Just over a year ago, I wrote this blog post. It’s titled “What It’s Like to be an Indiehacker with $200k in Debt”.
Today, I’m in a much different financial situation. In fact, I recently crossed $100k in annual revenue for my business. My debt is getting eliminated, and I can afford to go on a date with my wife whenever we want.
What changed? How did I go from that poor of a scenario, to getting ahead in life?
I’m not a different person. I’ve always been the same way. The difference was discipline. Discipline to be laser focused on first principles that drive economic prosperity.
Anything that didn’t fit within my vision was cast away. Distractions eliminated, doubters silenced, toxic friendships stripped away, and consistent content from those ahead of me in life.
I’m a huge believer in principles. There are certain principles you can follow to be successful in just about any venture.
“You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” - James Clear
When your life is lived in the moment, you can’t gain traction. There has to be a long term vision to align with. Systems can get you to your long term goals.
They do this by eliminating options. The less options you have, the easier it is to make the right decisions. The more right decisions you make, the closer you can get to your goals.
Systems can get you past your inner lack of motivation. When your environment fosters productivity and progress, that’s exactly what will happen.
Systems also allow you to create accountability and feedback loops. You know exactly when you’re off-track, and other people will know it too. Staying on the path is the best way to get where you want to go.
You can’t recognize your goal unless you’re specific about what it is.
Say I didn’t have a map, and I wanted to get to Colorado. I know there’s mountains and clean air in Colorado, so my generic goal is to find a place that has “mountains and clear air”.
Well, I could end up in Vermont, where there’s clean air and mountains, and technically I reached my ‘goals’. My generic goal was mountains and clean air, my specific goal was Colorado.
If you know your specific goals, you know when you have reached them. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for you’ll never hit the target.
In the book Art & Fear, there is a story about a ceramics teacher who performed an experiment. The goal was to create the ‘best pot’.
Half of the class was tasked to make as many pots as possible. While the other half was tasked to create the most perfect single pot.
Derek Sivers explains the outcome better than I could:
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity.
It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work-and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.
As you can see, consistent output is always a better driver than having one moment of intense creativity and productivity.
Small consistent outputs will beat sprints in the long term.
It’s also a more sustainable and predictable way of working. It takes more discipline, though. It’s not easy to be consistent. But it’s the best thing you can do to create long term success.
Investing In Myself
Once I started making money with the Closet Assistant, I gave myself an unlimited book budget.
From now on, I have the liberty to purchase any book I think might add value to my life.
This has dramatically increased the amount of good content I’ve consumed in the last few months, and it also gives me the flexibility to put down a book when I don’t think it actually delivers the value I expect.
If you’re not a reader, I highly recommend reading things you like to read until you become a reader. By being a reader, you can learn things without waiting for other people to teach you. By being a reader, you can put yourself in the shoes of people that have done the thing you want to do.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time —none, zero.” – Charlie Munger
Tithing & Giving
I’m a Bible believing Christian. Even if you’re not a Christian, the Bible is a factually correct and powerful text, though it will not make sense to people who are not born again.
In Malachi chapter 3, God tells His people (The Jews):
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you blessing without measure. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your land, and the vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the LORD of Hosts.
Just before that, God says that by not paying the tithe to the Church, you are robbing Him. Not only are you robbing Him, you’re robbing yourself of Gods blessing over your finances. For those who may not know, a tithe is 10% of your income.
This might sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo to someone not accustomed to reading the Bible, but if you take it literally, what it says is that God will rebuke the devourer (the Devil) so that the fruits of your land (the money you make from your investments of time and work) will not be destroyed, and that the vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit (you’ll always be making money).
Not only that, but God says to “Test Me in this.” He literally wants you to test this out, and see that it works.
I can tell you, it works.
Before coming to the current church that I attend, I didn’t know much about tithing and giving. And because of that, I didn’t really participate.
What I didn’t know is that I was robbing myself of God’s blessing and protection over my finances.
For the last three years, even when I had little to no money, I tithed and gave consistently. I’ve never missed a week.
A year ago, I had almost no money, but my finances were blessed. Here’s some examples:
- I have two older cars (2010 and 2006). Neither one of them have had any major repairs needed since I bought them ~4 years ago.
- The cost of the birth of our first child was waived.
- I haven’t had a single large maintenance expense for my house.
- I have only ever had increase, bonuses, and success at my current employment.
- I’ve only ever had increase and growth with my side business.
- I’ve only ever had less and less debt.
My finances are protected. If I follow the commands of God, I will always be protected.
There is so much more in the Bible when it comes to tithes, giving, and financial prosperity. This is only one small take. If you’re interested in learning more, shoot me an email.
Talking To Customers
This is my one piece of business advice for anyone looking to break into the Indihacker space. Once you launch a product, talk to the people who are using it. Ask questions (even when you know the response will be negative).
It’s incredibly valuable to be able to have a conversation with someone about how they would make your product better. They have different insights, different perceptions, and different goals.
Now, you don’t always have to do exactly what they say, but just by talking to them you might figure out a more elegant way to fix a problem or eliminate a set of problems all together.
One thing I’m going to do in the next few months is switch most of my operation from Drift to Intercom. I believe Intercom delivers a much more complete business virtual assistant, rather than just a chat interface.
As Indiehackers, we don’t typically have other people working with us. To be able to have a chat bot that intelligently answers people’s questions and points them in the right direction is a powerful tool. Not to mention the built in funnels, notifications, documentation, and more.