Most founders build their lives around their businesses, not the other way around:
Instead of being guided by your idea, consider the type of life you want. Try following your personality instead of your passions.
To build customer trust fast, you need to demonstrate ability, benevolence, and integrity. Look the part, and genuinely be nice.
$300 turned into a $2.5K MRR business in three months, when Verdi Kapuku launched a UI design agency with a compelling offer.
Trying to outbound new customers? Cobbling together lead lists, freelancers, and email software gets old. Try Vidyard Prospector! We use AI to find strong-fit leads and send them personalized emails, so you can spend more time building and growing your product. #ad
Want to grow your business? Try running a promo in the Indie Hackers newsletter to get in front of nearly 70,000+ founders.
Design Your Business Around Your Life 🏡
by Joshua Tiernan
Designing your business around your skills, strengths, and preferred types of work helps you create a business that is much more enjoyable to work on day after day. Most founders start with an idea and build their businesses around that. This can lead to walking a path paved by the business, rather than a path carved by you yourself.
Don't start with a business idea
When you're building a one-person business, you need to carefully consider how sustainable it is. When you start with the idea, you are ultimately being guided by the idea, rather than the plan. Sometimes, what's best for the idea isn't what's best for you.
Deciding your direction
- Ask yourself what type of life you want:
Work the business around your life, not the other way around. Do you want to work fixed hours, or different hours every day? Do you want to work 20 hours per week, or 80 hours per week? There's no wrong answer here. One of the biggest things to consider is how you will connect with clients or customers.
Think through these elements, decide what type of life you want for yourself, and craft your business around that.
2. Ask yourself what type of work you want:
Many people start a business that follows their passions, but I would argue that it's more important to follow your personality. Start a business that allows you to do the type of work you like, rather than the topic of work you like. Do you like writing, organizing, planning, meeting people, or problem solving? Think high-level here, not specific.
Now, think about the types of businesses that allow you to do these tasks for a large portion of your day. For example, if you like meeting people, you might want to start a professional community and focus on a highly personalized experience. If you're a problem solver, you may want to build software that you can improve day after day.
If you solely follow your passion, you could find yourself doing work you hate, involving a subject you love, which may kill your passion.
3. Identify your superpowers:
What are your superpowers, and what businesses intersect with them?
Write down your superpowers, then look at industries that fit your preferences to see which ones cross over the most.
Avoid these four big mistakes when choosing your business, and you'll end up with a powerhouse one-person business.
I hope this guide was helpful. I share guides like this every week on Substack for free. You can check them out here!
Discuss this story.
In the News 📰
from the Growth Trends newsletter
📱 Instagram is prepping a trending topics feature that competes with X.
🤖 Use AI to refresh your old blog content.
🛠 Tower: Making Git easy. Use HACKER50 for 50% off. #ad
👀 X's new clickbait ad format can't be blocked.
🌎 The most downloaded apps in the world in September.
🌯 When did the packaged food aisle get so cool?
Check out Growth Trends for more curated news items focused on user acquisition and new product ideas.
Three Ways to Build Customer Trust 😍
from The Hustle newsletter
Trust is a precarious puzzle for businesses. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman put it this way:
So, what's a founder to do? We asked Trendsters how they build trust quickly.
Professor James Davis has spent his career studying trust. He outlines three principles that drive trust quickly:
- Perceived ability.
- Perceived benevolence.
- Perceived integrity.
Here's how to implement them in your business.
Paint a good picture (perceived ability)
Does your business do what it claims? It takes time to prove this, but you can quickly earn perceived ability in a few ways:
Look the part: Your digital presence, physical place of business, and tone of communication all impact your customers' impression of how competent you are in your field.
Flash those creds: One big mistake founders make is shining 100% of the spotlight on their product. In the early days, your team's reputation is just as important.
Market your knowledge: The trust-building period is not a time to be precious about your expertise. Let it fly freely by publishing articles, going on industry podcasts, jumping into the Trends Facebook Group to answer questions, etc.
Be a nice person (perceived benevolence)
Along with wondering whether your abilities are legit, customers are also asking, "Do they care about me?" You really can't fake this.
Here's how you can quickly earn perceived benevolence:
Respect their time by being upfront with pricing, clear with deliverables, and by offering a seamless way to buy, pay for, and cancel your product or services. Don't hide anything, or make it difficult for them to get the information they need to make a purchasing decision.
Risk-reversal is one of the easiest ways to quickly build trust. Show your customers you truly care with business practices like a 90 day guarantee, free trial periods, etc.
Lean into personalization. Making customer interactions as intimate as possible can yield immediate results in perceived benevolence.
Get into the weeds (perceived integrity)
Integrity means living by a set of values. Perceived integrity occurs when your customers share those values:
Share your personal experience. Your product solves a problem, and chances are you created it because it's a problem you once faced yourself. Tell. That. Story.
Demonstrate trust. If you want a customer to trust you, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust them first. Ways to do this include flexible payment terms, no credit card requirement for free trials, and a generous return policy.
Subscribe to The Hustle newsletter for more.
Harry's Growth Tip 🧠
No-fluff social proof. Real numbers, made relatable.
Subscribe to Marketing Examples for more short, sweet, practical marketing tips.
Appshine Hit $2.5K in 94 Days 💰
by Verdi Kapuku
I recently launched Appshine, a UI design agency for tech startups. Just wanted to share some juicy numbers!
Why did I decide to launch a design agency? I saw an interview of a guy running one, and he was doing over $1M ARR.
The interview made me remember my experience as a technical SaaS founder. I thought about how much I sucked at design, and how difficult it was for me to find good design skills that I could afford.
I figured that there was a need in the market, and that I could compete to fulfill it. So, I partnered with a designer friend of mine; he fulfills the work, and I do sales and marketing.
We launched on June 29, and we've since crossed the $2.5K MRR mark as of the end of Q3. Here's the quarter performance:
- June: $89.
- July: $978.
- August: $1.9K.
- September: $2.5K.
We're growing about 60% MoM. We did $8.3K in contract bookings in Q3, and have $3K+ left of unrealized revenue.
We're on track to do over $4K in October if we can work fast with our customers to complete those outstanding projects.
This is our offer: We deliver a working MVP within the agreed timeframe, or you don't pay!
As a part of building in public transparently, I decided to hold an earnings call like public companies do. I went over all of our numbers, strategy, customer acquisition, big mistakes, etc., and included a Q&A at the end.
I thought this would be fun to do, and also a great way to connect with other founders. The call was held yesterday, October 9. I'll continue to announce future calls on Indie Hackers!
If you're interested in getting in touch with me, feel free to book a call!
Discuss this story.
The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
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Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Joshua Tiernan, Darko, Kristin Egan, Harry Dry, and Verdi Kapuku for contributing posts. —Channing
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