The start of my journey from side projects with no users to a solopreneur

The most important thing for me to do as a hacker with limited time and resources who wants to escape the grind of full time employment is to sell.

Of course what I sell matters just as much. I recently watched Patrick Mackenzie’s leveling up video from microconf 2015 and I wrote down some notes below.

He lays out a pretty simple plan (simple, not easy) which I’ve just started following as of a few weeks ago for making income on my own and not through my day job.

  1. Make content about a market you care about, this should be easy because it’s what you care about, if it’s not you should do some soul searching to find product-founder fit. This can take the form of blogging, tweeting, posting on facebook, instagram wherever you think your market is, make stuff there, get followers, collect email addresses.
  2. After you’ve been making content for a while, and you have a decent following, with a decent email list, try your hand at selling some content instead of just giving it away for free. E-books, wordpress plugins, anything related to your market. If your market is business people who hate their jobs and use excel all day, then write excel plugins and charge for it. Or if you’ve been giving advice on how to use excel more effectively, write an ebook and sell that or make a suite of videos or all of the above. The point is to sell.
  3. At this point, you have a decent following, you’re making money from your content and it may even be enough to quit your job, if it isn’t, time for more soul searching because you need to find product-market-founder fit, not just product-founder fit. If you can’t find something you care about that you can sell, you’re not creative enough so don’t quit your day job. If you do find it, it’s time to start charging more money. Patrick says in his video to go from content creator to consultant, you’re still charging for your time and doing a ton of work on the side but by this point you may be able to actually quit that job and go it alone, which will free up more of your time for the ultimate goal, making money while you sleep.
  4. SaaS. By this point it seems fairly straightforward to me where he’s coming from. You have a list of people who care about what you’re doing. You’ve already sold things to those people. You probably already know your market inside and out and you know what problems people are willing to pay money to solve. So you wind down the consulting while ramping up the product and bam. Your time is divorced from the money you’re making. Finally.