Getting started on IndieHackers

Peter Thaleikis

Engineer. Maker. Open Source Fan. Backpacker

by Peter Thaleikis

Not too long ago (around a year), I started out in the maker space. Back then I've just discovered ProductHunt and IndieHackers. My focus was still on employment and my commitment to a long-running startup. The idea to build small, independent businesses grew slowly on me. Around this time, I've decided to build something and give it a try. I thought "worst-case, I learn something" and started to build startup name check. My first, surely not last side-project.

I thought "worst-case, I learn something"

Back then I was lucky and Vincent guided me through a lot of things with my first launch. Thinking back, I would have struggled much more without some guidance. Thank you Vincent! Makers supporting makers is an important part of the indie maker community. I've started giving more back to the maker community. Part of this is my goal to make it easier for new makers to understand the communities and spaces. I'll kick off by sharing how I consider good interaction on IndieHackers.

Set up a profile and say "Hello World"

As in any community you join, you should get started by setting yourself up. Upload a decent profile picture and put some words on your page. Share what you are interested in or worked on. If you already got a website put the link on your profile too. Don't forget to link to your Twitter and other profiles. You could be surprised what number of profile clicks you can get.

It’s more important to be kind than clever

We are all just humans and should let kindness rule our interaction with each other. Same goes for IndieHackers (IH). Many people working hard to build something. Make sure to treat everyone with kindness, respect, and a positive attitude. When you share your experiences or feedback make sure to keep in mind that other one might have invested a lot of time and energy into this.

It’s more important to be kind than clever

Help out

As in any community, helping hands are always welcome. Answer questions and help out with marketing. Most makers are very happy to see tweets featuring their projects 🐦️ Make sure to tag him or her in the tweet — your both will get more exposure.

If you read a conversation and have something useful to share, go ahead and jump into the conversation. Everyone is happy with more well-thought feedback and critic.

Find the link for it and share it

You are on the world wide web. People leave links to other blogs or websites to make it easier for others to look for the information they need. For instance, if you just read a useful blog post and think it might help the asker on IH, leave a link to it. The link will take the members directly to the source instead of searching for it on the internet. This increases the popularity of the source as a reference you can trust.

Ask good questions

Your questions should be very specific. Generic questions get generic answers. If you need help with a certain topic or seek feedback, make sure you describe what you already know in detail. For example, if you have already tried several ways to do something, mention it. This will prevent others from sharing the same methods or ideas, and they will share different methods, ideas or strategies with you. Your question will be more relevant and your community engagement is better. Besides this, it will save a lot of time for everyone.

Try to provide value with your posts

Try to always share some insight or learnings. Make sure to keep your posts updated and relevant. Recurring posts which aren't receiving any attention help no one and feel spammy quickly. It's simply not enough to just paste the link to your project. You will get much more attention towards your post (and project) by sharing the strategy you implemented and the results you achieved. When responding to a feedback request try the same: provide value. If something looks good to you, you might want to share the reasons why. In the same way, if you think something needs to be improved, share details.

Praise where praise is due.

If you find a link very useful or got questions share it on IndieHackers (or Twitter) and explain why you like it. Don't forget to tag the author (if on IH). Spend the few extra minutes to find his or her handle. When you tag them, they will get a notification and are likely to check out your post. This is your chance to connect or to get an answer to your question. Their advice will carry much more weight than that of others.

Worry less: No one will steal your idea

Now, this might feel wrong, but it's more a misconception: You shouldn't keep your ideas for you alone. If you talk openly about your ideas and ask for input at the same time, you will not only get many more ideas but also valuable feedback in return. Chances are very good someone has considered the project idea or launched something similar — both cases give you great chance to learn.

Even if someone decides to "steals" your idea and turns it into a product or service, don't worry. We all have ideas. If your idea is simple enough for anyone to execute, then you don't need to talk about the idea in the first place. You should just go ahead and do it. Execution is key. Many people go as far as saying "Ideas are nothing, execute is all.". There is no need for an NDA for indie projects.

Speaking about ideas, I've actually shared a number of side-project ideas for free &mdash just in case you are interested. These ideas are either my own or openly shared by others. I've written the ideas down in the secret hope someone else builds them, so I can just use the products/services instead of building them myself.

Celebrate little wins

Got your first subscriber on YouTube or your first retweet? Celebrate the moment with others and share it on IndieHackers. Same goes even more if you can share some great trick or hack with it — people love to learn how you did it.

Try the search feature

On the Internet, the same question is often asked multiple times. We know repetition can cost you lot of time. Therefore, make sure to use the search before posting. You may not want to use the site search only. Google can answer most of your questions. A few minutes on Google (or DuckDuckGo) can answer most questions.

Don't forget to upvote!

Even if you don't know the answer to a question you come across on IH, do hit upvote. This can help make sure the question gets the attention of other members who may answer have useful answers.

Disclaimer

I've got no affiliation with IndieHackers, besides my regular user account and the listed product of my projects.

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