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100 Comments

When you win, what will you do?

As indie hackers, we know failure is part of the grind.

In fact, planning to fail, learn and iterate quickly is the path to success.

But do you have a success plan?

Let's explore important questions for your next big win.

Feel free to share what you'll do when you win

  1. 1

    probably, try to win again, in different areas.

  2. 1

    Create some sort of artificial scarcity that will help me keep myself on the hook.
    I have a tendency to not ship when I have sufficient funds in the bank.

  3. 21

    A term I like to throw around is "the myth of final arrival." It's what pops into people's heads when they think about winning the lottery, retiring after a long career, selling their company for millions. I suppose they think they'll instantly become Buddhist monks with zen minds and calm contented lives, but in reality entropy brings new problems to their doorsteps.

    Among the "winners" in my circle, I've seen the gamut: aimlessness and depression, addiction, restless and ultimately unsatisfying adventure-seeking, etc. Depends on the personality, depends on the background.

    The exceptional cases that handle success really well are those who reject the myth of final arrival. That is, they don't believe they've reached the end of the story of their own struggles. Instead they've simply completed one chapter, and now it's time to confront the antagonists of a new chapter.

    1. 1

      There was a man who upon crossing the street miraculously dodged death as a driver barely missed him. Death showed up to the man, and as a reward for his luck, he gifted him a watch. The watch did not show the time of day, but the time he had remaining. The man rushed home and started to plan how he wanted to spend his life, estimating his death to be in a couple of decades.
      Over the years, he worked towards building a circle of friends, and founded a family. He was driven every day to follow his plan and fulfil everything he wanted of life. Years ticked on, and as the man aged, the watch closed in on the full revolution. He lived fearlessly, and now he was ready to meet his end, surrounded by his closest ones.
      Then, the day of the watch's end came. The man said his goodbyes, and laid down, waiting for his long-scheduled meet. The watch stopped – but no one came. The man looked at his watch, stopped, and, in horror, realized he was still alive.

      I read this micro story many years ago, and while over time my relation to it has changed, it serves as a reference pole of how much I am living for today compared to how much I am living for the future.

    2. 7

      Yeah but the challenge here is that sometimes there is no new chapter with a clear antagonist. Or there is, but the antagonist is so much less meaningful than the previous chapter's that it doesn't sufficiently motivate or arouse excitement.

      "Succeeding" as an entrepreneur can be a bit like a soldier returning home safely from a war. It's the promised day they looked forward to and dreamed of, and yet, the challenges of a new peaceful life might seem mundane, while ironically also calling into question the point of that previous life full of danger.

    3. 3

      The first paragraph is so funny - had to comment and sadly it's true. It goes up and down. It's a journey we call life - but there can be good phases where different types of problems exist such as excess, tax strategies instead of struggle. But agreed - final destination does not exist - but maybe there are preferred problems or preferred life stage.

      1. 6

        This reminds me of an interview IH did with Robin Singh of E-junkie. He was making enough passive income to sit back and relax. A dream. But he talks about “hedonic adaptation” and how within a few months he felt so empty. He tried buying a jeep and driving it around the mountains of India. Didn’t satisfy him. Then he became a hippie in a commune. Didn’t satisfy him. And on and on. Eventually he met a woman trying to care for 60 street dogs which led him to totally give up on the comfortable life he thought he wanted. And then started a farm in the Himalayas to care for abandoned animals and proceeded to work harder than ever. 😅

        1. 1

          I like to call this the 'ice cream effect'.

          Hedonic adaptation is so annoying lol.

          At the same time I appreciate it because it's a crucial mechanism that keeps us moving toward the next thing.

          This reinforces the 'there are no true ends' idea.

    4. 2

      I get what you're saying and I can definitely agree with the thought pattern around final arrival; the conventional path of retiring early (which used to be a dream of mine).

      But winning doesn't feel final for me anymore. Maybe I'm naive because I'm not there yet, but I feel like there must be a point where things start to tip into more positives than negatives.

      Let me explain. I've been running my agency for 4 years now and it's mostly been struggle after struggle. The joyful parts are few and far between because we're constantly chasing product-market-fit. That has knock-on effects of emotional fluctuations, credit card debt, missing family events, and not taking care of myself the way I should.

      There must be a point where customers and easier to come by, I'm not in stress mode over revenue and I can actually enjoy my work because my family is taken care of.

      That's winning to me.

      Of course there will still be problems and struggles, but I think those would be much better problems and struggles than I have now.

      Otherwise what am I working for?

      1. 1

        I've been running my agency for 4 years now and it's mostly been struggle after struggle.

        I don't get how your agency can survive for 4 years, yet it's still a struggle.

        If you're still surviving after 4 years, maybe you're doing something right?

