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Week 18 of 52 to Indie Hacking

Week 18 of 52 to Indie Hacking
By Jim Zarkadas • Issue #12 • View online
In case you missed it here is what happened on my previous weeks.

Ideas are exciting, execution is not
On Monday I started by working on my audio-course, the practical guide for IndieHackers on how to meet new people and build meaningful relationships. During the week I made some good progress. I drafted my launch strategy and broke it into 3 phases.
  • First the private invite-only free course version where I will interview some people and will write the course outline.
  • Then the pre-sales where people can buy the course for a discounted price and also influence the course directly with their feedback.
  • Finally the official launch phase where the course is completed and things get even more serious for me.
On top of these I also scheduled some interviews for the next week with people who are infestered, and prepared some momtest-style questions for them.
For some reason though, it wasn’t easy to do this progress. I was constantly feeling that my progress is too slow. But still, I couldn’t change anything. It was hard to focus. It was hard to get into flow and execute. To start making progress. I had the tendency to spend more time reading successful stories of others and research for best-practices, instead of working on my course. I was looking for motivation and excitement.
I realized that execution is tough and uncomfortable. Reading and brainstorming is exciting cause no decisions have to be taken. Execution is about risks, decisions and progress. It’s about getting exposed, trying new things, failing fast and sometimes succeeding as well.
At some point I read this article that my girlfriend sent to me. It gave me a lot of clarity on what’s going on in my mind.
Self-disciplined people view motivation as extra credit—nice to have when it shows up, but never to be expected or counted on.
Feeling inspired and motivated to hit the gym, study for a test, or work on that backyard project is great. We all love that feeling because it makes it relatively easy to do hard things.
But here’s the thing:
Most people assume that feeling motivated is required to do hard things.
People think that “if I’m not feeling it” I can’t really do it or it’s not worth even trying. We go about our lives waiting for inspiration to strike, but all the while our dreams, goals, and aspirations fade further and further into memory as life seems to pass us by.
Self-disciplined people don’t fall into this trap because they understand the true nature of the relationship between feeling and action:
Action leads to feeling just as often as feeling leads to action.
In other words, the relationship between feeling and action is a two-way street: Sure, feeling good helps you do hard things; but doing hard things makes you feel good—in particular, it makes you more motivated to do future hard things.
“Ok it’s clear now. Action brings excitement. Even if it’s not exciting at first. Once I start making progress I will feel the excitement. The only thing I need at this moment is to just become more self-disciplined and focus on executing. It’s like skateboarding. The first times I tried to ride my board, I was scared and sucked big time. But every time I tried and made some progress I was hyped and kept doing it. That’s your challenge for the next weeks Jim. To get into more action.”
I started creating my own content on Twitter
Jim Zarkadas
After reading the article of @robwalling "The Stairstep Approach to Bootstrapping", I decided to follow his approach.

So far I've been a design agency co-founder, design leader for 5M+ users product, but it's my first time as an IndieHacker.

