YM-07 // 3 bootstrapping ideas, 2 interesting makers, 1 surprise

Ideas and people to follow to get to your first $10,000 Monthly Recurring Revenue.

I spent 4 years in college learning what professors taught.

90% of what I learnt is irrelevant to what I’m doing today. Not in my full-time job as a software engineer. Or in side hustling my way to $10K Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) after working hours.

Maybe you’ll resonate with that sentiment. College education is largely a societal construct that’s outdated. Real learning starts by doing.

Go on Twitter, follow the best people for your interested fields and topics. Tweet and write about what you’re doing to pursue your interest. Get feedback – it’s scary at first, but that’s how you know you’re learning.

Subscribe to newsletters like Young Makers. Learn from people’s experiences from the best content out there.

Here’s 3 ideas to get you started.

3 Ideas

These are ideas that worked for me and I’ll try to keep it this way for future editions. I’ll condense them for you and you can see if it suits you, apply it.

My hope is that we will land on the ideas that will allow us to replicate success multiple times. We’re not talking about succeeding once, but consecutively. Applying these ideas and succeeding once could be attributed to luck. But multiple times? It’s got to be skill. That’s what we’re aiming for: ideas that work.

Idea 1: Join the right communities

The basic idea is, actively look for communities online. Ask around, look for telegram/slack/gitter/discord communities. Hang out there and try to fit in.

The amount of energy you will get is incredible. Makers launching products one after another. If you’re still lurking or waiting for the “perfect product”, you’ll start to wonder: “hey, that could have been me”.

You’ll be constantly reminded by peers in communities. Their actions will signal to you that you have to ship early, test fast. That’s the only way up.

Here’s a list of communities that worked for me:

  1. WIP.chat (paid)

  2. Makerlog (free)

  3. Solo Founders (free)

  4. Cool designers (closed)

  5. Newsletter Geeks (invite only)

  6. SMUMods (my side project’s team)

Idea 2: Mind your time

I took some down-time last week to play Stardew Valley. As I built my farm, I realized the following:

  • Life is a series of choices and the corresponding results

  • Do something to get an outcome you want – build a barn? Gather the resources

  • Everything takes time – you can’t build a beautiful farm overnight

  • Time is limited – spend it wisely. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

The same thing applies for making. Set your todos for the week and track your blockers. You won’t be able to finish every task but you’ll become more mindful of how you spend your time.

Time-blocking might help you to utilize Parkinson’s Law to your benefit – "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". I’m personally trying to use this technique to some degree of success. It might not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try if you haven’t tried.

Read more about Time-blocking

Idea 3: Be Rational & Pragmatic

In the book, The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs, you will discover 8 CEOs who performed extraordinarily well over long periods of time.

You’ll think, “how could I be like that as a maker?”

Here’s a quote from the book to mull over:

This single decision underscores a key point across the CEOs in this book: as a group, they were, at their core, rational and pragmatic, agnostic and clear-eyes.

Conventional startup wisdom tells you to pursue “world-changing ideas”. This advice works well for founders who have a larger risk appetite. But if you’re looking to make consistent income from your side hustles, it’s far from being pragmatic.

Focus on results that matter – your cashflow. Don’t spend what you don’t have. Focus on getting your revenue in ASAP and growing it.

Read more about Watching Your Cashflow

If you’re interested in the book, here’s a good summary. I’d suggest getting the book and reading it however.

Read The Outsiders summary

2 Interesting Makers

They say you are the average of your 5 closest friends. Because you learn by osmosis. Through their words, thoughts and actions. By following interesting makers who are climbing their way up, you could learn how they’re doing it. Emulate them. Here’s 2 such people you can follow.

Niko Canner

Not exactly a maker but he suggests a lot of good ideas and books on business. Follow his twitter. Read his blog.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent is one such book. You can read Niko’s summary of why it’s one of his “unlikeliest favourite business books” in the button below. You’ll learn a lot of interesting paradigms on how to approach business in a practical way. This is particularly helpful for makers getting to $10K MRR.

You don’t get there by being ideological. Be practical.

Read Niko Canner's Summary

Cedric Chin

Ced is a successful startup operator that helped to grow one from $0 to $4M ARR. He also shares interesting insights and ideas. They come from his personal journey and reading “deep dives”. Many of the books he has read has excellent summaries on his blog. Every conversation with him always pushes my mental frontier about business and effective thinking.

Check out Ced’s blog for more.

Read Ced's Blog

1 surprise

I spent 3 years working on SMUMods.com with my co-founder. We started with nothing and slowly built it up. This was all on top of full-time school work and more recently, full-time work. In the past year, we trained some sophomores and rising juniors to run the project.

Today, we just hit 21% of our donation goals. We’ve also closed a $100 sponsorship deal. It’s not exactly a super profitable project, but after 3 years of building, we’ve managed to monetize.

In college, I learnt nothing about how to run a business, team and community. Indie hacking and putting myself out there by executing on ideas taught me 100x more. For a volunteer run project, this is pretty good.

Good things take time, patience, execution and consistency.

Apply the ideas in Young Makers issues and you’ll start seeing results.

PS — If you liked this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with others who might enjoy it.

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