🗞 What's New: Founders, avoid these common mistakes

Also: Time blocking > timeboxing!  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

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Indie Hackers
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These mistakes can be detrimental to your business: - **From underestimating security** checkpoints, to ignoring user experience, avoid these common mistakes when starting out or growing. - **Timeboxing can be difficult** because it removes flexibili

These mistakes can be detrimental to your business:

  • From underestimating security checkpoints, to ignoring user experience, avoid these common mistakes when starting out or growing.
  • Timeboxing can be difficult because it removes flexibility by putting you on a deadline. Try time blocking instead for productivity.
  • $188K in recent acquisitions. Ron Johnson uses strategic acquisitions to grow his design agency, buying smaller companies to compound his services.

Want your product seen by over 85,000 founders and businesses? Sponsor an issue of the Indie Hackers newsletter. Choose between 3 affordable tiers that can fit almost any budget.

Avoid These Mistakes as a Beginner ❌

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by Tucker George

Don't make these mistakes as a beginner indie hacker!

1. Neglecting market research

One of the biggest mistakes is not validating your idea before development. How to avoid:

  • Conduct surveys and interviews: Gather insights from potential users about their pain points and needs.
  • Analyze competitors: Identify gaps your product can fill.
  • Pre-sell your concept.

2. Overcomplicating the product

Too. Many. Features. How to avoid:

  • Focus on core features.
  • Build an MVP.
  • Iterate based on feedback.

3. Ignoring user experience

A complex or unattractive user interface can deter users from adopting your product, regardless of its functionality. How to avoid:

  • Prioritize simplicity: Design a clean, intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
  • Conduct usability testing: Test your product with real users.
  • Invest in professional design: If design isn’t your strength, consider hiring a professional UI/UX designer.

4. Wrong pricing

Pricing your SaaS product too high or too low can each have negative impacts. How to avoid:

  • Research competitor pricing.
  • Consider your costs and value: Ensure your pricing covers your costs, and reflects the value you provide to users.
  • Experiment with various pricing strategies.

5. Neglecting customer support

Ignoring customer support can lead to high churn rates and negative word-of-mouth. How to avoid:

  • Set up multiple support channels: Offer various support options, including live chat, email, and a knowledge base.
  • Respond promptly.
  • Invest in a support team: As your user base grows, consider hiring dedicated customer support staff.

6. Lack of marketing and sales strategy

Without a solid strategy, your product may go unnoticed. How to avoid:

  • Develop a marketing plan: Outline how you will attract and retain customers through content marketing, social media, SEO, and paid advertising.
  • Build a sales funnel: Create a clear path for converting leads into paying customers, from awareness to decision-making.
  • Leverage partnerships and influencers.

7. Not tracking key metrics

Failing to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) can be detrimental. How to avoid:

  • Identify relevant metrics: Track metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value (LTV), churn rate, and user engagement.
  • Use analytics tools.
  • Regularly review and adjust.

8. Underestimating the importance of security

Neglecting security can lead to breaches, legal issues, and loss of trust. How to avoid:

  • Implement strong security protocols: Use encryption, secure access controls, and regular security audits.
  • Stay compliant: Ensure your product complies with relevant regulations, like GDPR or CCPA.
  • Educate your team: Train your team on best practices for maintaining data security.

Remember, the indie hacking journey is iterative. Implement the lessons you learn into your future strategies!

Discuss this story.

AI Bot Platform for Growth 🤖

COVER IMAGE DESCRIPTION

This issue is sponsored by GPTBots

GPT-4o is now on GPTBots! GPTBots is a robust no-code AI platform dedicated to driving enterprise growth. Powered by state-of-the-art LLMs, GPTBots offers premiere solutions for diverse business needs.

Streamline deployment of advanced language models with natural language and understanding. Intuitive workflows help you automate intricate tasks effortlessly!

Also:

  • Enhanced customer support: Seamlessly integrate websites and documents to create a powerful 24/7 AI support team, proficient in 90+ languages.
  • Efficient marketing tools: Use GPTBots for content creation and keyword optimization.
  • Tailored data analysis assistant: Input your data and requirements, and GPTBots will extract insights and visualize data instantly.

Check out GPTBots here!

Time blocking > Timeboxing ⏲️

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by Slava Minamoto

Most people use the terms "time blocking" and "timeboxing" interchangeably, but there is a nuance. In both practices, you assign chunks of time in your day to specific activities, but the intent behind them is different.

Timeboxing problem

With time blocking, one's intent is to create uninterrupted blocks of time where only one specific activity is performed. Timeboxing, on the other hand, is used to put a time limit on the activity, creating the feeling of having a deadline.

The problem with timeboxing is that you need to estimate the time the task will take, and plan it on your calendar. The issue is that most of us are really bad at estimating how long something will take.

