at least 2 things, both to diversify, meet people, financial reasons, etc. but also to give me leverage when/if I need to explain what I've been doing for the past x years. By doing multiple things I can choose how to word the response.

    • For my first 3 years of being indie, I was working as a full-time software engineer and indiehacker on the side.
    • Last year I went full-time indie and university comp sci teacher on the side.
    • Past couple of months I've been full-time software engineer, again; on the side I'm doing indiehacking, teaching, and further grad studies.

    I will go back to indie soon. I only diverted momentarily because things were not looking great late spring. Anyone wondering if they should "take the leap" -- you can always go back to some job if things don't work out, so just do it.

  9. 1

    I am not full time, but I work on my side projects as a full job because I work at night.

    I work for a Swedish clothing company....during the day...since I moved to Finland.

    But my real job was lifeguarding in the beach.. which I miss, a lot.

  10. 1

    I was a financial advisor. That job is all sales until you have a client base. I'm hate cold calls and "networking." I should have listened when they told me, that but I thought I was special and it would work out somehow. Before that I was an MCSE and high-level systems admin. Quitting that was dumb.

  11. 1

    That's a great 'back in time' question :)

    In my case there were couple of them jumping from one to another.

    Film producer, furniture renovator, surfing teacher, builder and suddenly business owner and entrepreneur.

    Why have I changed?

    To stabilize life, raise its comfort, be more flexible and than strike back and do all the things I love and are worth to experience. Obviously living life too right now :)

    1. 1

      Surfing....haven't jumped on a board in 2 years....

      1. 1

        same man :) Changing 2 years into 2 days though :)

        1. 1

          I remember not being able to surf when I moved to Finland and star crying coz I really so addictive...

        2. 1

          This comment was deleted 11 days ago.

  12. 1

    Private equity investor focused on small-to-medium-sized consumer and e-commerce businesses.

    1. 1

      That sounds like a good job. If you don't mind, can you tell us what you're doing now?

      1. 1

        It was a good job, but after 12 years of investing, I got tired of being a passive investor and wanted to make stuff. I quit 4 years ago and am on my third indie hacker try. First I tried writing business and non-fiction book summaries – I had modest success but shut it down for various reasons. Second I joined a couple of friends to work on their small mobile app business. That was fun, but difficult to grow – competition in the app stores is brutal, and if you're not winning the ASO game, growth through non-app-store channels is very difficult. Now I'm back to being solo and working on building a productivity app for individuals – a single app for tasks, time tracking, and notes. Hope this one works! 🤞 All things considered, I think being an indie hacker is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, but also the most fun and fulfilling.

        1. 1

          Thanks for taking the time to write this. I think it's very difficult to be an indie hacker and create a successful SaaS. I'm planning my own SaaS this month and i'm so scared to fail but then i read how people never give up and keep doing what they want instead of just working for someone else. Let me know about your app when it's done.

          1. 2

            Yeah, I forgot to mention above – the other reason I quit private equity besides wanting to make things was also wanting to be my own boss.

            Indie hacking and saas is hard. You could say that my first two attempts were "failure" but I did make some money from both and more importantly I developed a lot of new skills which carry over to the next attempt.

            When I was in private equity, I was an e-commerce specialist so I learned a lot of stuff related to running e-commerce website and also email marketing, PPC, SEO and social media.

            When I started writing book summaries, I learned how to be a better writer, not only writing long-form but also copywriting for sales and marketing. I also further developed my email marketing skills.

            When I worked with my friends on the mobile app business, I picked up design and ui/ux skills. I completely redesigned the apps to make them cleaner and more modern. I also did ASO and app store marketing. And I also learned react and built a web app interface for one of the apps.

            And now for my third attempt, I feel like I have a good shot at succeeding because I've built up these skills – web development, marketing, copywriting, design/ui/ux. One of the reasons why indie hacking is hard is because there are so many skills required. And in the last year, I've really leveled up my React dev skills, learned Firebase for the backend, Redux for state management, and Gatsby for static site development.

            While I'm pretty happy with the path I've taken, my one regret is that I never built up an audience while doing all of the above. I wish I had done that – an audience is an incredibly valuable asset, I just learned that recently.

            I guess what I'm trying to say is that while some indie hackers find success on their first try, I think most do not, but they build skills and assets that make them more likely to succeed on the next one, so try to see the long game.

            Good luck!

            1. 1

              I wish i have those writing skills to express myself in a more effective way. You have a new follower btw :)
              I feel much better to know that i can fail in my SaaS and still survive to try again. Thanks for taking the time to write all and good luck.

  13. 1

    I am a full-time Head of Growth at a venture fund now

    Was full-time maker/ founder 5 years ago

    Now I'm enjoying working on small projects in the evening and weekend

    I might eventually going back to full-time maker mode

    1. 1

      What is it like making the switch back from maker to full-time employment?

      This is something I have thought about recently, how would I adjust.

      1. 2

        I exited my own startup, after that, I joined a venture builder and now investing along with my micro fund.

        I enjoy the building process more.

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