Every year I set myself new unattainable goals for the new year! I never achieved the goals! Year by year passed! I looked at tons of “How To Make Money!” videos on YouTube! I was a failure! But this year everything should change. I set myself one goal:
Building a Startup From Scratch
Along the way, I’ll be documenting and sharing the whole process on IndieHackers and Twitter. This should serve as a motivation for others but aswell for me.
I’m a self-taught developer who learned the wrong programming languages😅. Several years ago, I started to learn HTML, CSS, and PHP. I don't regret learning HTML and CSS. However, I regret learning PHP. At the time of learning it, PHP was the future! Now, in 2022 PHP is basically dead! Over the last two years, I have learned Python, Machine Learning, and Web Security/Penetration Testing. My current knowledge of design, marketing, and building a startup is zero! Additionally, I have a job, so I will be a part-time Indie Hacker.
This week the challenge has officially started! 52.1428 weeks left (365 days)!
I already have a rough idea about what I want to build. My idea in a nutshell: a web app where users can create/save their tools, programming languages, etc., and monitor the cost of those tools.
To begin with, I created a Twitter account with the username @digitalgreyhat. For the profile picture, I chose a slightly more eye-catching and creative profile picture than other accounts.
I created the 3D model on ReadyPlayerMe.me and then I used pfpmaker.com for the background/border of the profile picture.
During the first few days, I sticked with an account banner made by a generator. It had a solid color background and some text on it, which looked pretty bad! So I decided to design my own banner in Figma. I kept it simple by only making a gradient and adding my 3D character over the follow button. Simplicity is the key to success! 😃
Left: old account banner; Right: new account banner
Last but not least, a well-written bio on Twitter is very important. To write my bio I took inspiration from bigger Indie Hackers on Twitter. I rewrote my bio 5 times because I felt like the bio didn’t reflect my personality and my goal.
On Sunday I got an invite code for IndieHackers, and in the evening IndieHackers was not invite-only anymore. I wrote an article about it on IH and it got a good amount of views, even the founder of IH replied to my article! This gave me a lot of confidence and motivation!
In order to stay organized, I need a place where I can keep all my stuff and be able to manage it all. Therefore, I started the week by setting up a structured Notion.so workspace. It contains everything from design to growth!
This is how the main part of my notion workspace looks!
To get some basic knowledge on how to build a product/startup, I did some research on the internet. I came across some awesome blog posts on medium.com! Here are the steps you need to follow when building a product based on what I learned from the blog posts:
- 📊 : Market Research → look at what people need
- 💡 : Collect ideas for product → analyze the problems and find a solvable problem
- 🍀 : Validate idea → ask people what they think of it, look at the competition, etc.
- ✨ : Build a beta version → build a beta version and invite people to test/give feedback
- 🛠️ : Improve by feedback → improve your tool by hearing the beta testers feedback
- 📢 : Make a hype → try to build a hype about your product (best case)
- 🚀 : Launch!!! → on ProductHunt, Twitter, ...
Once I had a basic knowledge of building a product, I got into the design part of a product. The design is an essential part of a product! It determines whether you win or lose a customer.
Although I want to create a great, pixel-perfect design, I have to keep an eye on myself. Perfectionism is my enemy!
I learned this in the book “RefactoringUI” by Adam Wathan & Steve Schoger. The book helps me to get a basic understanding of the design process and design principles. I read about three or four pages of it every day.
I learned the basics of design last week, and now I am applying them to my project. I used dribbble.com and behance.com for design inspiration. I copied any image that caught my eye into Eagle. Eagle is an awesome tool for organizing reference images and working with them! I may write a separate article about it since it has so many features!
Then I gave each design I liked a tag, such as "sidebar" or "header", and I wrote a short description of what I liked about it. After I gathered all my inspiration, I made folders for each tag. All images with the same tag are sorted and collected in the appropriate folder.
My “sidebar” folder/collection in Eagle
The next step is to draw the wireframes. First, I attempted to draw a wireframe in Microsoft Whiteboard, but that didn't work well. The Microsoft Whiteboard does not allow you to draw shapes and does not have a font selection.
I found an open-source alternative called tldraw.com! Completely free of charge, no need to sign up and it’s privacy-oriented! Made by @steveruizok a fellow Indie Hacker.
tldraw.com worked like a charm. It made my life a bit easier and the wireframes turned out really well! In my opinion...
As part of my weekly routine, I tried to tweet something every day. I failed this week. On Tuesday, I suddenly saw blurry in one eye! I went to the doctor for treatment. Due to the amount of time I spend in front of the computer, one of my eyes was really dry, which caused the blurry vision.