        1. 1

          Yeah. Despite that, and being on the path, I don't feel like I am anywhere near where I want to be.

    5. 1

      I've found there is a connection between 'there are no true ends' and long term mental well-being.

      I think a side effect of the 'there are no true ends' perspective is that expectations of the final arrival aren't so pronounced.

      Breaks, celebrations and reflective periods are important but as you mentioned, handling success (and I'd say failure as well) is about internalizing this isn't the end and I know my story goes on, even after this.

  4. 1

    Success doesn't have full stop. It only has commas. I will give back to the society, to the nature not only after winning, but throughout the process too.

  5. 1

    I'll stay my feet on the ground and help others win as well by sharing strategies on how I win. I will be sharing here the bookmaker I have been using to place my bets on sports particularly shark racing and it's where I had the most of my wins. Visit free horse racing tips to easily check last updates in scores, matches and events.

  6. 1

    There is no win, there is no end. It is a long path where you fail and learn how to success next time.

  7. 10

    Ive already won. Im healthy, happy and content.

    This is just to make things more interesting :)

    1. 2

      Found the zen guy. Haha, I appreciate this perspective.

  8. 5

    Well, start from the beginning, again.

    1. 5

      Exactly. We don't do it for the "winning" day. We do it because we enjoy the journey.

    2. 2

      I feel this. Life runs in loops.

    3. 1

      While this is what we want, I would recommend to use the lesson learned and not start at the beginning, at least reduce the # of failures :)

  9. 4

    I sit back and relax. Then try to understand what exactly gave me success and starts to standardize it so that I can repeat the process more often.

  10. 3

    Winning for me means that I am sitting on assets that provide financial stability and cash flow for my family for the next 50 years.

    So, it's a big goal - which is why the small wins matter and I try to be conscious of those and appreciate them every day.

    For the big win, I will reduce my time working and spend more time with my family and friends.

    I will always do some work though because I love what I do and I want to keep challenging myself to learn something new regularly.

  11. 3

    Literally, give away $50,000. Not sure how yet but I want to give money to the people in the world that need it. Where I come from, there isn't much help for those people.

  12. 3

    I take success as a journey and failures as learnings during this journey.

    Considering this, I don't see any stage which can be termed as "Post Success" in life.

  13. 3

    Build yet another thing. I get depressed if I'm not being entrepreneurial and creating businesses, the money is just a nice side effect should a venture succeed. :)

  14. 3

    Definitely one day, I will win, until I'm going to practice well

  15. 3

    The next win: profitability.

    I don't mean ramen profitability given there's the opportunity cost of working at a large tech company with multi-6 figure salary and good lifestyle.

    Real profitability. Real freedom. The knowledge that my startup will be here to stay and pay real money to all my team members and myself for years to come while providing tremendous value to others - gives me confidence.

    That's win to me.

    What will I do? Probably take 2 weeks off to go diving in Indonesian ocean. Then come back fresh to figure out how to scale this thing.

  16. 3

    This dysfunctional capitalistic society that we live in has convinced people that doing nothing is the ultimate goal. And it make sense to most people, because they don't like what they do. So doing nothing is preferable.

    But once retired, these people — and people who love what they do (like many indie hackers) — tend to quickly realize that they actually do want to do things. Just as long as they actually like those things.

    Really makes a good case for founding your own business.

  17. 2

    when i win i will make sure that there are still people around me - if not, maybe i didnt win after all.

  18. 2

    Winning for me means a portfolio of micro saas companies, each of them would make about 5k, I am not attracted by material things watches clothes and so on, I am attracted by finance and location freedom and also I want to retire my mom.

    For me it's not if, but rather when, I am 100% convinced that I will achieve it.

    My fingers are crossed for every indie hacker, I believe you will achieve everything you can think of.

    Good luck.

  19. 2

    I'll keep on building software products.
    It's what I do, what I know, and what makes me feel at ease.

  20. 2

    Already won, multiple times :-)

    I picked my new startup ( https://Nuro.video ) because I have a vision for multiple projects I want to do, and out of those creations that I want to see in the world, it's the highest-leverage one to work on in 2022-2027 (at least), so it makes sense to put everything else on hold.

    Kind of like a painter working on one canvas at a time. Finishing one canvas is not winning. Painting is winning :-)

  21. 2

    This did not happen to me after winning the business.
    The business was successful, but the feeling of victory appeared only with age, when I began to perceive life differently and slowed down a little.

    I think this moment comes when you have earned enough money for a lifetime and then you can do what you want.

    Yes, most likely you will continue to do business so as not to suffer from aimlessness, but your attitude can be transformed and after a grand victory, life will seem to be just a life with interesting hobbies in the form of business and investments.

