(Originally appeared on my Indie Hackers blog)
Even though I’ve only achieved modest success as an indie hacker, I’ve learned many valuable skills that will make me more successful in other areas of my life, no matter how I proceed.
How to sell
To quote Steli from Close, sales is simply “result-driven communication”.
The moment that there is an end goal in mind for one of us or both of us, when I’m trying to convince you of something, when I’m trying to get you excited about something, when I’m trying to make you make a decision, whenever there’s a purpose and an end result I have in mind while I’m communicating with you and vice versa, we are now in the world of selling. We’re not just talking, we’re selling.
Result drive communication is an essential part of life. Trying to convince someone to think a certain way, or do a certain action comes up time and time again, and those that know how to be persuasive are better positioned to be successful in life than those who aren’t.
Through learning to sell people on trying and buying timestamps.fm subscriptions I’ve learned:
- How to practice empathy for the customer and view through their eyes
- About the psychology of sales and motivation. People like to be cared for. People like to be listened to about their problems.
- The benefits of transparency in sales conversations (and thus all “result driven communication”)
Learning to be persuasive is perhaps the number one lesson I’ve learned as an Indie Hacker.
How to write
I’ve learned to write more clearly, persuasively, and succinctly. I didn’t even know what the word “copy” meant before I started, but after writing landing page copy, and many sales emails, I have a much better understanding of how to get to the point and make it well.
Whether an entrepreneur or not, writing is essential to modern life, and being an Indie Hacker has made me much better at it.
How to elicit honest feedback
I’ve learned how to talk to prospective customers in a way that allows me to get the information I need to draw my own conclusions without putting them on the spot to protect my ego. AKA I read “The Mom Test” (read it now, if you haven’t).
This is a specific example of a more general skill: being able to get information from people such that they won’t (even accidentally) lie to you.
I can see myself using this in the future, for example, if interviewing at a company and asking existing employees about their experience. The employees will be inclined to protect the company and will probably inadvertently lie to you if you simply ask questions like “Is this a good company to work for?”, which is the equivalent of “Would you pay $15/month for this product?”. Rather, I’d apply the Mom Test, and ask strictly factual questions about their behavior and how they do things, and draw my own conclusions.
I never expected to have learned these skills when I started my journey, but I’m so much better off for it. Having a chance to learn these skills is why I would recommend trying entrepreneurship to anyone.