With timeboxing, we create hard boundaries, lose flexibility, and increase stress when the timeboxes explode.

Time blocking for the win

Our days consist of many moving parts, roughly divided into two categories:

  1. Uncontrolled:
  • Day job, shift work, and other obligations.
  • Events.
  • Sleep, eating, and other physiological needs.

2. Controlled:

  • Chores.
  • Personal projects.
  • Hobbies.
  • Self-development.

Both controlled and uncontrolled time can be time blocked. I start with uncontrolled blocks, then build controlled blocks around them.

Most of the time blocks I use are activities, not tasks. Think: "development of A," "marketing of B," "morning routine," "family," etc. Some blocks are more like events, such as "running" and "gym."

Tools

The number one tool is still Google Calendar, but use what helps you. Some people use physical day planners.

Most of the dedicated tools are built around the concept of task timeboxing, not time blocking. Akiflow's concept of time slots comes closer than others, but it is just one of the features hidden in UI, not the tool's purpose.

I'm working on a tool specifically for time-blocking. If you're interested, join the waitlist here!

Discuss this story.

In the News 📰

Photo: In the News

from the Growth Trends newsletter

🍪 Don't be distracted by cookies. Google's search changes are the real threat.

💡 Naming things is hard. Find your dream dot-com. #ad

🗓️ Should you run ads on a schedule?

🔎 Here's what makes a great marketer.

💻 25 amazing landing page templates.

🦞 Will Red Lobster be lost at sea forever?

Check out Growth Trends for more curated news items focused on user acquisition and new product ideas.

Growth Through Strategic Acquisitions 📈

COVER IMAGE

by Marc Andre

Each week, FlipMySite publishes an inspiring success story featuring a founder growing and selling an online business.

Global corporations often use acquisitions for growth, and indie hackers can do the same. Ron Johnson, owner of Chicago-based web design and development agency CyberOptik, has purchased several small agencies over the past few years.

The background

Ron started his business in 2002 when he was in middle school, and grew it slowly throughout his teen years. He experimented with SEO, PPC advertising, and other skills.

After graduating college in 2010, Ron went full-time with CyberOptik.

Growing through acquisitions

Ron bought and sold several websites and domains over the years. Some panned out, while some were flops.

In 2019, after running CyberOptik full-time for nine years, Ron took a major step forward by purchasing his first web design shop. It was a one person operation with fewer than 10 clients, and Ron rolled the business into the CyberOptik brand.

Over the past five years, Ron has acquired several other agencies. He found some of these on marketplaces, but most of his acquisitions have come through networking.

Ron emphasizes that strategic acquisitions are a part of, but not the entire, growth strategy for CyberOptik. Acquisition of other agencies is just another lever to help grow the business. Essentially, he's buying MRR to bolt onto his existing agency, hoping to break even after a certain amount of time. He still advertises and actively promotes the business outside of the acquisitions, so he's growing through multiple fronts.

CyberOptik website

What Ron looks for in an acquisition

  • WordPress-focused: Since CyberOptik is a WordPress-based design and development agency, Ron looks for others specializing in it.
  • Age: The business should be at least three years old.
  • Clients: Ron prefers smaller agencies that manage fewer than 25 clients.
  • Team: Ron prefers businesses using contractors rather than employees.
  • Location: Preferably, the business is located in the US.
  • Easy integration: Every acquisition is rolled into the CyberOptik brand, so Ron looks for synergy that makes for a smoother transition.

In August 2022, Ron acquired Prism Design Co, the largest of four acquisitions (totaling $188K) on Flippa. This acquisition allowed CyberOptik to add marketing and SEO to its offerings, through a contractor that came over with Prism Design Co. Now, Ron can offer these additional services to all of his clients.

If you're looking for businesses to acquire, check out this list of the top marketplaces and brokers!

Discuss this story.

The Tweetmaster's Pick 🐦

Cover image for Tweetmaster's Pick

by Tweetmaster Flex

I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:

Enjoy This Newsletter? 🏁

Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.

Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.

Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Gabriella Federico for the illustrations, and to Tucker George, Darko, Slava Minamoto, and Marc Andre for contributing posts. —Channing

Indie Hackers | Stripe | 120 Westlake Avenue N, Seattle, Washington 98109 
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Older messages

🗞 What's New: 5 email sequences every founder needs

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Also: Action breeds clarity! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🗞 What's New: Tips for better user onboarding

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Also: Make your business blog stand out! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🗞 What's New: Setting up your first Google Ads campaign

Friday, May 17, 2024

Also: Avoid context switching! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🗞 What's New: Landing your first 10 users

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Also: Securing funding! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

🗞 What's New: Process goals > outcome goals

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Also: AI voice summarization tools! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

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