  22. 2

    I would love to quit my full-time job and focus more on living the life I want. I don't want to make a ton of money. I only want to be able to pay for my necessities, have enough "fun" money to travel, and most importantly - do what I think matters to me. So if I ever get to a place where my business can sustain on its own and then some - which is the ultimate "win" for me - then I'll celebrate by quitting my job.

  23. 2

    Help other people to win too! Much is said about the win of the successful and strong person. but not much is said about the glory of the person that helps other people with love and service!

    1. 1

      100% agree - it says an enormous amount about one's character to have massive wins in their life and then turn around and help others!

      I hope you get your big win.

  24. 2

    I am working on a few niche products with my dad. It is so motivating and rewarding to work with family. I want to win so that my dad wins too. I think he feels the same way.

    1. 1

      This is so wholesome 😃😃😃.

      I want you and your dad to win too.

  25. 2

    I never thought of thinking of a success plan that much. There's always a backup plan or a "try-again" plan in my head, not much of a full thought out success plan. 😂 Def, going to prepare for that now

  26. 2

    I think the idea is freedom — to do what you want, when you want, and how you want.

  27. 2

    I'll keep doing the things I enjoy now. I couldn't do nothing as is and success wouldn't change that for me.

  28. 2

    I will go off-grid and live with my family and girlfriend.

  29. 2

    When I win I will celebrate and make myself happy. I will teach others how I did it, my desire is to have more successful people in our society.
    I will also start a new project.

  30. 2

    I just decide that the chase and building things is the reward, and that you will live the same life regardless.

  31. 2
    1. Take stock of the resources gained from the last go-round: more free time, more money, a bigger audience, a better network, more trust and clout and social authority, etc. Things like that.

    2. Take stock of the feelings of accomplishment. Did it feel good to make money? Did I have enough purpose and meaning? Did I enjoy the journey as well as the destination? Etc.

    3. Use #2 to figure out the type of project to start the next time around that will give me more of the things I want and less of what I don't want, and then use #1 to figure out how best to get there.

    1. 1

      I think this iterative process will lead to a great life 🙏.

      ✍️✍️✍️

  32. 2

    perhaps this isn't the best place to talk about this, but I sold a company and was pretty disillusioned after ... for like 6 months. It definitely affected me very differently than I thought it would.

    1. 2

      I haven't reached the success I want to yet but I wrote this idea thinking of scenarios like yours.

      Writing made me realize I don't have a plan for after I attain the indie life I want more than anything.

      Can you share more about how your success changed things for you?

        1. 1

          I sense when you say "disillusioned" you mean something negative? but according to Buddhist philosophy shedding layers of illusions is necessary for the final enlightenment.

  33. 2

    After I win, will re-invest my winnings into my next project. I will also take a few weeks off to celebrate and recharge.

    I also agree with Channing regarding the myth of final arrival. That idea makes me think of Citizen Kane's "Rosebud."

    In Kane's subconscious, Rosebud represented the simplicity, comfort, safety, and nostalgia of the past. It was a yearning for something that was seemingly unattainable.

    We must understand that as IHers, the practice is as important as the result. If we can grow to love the process and the present, we can build the future we want.

    1. 1

      I totally agree.

      I think something most don't realize is that the practice occupies 99.99% of the journey while the final arrival only occupies a small fraction.

      Life happens in the practice of our 'thing' not the success of it.

  34. 1

    When I win I want the world to see. I want to be able to show everyone who ever doubted me that I am better than they thought. I want to show the people who knew that I could do it. I can't wait to win!

    1. 2

      Hmm, there is no win with revenge on mind.. You are talking about others but not about you, and you are the first to be focused on to win

  35. 1

    Winning isn't some big event to me.

    It's a baseline threshold for my desired quality of life.

    And I've surpassed that some time ago.

    So literally I'd be doing what I've been doing now.

    Travelling a lot. Building businesses. Doing outdoor activities I love. Dating women.

  36. 1

    What does success or winning look like?!

    This is a question I don't actually know at the moment to be honest, and would love any thoughts and suggestions.

    Building in public: https://www.survey101.io/

    In an ultra competitive marketspace, but doing something different that adds value

  37. 1

    Either start again, or help someone else get going.

  38. 1

    There is no end for me, I would start a new process. :)

  39. 1

    I'll keep doing the things I enjoy now. I couldn't do nothing as is and success wouldn't change that for me.

  40. 1

    Winning for me means I am gonna get more excited about my next milestone and will get dreamy :) It really keep me going.

  41. 1

    I liked reading the answers from this thread. And good question OP!

  42. 1

    If the number of people I serve increases and I am able to generate enough income, or if I sell the business and become financially successful, I will take some time off and start thinking about my next venture.
    It is simply fun to create a service that helps others and improves the world.