I drastically reduced my screen time the next few days and couldn't get anything done. I tried drawing wireframes on normal paper, but I messed it up completely! So I was writing this blog post in the remaining days of the week.
+4 Followers (✅)
+46 Points (✅)
+0 Followers (❌)
+0 Unicorns (❌)
✅ = Growth, ❌ = Negative-Growth
Learned from Mistakes 💡
- Expect the unexpected! → I never expected that I would see blurry in one eye!
Plans for next Month 🔎
- More engagement on Twitter
- Finish remaining wireframes
- Design the project page in Figma
Special thanks to: 🎁
@foliofed - He gave me the IH invite code & help me with some questions!
@marmooznet - Got the inspiration for the profile picture from him & he reviewed this article!
@tbll75 - Gave me feedback for this article!
@MeetKevon - He tweets about great stuff, learned much from him!
I am so glad you stayed with me all the way to here! I would love to hear your feedback on my first monthly article!
Check out my Twitter to see weekly work updates!
Top comments (29)
Interesting. But php is not dead at all. With php8.1 its more modern than ever and is still used on nearly 80% of the web. And yeah. It triggers me a bit😄
I don't think that the 80% argument is relevant given that the majority of it is powered by WordPress.
With that said I suggest to rephrase PHP is dead with I feel that other language would be a better fit for me/project.
Unfortunately some developers are often too attached to a particular tool or methodology and take a personal offence when said tool is criticized.
Completly agree with you. The sentence PHP is dead exists more than 5 yrs ago today, but still WP is eating the web.
Don't get me wrong, if you enjoy using PHP in your personal projects, be my guest! Now if you want to keep working on WebDev in the coming years, then you should invest some time learning Node, so you don't end up like some folks that know COBOL and only get work maintaining ancient legacy code.
"...Now if you want to keep working on WebDev in the coming years, then you should invest some time learning Node, so you don't end up like some folks that know COBOL and only get work maintaining ancient legacy code."
"new" COBOL developers get paid 90k+ a year to maintain legacy code. That's more than most jobs that use modern programming languages at an entry level.
I'd say if you're following the money, then be a COBOL developer.
There are mid level React positions for 100k+, and even if they were 80k I would prefer that instead of maintaining legacy code (which was the point of my comment). But I guess is a matter of preference. I'm not a dev just for the money, it just happens to be a well paid job.
Money may be important, but it is not everything in life. Health cannot be bought with money!
Maybe I cannot write much about PHP, but I also think that it is not only still used a lot, but also people just describe it like something useless. It is possible, that if you are about to learn something for your career, it is not the best choice, but it surely is nothing you should regret.
Thank you, many people have already told me that. It is good to know PHP is not dead! Still, I don't intend to do it in PHP because this year is a new chapter in my life. In addition, I want to start from scratch, since others don't have the advantage of having already learned a programming language.
Have zero interest in php BUT you do so good luck to you.
That's right . Php is not dead and there is lot of frameworks and the best I like is Laravel
Hi, thank you so much for your inspiration. For me, I'm trying to stick with my BetterThanYesterday challenge: post one technical article / thought / resource per day on Dev.to. I believe that if today you're better than yourself yesterday, even just a little bit, you will go a long way from here when you look back one year later. :) Can't wait to see your project go alive! Keep it up! Maybe in the next year, I will do the same as you now. 😄
Keep it up! That's an awesome challenge!
Excellent article to be honest, keep it up mate!
i love your story its very interesting thanks.
Awesome article keep i up.
Great story and inspiring 👍
Thanks so much!
You are welcome I want to follow you on this journey
Thank you for the article, I think it's well structured and I wish you all the luck in your journey!
Love your story and will encompass some of your ideas in my road map for building my web3 gaming ecosystem, Thanks :)
OMG just tried out that readyplayer.me/avatar and I posted my head pic and WOW, how awesome does it look. Thank You - I will ensure your added to my Daily Routine List that I go through first thing in the morning to inspired and keep me upto date with the Web3 Space and Thanks Again.
"PHP is dead". Tch. Kids nowadays...Jumping to the "next-big-thing" train every year. No wonder each year we see new JS frameworks that blaze for a moment and go down the horizon real quick.
Very interesting. Could you give an URL to the "Eagle" tool you mention?
Great article! Followed for future updates :)
Suggesting an edit: The link to readyplayer.me is broken.
Fixed! Thank you!