🎧 Top 10 Best Episodes of the IndieHackers Podcast

🎧 Top 10 Best Episodes of the IndieHackers Podcast
Photo by Mohammad Metri / Unsplash

Important announcement:

The next Indie MBA even is on June 16th.

It’s with one of the most successful indie hackers ever - Arvid Kahl.

He will be sharing his wisdom around how to be an embedded entrepreneur.

It’s a free but private event, with limited seats, so book your seat fast.

Now, let’s get started 👇

Last month, the Indie Hackers podcast made a big move.

They changed the format of the show completely.

But before the switch, it was one of the best interview based podcast for startup founders to listen to.

I’ve listened, taken extensive notes and written long articles based on 40+ episodes of the IH podcast.

These are my top 10 all time favorite episodes of the indie hackers podcast:

1. Mastering the Lifestyle-First Approach to Indie Hacking with Daniel Vassallo - Episode 177

Why I loved it:

Daniel’s life style first approach to entrepreneurship is so refreshing. Completely opposite of the hustle culture we are fed by everyone else.

Important points discussed:

  • Daniel’s failures as well as successes.
  • Quitting the corporate rat race
  • Diminishing returns of Money

Daniel’s Advice:

Focus on many different things, diversify motivation and attention. Expose yourself to new opportunities, new good fortune.”

Listen here, or read my notes here.

2. Vital Learnings from Bootstrapping and Selling a $55k a Month Business with Arvid Kahl of FeedbackPanda - Episode 140

Why I loved it:

Arvid’s story is so inspiring.

Starting from 0 and eventually selling a SaaS business for a “life changing” amount of money.

All within a span of 2 years.

Important points discussed:

  • The Product - Feedback Panda
  • The Audience - English teachers for Chinese kids
  • Identifying their problems and building a solution
  • Marketing  strategies
  • How to build a “sellable” company
  • Ideal audience size for Indie Hackers

Arvid’s Advice:

If you want to impact the life of other people, and if you want to add value by enabling them, then you should start a business.”

Listen here or read my notes here

3. Persisting Through Failures to Find a Winning Trend with Dru Riley of Trends.vc - Episode 173

Why I loved it:

Dru’s story is inspirational.

He took a break from a traditional career with 3 years of runway. Travelled the world, tried many things, built a bunch of projects.

But nothing worked until he had just 6 months of runway left. That’s when trends vc started to get traction.

Important points discussed:

  • Trends VC the product and the business model.
  • Twitter as a distribution channel
  • Lessons and Mistakes
  • Trust - the only non-commodity

Dru’s Advice:

“…try to find something that you can stick with for a while. It matters, the market needs to have what you have to offer but I think that V0, version zero, never survives and you have to be willing to stick it out through pivots, through iterations. That’s hard to do if you don’t love what you’re working on.”

Listen here or read my notes here.

4. From Aspiring Billionaire to Indie Hacker with Sahil Lavingia of Gumroad - Episode 100

Why I loved it:

Sahil’s journey is so different from everybody else.

From finding initial success with Gumroad, getting a bunch of VC money, to failing to grow fast enough. Still persisting for years.

And then finally finding success.

Important points discussed:

  • Gumroad’s origin story
  • Slow growth and failing to raise a series B round.
  • Sahil moving out of Sillicon Valley
  • Openly sharing numbers.

Sahil’s Advice:

“I think the most important thing is to build stuff, to start small and figure out what you want to build and honestly, a lot of people aren’t going to know what they want to build so just like build something, as small as it is. Or maybe not even build something, just ask the people that you love in the communities that you care about how you could make their life better.”

Listen here or read my notes here.

5. Building a $38k/Month SaaS Business as a Solo Founder with Jordan O'Connor of Closet Tools - Episode 187

Why I loved it:

Jordan’s story of being in debt, trying to learn to code, to finally building a micro-SaaS that does $38K MRR is so inspiring.

Important points discussed:

  • Learning transferrable skills like web development, copywriting and SEO.
  • Getting customers from Reddit and Google.
  • Simple pricing strategy.

