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Am I going the right way?

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For the last four years I have been studying for a CS degree. One of those years I was working at IBM as a cloud engineer which in hindsight probably could have only been 6 months for me to realise that it wasn't for me. The place sucked the creativity out of everyone that worked there which led to some incredibly smart people being wasted working on legacy products. Anyway, I finished working there last Summer and knew I wasn't going to return as a graduate the following year ... or ever.

Whilst I was slugging away at that job, I found Indie Hackers. I immediately got attatched to the forum and the podcasts. I couldn't believe that all these people were hustling to quit their jobs and work on their side projects. Up to this point, side projects in "CS degree land" meant experimenting with tech for fun with no hopes to monetise anything and then getting back to your semi-meaningless job in Fintech/FANG.

Listening to Courtland speak to these other founders gave me so much mental energy to start the grind and begin building things. So through to the end of the year I spent my free time hacking away at projects. None of which were by any means successful but I was learning a ton.

Fast-forward to December, I had a handful of side projects under my belt but I was feeling a bit lonely. These successful founders that I was learning about felt so far away and I had no proper connections in the Indie Hacker community. No one to give me advice or learn from. Which led me to Twitter.

When I started Tweeting, it was just an outlet to log what I was building alongisde my degree. I knew Indie Hackers were active on Twitter and after a few days, people started to turn up and interact with me. I began to feel really close with these people for the sole reason that they were on the same grind as me. I immersed myself in Twitter to the point where my interest in my degree was practically non-existent. I attended weekly indie hacker rooms on Clubhouse, getting to speak to some of my favourite founders. It was amazing.

Looking back, that period on Twitter was so enjoyable. I felt I knew pretty much everyone on my feed and although my projects weren't getting much better, I knew I was levelling up just from learning from others.

The next few months passed and my uni work started to catch up with me. I had to put a backburner on building and Twitter and try and finish my degree. I knew that for an indie hacker, the final grade I would get for my degree wouldn't mean anything but I knew I would be betraying my younger self if I didn't follow through and put some effort in. So I was tweeting occasionally but I had nothing to #buildinpublic and as a result, I think a few close connections suffered.

I ended up finishing up my uni work and entered a mental state I'd never been in before. I felt like I had all the tools to get a SaaS off the ground but I had no note-worthy ideas. I spent a few weeks trying to validate some initial problems I thought existed but unfortunatley, nothing came and I wasn't excited enough about any of them. If this was me a few months prior then I would have probably run with one of them, but I felt like I had got better at realising what made a good idea.

I realised that I was thinking too big. Although, I really enjoy consuming podcasts, they made me feel that I had to make a full-blown SaaS to grow my MRR. On top of this, as my only professional experience was working in a very stagnant company, I didn't have the wealth of interesting problems that often come from a day job.  After a good call with Jesse, my podcast co-host, I knew I needed more experience and to focus down on a particular niche. A micro SaaS extending an existing platforms features.

Here is why I like the idea of working on a micro SaaS:

  • Less technical investment so can iterate through features/ideas
  • Can build on a platform which often means there is an existing market of customers
  • Can contribute to a steady, consistent MRR especially when combined with other projects
  • Shows me more problems that could be worth solving down the line by a full SaaS solution.

This is about up to where I am today. My first micro SaaS that I am working on is in the Ghost ecosystem and I'm really excited to start sharing more about it.

There is a few things that I didn't mention in this post such as my current job situation but I'll save that for another day.

Am I going the right way? I guess only time will tell.