Issue 010

Burnout as an Indiehacker

Recognising the Signs and Staying Afloat

May 3, 2023 · 4 minute read

If you're an indiehacker, chances are you've experienced the highs and lows of working independently. It's a rollercoaster ride, with the freedom to create and innovate on one hand, and the constant pressure to succeed on the other. This pressure can sometimes lead to the dreaded phenomenon known as burnout. In this post, we'll explore what burnout is, why indiehacking is hard, and some tips to keep you from getting discouraged and steering clear of burnout.

What is Burnout?

A state of chronic physical and emotional exhaustion, often accompanied by feelings of cynicism, detachment, and a decreased sense of accomplishment.

Burnout can creep up on you silently, leaving you feeling drained, disinterested, and disillusioned with your work. As an indiehacker, you're especially susceptible to burnout due to the high-stakes nature of your work and the constant need to stay ahead of the curve.

Why is indiehacking so hard?

There are several reasons why indiehacking can be a challenge:

Seeing your peers on Twitter report their successes

It's hard not to compare yourself to others, especially when you see their incredible monthly recurring revenue (MMR) reports and success stories. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and envy, further fueling your burnout.

Lack of structure

Working independently means you're solely responsible for setting your goals, managing your time, and staying disciplined. This can be both liberating and overwhelming, often leading to burnout.

High expectations

The pressure to succeed and constantly innovate can be immense, leading you to work tirelessly to meet these expectations. However, this can also result in neglecting your personal needs and well-being, ultimately leading to burnout.

So how can you avoid burnout as an indiehacker? Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and energised:

Set realistic goals

Imagine you're embarking on a long road trip. You wouldn't expect to reach your destination in a single day, would you? The same principle applies to indiehacking. Break down your goals into smaller, achievable milestones and celebrate each accomplishment along the way, no matter how small. Remember, success is a journey, not a destination. Every step you take brings you closer to your ultimate goal, so take pride in your progress and keep moving forward.

Take breaks and prioritise self-care

Think of yourself as a high-performance vehicle – you wouldn't run it non-stop without refueling and maintenance, right? The same goes for your mind and body. Make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge your batteries, and schedule time for hobbies, exercise, and relaxation. Your mental and physical well-being should always come first. By investing in self-care, you'll be more efficient and productive in the long run.

Connect with other indiehackers

Indiehacking can often feel like navigating through a dense forest with no map. By surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, you'll find support, encouragement, and advice to help light your path. Join online communities, attend meetups or find a mentor to be your guiding star on this journey. Sharing your experiences and learning from others can make the indiehacking process more enjoyable and rewarding.

Limit your exposure to comparison

Constantly comparing yourself to others can feel like running on a never-ending treadmill – exhausting and discouraging. While it's important to stay informed and connected, try to limit your exposure to others' success stories. This one is actually quite difficult given that a core part of indiehacking is building and relying on the community - what's one thing the communiy loves to do? Talk about their successes on Twitter. Remember, everyone's path is different, and comparing your journey to someone else's is like comparing apples to oranges. Focus on your own progress, and celebrate each milestone you achieve.

Remember your 'why'

When the going gets tough, it's easy to lose sight of the reasons you started indiehacking in the first place. Revisit your passion and let it fuel your motivation when times get tough. Think back to the spark that ignited your indiehacking journey – whether it was the desire for freedom, creativity, or the thrill of building something from scratch. By keeping your 'why' in mind, you'll be better equipped to persevere through challenging moments and stay on course.

Burnout is a real and ever-present danger for indiehackers, but by recognissing the signs and implementing strategies to stay motivated and energised, you can avoid succumbing to this dreaded condition.

I hope you found this post helpful! Be sure to subscribe to my Substack below for more content like this, and follow me on Twitter for more indiehacking tips and insights.

If you're looking for a community of fellow indiehackers, I'd encourage you to check out!

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