Today It seems the mainstream path to becoming a “maker” is:
- Create a product.
- share it with the influencers that inspired you, they’ll hopefully share with their audience and you get exposure.
- post your side project on Product Hunt, Hacker News, Indie Hackers, etc.
- Write a post about what you learned or achieved.
This will get you a “high” because of all the likes, upvotes and mentions, it is awesome if you can use this “high” to get inspired and keep creating! the problem (that I see) is that there is a new industry of people that are in a loop on this phase.
Whether you are trying to create a product for artistic reasons, just because you are bored, or you are trying to make a living from your projects, following this path for too long will put you in a new type of rat race where the only thing that will matter to you is becoming an “influencer”, or “getting likes”, IMO these things won’t fulfill you long term, they won’t make you creative nor will earn you a living.
As long as you are aware and conscious of this “rat race” then I think the side project industry is awesome, the problem is when you are too deep and you are unaware.
In 2017 I got kind of stuck for a few months in the “makers loop” and I experienced a burnout, sure I got a ton of likes and PMs that are nice for the ego but it was actually the time I made the least money and after the first products launched I stopped being creative.
I learned a lot so I don’t regret it but again it comes back to being aware of what is happening, as long as you are aware, you can always use it to your advantage.
I see a trend of people where most of their day is spent watching how other makers “made it” or “are making it”, kind of like an Instagram.
Sure, there are some people that are more extroverts/noisy and they’ll fake it until they are considered “influencers”, then leverage that and sell “tools”, ebooks, courses, etc.
I find those people uninteresting, it seems that all their identity is their online persona, I find this unhealthy and unproductive long term. (when they find out this is unhealthy they will sell an ebook about the diet or how to get healthy lol :)
I have been creating online products for about 13 years, my “real” income was never made from clients on PH, IH or hacker news, or by writing threads on Twitter, my main business was created the old school way: a website, offering a service, having employees, doing PPC marketing, service clients and provide value so customers return and buy back from you.
I want in 2019 to launch new projects that provide value and are not related to the maker or online industry, but more to things I really care about and could see myself caring about for a long time.
I will still launch a ton of fun side projects when I feel like (in fact I have one almost finished right now) but I am aware that it is only for fun or public service, and to develop the creativity and “shipping muscle”, I don’t expect anything else out of those type of projects.
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