How to fund 💰 your Indie Hacking ideas
How would your choices differ if you don't have to make them because of money?
I have heard the argument of lack of funds being an issue to start out indie hacking but no one says you have to go all in on day 1. You can keep your 9 - 5, save up and do your indie hacking on the side.
I once put out this post on Twitter/X 👇🏾
However, I do know that money(or the lack of it) 💰 is usually a big factor in our choices in life and even more when you decide to be an indie hacker.
Let’s face it, indie hackers are in the business of providing value and solving problems for folks to get paid for the value given(as business has been for eons).
But how does one fund their indie hacking journey? How do you still take care of life’s needs and expenses as you hack your way to that juicy MRR/ARR? Let’s talk about a couple of ways indie hackers can do just that.
Get a job
At a point, you may need to have a jobs that will allow you work on your indie hacking ideas on the side while having the “safety net” of a salary.
I know, I know, you don’t like a 9 - 5(me neither), you want to build and work on your own terms but there are levels and stages to actually being ready financially to become an indie hacker.
Getting a job provides a “safety net” to take care of your bills as you hack on your ideas on the side(the side hustle).
Also, I don’t mean get any job just because of the money, to make it fun, chose a job - if you have that luxury - to work on things you can enjoy and grow in.
Most indie hackers I know, at a point were employees and from their employ they were able to learn a lot and save a lot to leave their 9 - 5 and make their side thing their main thing.
For example, Taylor Otwell once worked at UserScape, Adam Wathan and Caleb Porzio both worked at Tighten, just to name a few.
One thing I want to draw your attention to is this: being able to save while you have your 9 - 5.
On the topic of savings, this will be am important habit you should develop no matter how you chose to fund your indie hacking journey.
The cash you stash during your earning days will definitely go a long way when you go all in on your indie hacking idea.
Now this is a classic way to fund your indie hacking journey in the early days. When freelancing you take a skill you are good at(web development, graphics design, etc) and exchange giving service with said skills for money.
With freelancing you are actually solving problems for people but you are doing it by exchanging your time for money and you are working as an individual/contractor.
With enough skill and ability to convince folks to take a chance on you, you can start earning money from freelance gigs while you work on your indie hacking ideas on the side and make it profitable.
Dev agencies like freelancing provide software development services to their clientele in exchange for money. But unlike freelancing, you assemble a team and have a registered business that act as a vehicle for you to carry out your agency services.
Since you have a team you’d be able to cater for more clients and earn more from services rendered. Two agencies I admire are:
In fact, Caleb Porzio once worked at Tighten before venturing out into the wild wild world of indie hacking on projects like Livewire and Alpine
I’ve also seen a couple of ideas come out from development agencies for example 37Signals, the makers of Basecamp was once a dev shop and they built Basecamp to solve their own product management problem.
One-time purchase educational resources
I know SaaS is sort of the gold standard for indie hackers but do you know you can still fund your journey to making that SaaS by creating education resources that are purchased one-time?
I’m talking about courses and ebooks. Here is an example, Adam Wathan sold a couple of ebooks before creating Tailwind CSS and Tailwind Labs to work on Tailwind UI:
For this to work, you need to have shown trusted expertise in the subject matter you want to create educational resources on.
You know what that means right? It means you have the skill and experience and you’ve shown enough people enough of both for them to trust you to buy your educational resources.
I know indie hackers(you can also call them indie educators) who don’t sell SaaS subscriptions but what they do is create educational resources, here are a few:
Let’s face it, creating a product that will completely replace the need for a 9 - 5 job as an indie hacker takes time, luck, and patience. I’ve seen folks being frustrated because the time might be longer than they expected.
When you employ any of the various ways mentioned above to get funds to bootstrap your indie hacking journey, you derisk yourself so you can make better choices as you don’t have to worry about rent and the other financial obligations you have.
I’m not saying it’s easy but hey you are an indie hacker and that speaks volume that you don’t want to do what’s easy.