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Current Startup Status

Months Building: 15.2
Launched Startups: 1
Total Users: 26
Current MRR / MRR Goal: $0 / $13,000

6 Months Later – What Have I learned?

I am working on Eurotripr.com – a site to inspire others to travel to Europe. I’m interviewing travelers and sharing their advice and stories from their Eurotrips so others can learn from them and gain confidence to plan their own trips. I’m curating travel info on European destinations so travelers can decide what the best countries/cities/sights are to visit in Europe. I’m curating European travel itineraries so others can streamline the planning process and find the best itineraries for their trips. I’m building a custom itinerary planner, so travelers can create a custom Eurotrip itinerary for themselves.
I’m spending WAY to much time doing all this and not promoting a finished project to the world. I’m coding in a silo and not receiving valid feedback more regularly, so I am not 100% sure what I am focusing on is really what others will pay for. I’m not maintaining consistency day in and day out with coding and pushing things live. I’m not following through on my original plan and I keep jumping back and forth between unfinished features, or adding new unnecessary features, before I even have traffic to the site.

What I’ve learned is that is is vitally important to stick to a plan and maintain consistency while working that plan. Start with Primary Feature #1, build it, test it, launch it, promote it, analyze it. If there were positive users, move on to feature #2. Otherwise, I’ll waste time building things before I know if their wanted, and waste time that could have been spent on something that people actually DO want.
Also, the longer I build something, the more invested I am and the less likely I will decide to pivot or scrap it because “it has to succeed!” now that I’ve dumped so much time into it. Especially since I left my job and am living off savings and spouse’s income.

Also, don’t expect to magically change your habits when you leave your job to focus on trying to build a valid startup. If you were piss poor at managing your time and juggling multiple tasks before, you are going to be just as piss poor. Get your habits under control before jumping ship. Who knows, you might even find you can carve out more structured time while working to focus on your project – without having to forgo sleep.

Also, create and stick to a routine EVERY DAY if you leave your job to focus on building your projects. Wake up early, exercise, shower, make breakfast, get the kids on the bus, review your plan for the day (you do HAVE a plan for the day right?), tweet/blog/stream/post about your current status on your project – promote your journey every day, spend several hours focused on completing today’s feature, test yesterdays feature, launch yesterday’s feature, stop working at the same time everyday, walk away from the computer, spend time with friends and family, plan tomorrow, read, go to sleep BEFORE midnight. HAVE A ROUTINE. Otherwise you are going to wake up at 10:30 6 months later and realize you’ve lost 6 months, and you no longer recognize yourself, nor have control of your day because you left too much shit undone.

Also, find people that are on the same journey as you and understand the ups and downs. Your family doesn’t get it. Your friends don’t get it. They wonder why you

don’t have a job,
don’t have and free time,
don’t have anything constructive to talk with them about
why you need to ‘play’ on your computer all the time since you don’t have a job
Having a community, or even one other Indie Hacker to share your experience with who gets it is priceless and a very underrated necessity on this journey. Find a friend and talk with them dailly, weekly, whenever you can to share all the fears, doubts, hopes, problems, mini-successes, and plans with. Because no matter how well-intentioned your non-founder friends and family are, they just don’t get it. You need someone to talk to who does.

What I’ve learned is that this journey is hard and lonely and soul-crushing. It takes everything to keep moving forward when you don’t even know if forward is the right direction. It takes confidence and unwavering hope to continue down this path not even knowing when (or if) success will come.

There will be a lot of bad days when you have less than zero motivation, when everyone around you is begging you to stop and go back to a ‘normal’ way of life, go back to your 9-5, give up your dream because your life is already wonderful.

There will be a lot of days when you doubt yourself, when your imposter syndrome hits all-time highs, and you really do wish you’d never left your job or knew what Indie Hacking was. You’ll question whether you can see this through, if you are expert enough to make this thing and promote it to enough people to earn a living from it.

There will be days when you are so embarrassed with your current failure that you don’t want to see anyone, you don’t want to leave the house, you don’t want your wife and kids to realize you’re a loser, you want to disappear.

Then you’ll read that one post or podcast on Indie Hackers, or see that one inspirational tweet, or re-watch Pieter Level’s presentations on YouTube, and realize that EVERYONE who has the success you so badly crave at this moment, has been to this exact point in their own journey. You’ll realize that everyone who’s started something worthwhile has had these moments of doubt and insecurity, that they’ve all broken down exactly like you are right now.

And you’ll see that each one of them persevered and kept moving forward, sometimes pivoting, sometimes entirely scrapping what they’ve poured their time, heart, and souls into, but they all moved forward long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. They stayed the course and in the end – regardless of how long it took to get to that end – they paved their own path to success on their terms.

This path requires patience, willpower, grit, and an unwavering belief that no matter what others say or do, I am the right person to be building this thing, and right now is the right time to be building it. No matter what doubts I have, I will be able to overcome them and achieve success on my own terms.

This shit is hard. My resolve to be successful at it must be harder.

The path of an Entrepreneur, Indie Hacker, Solo Maker is hard and lonely.

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