For the last few months I have played around with the idea of starting a bootstrapped SaaS business as an Indie Hacker.
I finally decided to make it official.
I don't know what I will be building. I also think it will be a while before I see it paying off. But I think it is the right decision for me personally. Here is why.
I want to be the founder to shape the culture of my company
Over the years I have learned what is important for me in a company culture. I learned that:
- I want to spend time deeply understand users
- I care a lot about design and user experience
- I enjoy working with people who enjoy the craft, not management
- I hate company politics
In the past, I joined multiple early stage startups as one of the first employees. I learned that founders shape the culture of the company. No matter how core you are to the founding team, your influence on the company culture is limited.
I want to shape the culture of my company. I have to be one of the founders to do that.
I rather work with a small team than in a large organisation
Building a large company doesn't sound like fun to me.
The best case scenario for a venture backed startup is a large company.
I have seen companies grow from 5 to 200 employees. As the company grows, the founders move away from the craft into hiring and building the organisation. Politics start to emerge. I don't think I enjoy any of that.
I love working with people. Great people push me to new heights.
My ideal company size would be 5-10 people, where everyone, including myself, can still focus on the craft.
I don't mind working alone. But I prefer to be surrounded by people I can learn from, whether they work with me directly or just seat next to me while working on their own stuff.
I gained practical experience that will help me get started
I studied Computer Science and enjoy writing code. Nowadays I mostly use React, Python, and SQL. I love learning from customers and think I have a decent eye for design. During the last few years, I specialised in product management, and learned more about marketing, sales, and running a business.
I enjoy myself the most when I combine all of these.
In November 2019, I started Sorted together with Tom Raz. We grew it from just an idea to 250K$ in ARR in 1.5 years before getting acquired by Deel. I learned a ton, and can't wait to apply my learnings in my new journey.
Is it the right time for me to start?
Timing is where I have the most doubts.
I am a father of two little girls, with the third one coming soon. Things are already pretty hectic, and are about to get even more hectic :) For me, family comes first. I don't want to pull nights or weekends. It doesn't leave much time to work on my SaaS, which means it will likely be a slow start.
Another reason not to start now is the booming Startup market. Companies are getting crazy high valuations, and employees are benefiting financially. In this crazy market, being a bootstrapped SaaS founder makes less sense.
On the other hand, this is also an opportunity. I am lucky enough that I can support my family's expenses with just 3 days of work a week. This leaves 2 work days a week. Not a lot, but probably more than the average side hustle Indie Hacker.
Building a SaaS product takes time. If I start now, I might be able to get some decent revenue before the market calms down and salaries drop again.
The other advantage to starting now is that I feel like I have just the right amount of experience. I gained experience in user research, design, coding, and even marketing and sales. Professionally, I feel like it's the right time to give it a shot.
I decided to go for it. But not without doubts.
Want to share the reasons why you decided for or against being a bootstrapped founder. Feel free to start a conversation with me on Twitter @nirshub