A Burned-Out Developer to Indie-Hacker Dev Retro 2022
5 min read
I always wanted to be a techie. Right from when I knew Software engineering was a profession. Someone who can master any technology, spin up any system, break open an old system, and add cool features to them. I used to think it would take a lifetime to master this craft, and I enjoyed the journey.
Life can pull a uno-reverse on you anytime. Keep moving forward with hope
Despite working on various technologies(backend, Data, DevOps) in the last six years, I never thought I was there. To top it all up, 2021 showed me the full effects of burnout. I had to take a break from working. Until mid-2021, my focus was on getting therapy and focusing on my mental health. I thought my career was gone.
All that changed this year.
By the end of 2021, I stopped working full-time and took the consulting route. I started helping Astronomer clients with their Apache Airflow and Infrastructure issues.
The best parts of consulting are
You get to dictate your time
You get to work on a variety of problems
You get to solve complex challenges every day
But there were also two unexpected side effects.
As I solved more and more technical problems, I grew confident in my technical skills. I got over my imposter syndrome.
Consulting is trading your expertise for money and not your time. So financially, I started feeling secure.
Confidence is a side-effect of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and coming out of them
Solo Travel to Europe
How is traveling related to Dev Retro? Well, traveling changes you as a person. I didn't believe that until I took my 1st ever international trip alone.
Traveling is a lot of responsibility. You will be shuffling many things at once. From 2 months of carefully curated documents to getting the Visa, your phone blanking out on you in a god-forsaken land, you have to deal with them all.
Europe was magnificent; I visited Paris, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. I haven't traveled much in my life. Travel brought out a version of me that I never thought I had. I started trusting myself more. I knew I could work through any chaos that life threw at me.
Travel was a forbidden fruit of life. I never thought it could be possible for me. When I returned from a month-long trip, it awakened another lifelong dream of mine.
Once you learn to enjoy your own company, and get ready to take on the scary path ahead, life will show you wonders
"I always wanted to be a techie." That's how I started my article, but there was another thing I wanted equally. "To own and run my own business".
Lifestyle businesses are small and run independently after the initial setup, giving you the time and energy to live your life instead of a 9-5 hustle. By this time, Indie-hacking and Build in public were booming on Twitter.
✅ Financial Backup
✅ Next goal
Having all these figured out, I took the giant leap of my life. I bid goodbye to my high-paying client and started Indie-hacking.
Too early to quote this one, But I am here to learn. Let's see...
By August 2021, I started Indie-Hacking, my side project 100Ideas, full-time. Indie-Hacking was not just about Building the project but also finding a market for it, collecting feedback, and selling it. For a developer, these are not native skills. By the end of September, I couldn't find one person who was anywhere nearly interested in using 100Ideas. But then came some of the biggest learning of 2022
You have to focus on v0.1 and not v1.0. I would have saved 2 months of development effort had I released a v0.1 version, gauged interest, and proceeded from there.
I'm a pure Pythonista. 100Ideas was clearly front-end heavy. It made me solidify my ReactJS skills.
Talk to people. To make your product, you need to talk to people, collect feedback and incorporate them. My introversion + Anxiety was of no help. To overcome this, I did zoom #CoffeeChat with many people in November and December. This helped me overcome my internal voice and make incredible friends online.
In the last three months of 2022, I focused on recovering from the minor setback of 100Ideas and pushing forward.
- I ran my 6th batch #PythonToProject Bootcamp, and it was the most heartwarming experience. One of my students went from knowing minimal Python to complete the course by building a full-stack application with front and backend.
Technical Blogging Book
- I published v0.1 of my technical blogging book with three chapters to make you instantly publish your 1st blog post.
Market Research is the process of understanding if there is enough scope for your super fantastic idea. The prime filter for a great idea is
Does it solve a problem?
Are enough people in the market?
Will these people pay for it?
- I've built a few mini-projects that will help me in my future indie-hacking, e.g., An auth system and payment system. These mini-systems will be a part of the SaaS platforms I build in the future.
I'm starting 2023 by going full-on Indie-hacker while consulting on the side
Let's see what the future unfolds.
You only need to work towards your next 0.1th version