  43. 1

    This is something I still haven’t learnt not just in business but in life.

    How does everyone define success?

  44. 1

    I've always said, I know I will have made it when I can have an exotic drinks fridge available for every employee to access :)

  45. 1

    I will reinvest 30% in marketing every time I get profit in the business.

  46. 1

    I believe giving back is an incredibly important part of managing success in a healthy way, particularly if that success leads to a lot of money. My company Easy EMDR took Giving What We Can's company pledge to donate 10% of net profits to effective non-profits, and I now consider this to be a core component of what we do. It means that our organization is able to help people both through our product, and through the fruits of that product.

    It's also had the benefit of drawing more users to us — customers tend to find value in taking stances like this, and it has tended to act as a tiebreaker in our favor when compared to the competitors. Overall it's been a positive thing for us and hasn't slowed down growth. We were the 2nd company in the United States to take this pledge, so it's an area that could absolutely use more examples to demonstrate its feasibility.

    If you or your company wants to take the pledge I discuss here, you can check that out at this link: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/pledge

  47. 1

    When I win, I tend to turn my Insights and Experience into a Service or Product and help others (one step behind me) WIN with it.

  48. 1

    Already won, jumped back into the game after ~1yr lol 😅

    On a serious note though, I didn't think I would start another software company when I sold my first one. I was burnt out. During the time of self-reflection I almost started a few things (land investing, podcast, online course, etc.)... I'd get the wheels in motion but ultimately the project wouldn't be finished. Lack of passion, perhaps?

    As time went on, I really started to look at what it is I like to do. I like to compete. To think creatively, and to sell something that makes people happy. Software, in my mind, is the best place to do this. So, I'm back. A little wiser and more experienced - which undoubtedly will help.

    1. 2

      I think your journey hints at something important: knowing yourself and what you want is the most important 'win'.

  49. 1

    I've started a software company and sold it. Afterwards, it felt good not to have any of the issues that I was dealing with for years... but then I got restless. And now I'm starting another software company :P

    1. 2

      Very cool - I wonder if that 'loop' ever ends. Or if it should ever end.

  50. 1

    I will find a new interesting and challenging task for myself )

  51. 1

    Nothing - I keep remembering the story of the Mexican fisherman and the investment banker.

  52. 1

    there is no end "win" you just keep going ....

  53. 1

    I will probably go back to school and pursue another advanced degree.

  54. 1

    Yes, indeed. I am not scared of failing.
    Success is the only option for me, at least in my mind.

    At the moment era.sh will be successful, it opens a lot of new doors. I can start other businesses, will have the time for more things, that I am passionate about.

    I want to share my knowledge and my experience on the path to success. To help others, who struggle and should not make the same mistakes, that we did in the past.

  55. 1

    If I win financially, I will do something for handicapped people.

  56. 1

    If I ever have enough money to take care of my family I will start creating free solutions for indiehackers. I have already the domain https://indiehackers.tools

  57. 1

    If I win financially, definitely i will help the needy..

  58. 1

    It seems to me that victory is such an abstract thing that it's hard to distinguish it from just another achievement because you always have new goals.

  59. 1

    def i will buy a car collection and retire at a mountain

  60. 1

    When I win I enjoy my success and I try to improve myself

  61. 1

    when i "win" my goal i think about helping people with their business

  62. 1

    Just continue as before. I enjoy what I do.

  63. 1

    Interesting. The discussion here could have easily descended into materialistic declarations: I will buy a Ferrari or a private island but instead went metaphysical.

    In my case, I will declare success if I will be able to build a business that addresses and expresses ALL of my inner factors.
    In other words, my deep self-person and my mind, skills, gifts, and the work will be closely aligned streamlined, and integrated.
    Money obviously is part of it all, but it is on the periphery, almost a side effect.

  64. 1

    Don't be evil. Be the down to earth person that let you sleep at night.

  65. 1

    I'll keep making apps, without the money-related anxiety

    1. 2

      Yes!

      I would be more experimental with the apps I create.

      I've been wanting to play with AI + Music composition for the longest time.

      I feel this idea.

  66. 1

    I will do the same thing when I fail, plan how to be successful in my next step.

  67. 0

    It's not about the destination, is about the journey.

  68. 0

    The inception behind my blog (https://dogwithblog.in) is to find homes for homeless dogs. It has been a rewarding journey to make a little difference in my limited capacity, I guess sharing how the web can be used for 'social good' and guiding others in causes close to their heart is how I intend to give back.

  69. 0

    Hi,

    I have a business proposal which I want to share with you. Get back to me for more details. Thanks for your anticipated cooperation. I look forward to your feedback.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Contact my email address (darrincam770@gmail.com).

    Thanks,
    Darrin Campbell.

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