Jordan’s Advice:

There is great value in getting your time right and learning valuable skills. Skill like web dev, SEO, copywriting. They can be taken to any venture that you want to do. If you actually take the time to learn those skills deeply and actually do them valuably, you’re going to have a prosperous future. There’s no way you can’t.”

Listen here or read my notes here.

6. Creating a Massive Community and Making It Profitable with Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt - Episode 67

Why I loved it:

Product Hunt’s humble beginnings as a newsletter. The discussion about the similarities and differences between PH and Indie Hackers. and Ryan’s approach of Community led product development.

Important points discussed:

  • Growth strategies that Ryan used for PH.
  • Monetizing only through sponsorships.
  • Best and worst parts of running a community.

Ryan’s Advice:

“…there will always be an opportunity to create a community around something. I think my my advice or guidance would be pick a very specific community an audience.
look to yourself and be like, what am I passionate about?
..Where did those people hang out today? And is there maybe an unserved need to build a community around this particular interest or demographic or what not…”

Listen here or read my notes here.

7. How Small Actions Lead to Compound Gains with Nathan Barry of ConvertKit - Episode 206

Why I loved it:

Nathan started as a creator, then built a tool for creators. And he did everything in public, sharing his journey openly. He builds in public as a mission, not as a marketing strategy. That’s commendable.

Important points discussed:

  • The pros and cons of building in public
  • 4 value propositions a product can have
  • Positioning ConvertKit in a crowded market

Nathan’s Advice:

“I think the biggest thing is that it takes a long time. When you look at compound growth of any kind, you have to give it enough years for it to compound.”
“The thing that most founders end up doing is that they ended up selling early, moving onto the next project, giving up too soon”
“it takes way longer than you think, and it’s worth it if you keep going.”

Listen here or read my notes here.

8. How this Indie Hacker Blew Past $10K MRR with Jon Yongfook of Bannerbear - Episode 208

Why I loved it:

Jon is again someone who openly shares his journey. His insights from the 12 startups challenge were eye-opening.

Important points discussed:

  • Bannerbear the Product and it’s positioning
  • The 12 startups challenge
  • 50:50 split between coding and marketing.

Jon’s Advice:

“Indie hackers trying to get from zero to $10,000 a month in revenue would be sort of do this 50-50 split between coding and marketing”

Listen here or read my notes here.

9. Examining the Repeated Successes of a Product-Focused Solo Founder with AJ of Carrd - Episode 87

Why I loved it:

AJ is a perfect example of “constraints are superpowers”. As a solo founder he knew he couldn’t build a very complicated product. So he cut down the scope and built a simple product.

And that simple product runs more than $4M sites on the internet today.

Important points discussed:

  • AJ’s previous projects: html5up and pixelarity
  • Carrd - the product
  • Leveraging constraints
  • Going viral
  • Getting VC money after 4 years of bootstrapping

AJ’s Advice:

"If you're just starting out if you haven't even figured out what you want to do, then the advice I give everybody for that is just pick something that seems like it'd be fun for you. It doesn't have to be a world-changing product or something that's going to sell for billions of dollars."
Just find something in your life that interests you and then build a small product around it that solves a problem or make something better"

Listen here or read my notes here.

10. Confronting Your Fears and Taking a Leap with Pieter Levels of Nomad List - Episode 43

Why I loved it:

Pieter is the ultimate indie hacker, he has a no nonsense approach to building startups. And he’s prolific. He’s built almost 70 startups, out of which 4 have found wild success.

Important points discussed:

  • The 12 startups in 12 months challenge
  • Being a digital nomad
  • His breakout startups - Nomadlist and RemoteOK
  • The Playbook to build curation based products

Pieter’s Advice:

“If you want to learn to bicycle you don’t have to be Lance Armstrong, you don’t have to be the best, just don’t fall. That’s good enough. I’m not a very good designer, I’m very average. I’m not a very good programmer, I can do everything a little bit. I think being a generalist is great, but yeah, be inspired and then do. Don’t just get caught up in this whole vicious cycle of inspiration and talking about stuff. We all need to do more things and be less scared, just do”

Listen here or read my notes here.

Thank you for reading 🙏

Do let me know which is your favorite IH podcast.

And to read my notes from 40+ IH podcasts, do check out the archive of this newsletter - Listen Up IH


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