No, you don't need that fancy equipment

Reflecting on how I built a $10k+ MRR SaaS with a $200 Chromebook at Starbucks

August 14, 2023

Your favorite creator, developer, solopreneur, etc., has a decked out office with lights, a fancy sitting/standing desk, nice cameras, maxed out computer, fancy monitor, custom mechanical keyboard, studio headphones, and a chair with a price tag that will make your eyes water.

But that’s just par for the course. You NEED all that stuff to be successful. It’s just part of the game. Otherwise, why would they do it?

It’s a common fallacy to think that having all the right gear and tools will make you successful. You think that, given the right tools, creating things would be easier.

And you’re not completely wrong. A faster computer makes things faster. A better monitor means more accurate edits. A better camera makes you look better. A comfier chair means you can sit longer.

There are two problems with thinking better gear will make you better:

  1. If you’re not already creating consistently, you don’t actually know if you like doing it.
  2. If you haven’t mastered the tools you have available to you, you won’t be better with better tools.

Creators who have all the fancy tools are already in the game. They know this is how they want to spend their time. This is how they want to grow their career. This is how they want to make a difference in the world.

But if you’re not already in that game, how do you know if you like it? Would you want to drop $10k on a brand new setup and end up hating it? What if your tools are great, but your ideas are terrible?

Constraints cause you to have to be more creative, and it actually helps you make decisions.

With unlimited tooling, you can create anything. With limited tooling, you’re restricted to less. That lets you know what you’re able to create and it helps you get started moving in the right direction.

Being able to create anything is a curse, not a blessing. You get stuck, because you know there’s more you can do and you don’t know which direction to go.

Let your limited tooling direct where you go.

But at the same time, you can do so much more than you think with “limited” tooling.

There’s no limitation difference between a screwdriver and a drill with a screwdriver bit. You can screw stuff with either tool. One is faster and requires less effort, while the other is slower.

There’s no limitation difference between a hand saw and a circular saw. You can saw stuff with either tool. One is faster and requires less effort, while the other is slower.

Similarly, there’s no limitation difference between a cheap laptop + iPhone YouTuber setup and a decked out stream-deck controlled Sony camera Mac Studio setup. You can still make awesome content/products. One is faster, and requires less effort (in editing), while the other is slower.

The gear is only the interesting part, not the important part.

The important part is in your head. The thing that actually orchestrates creating things.

The differentiation between a great creator and a lousy creator is not the tools. It’s their ability to focus and create objectively great things.

Your brain is the ultimate creation tool. And if it’s not trained well, it’s easy to think that more/better external tooling will make it better.

More/better external tooling will not make it better.

When I got started Indiehacking over 4 years ago - all I had access to was a $200 Acer Chromebook. I loved that thing. It was light, fast, and simple.

When I decided I wanted to learn web development I didn’t go out and get a bunch of new tech. I hacked my Chromebook and dual-booted Ubuntu so I could code (at the time, Linux apps weren’t natively supported).

Instead of setting up a fancy office, I worked out of Starbucks. Fast free wifi, lots of coffee, and some wired earbuds to focus.

I worked at Starbucks Monday through Friday from 6AM to 8AM and build my SaaS business from $0 to $10k+ MRR in two years.

I would get up early and work on my side hustle before putting in a full day’s work as an Electrical Engineer.

After two years, I bought an older used MacBook pro so I could do some Windows testing using bootcamp.

And even today, my series of online products pull in $300k+ per year, and I do it all from the cheapest M1 Macbook Air.

Every once in a while I’m tempted to upgrade.

“Man, my office could look so cool. I would always be in the mood to create stuff and be focused”.

But then I remember the years when I didn’t have much, and yet I was more focused and growing faster than I am now.

It’s not about the tools. It’s about you and what you create with the tools that you have.

Don’t buy the camera. Don’t buy the maxed out computer. Don’t get fancy lights and microphones.

Just start creating. See what happens. If you like it, and other people like it, keep going.