"Work like a madman, ignore the 'work-life balance' bullshit until you get something rolling."
Nico is an indie maker with several successful products under his belt. Despite just learning how to code in May of 2022, he has already shipped:
- December 2022: MakeLogo.ai (#1 Product of the day on Product Hut)
- February 2023: Open For Ads (#2 Product of the day on Product Hut)
- March 2023: Galeby (Currently in beta)
- Lots of other projects (The Indie Marketer, Ads Profit Calculator, a customer service AI tool for his assistant 🤯, and many more.)
As you'll soon learn, this scrappy-but-effective approach to building is a common theme for Nico.
What is your tech stack (languages, frameworks, services, os, devices, etc.) and why?
Node.js/Express for the back, HTML/CSS/JS for the front, no framework, I like simplicity.
What does a productive day in your life look like, and how often do you have days like that? Or what is a regular day like?
Waking up at 5:30, gym, work until 21:00. I work like that when I have lots of things to do. No specific schedule atm, so I'm waking up later and finishing up earlier to spend time with my GF.
How many failed projects do you have, and how have they set you up for success? Or what is a failure you are grateful for?
Around 30 or something projects in total, most of them are failures. Every failure = I learn stuff to go faster/do better.
How do you monetize what you build? Any advice as to what has worked for you and what hasn’t?
Making products people want to try. Haven't tried anything else, people either want to pay for it or not.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
Learning to code last May.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven builder yet to experience any “success”? What advice should they ignore?
Work like a madman, ignore the "work-life balance" bullshit until you get something rolling. You can't be complaisant, the hardest part is to get the initial sparkle to light up the fire. You'll rest later.
What are bad recommendations you hear about building?
All the typical "you need a perfect app to get started". No, you need the bare minimum. MakeLogo.ai passed $20,000 in sales, the first version was a HTML page with a Typeform to collect email & payment. Do the bare minimum, name, domain and stuff don't matter at the beginning.
What is your process for starting a new project? How do you decide on an idea to pursue?
I just write down ideas I have, imagine how it would work, and make tests to see if it's doable. Then I open VScode and I code a manual prototype.
How do you come up with new project ideas?
I don't have a process. Either I suddenly get the idea, make something I need, or I find people complaining/asking for it.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Going to the gym frequently, stopping spending all my days on League of Legends.
In this section, I (Mat) share a few comments and links I found especially interesting about today's guest.
I encourage you to check out Nico's blog. I love the way he documents his journey with different projects (sometimes down to the hour). And I believe this provides a much more accurate description than any after-the-fact story would. Read from idea to $65,000 exit in 3 months to see how Nico created an MVP in just 48 hours and all the way to him selling it for $65k.
This tweet about an AI tool Nico made for his assistant. Lately I've been fascinated by automation projects like these.
Nico has had a lot of success lately. And based on the work he has put in he fully deserves that. But he'll be the first one to tell you that this was not an overnight success:
Now, keep in mind that it's not my first shot at entrepreneurship. In the last 5 years, I launched around 35 projects and most were total failures. Just between October and December 2022, I released 7 different apps.
I never gave up. I kept showing up. It's a number game.
The odds are against you, but at some point, you'll get something that sticks 😉