One day, you feel gorgeous and have 24 months of savings left. You want to go all-in on your dream, so you ignore people telling you to do this on the side. You think there’s plenty of time to build your indie business.
Eighteen months later, time flew by, dark clouds on the horizon, and the bank account screams. You are near the cliff edge of failing and getting back to a job.
What happened? How damn you arrived here?
While 2022 has been the year of leaping into entrepreneurship and going from freelancer to indie maker, 2023 brought a shit-storm.
In January last year, I didn’t know everything planned wouldn’t go as expected. I’ve been out for most of 2023, healing from burnout, and things plummeted.
I squandered my savings to survive. Instead of bootstrapping the business, I put everything on a halt to mind about my mental health.
Life happens—sometimes, there’s a bump on the road, and you fall on the ground.
But now I have six months of runway left before giving up.
How the countdown started
I worked as a freelancer for six years but always dreamt about going indie one day.
While I’ve been good at my job, long collaborations and contract work always left me little to no time on the side. Financial stability allowed me to travel often, but I didn’t grow or earn more.
It doesn’t matter how hard I tried; that was the outcome.
I’ve been running in place, so to speak.
Until I stumbled upon a Twitter challenge of writing a daily tweet for 100 consecutive days.
That contest changed the course of the events.
Soon after, I published two free products and earned $1700 in donations and licensing. As the future looked bright, things snowballed from there.
I then decided to take this financial and operational risk and invest in myself. I aimed to build a business from my creations, whether info products, apps, or templates, but I didn’t have a real plan.
In hindsight, it was too early.
Without the skills and knowledge to run alone, passion sidetracked me fast.
I was so eager to bootstrap the business that I took the wrong steps. Instead of doing the actual work, I hyper-focused on details, social media, and networking. Comparison with others dictated my feelings and made me doubt everything day in and day out. I stayed up late every night but haven’t made any real progress.
I run out of gas and burnout.
(My life broke apart into a thousand pieces.)
It took me eleven months before I was confident enough to get back.
Last November, I resumed the journey from the newsletter, my most valuable asset. I wanted to recreate the habit of working again and focus on a project I truly believe in.
The toughest challenge of my life
This year out of the game lowered the money stacks to a point where there’s no turning back. Instead of building products and earning money to increase the runway further, I almost depleted the savings.
It’s now a time challenge before running out of cash.
Six months is all I have.
July 1st, 2024, is the Doomsday, the date I need to survive to.
One hundred and eighty days to build products that people would pay for. $6k in total, or an average of $1k per month, would help extend the runway. $10k would make room to breathe.
The equation to solve is what to build and how to market it—building a business is no joke. I have a few ideas, but it’s a leap of faith.
I’m scared to death it won’t work.
Failing would mean giving up on this indie journey.
Entrepreneurship is complex and not for everyone, but I want to prove that even someone without skills, background, or money can do it. I want to prove I don’t need to return to working for others but can live on my terms. I want to reach financial freedom, so I won’t need to ask anyone for a raise, time off to travel, or what hours I have to sit at my desk. I want to do things only because I love them.
How I plan to overcome this challenge
The goal is to build a suite of tools to help in my day-to-day activities.
There should be other people with similar needs: writing tweets and newsletters, marketing and launching their products, getting seen, or taking action to create projects.
I want to trust my gut, but I’ll also de-risk by interviewing people and asking them what they need. The products must adhere to my values tho: no scams or shady tactics, only helpful help.
And that’s the easy part.
The challenge within the challenge is to build apps. Instead of using no-code tools, which are too steep and clunky for what I have in mind, I’ll develop them myself. It will take longer but will give me the freedom to create killer tools, and the codebase will jumpstart my other product ideas.
To intercept the customers, I want to give X/Twitter another shot soon. It’s a traffic source; it increases my visibility and network, and I already know how to build in public to get seen.
Last but not least, there will be down days when I’ll need to trust and follow the plan.
A few constraints to stay on track
Some mistakes that led me to starve were not taking time off, not working out, and doomscrolling.
Hence, I prioritize my physical and mental health by working out at least three times per week. A healthy mind lives at its fullest in a healthy body.
Boundary two: I’ll start the day without using the phone to gain focus; otherwise, things drift fast. And I won’t work in the evening—ever. Here’s why.
Another constraint is doing something every day and not skipping two days in a row. It doesn’t matter how much or what, but consistency.
Passion’s flame still burns hard inside me. I can’t wait to let it burn higher and free, and you can rest assured it won’t burn me out again.
It’s a long and frightening upswing, but I can do it.
I’m a maker.