My plan for the next 12 months 👇
This is something I’ve been thinking of for months now. The last week I decided to go for it and take some first steps. I started creating my own content on Twitter and stopped consuming only content that others create. Why? Because I want to grow my network. I want to build more relationships and and share my learnings with them. My network is my team. It’s the people that I can ask for support when I need to and provide help when they need me.
To be honest with myself, I’ve been a hater of social networks for years now. I deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts some years ago, cause they were too toxic for me. They embraced a lot the mindset of showing-off and writing huge posts, instead of socializing. When it comes to Twitter I figured out that it’s one of the only social networks where people discuss, exchange knowledge and are open to make new connections. Every day I chat with someone new. All I have to do is to send them a DM or reply to their tweets.
“Ok it’s time to execute now”, I thought at some point. “Enough with daydreaming and theories on why I need to work on my Twitter content. Let’s get into action.” As a first step I bought and watched the course “Everyone can build a Twitter Audience” of Daniel Vassalo. Daniel has been a huge inspiration for me and he is one of the main reason I started creating my own course. It’s remarkable how he achieved to generate $100k revenue in a few month with limited previous experience just by selling this course.
Once I was done with his course I wrote down the content strategy I want to follow on Twitter. What content I want to share and what principles I should always have in mind.
My principles
  • Keep it focused. No politics, jokes etc. Focus on specific content topics and respect people’s time.
  • Be authentic and be myself. Tweet as I would talk to a friend. Never compare myself and my style to others.
  • Engage actively with people that follow me - Networking is bi-directional. My twitter account is a place to discuss not a place to only share information.
My content strategy
  • Happiness and spirituality - share everything I’ve learned from the last few years of active self-development.
  • IndieHacking - Daily insights on what I am working on.
Once I was done with these, I updated my profile bio to reflect what I will be tweeting about, and finally published some tweets.
“Well done Jim.“ I thought, ”You got into action. You’re officially creating your own content on Twitter now and this time with a solid strategy and principles to follow. Keep it up. Action feels good.”
My 3rd round of skate lessons just started
The last week the 3rd round of adult skate lessons started. I’ve been waiting for them since Covid19 hit the Netherlands. I missed them so much.
These lessons have been my medium to meet other like-minded adult skaters. Skaters on the same level as me and with a similar lifestyle. So far it has been a great strategy and has helped me progress and socialise a lot in skateboarding.
Every Monday at 7PM we meet and skate all together for 2 hours. We put all of our thoughts and worries aside, we challenge our fears and have fun. It’s hard to describe how it feels. Only thing I can say is that it brings an intense feeling of happiness. It reminds me how beautiful and fun life can be if I just choose to experience it this way. So, cheers to the 3rd round! 🛹
Who I met this week
Dimitri Ivashchuk - A shoutout to 12k followers
The previous week Dimitri Ivashchuk asked on Twitter who could help him on the design of his product and Vladimir mentioned me. Vladimir Haltakov, is a fellow IndieHacker that I helped some months ago with my free UX sessions. He found my advice very useful and was happy to introduce me.
A few hours later I ended up video calling with Dimitri and discussing about our projects. I gave him some UX advice as well and he helped me with the course I am working on. After our call he made a shout out on his Twitter account mentioning that he found my advice very useful and suggested his audience to follow me.
Dimitri has 12.8K followers on Twitter and brought me exposure by doing this. Fun fact is that I never asked for this shout out. I didn’t even have this intention in my mind before we do our video call. My only goal was to just help him and build a new relationship.
“This is how networking works. If I help others, they will help me back. People are nice. All I need is to spread positivity and beauty around me. I will never know what I’ll get back in return. The only thing I know for sure is that it will get me closer to my dreams and my goals.”
I was following Adriaan on Twitter for quite some months now. He is living in The Netherlands as well, and he owns one of the most successful privacy-focused analytic tools in the market. The quality of his work and his values were always appealing to me.
I had thought many times in the past to DM him and ask him to go for a beer but never tried to. I was scared. I was always thinking that “He is more successful than me, why would he hang out with me”. “Come on Jim, don’t be insecure. Relationships don’t work this way. It’s not about who is strong and who is weak. Stop being biased about others and talk to them.”
Finally I found the courage and DMed him. He was very open and positive and we went for a beer. The last week it was the second time that we actually met. The first time was 2 months ago. Adriaan is a great guy and we have a lot of interests in common. That was a big lesson for me. Never prejudge anyone or anything. Only come to conclusions after trying.
Jamil and others…
We met with Jamil for the first time in an audio group chat of the IndieHackers community some weeks ago. The last week we made a video call and got to know each other. We had a very nice conversation and he showed me new things about the online communities and the process of building them. I also gave him some feedback on the project he is working on. It was fun as always.
In the next days, I also chatted with 5 more people in my twitter DMs. We never made a video call because we didn’t feel like it. Networking is not only about doing calls and being close to everyone. It’s just about being more open and getting in touch with more people. If a relationship is meant to be born, it will on its own way.
I did 2 momtest-style interviews for a new idea
On my previous issue I mentioned I met with Jelle Stolwijk, a fellow IndieHacker in the Netherlands. We were both very excited to meet each other and decided to experiment by working together on a side-project. This way we can keep in touch and also exchange knowledge by collaborating.
Our side-project idea was about building a tool to help people in The Netherlands find a roommate easier. At this moment we know that the process sucks a lot and we ‘ve heard multiple people complaining about it. That’s why we decided to start by talking to these people. We set a goal and did 4 momtest-style interviews. We both wrote down all of our insights and planned a call for the next week to discuss them in detail. This way we can make a plan and come up with some first solutions to test.
The week was over and I kept thinking: “I remember back in my first weeks when I had to do these interviews, that I was super uncomfortable and I had nobody to interview. This time it’s different. I have more courage and I also have a wider network. My effort and my investment are slowly paying off.”
Did you enjoy this issue?
Jim Zarkadas

On the 1st of June 2020, I quit my job and started pursuing a career as a digital solo entrepreneur (aka indie-hacker).

For the next 12 months , every week I'll be sharing all of my learnings as well as the behind the scenes of coming up with an idea and making it happen. I've no clue what kind of products I am going to build, and figuring this out is also part of my journey.

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