Start With Side Projects to Begin Your Indie Hacker Journey

When starting your Indie Hacker journey, the best place to begin is with side projects. Side projects allow you to experiment and learn without much risk. As Arvid Kahl said in his interview on the show.

“Start with a side project. I think that’s the most actionable one. Don’t, don’t quit your job and go into Indie Hacking and take it super seriously.”

Keep Your Job and Build in Your Spare Time

Starting side projects while keeping your full-time job provides stability and security. You can work on your projects in the evenings and weekends, learning and iterating without worrying where your next paycheck will come from. As your projects start to gain traction, you can consider transitioning to Indie Hacking full-time. But in the beginning, keep your job.

Use Technology You Already Know

When starting out, use technology you're already familiar with. As Arvid said,

“Feedback Panda happened because I used the exact same tech stack that I was using in my full time job, which was Elixir Phoenix at that point.”

Using familiar tools allows you to build quickly without a steep learning curve. You can focus on validating your idea rather than struggling with new languages or frameworks.

Make it Fun

Keeping your side projects light and fun is key. Don’t take things too seriously, as Arvid recommends:

“Make it fun, right? Don't take it too seriously.”

If you make your projects feel like work, you risk burnout and lack of motivation. Have fun building things, get creative, and keep the joy in the process. Seriousness can come later as projects start to gain traction.

Learn From Your Failures

With side projects, failures happen often. But failures are simply learning opportunities in disguise. Share your struggles and lessons with others, as Arvid suggests:

“Share your failures... it was just like having a person a pretty, it’s a super smart and super dumb person at the same time.”

Talking about failures makes them feel less monumental. And sharing lessons from failures helps others avoid the same mistakes. Failures are part of growth, so embrace them.

Key Takeaway

The key takeaway is to start your Indie Hacker journey with low-risk side projects. Keep your job, use familiar tech, have fun, share struggles, and learn from failures. Side projects are the best way to safely experiment, learn, and progress toward full-time Indie Hacking. Check out Arvid's podcast The Bootstrapped Founder to learn more about starting side projects and beyond.